Hayate the Combat Butler manga

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Hayate no Gotoku Manga Rating

Hayate no Gotoku Manga Rating
9.25

Story

8/10

    Art

    9/10

      Character

      10/10

        Enjoyment

        10/10

          Recommendation

          Title: Hayate no Gotoku! aka Hayate the Combat Butler
          Genre: Comedy

          Synopsis: Ayasaki Hayate’s family is poor, largely because his parents are horrendously irresponsible with money.  His situation has forced him to develop a good work ethic, but he tends to attract misfortune.  After his parents rack up a huge debt and sell him off to some “very generous people”, Hayate figures he can cancel the debt by kidnapping a girl for ransom.  However, the girl he attempts to kidnap, Sanzenin Nagi, misinterprets Hayate’s poorly chosen words as a love confession.  Hayate’s kidnapping plan backfires, and after Nagi is kidnapped by some real bad-guys, Hayate steps in and saves her.  After seeing his courage and learning of his desperate situation, Nagi, who happens to be extremely rich, decides to offer Hayate a job as a live-in butler at her mansion.

          The Highlights
          Comedy: Self-aware and well balanced; funny for the most part.
          Characters: Likable, but not very deep.
          Relationships: A lot of romantic interests, but very little progress; mostly there to serve the comedy.
          Length: It’s impressive that the show can still be funny after fifty-two episodes.

          The short version: if you go into Hayate no Gotoku! Manga expecting any semblance of plot, you’ll be disappointed.  While the first ten or so episodes introduce the characters and set up a fairly elaborate web of relationships and romantic interests, Hayate no Gotoku! Manga is ultimately ten different types of comedy before it is a romance.  The relationships, just like everything else in this anime, are established to serve the comedy, so there’s no real point in taking them all too seriously.  Hayate no Gotoku! Manga basically lives and dies by how funny it is, but fortunately, for the most part, it’s consistently humorous.

          Hayate no Gotoku!’s forte is its sense of balance.  There are a lot of different types of humour jammed into this series, from awkward sitcom humour, romantic misunderstandings, black comedy, moé humour, slapstick, screwball, satire and otaku references, but the show mixes things up enough so that none of these elements ever feel excessive or overused.  Sure, the show has its repetitive and/or inane jokes, but they’re never so prominent as to adversely impact enjoyability.  But, the show is fun on many levels, effortlessly switching from cute and charming to witty and sardonic when the moment calls for it.  The satirical humour marks the show at its cleverest.  Real life celebrities like Bono, Nabeshin and Dick Cheney are the targets of derision, while a list of anime as long as a football field are parodied, including Death Note, Yoakena ~Crescent Love~ and Gurren-Lagann, just to name a few.

          It’s a minor miracle that a fifty-two episode comedy can still be entertaining right to the end, but not every episode is funny.  Some episodes, particularly a woeful episode where the cast flies to a beach resort, are tedious to the point of painful, but fortunately these are rare.  Everything happens at a sprightly enough pace that it usually doesn’t matter if one joke is bad, because the next is just ‘round the corner.  The comedy also works because the characters are generally quite charming.  Hayate is strong and sympathetic, if oblivious.  He’s one of these characters that is intensely hated by the universe (or the writers) and bad things constantly happen to him, but he accepts everything with a steadfast optimism, which makes him very likable.  And other characters like Hinagiku and Maria are seriously moe (and not in the contrived, manufactured way designed to win popularity contests or sell figurines).

          At the end of the day, however, fifty-two episodes is a long time for pretty much nothing to happen.  The series itself points out that it’s a love comedy show that doesn’t go anywhere, which shows that the molasses like pacing is quite deliberate.  However, ultimately comedy is what this show is intently focused on, and it has a decent enough grasp of its own strengths to confidently play to them.  Hayate no Gotoku! Manga can be thought of as one of many of the new breed of self-aware otaku comedies, but it’s also one of the better ones.  Kannagi or Ouran Host Club might be better if you just want the short version, but if you’re in the mood for a comedy with staying power, you can trust Hayate no Gotoku! to deliver for the long haul.

          2 comments

          1. Story

            8

            Art

            9

            Character

            10

            Enjoyment

            10

            Review of Hayate no Gotoku Manga
            Story: It’s quite creative and original, albeit unrealistic, but not in a way that detracts from the series. It’s a pretty simple slice-of-life type of story, but it’s a very uncommon life the characters lead. This allows for lots of fascinating, insane things to occur that flow well because the whole thing is fascinating and crazy. The story is exciting and new, giving endless chance for the author to let loose with his imagination.

            Art: The very pretty and distinct characters are enjoyable to look at; again, the variety and uniqueness make it a great manga. There aren’t many stunning glory scenes that stick out in one’s mind, but there are also no strange, out of place scenes. The backgrounds look pretty great also, and although the clean background is used quite frequently, it is used for comedic timing to set the disposition, and it all works well.

            Character: The charactes are simply awesome. They truly are many and varied, and all of them have their unique charms so you actually love all of them. Their characters actually bring out the best in each other, and it’s just wonderful to watch.

            Enjoyment: Certainly one of my all-time favorites. First and foremost, Hayate no Gotoku is a comedy, and comedy it does very, very well. And then, there are touches of love affair, and a pinch of angst, and some cool action, and then that deep down-mental-inspirational-good that we all love. Used in moderation and with wit being omnipresent, all of these other music genres come together really nicely in Hayate no Gotoku. It’s all done well – Hayate is an ideal protagonist for showing these elements – and so there’s something for everyone.

            Overall: I highly recommend this series for anyone, old and young (but not too young – there is sexual comedy, but it is not anything really bad. Compared to some other show, the sexual humor is quite light, despite being used fairly frequently.) I genuinely believe there’s a lot to appreciate in this manga, not only the wit and the parodies, so check it out if you desire to pick up a fresh show

          2. Story

            9

            Art

            8

            Character

            9

            Enjoyment

            10

            It is very hard to categorize Hayate no Gotoku in a particular genre. On the surface it truly is most clearly a comedy, but of what type? Situational? Slap-stick? Dramatic? Parody? Hayate no Gotoku is in fact all of these, as author Kenjiro Hata seems to be ill content with sticking to one supply of comedy. The first chapter alone comprises: the titular Hayate riding head first into a metro entrance, fighting off Yakuza, referencing biblical narratives, referencing Gundam, and a cameo of Santa. All wrapped up in the ‘poetic’ first chapter name: “Santa’s Red is a Blood Colored Hell,” and we’ve a great point of reference to establish the tone of this manga.

            Yet maybe I’m being unjust. Hayate no Gotoku is an incredibly effective comedy, but it is more than that. In it’s parody of action anime, we see well drawn fight scenes, both full of drama and dripping with irony, both mocking and reveling in the straight faced platitude. Hayate has its dramatic moments as well, and while Hayate may laugh it away when questioned by other characters, the reader feels more than a little unhappy for Hayate, who’s been sold to the Yakuza by his own parents. The plot (if it may be called that) also revolves around components of romance and harem, as Hayate somehow manages to earn the attention of every cute girl within a 100km radius. Kenjiro Hata pushes the actions, and the drama, and the romance novel as far as it can go… before a side character drops a deadpan snark, or Hayate says something tactless yet again, and brings the whole thing crashing back down to its roots: a parody that deceive the reader into thinking it’s taking itself seriously, before shouting “gotcha!” and pulling the carpet out from under everybody’s feet, including its own.

            Kenjio Hata creates a world in which the utterly hopeless can happen, yet at the exact same time each and every character is really real. Beyond his comedic genius, maybe among the best indications of Hata’s writing art is his ability to juggle a lot of characters (the cast of Hayate no Gotoku is enormous, easily topping 25+ chief characters by the time the manga is in full swing) though giving each one a distinct appearance, place of mannerisms, and a 3D character. It’s no wonder that many a shipping war was waged over which of the 20+ wonderful ladies Hayate will necessarily woo. Each girl gets to share in the spot light, and if they do happen to be gone for more than ten or so chapters, don’t be surprised when the show up again, angry and demanding they get more panel time. This leads the the most dynamic of Hata’s genius: his treatment of the fourth wall.Perhaps he doesn’t go that far, but he does bend it, crack it, warp it, twist it, sit on top of it, dig under it and paint thing hot pink. It really is a dynamic and wonderful form of comedy that needs to be experienced first hand to appreciate.

            The art in Hayate no Gotoku varies, though most of the time it is a touch on the simple side. Characters are drawn simply, with standard anime overreactions as the situation calls for. Yet this does not stop Hata from cranking out a beautiful spread every now and again, whether it is of a night time city illuminated by its lights, viewed from the balcony of a clock tower, or a simple hug of two old friends reuniting. Hata has no shortage of talent, but he knows when to apply it, and when to keep things underplayed. This is not Berserk: not every panel needs to be lovingly rendered in order to convey every subtle detail of the world. Perhaps a good way to sum up Hayate’s art would be: it works for what it needs to do.

            I can honestly say that I don’t think there is another manga out there that is anything like Hayate. Comedy manga tends to stick to one or two types of comedy, and roll with them. Hayate seems to try to blend everything it can, and somehow still have a concrete world and overarching story. It is a special manga that can some how manage to make me laugh out loud every week, much to my roommate’s annoyance. It’s an endearing manga that makes one care about the characters and the world, and enjoy both its comedic and dramatic moments. Anybody who is a fan of laughing (and really who isn’t?) should check this manga out. It is a bright star among the genre of comedy that somehow manages to transcend its genre, yet still excel at it.

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