The 400th post on Hayate Report! Unfortunately, for this very special occasion, I am reviewing a chapter that gets me quite depressed…
I am not even going to waste another word talking about Yukariko when she is speaking and acting nonsense as always. If there is one thing I want to say about this chapter, it is that Hayate really has a serious handicap when it comes to speaking his mind – or really, just plain, simple communication.
I have yet to fully understand just what makes Hayate such a major source of miscommunication – I confess that I have not invested as much time on Hayate as I have on other characters – but my best guess is that his mind actually runs faster than his mouth. Generally speaking, people think and talk simultaneously, and sometimes we stumble with our speeches because our train of thought gets stuck. For Hayate though, it appears that when his words are on step 2, his mind is already on step 5 or 6. When he finishes his line for step 2, he then speaks about step 5, while steps 3 and 4 are done with his inner monologues. This makes his audience lose track of what he actually thinks without even realising. The worst part? If the “steps” he skips happen to be a twist of his mind, people will never know. That causes misunderstandings.
Another possibility is that whenever Hayate tries to be careful with his words, he ironically becomes very careless with his words. This does have a very easy explanation: he is just that unlucky that even his choice of words turns out to be always wrong. It means that, if there are two ways to say something and one way is wrong, Hayate will always choose the wrong way. Now, this doesn’t always have to do with intelligence. While sometimes the choice are so obvious that there is practically no choice at all, many times we can only make educated guesses on how a person would react to a particular way we say something. We then choose the way we guess people would react to in our preferred manner. The problem for Hayate is that, whenever he is given two or above options, he would end up picking the bad – or even the worst possible – one no matter how educated his guesses are. He is just this unlucky.
We can see that his “choice” of words at the very beginning of the series has resulted in a major unresolved misunderstanding between Nagi and himself: Nagi thought that Hayate was confessing to her, while Hayate really wasn’t – at least he wasn’t in a romantic context. I have been waiting for the day Hayate to solve this misunderstanding with Nagi through a discussion, but this chapter has proven me dead wrong: Hayate has in fact deepened the misunderstanding with Nagi through a discussion. This is the chapter in which I have lost hope that the misunderstanding could be talked out; this is never going to happen that easily.
So, how could anyone, presuming that they have studied the above analysis – and that it happens to be correct – to be able to talk effectively with Hayate?
The first thing to do is to completely forbid him from “skipping steps” when he talks. No more hidden steps in the form of inner monologues. He has to speak everything that is on his mind, and every single ambiguity in his words deserves a DEFCON 2 level of awareness. Every time he stops talking, he must be asked “Anything else?” at least three times, just to make sure that nothing in his words is left for our own interpretation. Remember, whenever we are left to guess what he actually means, we will be led by him to make the wrong guesses.
The second thing to do is to make his answers as short as possible. While people are generally advised to ask open questions in order to encourage the other party to speak up, the same cannot be said of Hayate. He must always be asked closed questions. If possible, he should only be allowed to answer “yes” or “no”, nothing else. If this is not possible, he should only be allowed to state fact in less than 10 words; never allow him to give opinions longer than that. If we really need to go to the very extremes, he should not be allowed to talk at all; after all, he is hired to do his jobs, not talking.
Even as I write the above I feel pathetic. This is not the way we handle a fellow human being. In fact, one of the biggest advantages human beings have over other animals is that we have very, very advanced language abilities and systems. Our superior ability to communicate benefits not only a generation of society, but also between generations. By taking away communication with Hayate, we reduce him to less than a human being, and that is not a good thing to do. Then again, if he causes more harm than good when his mouth is open, then it is a better idea to have it shut.
Where do Hayate and Nagi go from this? I sincerely don’t know…