Hayate no Gotoku! Ch. 536

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Her “opening” could well be your “trap”…

In a chapter which is essentially Hayate’s pathetic attempts in seducing Maria, I don’t even have the heart to take the Mickey out of him. Instead, let’s just go ahead and talk about Maria – or, more specifically, her relationship with Hayate.

While Maria is, by definition, one of the two main heroines of the series, her position has not been as secured as Nagi. The major reason for this appears to be the competition they face in their respective roles. Nagi’s role is half of the “butler-lady story”, and honestly there is no competition for her role. Maria’s role seems to be the love interest for Hayate, and here comes the largest battlefield in the entire series: more than half of the girls around Hayate’s age can be considered a potential love interest of Hayate, and even Nagi – who already has her own role to play in the story – is serious competition for her.

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Yes, she has been assigned to do trivial things like this.

What’s worse, Maria’s relationship with Hayate hasn’t received as much attention as some of the other “competitors”. While other girls have been allowed many adventures with Hayate and develop their relationship with him, Maria has seldom been shown doing much with Hayate on most of the adventures. She is either kept at home for housework, or asked to do very little despite doing those little things like a boss. Sure, we know that she is like a boss, but what does a boss have to do with Hayate?

Yet Maria manages to stay in the “competition”, and somehow she remains a forerunner of it. There is very little doubt over Hayate’s attraction to Maria, and Hayate’s lack of adventures with Maria means that there is little room for troubles either. Unlike many other girls, Maria hasn’t suffered a significant heartbreaking moment, let alone being dumped by Hayate. While some ships get sailed very quickly and then get sunk equally quickly (cough, Ruka, cough), Maria’s ship remains floating. It doesn’t move forward at a noticeable speed, but it remains rather safe while other ships get torpedoed.

You know, sometimes a game is not decided by getting to the finish line first, but by remaining in the game till the end. After all, there is no way to lose a game if you become the only player remaining in a game. You can take your time and get to the finish line at whatever pace you like, then.

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Me neither. Save it.

Indeed, I think one of the appeals of Maria to Hayate is that she isn’t in any rush to be Hayate’s – or anyone’s for the matter – boyfriend. Yes, she has expressed the wish to find a boyfriend, but she hasn’t done much about the wish, and recently she has not brought up this wish altogether. She was not bound by a desire to attach herself to any boy, and because of this she was on top of the matter: a love interest should come to me, not the other way round.

For one reason or the other, guys do find this kind of girls attractive, because they are a “challenge” that boys want to “conquer”. Girls know what boys think about this too, and that is why we have so many “tsundere” girls: if we display interest in a boy, it means that we are an easy challenge for boys, and boys do not like easy challenges; we have to make it more difficult for the boys, so that they would value us!

Mind you, the above is just my opinion on the “love issue”. It doesn’t have to be true in your experience, but if it does… you have my condolence.

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So devastatingly natural.

Anyway, Maria doesn’t even have to be a “tsundere”, because as far as we know now, she truly didn’t care about how Hayate saw her. She would just do whatever she liked to do around Hayate, and as a result she was able to display the best part of her in front of him very naturally. As she was such a wonderful young girl in every way except common sense, this made her dangerously attractive to Hayate.

I would say that this is exactly what some girls (Hinagiku, for one) would have liked to achieve, but they simply cared too much about Hayate to do anything about it. Ironically, Maria achieved what they would like to achieve – like a boss – because she didn’t try to achieve it. Sometimes, in order to achieve something you care about, the best way is to not care about it. Funny, uh?

Indeed, it is Maria’s casual display of her appeal that allows her to do something that very few – if not none at all – girls manage to do: playing Hayate effortlessly in her fingers. Hayate might have wanted to play with Maria’s feelings for him, but it looks more and more likely that Hayate’s own feelings would be played by Maria. Talk about a predator becoming the prey.

Good luck, Hayate-kun.