Hayate no Gotoku! Ch. 529


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… murder and money.

As we head into the grand “Nagi vs. Hisui” battle for old Mikado’s inheritance (somehow I find this sounds sad…), it seems obligatory that we get an origin story of Hisui. Now, we believe that there has been some “good” in every villain before they fall into the dark side, right? So, should we expect the same from Hisui?

No.

You might find it odd that I am not defending Hisui. After all, she saved Nagi, right? Why would an ally of our main heroine – who is obviously a good person – not considered a good person herself? My argument here is that: it is not exactly who you side with that defines you. Sometimes, a bad person is considered “good” merely because they happened to side with you for that one time.

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What good do you see in this?!

As Nagi said it herself, Hisui has always be an absurd person who is ultra-violent on people she considered “enemy”. She hit bullies with a rock repeatedly when she was a kid, and she attempted to kill Mikado with a sword when she grew up. The only difference between now and then appears to be that while she saw the Sanzen’ins as friends in the past, now she sees them as enemies. Everything else has been the same all along.

So, can a person’s morality be defined by their allies and enemies? I would say it depends. In some cases a person realises that their old ways and his old friends have been evil, so they turn against their past; this is called conviction. In other cases a person turns against their old lives and friends simply because the past is longer beneficial to the person, and this is called betrayal.

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We are talking about him after all…

Let’s put Hayate no Gotoku! aside and start talking about Dragonballs. Ask yourself this question: at which moment do you consider Vegeta a good person? Some might say that it was the moment he turned against Freiza and his army, and fought alongside Goku and his friends. I respectfully disagree. In that case, he only turned against Freiza because he wanted eternal life for himself, and Freiza was an obstacle in his goal. There was no change in his motive, just a change in interest, so I consider it a mere betrayal.

Instead, I would ask you to turn to the moment he sacrificed his life in order to defeat Fat Buu. As Piccolo put it, Vegeta did not fight for his own glory, but for the safety of his family. Only then, I consider him making a change of heart which made him a good person. This is the very moment I consider Vegeta’s conviction. In other words, in order to decide whether a person’s turn falls under conviction or betrayal, we always need to look at what triggers the change.

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This doesn’t make you a good person.

From what I have seen in this chapter of Hayate no Gotoku!, I would say that Hisui has only undergone a betrayal, not a conviction. She has not turned from good to bad; she has been bad all along, and it is just that she now considers her former “allies” as her “enemies”. The reason for her change is her own interest: she liked Nagi more than the bullies, so she was Nagi’s ally; she likes Mikado’s inheritance more than Nagi, so she is Nagi’s enemy. It is that simple.

So, let us not talk about Hisui’s “redeeming qualities”. There has been none – at least from what we have seen so far. I actually find it a bit worrying that Nagi considers what she felt about Hisui as “admiration”. Is it really an admirable thing to try to kill anybody in your way?

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Hello there!

At least Nagi now knows that she cannot consider Hisui her ally anymore, and turns to her other old ally: Sakuya. Nagi has been a lucky girl: of three of her old friends, at least two of them – Sakuya and Isumi – never stopped caring her, and both are genuinely good persons. While Hisui is clearly a bad influence, Nagi at least still has two other best friends to guide her in the right way, at the expense of any proper manga guidance. Well…

So, Machina makes his long-awaited appearance again! With Sakuya’s brain against Hisui and Machina’s power against Yozora, I think we should expect some very evenly-matched battles for… Klaus. God, this sounds even sadder than Nagi and Hisui fighting for money.

12 comments on “Hayate no Gotoku! Ch. 529

  1. While I agree that this chapter does not necessarily make Hisui a “good” person, I’ve never been one to classify people as “good” or “bad” in black and white anyway. What I can say is that based on this chapter, Hisui has been somewhat humanized since at least we know that she tried to defend Nagi when she had absoultely nothing to gain from that (you could also argue that she just has a violent sadistical streak, but we don’t have enough info to support that assumption just yet – I’d say.) It’s different from her wanting Mikado’s fortune, which, as Nagi and Mikado have already mentioned, is driven by her greed.

    Anyway, I think there’s a lot more to Hisui than meets the eye and we’ll probably find out more in the succeeding chapters. At the very least, while this doesn’t exactly show that she has a “good side” just yet, it does show that she’s not a completely one-dimensional character. I’m actually interested in seeing where her violent tendencies come from since personally, I share in said violent tendencies and would have reacted the same way to those bullies had I been in Hisui’s place. I want to see if Hata understands people like me as he portrays them in his manga.

    • On the “defending Nagi” part, I would point out that Hisui is not treating Yozora particularly bad either. The thing is, while she may treat her allies decently (Nagi in the past and Yozora at present), she has been downright horrible to her enemies, which has seldom been a trait related to “good” people.

      My betrayal vs. conviction argument is that, for Hisui to be “good”, it would take more than just “siding with Nagi”. Consider this: even if I see her unleashing evil against evil on King Midas, I would still not consider her a hero.

  2. Forgot to add, I think what Nagi admired in Hisui was the unwavering determination to win that she displayed in fighting against several bullies who were obviously physically larger and stronger than her. The will to fight against adversity — so to speak. Perhaps for Hisui, this was just another day and she probably knew that these bullies were no match for her, but to Nagi (who looked and acted very innocent in this flashback) that probably wasn’t the case and what she saw was a little girl her age fighting back against overwhelming odds.

    • To quote TV Tropes, there is Determinator and then there is Disproportionate Retribution. There is fending off bullies and then there is drawing blood with a rock while your victims scream.

      A line has to be drawn somewhere, and I was worried that Nagi didn’t know that a line has to be drawn. It seems that it is not a problem for her after all, though.

  3. Great analysis! Never saw it that way. I agree that as a person, Hisui in the past doesn’t differ at all from her present self. I will admit that the flashback at least humanized Hisui to make her seem more sympathetic. Still, the present Hisui presented to us so far is so blatantly evil that it almost borders on self-parody of cliched evil rich girls (Was the evil-looking castle really necessary to hammer home the point that Hisui is mean?)

    Also, the designs of the bullies in the flashback continue Hata’s style of depicting bad and petty people as having no faces.

    On the topic of morals, I do feel that HnG as a whole is an inherently mean-spirited and cynical story at least when looking into it deeper. Ironic considering its cute and innocent art style. Its messages and themes tend to leave a bad taste on me. The overall message I’ve gotten from the series so far is: Rich people are inherently better than poor people, bullies always win and get away with their actions, adults are incompetent and untrustworthy, natural talent and luck beats hard work and determination, good looks and charm beat moral principles, etc. Of course, this is merely what I feel.

    • While those examples you mentioned have indeed happened in the series, I personally take it as Hata’s way of depicting reality. In my opinion, it’s not really about morality since those things that have happened aren’t absolutes.

      There were also some cases wherein hard work and determination beat natural talent. In Nagi and Ruka’s manga showdown, I’d say it really didn’t come down to talent. They were more or less equal with Ruka being a little bit more experienced. What it really boiled down to was motive — were they doing it for the right motives? Whether Ruka could have won the final showdown against Nagi or not, she realized that she wasn’t doing it for the right motives (at least as far as Hata is concerned) and that’s why she retracted her apparent win and allowed Nagi to take the victory. I’d say it was a moral victory for both parties since they both got what they wanted after all. Nagi got to retain the status quo with Hayate as her butler and Ruka was finally able to move on and reunite with her estranged parents. I loved the resolution, personally. You have to be willing to go along with Hata’s plot and drop your own preconceived notions of morality and how things should be in order to enjoy it — but if you do, I find that HnG is a good story with a lot of fantasy and unrealistic touches but with an idealism that is firmly grounded in reality.

      Also, as shown in this chapter, bullies don’t always get away with everything since Hisui beat them up very badly. As for Hisui being the bully, we’ll, we just have to wait and see what Hata has in store for her, I’d say. She seems to be a very broken individual on the inside — not very far from our own titular combat butler, I would say — so she will get her come-uppance, probably… just not in the way that we would normally expect it to happen.

    • I think both of you have a point about morality. Certainly in some cases hard work has been rewarded (Nagi’s doujinshi is a good one). But then there are other cases in which hard work actually makes things worse (Hinagiku’s love quest), or people stealing other people’s hard work and totally get away (Hayate’s parents).

      Then again, maybe all that is to be learned is that you do not blame your misfortune on your morality, because they are totally irrelevant. Some people are born with blessings (Yukariko and, to an extent, Nagi), while some are not (Hayate). Yet Hayate does not give up being a good person, and in many cases he seems to be seeing his rewards.

      In other words, the HnG world is definitely a shitty one – just like our own – but what matters is how you live your life in a shitty world. You can choose to defend the others with your own blood, or you can draw blood from the others with a huge rock. It is up to you.

    • Re Hayate and morals: To a certain extent, Hayate’s luck has been changing since December 24. Whether that’s because of his close proximity to Nagi or something else is up in the air for now.

      “You can choose to defend the others with your own blood, or you can draw blood from the others with a huge rock. It is up to you.” This made me LOL but… Hisui did both, IMO. Good job, Hi-chan!

    • I don’t know. HnG seems to be lacking in any kind of idealism nor does it feel grounded in reality. Its easy to just excuse the mean spirited nature of this manga (or any similarly mean spirited manga for that matter) as simply mirroring real life but if there is a message saying that one should strive to be a good person in a shitty world, I don’t see it or maybe said message just isn’t delivered with enough heart that it falls flat and half-hearted to me.

      Any manga can have a setting that mirrors the harshness of real life or an even worse setting than real life (i.e. Berserk) but no author should be praised for creating that kind of setting. If the story lacks heart, then it doesn’t come off as a brilliant reflection of life but a reflection of the author’s bitter attitude towards life in general.

      While Hisui did beat the bullies, it wasn’t anything worth cheering about (at least to me) as Hisui herself wasn’t a person you’d want to cheer for.

    • At that point, I’d like to believe that Hisui still wasn’t the Hisui that’s shown in the manga today. That was the past after all, so what we know of her is exactly what was shown in this chapter. The fact that she came to her friend’s aid and that fat bully threw the first punch anyway is enough for me to cheer her on in her violent outburst — as I mentioned earlier, I’m a violent person myself and that’s exactly how I would have gone about it.

    • Actually, I just thought of the perfect example of how idealism with a touch of reality works in HnG using the mangaka arc, but I suppose I’ll leave it for the next entry on my blog. Sorry for the mutliple posts. Just informing you guys. Feel free to delete.

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