Let us begin with a brief preview of the near future. While there would be no chapter published next week, my plan is to write a short piece celebrating the milestone of 400 posts on my blog. Admittedly it would be a bit of a missed occasion, because when that article is published, it would actually be the 402nd post on my blog. Still, as I couldn’t do that piece earlier because we do not have a break until after this chapter, and I still have to do it because I have received no love on the actual 400th post, let’s do it on the 402nd post then!
Back to the chapter. I do believe that there is a pattern: the chapter right before a break is most likely a Hinagiku chapter. These are usually one-off chapters with no cliffhangers or plot relevance, but they would always focus on the characterisation of Hinagiku – in TV Tropes terms, these are her A Day in the Limelight chapters.
I am not sure if I have discussed this before, but I believe there are perfectly justifiable reasons to have Hinagiku chapters before breaks. You never want to start a new arc, or to leave a cliffhanger at the end of a chapter, if you know that a lenthy break is coming as it would totally destroy the momentum (if any) of the story. You would prefer having the readers talk about something totally unrelated to the current plot, forget about the whole damn thing during the break, and start afresh reading the new arc. An educated guess is that the more popular a character is, the longer the discussion on an undisputed filler chapter could last. As such, it is most often that Hinagiku is the main character of such before-break chapters.
Hinagiku chapters usually address her relationships with the two persons she cares most: Hayate and Yukiji. Given that Hayate has been busy trying to be the world’s biggest asshole, any interaction with him could be considered a death trap. As such, it is almost a relief that Ch. 540 deals with her relationship with her own sister instead.
Once again time-skipping is in effect and we are asked to go back to the final night of the School Trip Level 5 saga. Yukiji became otherworldly rich thanks to a deal with Nagi as the latter faced off Maria in roulette. While Yukiji is known for spending money crazily fast, you would imagine that 2.4 billion yen is a bit more difficult to be spent in one night. Well, this would be quite wrong.
The thing is, the ways of spending money we can perceive actually increase with the amount of wealth we own. For example, we would not be thinking about buying an expensive car when we don’t have a lot of money, but we would start buying car after car just as trophies when we (somehow) have become very rich. If people are so determined to spend all the money they have, even Bill Gates would go broke in one day.
Yukiji being Yukiji seems to have decided that this is exactly what she is going to do, and this takes her to a whole new level of crazy. Of course, credits to her for actively offering to share her wealth with people, but it doesn’t change the fact that she is spending her money with no plan nor restraint. As a result, she has spent over 60% of her new money before the sun even rises. This, ladies and gentlemen, is spectacular.
Yet again Hinagiku tries to step in and stop this madness, as she obviously doesn’t want her sister to waste all her wealth without a plan and go back to a “miserable” life in the next morning. The key point here is that Hinagku isn’t really against spending big per se: I have already joked that she apparently was willing to spend 70K yen on breakfast alone. The point is that every time Yukiji gets her hand on money, Hinagiku sees this as a life-changing opportunity for Yukiji: if only she could learn to spend her money sensibly, she could comfortably have her life set – something that we are told in this chapter.
It appears that this is a part of Hinagiku that Yukiji has misunderstood all along, and to a certain extent we cannot blame her. After all, whenever Yukiji is having fun with her own money, she finds Hinagiku lecturing her over how irresponsible she is; whenever Yukiji asks for a loan after spending all of her money, she finds Hinagiku lecturing her over how irresponsible she is. To her, it seems that the one thing Hinagiku cares about most is money, and that she has to make a tight grip on all the money Yukiji has because it is so important. Given their background, it just seems so natural that Hinagiku has grown into a control freak over money.
This has changed in this chapter with Hinagiku saying that Yukiji “could have been set for life” if she spends her money sensibly – remember, it is this line that gets Yukiji into thoughts. Yukiji suddenly realises that it is not money that Hinagiku worries about; it is Yukiji’s own happiness and stable life. After a lengthy childhood in poverty, money remains no more than a tool for Hinagiku, one that should make her loved ones live a happy life.
With this in mind, we might come to understand why Yukiji decides to part ways with Hinagiku, while also passing the remaining 1B yen to her as a final gift. Yukiji suggested that she has fulfilled her role, clearly referring to that of raising Hinagiku after their parents have gone disappearing. As Yukiji is convinced that Hinagiku is a phyically and mentally healthy grown-up, she can let go of her younger sister and let her live her own life.
Even before she leaves, Yukiji shows once again her coolness by telling Hinagiku that it is okay to “screw up” in life. We know that Hinagiku is a borderline perfectionist: she wants to win at everything, and she certainly has a good life planned for herself (and even for Yukiji). People like her do not take failure easily, and that is exactly what Yukiji is talking about here: a perfectly planned life is far from the only acceptable way of life. People can do just fine by stumbling across obstacles, but keeping on going. Heck, Yukiji herself can be considered a huge fu- I mean, messed up, but you know what? She is still alive, and despite there being a lot of problems in her life, she is still enjoying herself!
It wouldn’t be wrong to suggest that the “coolness” of Yukiji lies in her willingness to live her life in her own way, accepting all the sweetness and bitterness that come in her way, and ultimately decides that she is enjoying all of it. A person with a mindset like this is not someone we should worry about, although this wouldn’t stop us from guessing what she would do for her life next.
So, as suggested, this is ultimately a filler chapter; after all, we cannot see that this chapter has anything to do with the Sanzen’in inheritance
bullshit, Hisui and Yozora bullshit, or Royal Whatever bullshit. Yet surprisingly this chapter has its own impact on other aspects of the manga that the plot-maniacs would find bullshit as well which could very well be evident after the break.
The first is that Yukiji has decided to disappear from Hinagiku’s life. Possibly it means that Yukiji would be quitting her job at Hakuou Academy. Keep in mind that she is the class teacher of the main cast, it means that we are going to be introduced to a substitute teacher very soon.
This woman is leaving shit behind even when she leaves, isn’t she?
The second is that Hinagiku has suddenly become very rich on her own. While I am rather confident that she would not be driven crazy by all the money she has now, her financial powers have suddenly received a major boost. What could a girl with such intelligence and ambition do with such a huge wealth? We will see.