Join Hayate as he buys presents, saves girls from falling off cliffs, and draws the ire of ancient spirits. It’s a cursed existence, but someone has to live it.
Writer/Artist: Kenjiro Hata
Translation: Mark Giambruno
Adaptation: Yuki Yoshioka and Cindy Yamauchi
What They Say
Hayate owes a debt of gratitude to Hinagiku--the cute, sporty, and all around perfect-in-every-conceivable-way student body president--and as her March 3rd birthday draws near, the bankrupt butler tries hard to come up with an appropriate present. But with final exams on the horizon, will he have time to prepare Hinagiku a heartfelt gift and pass his classes? Later, an ancient curse makes Hayate appear as if he's wearing women's clothing--and if it isn't broken, Hayate will be doomed to live out the rest of his days in drag! But, seeing as he looks really cute in a maid's uniform, maybe that isn't a bad thing...
Those who have kept current on Hayate may be confused – dumbfounded, even – by Volume 9. Oh, at first glance it appears to be the usual mash-up of romance and comedy that the series has been sporting since the beginning. It eventually becomes apparent that there is actually, horror upon horrors, a story for this volume. Gird your loins peasants, we’re through the looking glass.
After a short chapter centering on Hinagiku’s sister, Katsura-sensei, and her inability to get a man, we get to the meat of the volume. Namely, Hayate needs to buy Hinagiku a birthday present. Now before you go rolling your eyes at this admittedly clichéd romantic comedy setup, keep in mind this is Hayate. More importantly, this is Hayate, the character, whose mere attempts to remain alive have resulted in being sold to the Yakuza and becoming a combat butler, to say nothing of the trouble he’s gotten into while on the job. Buying a present for a girl is, well, some may say it’s out of his league.
Surprisingly, for the first half of the volume he remains relatively free from harm. Nishizawa shows up with surprising regularity, and most of the tertiary cast members get a few scenes here and there. Things move along at a fairly good pace, with the looming threat of Hinagiku’s present occasionally pushed to the side by new developments (like the approaching Finals, with even Math written in a different language). And then the whammy lands: Hayate is cursed by an evil doll, which targets the unluckiest person in the world, and is forced to wear women’s clothing. If the curse isn’t quickly broken, Hayate will be doomed to forever enjoy all that is frilly and lacey.
From there misery abounds, with an unfortunate letter to Hinagiku resulting in a duel, and a very confused fellow butler brought to tears. It’s all typical Hayate wackiness, and as always the pop culture references flow fast and free. Whether Maria’s discovering the cute rabbit stuffed animal Hayate gave her is actually “an assassin from the bowels of Hell” or Hayate’s using the alias Hermione Ayasaki while in drag, the humorous elements never suffer from the more cohesive focus of the new, improved Hayate.
I’ll admit, apart from the story quietly humming in the background, Hayate is business as usual. If you have enjoyed Hayate’s exploits so far, or are simply a fan of kooky comedy, this volume will make you happy. If you haven’t enjoyed previous volumes, this won’t change your mind. Also you are a hateful, miserly scrooge.