Believe it or not, today is Hinagiku’s 26th birthday.
In this year’s celebration, Doughnut Gunso would suggest 26 moments which can be regarded as “standouts” for Hinagiku. For the purpose of this article, the definition of “standout” is that Hinagiku is making a significant contribution to the story, or that it is a major character-establishing moment, or both. Also note that for the purpose of this article, only manga chapters would be considered, thus all materials covered are canon.
These moments are ordered chronologically, so that I can save some brains cells from comparing all these moments in order to make up a “favourite order”. I will leave the brain work to you, though, by setting up a poll at the bottom of the article (you may make up to 3 votes). Obviously my “Top 5 Hinagiku Moments” would all take a spot in this article. For them I would include the links for you to go and read the corresponding entries. In any case, be prepared that you would only be seeing around 20 new inputs.
Alright, here we go!
1. Hinagiku’s first advice (Ch. 36)
Of course, the entrance chapter of a character is deemed to be a standout moment. Hinagiku’s entrance is particularly spectacular: first she was stuck on a tree, and then she stepped on Hayate’s face as she jumped down. Her introduction chapters ended with a sword fight with her sister, whom then almost fell to her death. With all these bombshells comes a character who would never be forgotten by readers of this series.
Yet the most significant moment of her introduction is this very first advice. It set the tone of the Hayate-Hinagiku interaction that the latter would always give well-intentioned advice to the former, and in any case, this was the first thing Hayate recalled about Hinagiku.
2. Hinagiku’s SOS signal (Ch. 45)
Hinagiku seems to have a habit of helping others while getting into trouble herself. In the “Old Campus” arc she volunteered to look for Hayate, who was suspected to have wandered into the old school campus. Hinagiku was then heavily trolled by Isumi who, well, was trying to scare her away from the building.
Then came the moment when Hinagiku could run no more. In her desperation, she called Hayate of all people to help her. As we would have expected, Hayate came right at the next moment, saving Hinagiku. Hayate has fulfilled his promise to Hinagiku for the very first time, but there would be many more to come.
3. The beginning of the “Ice Age” (Ch. 60)
The Freedom Marathon race ended with Yukiji finishing ahead of Nagi by a millisecond, but Hinagiku’s business with Hayate was not done. She was still so angry with him that she stopped calling him “Hayate-kun”, but “Ayasaki-kun” instead.
Some would argue that Hinagiku has been way too fast calling Hayate by his first name – in fact, we have not seen her calling any other boys by their first name (Klaus is… an exception) – so it could be a good thing for her to return to surname basis. In any case, I think this change served one purpose only: to give so much more weigh to the next moment she called him “Hayate-kun” again.
4. Acquiring Wooden Masamune (Ch. 62)
It has so often been argued that Hinagiku is not a main character as she was not involved in the important moments of the plot(TM). Wooden Masamune was the first plotting device given to Hinagiku by Hata, so that she could become important in her own right when things go south.
Sure enough, Hinagiku uses Wooden Masamune on Hayate and Yukiji more than on any other enemy, but in the end it had a major role in overcoming the most formidable boss in the series so far.
5. Hinagiku’s first meeting with Ayumu (Ch. 66)
Hinagiku’s Valentine’s Day had very little to do with Hayate. She summoned Hayate into her office and decided against giving him her chocolate for the very same reason: Ayumu.
Not only that Hinagiku and Ayumu had brewed one of the most significant friendships in the series, Ayumu had also become Hinagiku’s primary mentor in love issues, one of her biggest weaknesses which had only been recently revealed. Of course, this has all begun with…
6. Hinagiku’s realisation that she and Hayate were very similar (Ch. 81)
The “Cohabiting” arc is loved by most Hinagiku fans, as it showcased how cute a couple could Hayate and Hinagiku become. Moreover, this arc has been the first sign that spring has come (pun intended), so there has been high hope over this arc. Yet for me the most important thing about this arc is not the outright lovey-dovey between Hayate and Hinagiku. What I value about this arc is not the romantic showoff, but a much deeper influence in the Hayate-Hinagiku dynamic.
The influence came with Ayumu, who asked Hinagiku to help Hayate as he was all alone. This led Hinagiku to consider the fundamental question: Why had Hayate become Nagi’s butler? The answer, that Hayate was left with a debt of 150 million yen, shocked Hinagiku. She suddenly realised that he was very similar to herself, and with that realisation came a certain affiliation.
The thing is, this affiliation is not about Hinagiku pitying Hayate, and things turned out to be…
7. The Heady Feeling of Freedom (Ch. 98)
See this for more details.
Here is another fun fact: when it comes to “when we first met”, Hinagiku expected Hayate to recall his promise to save her, while Hayate recalled the fact that it was Hinagiku who introduced the beautiful night view to him. Obviously both have had very good first impression about the other.
8. Hinagiku’s outburst at Yukiji (Ch. 106)
Everybody knows that Hinagiku has next to zero tolerance to Yukiji’s lifestyle, especially her carelessness with money. Such zero tolerance often came with physical violence, to the point that if Hinagiku were the older sister, she risked being charged of child abuse.
Yet there came the game of not paying the bill and the failed robbery of a family restaurant. For perhaps the first time in the series we came to realise that Hinagiku actually had the utmost respect for her older sister, and that Yukiji had in fact taught Hinagiku well. This brought much more balance to the dynamic between the Katsura sisters.
And yes, the fact that Hayate had thought of asking Hinagiku for help, and that they have exchanged telephone numbers since Hinagiku’s birthday, are precious bonus poinnts.
9. Hinagiku’s decision on the way to Shimoda (Ch. 116)
Even people as clever as Hinagiku would shoot themselves in the leg. The problem for her was that she had promised to support Ayumu’s love for Hayate, but she ended up falling in love with Hayate. She had a choice to make: either she had to honour her words, or she had to be true to her heart.
A girls’ talk with Maria helped her to decide to simply do the right thing. Soon Ayumu was in trouble going to Shimoda, and Hinagiku demanded Hayate to take her while she would escort Nagi and Maria. Taking all things into consideration, this might be one of the better choices, although it meant that she had to give Hayate and Ayumu a rather long time alone.
Surprisingly, this led to gratitude of both Ayumu and Hayate. Hinagiku’s friendship with Ayumu was strengthened, while Hayate…
10. Hinagiku’s White Valentine gift (Ch. 127)
White Valentine was supposed to be a very bad day for Hinagiku. As she had not given out any Valentine chocolate, she was not expecting a return gift. What’s worse, she had to do almost everything to ensure Hayate could give Ayumu cookies.
Perhaps even God knew that this poor girl deserved much better than this. So, at the end of the day, Hayate gave Hinagiku her White Valentine’s cookies, despite that she did not give her chocolate. The best of all: he didn’t need anyone telling him to do so.
11. “I… like Hayate-kun.” (Ch. 146)
See this for more details.
12. Hinagiku’s first confession (Ch. 164)
See this for more details.
13. Silver Red is here! (Ch. 176)
I don’t know how readers treated this chapter when it came out. By today’s standard, it would most certainly be considered a filler with nothing to do with the plot(TM). Hinagiku’s outfit wasn’t attractive either: even for a female ranger, the costume was extremely stupid and ugly. I think the mask should take the most blame. The only thing that saves this costume is, funny enough, Hinagiku’s ponytail beneath the mask.
As it turned out, though, this chapter set the stage for Hinagiku to be heavily involved in the Athena saga – and beyond. It all started with…
14. Silver Red winning the air tickets for Ayumu (and herself) (Ch. 195)
Hinagiku hated flying. Ayumu did not have the money to fly. If nothing extraordinary had happened, neither of them would go to Europe for Golden Week holidays. Yet Ayumu was so determined that she would enter the district quiz to win the tickets, while Hinagiku was asked to act as Silver Red for the event.
Hinagiku had always felt she owed Ayumu a big one for forgiving her “betrayal”. Yet the torment at the quiz convinced Hinagiku that she had done enough to repay Ayumu’s kindness. We never heard Hinagiku talking about her sense of guilt anymore.
15. The beach volleyball game (Ch. 223)
For the uninterested and/or ignorant, Hinagiku’s volleyball game was an unnecessary part of the Athena saga. For Doughnut Gunso though, this game brilliantly illustrated what internal battles Hinagiku had to fight from time to time: would she try to impress Hayate and do stupid things, or would she be herself and do the right things?
The choice she made might look like a third option, but it was very similar to the second one. She might not have been convinced, but Hayate was impressed by her. She also had the gratitude of Nagi, who approved a thank-you dinner for Hinagiku, which unfortunately led to arguably the biggest standout moment in Hinagiku’s story so far.
16. Restarting Hayate’s clock (Ch. 231)
This one had come out of nowhere. Hayate could not sleep, so he went to the balcony for some fresh air. Hinagiku could not sleep, so she went to the balcony for some fresh air. They talked, Athena was mentioned, and boom: one of Hayate’s biggest question – deep down in his mind, never shared with anyone – was answered.
The true beauty of this scene is that it was so peaceful. Hayate almost felt relaxed to share with Hinagiku his little secret thought, which he avoided telling even his lady. Along the series Hayate appears to have a soft spot for Hinagiku. She is his last safe-house when everything else fails.
17. Silky Heart (Ch. 239)
See this for more details.
Bloody, bloody hell…
18. Acquiring Shirosakura (Ch. 258)
Thus far in the series, there are three known swords: Wooden Masamune, Shirosakura and Kurotsubaki. While the last one was given to Hayate in CTMEOY, the first two “belonged” to Hinagiku. For a girl who is not supposed to be very involved in the main plot(TM), this is some achievement.
Interestingly, if the “End of the World” arc is anything to go by, Shirosakura is supposed to be used by Hayate, who has actually been trained by Athena for this purpose. This is one fact that Doughnut Gunso is happy to keep in mind, but more mind-blowing is that Shirosakura is said to be the “King’s sword”. I am still eagerly waiting on what this is supposed to mean.
19. The tears of the masked hero (Ch. 260)
Originally I intended to use this piece alone for your reference, but then lordcloudx suggested this moment instead so I am using it. Nothing has really changed because the moments we picked are basically the same anyway.
With the help of Shirosakura, Hinagiku offered timely assistance to Hayate in rescuing Athena and defeating King Midas. While Hayate and Athena merrily reunited, Hinagiku realised that there was no room for her to share the moment, so she left quietly, possibly in tears, fully aware that what she did would only break her own heart.
My case of strong support for Hinagiku is not that she has suffered the Ch. 239 treatment. Rather, it was that she had come back doing everyone a huge favour without being acknowledged by anyone. She deserved so much more than this.
20. Moving into the Violet Mansion (Ch. 302)
People moved into the Violet Mansion in different ways. Some willingly moved in, some were picked up by Nagi, but there is only one who never wanted to move in so that Hayate had to go and persuade her. Of course, we are talking about Hinagiku.
As things turned out, her tenancy at the Violet Mansion proved beneficial to her, both in terms of her participation in the plot and her relationship with Hayate. It has since been much easier for Hinagiku to know what the Sanzen’in are up to, hence offering her input more frequently. Her time spent with Hayate has also increased exponentially, so that her relationship with Hayate could be nurtured much better. In the end, Hinagiku might find her initial refusal to move into the Violet Mansion utterly stupid.
21. Team Ruka assembled (Ch. 320)
The Comisun saga was perhaps the first time Hinagiku benefitted from moving into the Violet Mansion. It is difficult to imagine how she could be involved in the first doujinshi competition has she remained at her own house.
I can’t remember if I have mentioned this already, but the Comisun saga perfectly demonstrated the very best of Hinagiku: she is caring, she has the ability to help, and she delivers. She has started noticing Ruka because of Hayate, but later she cared about Ruka in her own right, and in the end Hayate was both impressed and grateful.
22. A genius’ strategy (Ch. 332)
It doesn’t take ground-breaking or revolutionary ideas to be a genius, although not everyone apprehend the difficulty of doing things correctly without too much apparent effort. Ask Michael Carrick about controlling the midfield with his style, or Hinagiku about helping Ruka to “win” at Comisun. The effort is of course there, although it is covered by an elegant approach that looks easy. This, ladies and gentlemen, is genius.
As we can see from the Comisun saga, Hinagiku’s influence on the plot can be terrific, as she almost single-handedly turned Ruka into a very promising young mangaka. The next thing we knew, Nagi headhunted Hinagiku for Comiket. Funny enough, she did not contribute much in that saga in terms of the manga, but she did contribute in another way – arguably more important for Nagi than winning Comiket. We will come to that later.
23. Yukiji’s dream (Ch. 375)
No matter what you make of the (sometimes fierce) relationship between the Katsura sisters, there is one thing that even the idiot Hayate and the moron Yukiji know: Hinagiku has utmost respect for her elder sister. If you do not understand this, then…
In fact, Hinagiku thinks that she has owed Yukiji a lot, as the latter sacrificed her childhood dream in order to take care of Hinagiku. We can see that the issue has not been discussed between them, and as we found out in the chapter later, Hinagiku’s sense of guilt towards Yukiji could be unnecessary.
Hata has been feeding the past of the Katsura sisters (more likely, the childhood of Hinagiku) from time to time, although the most important part of their story – repaying the debt that their parents had left them – remains largely untold. I don’t know about you, but I am very interested in that particular storyline.
24. The milady game (Ch. 389)
The little story of Hinagiku getting sick is full of standout moments. We saw her getting ill, we witnessed “the most embarrassing moment” in her life, we saw the very girly “angel vs devil” mind game, and we heard her complaint to Hayate that he hasn’t been treating this well very often.
While her similarity to Ruka has been briefly touched on, it hasn’t been very useful with the plot – until this story. The “deja vu” has led Hayate to realise that Hinagiku could have feelings for him, and also to reflect that he has been focusing on Nagi all the time. Would it be a mere coincidence that it was Hinagiku who led Hayate to rethink his love life?
25. Helping Ruka’s parents (Ch. 428)
Hata has done us a huge disservice by literally asking us to imagine what has been going on in Hokkaido. However, the significance of this untold story is no less than the Comiket showdown as it helped to resolve the biggest issue of Ruka: her parents who abandoned her with a 150 million yen debt.
Of course, Hayate’s speech was crucial in persuading Ruka’s parents to return to Ruka, but I think equally important would be Hinagiku’s contribution, which might include making a deal to reestablish the Suirenjis’ company. I can think of no other reason why Atsumari would offer her coffee – remember, they did not seem to know each other.
26. The adventure on the lone island (Ch. 451)
This one is relatively new, and I have already made a rather detailed analysis here, so despite it being my last suggested standout moment for Hinagiku, I will not be writing any further on this.
Sure enough, there are a lot of close calls, and in the end a few moments have to be sacrificed. Your honourable mentions will be very welcomed in the comment section. Of course… please vote!