Chapter 563 had recently dropped kicking off the aforementioned final 6-chapter countdown and bloody hell did it kick off in style in the most delightful chapter in recent memory. Hinagiku finally gets the Top 10 Anime Fights treatment she deserves and a nostalgic throwback to Evangelion’s opening theme song “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”; a meta-throwback at that as Hina had once performed the song in the 9th volume and in the 2nd season anime; consequently spawning a torrent of Hina/Shizuka Itou singles and albums.
Warning: Spoilers and meta spoilers ahead but then again who else is reading this manga? ;_;
What I want to talk about in-depth is the low-key yet big reveal behind Himegami’s character if you’ve read Hata’s older works; thanks to Hina exposing his metal right hand, Himegami’s true identity is none other than Tasuke, the hero in Hata’s ancient one-shot God’s Rocket Punch.
A bit of backstory – a few centuries ago before Hayate no Gotoku! Hata had published two manga works (he probably published more stuff but the English side of the net says otherwise); a one-shot titled God’s Rocket Punch in 2002 and a short series called Heroes of the Sea Lifesavers in 2003. These older works became important points of insight into the backbone of the Hayate no Gotoku! story when it was revealed they all shared the same universe – yes, even Sore ga Seiyuu. I remember going full CSI mode in this ancient cringy post I wrote in 2010 when I got hold of the special volume which collates these older works (the dead grandfather in that chart is incorrect but I was none the wiser at the time, teehee~☆).
In God’s Rocket Punch Tasuke had his right hand turned into a mechanical hand after being granted an inherited wish his grandfather had made to the ancient Indian goddess Nadja Orumuzuto before he ever received it and passed away.
Some minor retconning taking place because Tasuke never wished for the rocket arm in the one-shot whereas the flashback panel in this chapter implies that he wished for it in the name of justice.
This adds a surprising second layer to the foreshadowing in God’s Rocket Punch as it was previously revealed in chapter 545 the legacy of Nadja in the one-shot carries over in Hayate holding deep involvement with the Royal Power (she also serves as the MC in the tankobon’s introduction comics but who cares about that anyway). Hata is no stranger to referencing his older works but this may be the biggest and most surprising referral so far. I can’t believe God’s Rocket Punch is actually Himegami’s origin story!
From the Royal Garden hiding in the background in the debut chapter’s opening colour page to Hayate’s onii-chan being part of the main cast in Heroes of the Sea Lifesavers, this is such a huge mind-blowing moment just realising how deep of a lore Hata has created. It’ll be interesting to see if there is more of that sweet sweet meta hidden up the author’s sleeve leading up to the finale IN 5 WEEKS TIME.