Hayate no Gotoku! – Heaven is a Place on Earth
OP: 「僕ら、駆け行く空へ」 (Bokura, kake yuku sora e) by 山崎 はるか (Yamazaki Haruka)
The OP is a concert scene featuring Suirenji Ruka, an idol who hasn’t shown up in the anime yet.
「ハヤテのごとく! HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH」 (Hayate no Gotoku! HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH)
“Hayate the Combat Butler! Heaven is a Place on Earth”
It’s been a while since the 2nd season of Hayate no Gotoku ended, and I’ve been looking forward to the movie which premiered back in August of last year. The series has always been among my favorite harem comedies, so I watched this with high expectations, and all in all it provided what I was looking for. I had fallen behind on the manga for a long time and seeing all the characters again brought back the slightest twinge of nostalgia. Of course we have the titular Ayasaki Hayate the super bulter, featuring horrible luck, all sorts of crazy skills, superhuman strength, girly physique, and a gentle personality that attracts girls like flies to meat. Then there’s the heroine Sanzenin Nagi — the spoiled, otaku, tsundere ojou-sama who happens to be hopelessly infatuated with her Hayate.
As expected, the movie is a standalone story, following Nagi as she is duped into spending the rest of her summer vacation in the countryside for “rejuvenation”. Overall, it’s a pretty nice place, aside from the fact that there’s no iPhone signal, no video games, no TV, no anime conventions, and no Shounen Jump (the horror!). I have to feel for Nagi though, as truly humans cannot live without a working smartphone and a proper internet connection. Peaceful countryside? I’ll take the high-tech, high-speed city life instead. Unfortunately, Nagi’s pretty much stuck in the middle of nowhere a while and dying of boredom. On the flip side, some pretty weird adventures are in store for her.
The rest of the gang tags along too, including Hayate’s lovers Ayumu, Maria, Hinagiku (!!), student council secretary Chiharu, the three idiots Miki, Izumi, Risa, and also a new character Tsurugino Kayura, one of Nagi’s otaku friends. Basically, it’s more of the same stuff characteristic of the series, except packaged into a 60 minute movie. We don’t get anything “new” and there’s no real character development that we don’t know already, instead getting a lot of familiar tropes and devices. Aside from the plethora of random references, there are many scenes reminiscent of what’s been shown before, such as Hayate and Maria trying to keep Nagi in a good mood, Hinagiku getting her own shower scene with Hayate, and everyone else enjoying a relaxing retreat together. That said, the material isn’t bad at all, but doesn’t break ground or advance anything (Athena still fails to make an appearance aside from a brief shot in the opening). Still, there’s no shortage of rofl moments, and I won’t list them out here, but the screencaps should provide a good idea of some of the best ones.
It’s not all laughter and slice of life of course, as Hayate starts seeing a ghost dressed in white and the line between reality and dreams starts blurring. It becomes pretty intriguing quickly. Nagi, Kayura, and the three idiots get trapped in “closed space” (Haruhi-style), a strange amusement park in the middle of the forest. They are completely erased from the others’ memories and Maria becomes Hayate’s master. Traces of the past remain still though, as Hayate struggles to find out what he’s forgetting. As a result of his actions, poor Hinagiku thinks Hayate is leading her on and is left very confused when he runs off. I’m a huge Hayate x Hina shipper so that scene left me a bit disappointed, but all in all it still made for some very hilarious moments.
The ghost finally reveals herself as Hayate’s grandmother, and her only goal was to free Hayate from his debt and give him a future, even if that involved eliminating Nagi from the real world. As expected, the incompetent bunch are completely unable to make any progress towards escaping the park, even with the might of four iPhones. Luckily, Nagi’s cries for Hayate finally breaks the dimensional barrier and restores their memories. It’s definitely a little crazy how crying for Hayate always brings him to the rescue, and I swear it gets cheesier and cheesier every time. Everything culminates in a grand, over-the-top rescue with Isumi blowing up dinosaurs (yep), Hinagiku hacking through giant robots with her pink flower power, and Hayate leaping several stories up to the top of the Ferris wheel. The whole thing is just ridiculous, especially with Hayate flying off into the moonlight with Nagi in his arms, but you have to admit, it’s all still pretty awesome.
The movie ends on a uplifting note, as expected. Everyone wakes up in the ruins of the deserted amusement park, and in a sentimental moment, Hayate reveals that he had been there once before with his grandmother, which is probably why she chose it for the closed space. I’m pretty satisfied with the conclusion, the tone of which actually reminds me a lot of how the second season of the anime ended. The emotional view isn’t terrible, but a gag ending for once would have been pretty good too since the comedy really is the best part of show. I did enjoy the movie a lot though, and the rom-com, drama, and humor aspects are all done pretty well. The attention to character nuances and details made everything more positive, and they rarely failed to crack me up. If you liked the anime or manga, definitely don’t pass up on this one, and start looking forward to the third season of the TV anime as well. The BD release of the movie later this year will also feature some extra scenes.
ED: 「Heaven is a Place on Earth」 by fripSide
No Hayate cross-dressing this time; I’m surprised :P