The latest Hayate the Combat Butler! anime starts off on a good note with the promise of Nagi in a horrible car wreck, but sadly it goes downhill from there.
From what little I saw about the buzz surrounding this new iteration of Hayate, fans have been hopeful due to the manga author working on the series, but also cautious because Manglobe’s crack at the series, the Heaven Is a Place on Earth movie, is fucking terrible. There’s maybe one, two laughs at the most the whole movie, which is too busy telling a tepid ghost story to remember that, hey, Hayate is kind of, sort of a comedy series! It’s also a shipper’s paradise, but I don’t care quite as much about that, personally, though that’s a big draw for many folks, and I’m not here to crap all over that aspect of the series if that’s what you like.
So is this a good first episode? Um, not really! But at least it isn’t as big a trainwreck as the movie!
What are the good parts of this new Hayate? Well, the jokes have some semblance of structure. I didn’t really laugh, per se, but I did chuckle a bit as I recognized how the jokes tried to make me laugh. For instance, there’s the joke where Nagi wakes up in the afternoon, grabs the digital clock from Hayate’s hands and turns back the time as if that will give her additional hours in the day to sleep. It’s not really that funny or clever, but hey, I saw what the creators did there. I could see how the gears turned in their minds. Or the part where Isumi and her mom are talking about Twitter, and Isumi’s mom passive-aggressively uses Twitter to criticize her daughter. This is probably the closest I came to actually laughing during the episode. It’s an amusing scenario to show a cultural divide and family interaction. Maybe if the scene were a bit more cutting, I would have laughed more. Still, it’s a decent effort!
But lame-to-decent jokes are not all that comprise this episode of Hayate! I’ll be upfront here: I’ve never given even the slightest of shits about the dramatic portions of this series. I don’t care that much about the shipping, and I definitely don’t care about lame, soap opera-grade drama. I’m here for the chuckles, yo. This is a common refrain from me if you follow my ramblings elsewhere, but I’m genuinely disappointed when good comedy series think they have to pluck the heartstrings to be memorable. Do people just not purchase comedy unless it has a sprinkling of drama? I’m not sure why people would be more willing to purchase lame drama than hilarious comedy, but OK. (Though I have to admit that even my relationship with Hayate‘s comedy is mixed: when it works, it’s hilarious, but when it doesn’t, it puts me to sleep.)
So we’ve got a setup for what will probably be a season-long storyline: Nagi’s being called to Nevada to check out her dead father’s remains. (Under false pretenses? Obviously the story sounds fishy as fuck.) Then Nagi is kidnapped (yawn), which does admittedly lead to a semi-amusing moment where Nagi could not give less of a shit that she has been kidnapped yet again, and it turns out the whole ordeal was masterminded by . . .
IMOUTO Nagi’s younger sister! (???) Who knows if she’s actually related to Nagi, or if it’s bullshit? Actually, it’s probably bullshit either way. Unless this leads to some guffaws, I don’t care. I’ve got two seasons and a movie’s worth of shit Hayate drama to back me up.
Then again, I could be bribed with another Revolutionary Girl Utena parody or Evangelion karaoke!