All right, folks. Doughnut Gunso reporting in again!
Some of you already knew about it through my Facebook Page, but for those of you who don’t, Doughnut Gunso has been on an one-week trip to Kraków, Poland. There was a major youth event by the Roman Catholic Church held in Kraków, and I was a participant of this great event. I suggested on my Facebook Page that I would try to finish the Ch. 537 review before my trip, which did not happen because I wasn’t done with packing. Now that Ch. 538 was released as I returned, it seems better to focus on reviewing Ch. 538 than going back to Ch. 537 because, once again, the chapter in hand is much more important in terms of character development.
We learned from Ch. 537 that, while Hayate’s (feeble) attempts to seduce Maria was not in any way successful, Maria did go into a heart-to-heart talk with Hayate, in which she revealed her plan to resign as Nagi’s maid. Her vague smile at the end of the last chapter may or may not have raised concerns from the readers, but we would learn from this chapter that there is at least one reason to believe that Maria’s smile was genuine.
Almost every single time Hayate or Maria think about quitting, their main reason revolves around Nagi’s growth as a person. We could imagine that Nagi’s ability to live independently actually hits Maria harder than Hayate, because while Hayate has been employed for less than a year, Maria was there since Nagi was… 8 years old, I think? Maria has worked for the Sanzen’in family for so long that while Nagi was dependent on Maria as a mother figure, Maria became dependent on Nagi for her purpose of being a mother figure. As Nagi outgrows the need of a mother figure, Maria sees her role being reduced to just a maid for housework. Even if Hayate could be happy enough serving as Nagi’s butler for the rest of his life, it seems that Maris thinks her life to be more than this.
This is very understandable. Maria is among the most gifted girl in the entire series, and the potential of her future is enormous, so why should she settle for a job that doesn’t allow her to push her abilities to the fullest? It is very natural for people of Maria’s capabilities to have some ambition, and if Maria decides that her ambition is bigger than serving as Nagi’s maid, then what’s stopping her from quitting?
In my previous discussions on Hayate and Maria’s thoughts on resigning, I focuses on the argument that they shouldn’t worry of becoming useless, because there are still work to do around the house that requires manpower. I admit that I have not considered the possibility that they do not want to be “manpower”. While Hayate’s intentions and ambitions are pretty unclear yet, Maria seems to have made up her mind: if she is not important enough in her current role, she would move on.
This somewhat explains Maria’s smile shown in these two chapters. It is partly a sigh of relief that she could finally confide her plans in someone she could trust, and partly an excitement of what is to come in her life. If you are talking with your friends about a nice job offer, I bet it would be very difficult for you to suppress a smile either. As for Maria, with her capabilities and a reference letter from one of the most powerful men in the world, what awaits her would be much more than just a job offer.
Of course, what I have written above is just one interpretation of Maria’s smile. it merely means that if anyone is looking for an argument which suggests that Maria’s smile is genuine, there is one suggested in the above. I do not intend to deny the possibility that Maria has said what she said just to troll Hayate in order to make him desperate about… whatever. Given that Hayate is visibly shaking after this talk, you might say that things work out that way as well.
Meanwhile, Machina is becoming a huge disappointment. For someone who once beat Hayate senseless, he is now being beaten senseless by Yozora. Of course we know that Yozora is strong – she survived a battle against a very angry Isumi, to say the least – but is Machina not even able to run away in order to protect the King’s Jewel in his hands? Seeing bad guys always get what they want this easily is pretty… depressing.
At least he managed to break her eye shield.
Eye Shield… 21… hahaha! That last sentence just reminded me of that show. Anyway, I think we have little reason to believe that Maria is lying at this point.
As for Hayate, I found it amusing how after all that foreshadowing declaration that he made many chapters ago about the time when Nagi might not need him anymore coming very soon, he goes into full denial mode when Maria confronts him about it. In fact, he’s stubbornly stuck to his image of Nagi in the next chapter.
I think the biggest flaw of this short arc is that Maria’s decision to eventually resign from being a maid was not done from her character’s point of view. While its true that there has been plenty of chapters in the past that showed Maria having doubts over the importance of her role to Nagi, we were never shown from her POV of the “boiling point” that eventually made her come to that decision. Instead, it was all done from Hayate’s POV which made this chapter an incredibly awkward read.
This created a sense of emotional disconnect for me with Maria’s character as if she became an entirely different character I have never seen before the moment she revealed her decision while maintaining an uncomfortable-to-look-at smile throughout the chapter. I can definitely understand Maria’s reasons but I feel no sense of relatability towards her character because of how abrupt the reveal was and the lack of perspective from her character’s side of the story. It doesn’t help that Maria’s character has been given so little attention and development that I could not sympathise with her decision.
I think this short story arc would have worked better as an arc that had Maria as the POV character with her inner thoughts presented to the readers instead of a story arc consisting mostly of Hayate’s insensitive attempts at trying to seduce and eventually break Maria’s heart. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the execution of it all was just really bad.
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