It goes without saying; I have a huge hard-on for Hayate. Not Hayate himself, but the anime and manga series. I fell in love with the series after reading the first volume of the manga many years ago, and to this day Season 1 is still my favourite anime of all time. The pretty animation, the funny gags, Norio Fucking Wakamoto… Based SynergySP. Season 2 was, well, ‘good’. Not as ‘good’ as Season 1 in my opinion but stayed faithful the manga, which is great but in such a way that they copied the it panel to panel, and use the exact same dialogue. Godammit, JC Staff. I was then happy to see Hayate come onto the big screen… for a disappointing 60 minutes. The movie felt lackluster, a little too short for a theatrical feature and had no signs of Wakamoto anywhere. Why Manglobe, why.
Alas we arrive at season three. Earlier this year Hata took a well lengthy hiatus from Hayate’s serialization in order to work on the new season, which turned out to be six weeks worth of storyboarding material. Did his work all pay off in the end? That, my friend, is what I’ll be reviewing today.
Note: This is an updated review from my previous blog.
TL Notes: I’ll be referring to Hayate no Gotoku! Can’t Take My Eyes Off You as Season 3 in this review, despite Hata claiming this isn’t Season 3 for convenience. Review contains spoilers near the end of the review because it is very, very important.
It’s a bit difficult to explain the plot’s background of the third season without giving an insight of the overall timeline of the Hayate Universe. It goes without saying that Hata (the creator) had dun goof’d with the timeline. I’ll do my best to explain below.
Despite all the appearances of new technology and things inspired from real life in the anime and manga, the plot regardless is still in 2005 (Yes, iPhones in 2005, fucking science), the year when the manga began – well, the first chapter was released near the end of 2004 and the plot begins on Christmas 2004, but you get the drift. Seven years on in the real world of 2012, the Hayate Universe in chapter 388 is currently in the middle of July 2005. Yes, the pacing is that slow. Season 1 adapted the first good batch of chapters from volumes one to five, then went off in a tangent in its own filler (which was actually good!). Season 2 continued where Season 1 left off from volume six to fifteen. Season 3, however, takes place in September 2005, which is nine months after Season 1, six months after Season 2 and a month after the movie. Based from no current source material but all from Hata’s brain. Confusing, I know.
The main plot of the series takes place in Las Vegas in the United States, and is based around a pocket watch dubbed ‘The Black Camellia’, which belonged to Nagi’s late father; Shin Hayek. In the first episode Nagi gets a call from the Las Vegas police to retrieve her father’s belongings.
“A new original character, Ruri Tsugumi, is introduced.”
A new original character, Ruri Tsugumi, is introduced in the first episode. Voiced by everyone’s favourite Yuka Iguchi, she claims to be Nagi’s sister but moreover seems to have an ulterior motive. Since Nagi was born as an only child, her having a younger sibling is simply impossible (unless they had different mothers?). It’s this fact that made the interaction between the characters and Ruri somewhat wooden and awkward because we all know that Ruri isn’t blood-related to Nagi one bit. Even Ruri knows this herself and it shows through her actions.
The plot would’ve been terrific to watch unfold if not for the horrendously slow start and pointless filler, the main plot actually kicks off in the sixth episode. For some strange reason; the third episode sees a surprise adaptation of chapters 162-164 based around Hinagiku and Hayate’s amusement park date. This episode could be considered a stand-alone episode, as a way to satisfy the Hinafags in adapting the date story from the manga. The fifth episode sees another surprising adaptation of chapter 105, in which another dispute between the Katsuras unfolds around money while a gunman raids a restaurant. Now for one reason or another, JC Staff decided to skip this chapter in Season 2, probably due to the use of guns and we all know what Japan thinks of guns. What baffles me is why Manglobe and Hata decided to adapt this anyway in Season 3. It was also a nice (and annoying) touch to see Ruri appearing in both of these episodes, crashing into Hinagiku and Hayate’s date and replacing Himuro’s spot in the restaurant in episode five. Will we ever see Himuro and Taiga again? Probably never.
What was also confusing is how, where and why Nagi returned into a somewhat different mansion. It’s a different mansion as the Sanzenin mansion as it is now in Mikado’s possession. It isn’t really a spoiler now; Nagi lost her inheritance straight after the Golden Week arc and then moved into a smaller house which was previously owned by her mother. Though the house is featured in the anime where all the side characters are currently living in, they never explained how Nagi moved back into the other mansion, which seemed odd and always baffled my train of thought. Is the mansion is an entirely new mansion, or is it the original Sanzenin mansion just completely renovated. I have no idea!
And now onto the animation. Oh boy. I don’t even know where to start.
Let’s rewind back to after the announcement of the movie and when promotional advertising with the character designs were released. Disappointed that SynergySP were still playing dead in their sandbox I was hoping Manglobe would do it better job than SynergySP and JC Staff combined. My expectations were soon shattered as soon as I saw the character designs for the movie. Absolutely disgusting. 0/10. Their hair looked as if it would eat the character’s head at any given time.
“Season 3, to be frank,
is a treasure trove of anime QUALITY.“
Season 3, to be frank, is a treasure trove of anime QUALITY. This proved apparent in episode three during the date between Hinagiku and Hayate, I don’t even need to explain. Just look at the screen shots below and try not to vomit…
Whether or not it was due to the lack of budget or the limited amount of time they had, the animation quality felt really, really rushed and half-arsed. It was as well without doubt the prologues and epilogues that aired during the first five episodes where Hayate broke the fourth wall to greet the viewers – were done on the fly.
“the true representation of his characters is lost in a deep and dark monochromatic limbo”
The atrocious quality of the art in this series made me question about Hata’s overall art style in the Hayate manga over the years. Typically, a manga artist’s drawing style would change over time, hence, the art in a manga they’re serializing would see a shift over the years. This is true in the case of Hayate no Gotoku!. Case in point when Hata finished the End of the World arc, drawing shota Hayate and loli A-tan for a good two or three months proved it would affect Hata’s drawing style and all of his characters after the arc subsequently looked much younger, chibi and somewhat moé. As Hata kept changing his art style after A-tan’s arc and applied it in his manga, the true representation of his characters is lost in a deep and dark monochromatic limbo. Personally, it was around volume 10-17 that I think Hata produced the best art.
The only time when Manglobe’s animation did shine was, well, Nagi’s delicious tears. ;_;
“Hayate just without Kotoko doing the opening sequence”
Hayate just isn’t the same without Kotoko doing the opening sequence. Kotoko performing the opening sequences to Season 1 and Season 2 was part of the formula that made those two series amazing. The opening sequence performed by eyelis was fine in my opinion, focusing on the shipping of Nagi x Hayate, while the ED being performed by Ruka (or Haruka Yamazaki, her VA) as part of her idol work.
For those who don’t know Ruka; she is a character introduced in the manga as a high profile idol, who was on hiatus so that she can focus on becoming an manga artist, thus being Nagi’s rival. I don’t like how they made Ruka as some sort of a decoration to this series. Sure, including her into the anime was better than not including her at all, but I think they did it in the wrong way. It’s almost as if Ruka is getting the same treatment as Kanon from TWGOK, another anime by Manglobe, where Kanon is an idol too in TWGOK and Manglobe just milked her to death after she appeared with unnecessary idol anime shorts, CDs and merchandise. Will we ever Ruka and A-tan properly appear in a future Hayate no Gotoku! anime? Probably not.
Even though the anime suffered from a slow start with superfluous filler, the climax is one of the times when the plot shines. In a twisted turn of event, Ruri was actually impersonating as Nagi’s little sister so that she could get her hands on the Black Camellia. Ruri is then ‘kidnapped’ to Vegas which forced Nagi, Hayate and Maria fly to Vegas in-order to ‘save’ her. And, so that the other characters are featured as well, they too fly to Vegas because Ruka is holding a concert there coincidentally around the same time.
The Black Camellia is known to be a very unlucky watch, in which if a person were to hold it bad things would happen to them. This proved to be true when Maria held it first and soon after having her maid uniform skirt being blown, as well as Hayate’s series of misfortune on top of his usual misfortune later on. It is also said that when both hands on the clock strike eight the person holding at that point in time would be graced with extreme good luck. Which proved to be true when Yukiji got her hands on it and on exactly 8:40pm, she won jackpot at a Vegas casino.
“The climax is one of the times when the plot shines“
This is where the ‘Bird Man’ and Dolly come into play, both known to be Ruri’s father and mother respectively. The two were using Ruri to retrieve the Black Camellia because as it turns out; Dolly’s lover who lived long ago was trapped inside the watch. It is then revealed that the watch is actually a watch/sword convertible where the watch could shape shift into a sword given the right conditions. If the tip of the sword is stabbed into a human being, the human’s soul will be transferred into the watch, if there’s already a soul trapped within, the souls will switch meaning the trapped soul will gain control of the body of the person who’s soul would then be trapped in the watch. Which was why when Hayate was stabbed with the sword, Nagi’s father, Shin’s soul – which was actually trapped in the watch – swapped with Hayate’s. The reason why Dolly’s lover’s soul isn’t in the watch was because as Shin Hayek explained; his soul and Dolly’s lover’s soul were switched instantaneously just before Nagi’s Father got involved in a car accident – meaning Dolly’s lover’s soul died within Nagi’s Father’s body. The climax and conclusion was cleverly crafted together, and I praise Hata for his cunning efforts. Although it did came to a rather rushed and quickened conclusion, but that was probably due to Hata spending so much time on pointless filler earlier on in the series.
Spoiler warning! Anyhow, if you were to watch this third season then it’s probably for this reason and this reason alone…
CONFESSES HER LOVE
The way everything crumbles away. The way everything comes tumbling down (x3). The raining money, the balloons flying everywhere, the way Hayate and Nagi were holding each other’s hand while falling in mid air. It was such a beautiful and touching scene that almost melted my heart. This scene totally knocked the climax of the first Hobbit movie I saw on the same evening out of the water puddles in Golem’s cave. Nagi has rightfully won da Hayate no Gotoku.
“Nagi has rightfully won da Hayate no Gotoku.”
So, what did this third season offered? Other than the addition of Ruri and her parents who we’ll probably never see again, this season offered a more closer insight on the the past of Nagi’s parents; especially her father Shin Hayek. What irked me is how similar Shin looks to Hayate, along with the characteristics of Nagi’s blonde hair and green coloured eyes. Could the possibility of the made up theory of Hayate and Nagi being blood related be true after all? Probably not, but man, Nagi’s Father cross dressing as he meets with his wife in the Black Camellia purgatory realm (left) was a pretty damn classy scene nonetheless.
To wrap it up, Hayate no Gotoku: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You turned out to be a good contribution to the Hayate no Gotoku series, though barely lived up to its name. It’s nowhere near the same playing field of Season 2, and certainly not Season 1. While the series suffered from horrendous animation and plot pacing, Nagi’s confession at the climax proved to be a successful attempt to make up for the major faults. It was successful, but not enough to make me brainwashed to disregard all of Manglobe’s wrongdoings. The continued disappearance of Wakamoto’s narrative role of Voice of the Heavens is still unforgivable. Newcomers to Hayate no Gotoku! should steer clear away from this series like the plague and watch Season 1 and 2 first. If there’s a reason why you should watch this third season, it should be for the final episode. Sadly, I’ll suck up to anything Hayate related.
“With the current ranking in this season’s anime DVD/Blu-ray sales chart, the chances for another new season is highly unlikely…” is what I was planning to say, but fortunately as it turns out, a new season has been confirmed and is due to air next year!
WHICH MEANS – THERE’S STILL A CHANCE TO SAVE HAYATE!
JC Staff will come back to save us right?