After all of the excitement, Nagi appears to have overexerted her little self. And she continues to do just that.
What They Say
After working at a part-time job for the first time and attending Sakuya’s birthday party, Nagi’s health took a slight toll so she’s resting in bed. Maria, Claus, Tama, & Shiranui are all out which leaves Hayate and Nagi alone in Nagi’s estate. The second half is also climactic. The original development returns; the development of the forbidden love…will it happen?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
How do you follow up a dramatic episode filled with revelations that seems a good stopping place for a season? By having a completely silly episode to end it all.
Nagi is sick in bed, having overexerted herself with work and Sakuya's birthday party. So Maria goes out to do a little shopping while Hayate must attend to his mistress, who starts having all kinds of exaggerated thoughts. Seeking to calm down the little tyke, Hayate…unveils his attempt at jumping on the Vocaloid bandwagon. With that failing, he decides to read her a story. And so we get treated to a somewhat twisted version of Alice in Wonderland, starring Hinagiku as Alice, and the Student Council Trio as the Three Bunnygirls. Three Bunnygirls? I don't quite remember them in the original story, instead of a boring old white rabbit.
Well, that doesn't work, so when Maria comes back, Nagi decides to send Hayate out to get her some "Packy" (I guess they couldn't make a deal with the company that makes the real thing). Attaching a small camera on Hayate's necktie, Nagi decides that she will amuse herself by watching the "ants" at play (in Nagi's warped view of humanity, humanity at large are the ants). This little excursion, of course, is largely an excuse to show the entire cast again, including many of the minor characters who haven't even appeared this season. And yes, there's also an excuse to get Hayate to cross dress (as a maid, no less). I guess they never tire of certain gags. What's stranger is that Isumi and her mother come to Sakuya's maid cafe, where Hayate temporarily has to work to get some quick cash.
Of course, with Hayate's luck, if he is in search of "Packy," then he is unlikely to find any. And thus, the gag of his bad luck is brought out yet one more time. There are more gags, more characters make their appearance, and then…we have a moment which it's better for you to experience yourselves.
The second season of Hayate the Combat Butler comes to a close with the focus squarely upon the relationship between Nagi Sanzenin, the multi-billionaire heiress, and her faithful, indebted butler Hayate Ayasaki. This is quite apt, as they are the heart and soul of the story, even if it seemed that Nagi was missing or absent for large stretches this season. Since the plot, such as it is, is not really the point of this show, perhaps that was just as well. Going straight to where the funny is, though not shying away from the slightly more serious romantic entanglements that our girlish butler seems to get caught up in, Hayate the Combat Butler is a show that aims to please, sometimes by going the easy path, other times by making the audience have to work at it a little. While not every joke or parody aimed at the viewer who is already knowledgeable about anime, manga and video games hits the mark, enough of them do to make this a thoroughly enjoyable show. This season, compared to the first season which had a different production team and studio involved, was also far more faithful to the manga, occasionally reproducing panels directly from the source, but giving them color, movement and sound.
Whether you are watching the show for the otaku-centered humor, the romantic trials and tribulations of Hayate, or simply because you want a light comedy that won't make you think too hard, most would probably agree that what really makes the show special is the characters. Each viewer probably has a favorite, and more often than not, it will be one of the more minor players, not the title character or his employer. It is the strength of those characters that keep one wanting to come back and see more. In this season, we saw Hinagiku Katsura develop strong feelings for Hayate, while Ayumu Nishizawa finally confessed her love directly to Hayate, only to see him remain largely oblivious to it. We do get to see a little more of Nagi's softer side, as we learn more about her mother. Other than that, however, the other characters either fulfilled their little niches, or stayed somewhat static in their development. Hayate himself has not greatly changed. While his devotion to his employer may appear to have deepened, the fact is that he was already deeply devoted to her at the start of the season, and that hasn't really changed at all over the course of these 25 episodes. But it might be a problem for the show, and the manga, for that matter, if Hayate moved in any one direction too strongly, since that might remove the current tension that partially drives the romantic misunderstandings.
By no means the final word on the story, Hayate the Combat Butler's second season serves as a good link in an ongoing chain (the manga is still being written). It hits quite a few high notes, whether they be cleverly executed parodies of well known properties, or old, but still good, slapstick gags. Of course, it is the characters that are most memorable, and that is where the show shines the most. In all, a good season, and I hope that a third season will come some day in the future.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard