Have you got your chapters numbers ready for this week’s Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties lottery? The winning chapter numbers for this week are; 306, 316, 317 and 318. The bonus chapter number is 346! The long awaited A-tan episode is finally here!
Note: To maintain consistency, I’ll be referring to Athena: Alice Version as “A-tan” in this post.
A-tan finds a lost dog wondering into the Violet Mansion who seems to fancy A-tan’s “chocolate cornets”. Hayate and A-tan search around the city to find the dog’s owner, turning out to be the comic relief character of the series: Hibino Fumi. The dog’s name is apparently Armageddon.
The latter half of the episode sees Sakuya lending Wataru 100 million yen, the money that will kick start his new business, in cash. Wataru foolishly enlists Hayate and Saki to help him take the money to the bank, only to have it taken away by Armageddon. A witch hunt soon begins to track down Armageddon with the Fukuzawas. Armageddon takes the suitcase to A-tan back in the Mansion, turning out to empty. A-tan and Armageddon, along with Hayate are out on the hunt to get back the stolen money, only to find Yukiji in an abandoned house with the money with two beaten robbers, who both presumably took the money from Armageddon earlier on. A little short story is attached at the end of the episode where Nagi and A-tan are in critical hunger and in need of a quick fix, they embark on a perilous journey by themselves to the Donguri Cafe where Hayate is working – facing many dangerous and life-changing obstacles along the way.
It’s A-tan’s episode. Go ship yourselves in your own episode! (Wataru x Saki 4 life)
A-tan made her debut into the series first in the manga back in 2008 – with the End of the World side-story arc. Her popularity subsequently soared with flying colours, even on par to Hinagiku’s level of playing field. She later made her anime debut in the second season. Sadly, it was only a small appearance with a few lines.
Becoming the most popular story arcs in the series, fans have been crying out to Kenjirou Hata to have the End of the World and Golden Week arcs animated, with little to no success. It was only until this week Hata and Manglobe finally delivered to fans what they had always wanted… uh, sort of.
What I read on the tin of this episode was that this week was going to be all about and nothing but A-tan. What I actually got was a bunch of forced side-character appearances and plots that have no direct connection to A-tan at all. Fumi and Sharuna both made rather stern appearances, Wataru and Saki managed to hijack the latter half of the episode with their subtle romance (Just. Fuck. Already.), hell, even Tama made an appearance even though everyone forgot all about of his existence!
Flicking back into the manga, I realised there aren’t many strong chapters centering around A-tan at all. The only ones obviously being the End of the World and Golden Week arc, but because Hata has made a “No-Adaptation Zone” on those two arcs, A-tan has made little to no appearances after that. She does come back later, in the form of “Alice” claiming to be Hinagiku and Hayate’s child (lol), which was the reason why Hinagiku moved from her to live in the mansion with Hayate and everyone else. The anime makes no effort explaining this, emphasising even more that Cuties is for manga readers only. People new to the series will sadly be left in the dust wondering where all these new characters come from, and will pitifully whine and whine wondering what in the world is going on. My response to these questions in three and a half words: “Read The F-ing Manga”.
The friendship between A-tan and Armageddon in this episode was the main driving force of this episode, even if Armageddon was in on it for the chocolate cornets. It was heart-warming in the manga in my opinion, then again, they did a better job adapting it in this episode. Manglobe is keeping the animation strong again this week. I have no real complaints, but once again I critique; Manglobe could do a lot better.
It was also in this episode that we got a better understanding of Ayako Kawasumi’s role of A-tan. Kawasumi’s feminine yet assertive voice really matches A-tan’s personality and values, even managing to throw in a “DESU WA~~~” in her lines. Seeing and hearing A-tan move and talk visually is a remarkable experience, and truly one of the key selling points of this series. I can only imagine Kawasumi’s role A-tan’s older version to be on the same line as Rita Ainsworth’s voice in Sakurasou (TL Note: They share the same voice actress).
With Hata seemingly not wanting to have the two most popular story arcs of the series animated, even after two anime seasons that will likely score fairly low in sales, I have a difficult time wondering what is going on in the creator’s mind. I guess the poor management of the story arc currently serialising in the manga took its toll or something.
Will we ever see the End of the World and Golden Week arcs animated in our lifetime? Unfortunately I can’t answer that.
Five years later, Hata finally delivers the A-tan episode everyone deserves, but not the one we need right now. But oh well, an Athena episode is better than no Athena episode.