Hayate the Combat Butler Part 5 - Mania.com

DVD Review

Mania Grade: C-

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  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 39.98
  • Running time: 150
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Hayate the Combat Butler

Hayate the Combat Butler Part 5

Hayate The Combat Butler Part 5 DVD Review

By Chris Beveridge     May 25, 2010
Release Date: May 04, 2010

Hayate The Combat Butler Part 5
© Bandai Entertainment

Life is  continuing on for Hayate under Nagi’s residence but there’s barely any respite from the strangess.

What They Say
Hayate may have won the Butler Battle Tournament but now the school superintendent wants Hayate to join her Butler Corps of Darkness. In an effort to lure Hayate to her side, she sends her mysterious butlers to defeat. Nagi gets caught in the crossfire at the Academy Culture Fest as one the butlers hypnotizes her and now she doesn't acknowledge Hayate. Will Hayate find a way to break the spell and rescue Nagi? Also in this volume, famous anime director Nabeshin makes a guest appearance.

The Review!

Hayate the Combat Butler is an unusual release not because it’s only got one language track on it, but that there are two Japanese language tracks on it. Both of them are stereo presentations done at 224kbps and they sound pretty alike. The TV version is what was originally broadcast, which was a presentation that had some censorship to it, while the DVD version is presented uncensored and more what was originally intended. It’s unfortunate that Bandai gives NO explanation at all about the differences between the tracks with this release which can only lead to confusion. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback of the DVD presentation which is what we listened to.
Originally airing in 2007, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. This set has six episodes spread across a single DVD. It all looks decent but lacks any real sharpness and vibrancy as the colors feel a bit muted. The action scenes hold up well but there’s an edge of softness to some of the backgrounds and the gradients are pretty strong in a few scenes, notably in the opening of each episode with the gray storm clouds out in the background. In general it looks good, but it’s not something that stands out as a very strong piece of work and it’s hard to tell if it’s coming from the encoding – which is in the mid range of five most of the time – or the actual source material itself.
This release is a single disc so it comes in a standard single sized keepcase, though some may expect more since it’s been marketed as a “Part 5” release and those have typically been double disc sets from Bandai. The front cover artwork is bright and appealing with a cute picture of three of the supporting girls of the series wearing maid uniforms while set against the image of the cultural festival convention center. The background wraps around to the back cover where another girl is all dressed up as the bunny character with more of the center visible. The cover has a good amount of open space with which it conveys the series premise and a breakdown of all the episodes by number and title. The discs features and extras are clearly listed as well. Add in the production information and a good clear to read technical grid and this is an appealing looking release. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design uses the artwork from the cover for the left half which looks good but not quite as vibrant and detailed. The right half has a slightly elegant look to it to fit into the theme of the show but it keeps it simple with good looking text for the navigation selection and the logo spread across both halves. The layout is very quick and easy to navigate and submenus load very quickly. The show defaults to the DVD version of the audio and subtitles are automatically selected for playback which negates any issues with reading player presets.
The only extra included in the release is a clean version of the third ending sequence.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In the fifth installment of Hayate the Combat Butler, we get… more of the same. The show runs with its gags well but I’m finding that as ambivalent about it as I was during the first couple of parts, the “wacky hilarity” is starting to get tedious at this point. And what made it stick out even more in my mind this time is that during one of the episodes when something is going on past its point of expiration, one of the characters really does say that this whole thing is getting quite tedious. That was a big telling moment, though at least there are some humorous moments throughout this set of six episodes.
One of the worst episodes of this set involves a whole Case Closed like storyline in which one of the girls is “killed” and Nagi and the others try to figure out who it is at the hot spring they’re at. Everyone is under suspicion, though the body does keep moving and changing at times as she doesn’t want to spend the whole episode playing dead, but they have some consistent things to it. What it does is draw in practically the whole cast at one time or another and makes them all suspect as Nagi continually rerwrites the rules. Since she’s essentially putting on a living play here that’s changing constantly, nothing really makes sense and it sort of washes all over you. If not for the amusement of the “dead body” itself laying there like a drunk found the next day, it’d be even more pointless than it was. The only redeeming thing is that it was not the first episode on the disc as it would have sent everything downhill quickly.
One episode that wasn’t too bad involves Nagi acquiring a couple of kids through Hayate after she’s dared to grow up a bit by raising other kids. The little kids get treated to a nice tour of the house and Nagi is basically another kid so it doesn’t exactly go over all that way. There are some fun moments to be had here as she starts to figure it all out and finds ways to have fun with them, which includes lots of violence as the tiger is brought back into play. Where it goes really badly for the kids is when Nagi decides she’s going to cook for him! There’s a little bit of background that gets brought into it with the two kids and what they’re really up to, but the whole thing just feels very awkward. There’s some time given over to where the kids came from early on but even that felt like it was tacked on.
This set does have a two part story dealing with the cultural festival in which Nagi is finally convinced to go check it out after Hayate has been spending a ton of time there since he can’t say no. The whole festival angle and the fact that Nagi gets hypnotized to take part in a competition with doujinshi against Hayate is just sort of there. It doesn’t resonate as a good or bad culture festival piece, it’s just, well, meh. Where the fun in these episodes and in some of the others in this set of episodes is with the parodies and homages to other show. There’s an extended sequence where Nabeshin appears that’s fun if pointless and we get to see some Senzu beans and a nice little bit involving Code Geass geass moment. There are many little cues like this throughout and a lot of bigger ones and they’re definitely amusing, especially when we get the Yugioh and other battler things brought in. But they can’t sustain the show.
In Summary: 
While I can still see the overall allure of Hayate the Combat Butler with its particular style and the way it utilizes parodies and homages, I still have a hard time finding that it works. There are moments of humor here and there but the structure of the episodes and the already too-large cast makes it fairly unwatchable in a lot of ways. They do adhere to a lot of the standards of this particular genre and this style of comedy so it’s easy enough to follow, but outside of smiling about certain visual nods or more outright uses like the Geass moment, I’m just watching it all roll by and it’s not feeling particularly entertaining. I had hoped that as it progressed it would really find a groove in which it would work for me, but I’m still coming up empty.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Closing #3

Review Equipment

Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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