Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties – 01
OP: 「春ULALA♥LOVEよ来い!!!」 (Haru ULALA♥LOVE yo Koi!!!) by 伊藤静 (Itou Shizuka)
「綾崎ハヤテ」 (Ayasaki Hayate)
This tastes just like that good ‘ol Hayate no Gotoku! of old. A very encouraging first episode!
A Character an Episode. This week: Ayasaki Hayate
Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties’ whole schtick is that each episode is centered around one (or more) characters – a sort of hero(ine) of the week format. This week that character was none other than the titular debt-ridden butler, Ayasaki Hayate (Shiraishi Ryoko)! Personally, I found this episode to be really enjoyable. It broke no ground even within the series, but it did a good job of reintroducing us to the group’s dynamic, as well as remind us exactly why Hayate is so awesome. Seriously – there is not a better butler, or a better man, that more deserves to be loved by all the girls than Hayate. But that misfortune! Well, the greater the misfortune, the greater the glory when you surmount it, ne?
Actually, the more I think about it, this was the best possible way to start the seasons. So many shows make the mistake of not showing us why we should be rooting for the main character, which is especially important for a harem lead like Hayate. Though most of us are probably fans from the previous seasons or the manga, it was not amiss to remind us of that, since it sucks you into the fun quicker and deeper. It was also frequently funny in an almost slice-of-lifey like way, and very sweet when Hayate got his reward at the end. D’aaaaawww!
The Intangibles – Atmosphere, Characters, Comedy, Flow
All these factors were roundly encouraging. I already brushed on the comedy, which was quite good when it was trying to be. The general flow and directing was good too. This first episode didn’t pack too much in; in fact, you could even say it was slow at times, and I would not disagree. That said, I much prefer that they take their time rather than try to cram everything in, especially in this first episode, so I am happy with that. As for the characters – well, come on, would you really be reading this if you didn’t already love them? From the glorious return of Katsura Hinagiku (Itou Shizuka, including that lovely OP!) to what I believe is the first proper appearance in animated form of the beloved A-tan, Tennos Athena (Kawasumi Ayako), they’re just as great as ever!
The Tangibles – Art, Animation, Music
The switch from J.C. Staff to Manglobe has always been one that puzzled fans, and I’m sympathetic. I’m a not-so-secret J.C. Staff lover, and while Manglobe has never really done bad with the series, it was a change between a studio that was faithfully adapting the manga (and nailing it!) to one that was only doing okay. But as with Minami-ke season 4, this feels like it could be the turning around point.
First of all, the art looks more like the old J.C. Staff style, with less strangely large heads and almost Shaft-like architecture and more settings and character designs that closely mirror those from the manga. The animation did have a few spots of worry though, little wonky bits that you wouldn’t usually expect to see in a premiere. They also abuse simple backgrounds to skimp on the animation costs, though I actually kind of like those, so it didn’t bother me. In the end, I’m not one who pays a great deal of attention to the animation, but if you are, I can understand if you’re a little annoyed by Manglobe here. I wish they would put a little more effort into their animating, but on the whole I think things are looking up for the series.
Looking Ahead – Nagi and Beyond!
Next week’s episode will be focusing on Hayate’s wrathful loli of a master, Sanzenin Nagi (Kugimiya Rie). Alas, this will be the end of my coverage of this series. I will be watching it though, so feel free to follow me on twitter and look out for my stream of comments whenever I catch the latest episode. Until then, ja!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A reminder of exactly why Hayate is so awesome. Such misfortune! Also: Hinagiku, Maria, Hamster A-taaan!! #hayate
- Still not sure if this is anime original material or not (I’ve been catching up on the manga, but I’m still a couple hundred chapters behind, heh). I’m not sure it matters though, because even if it is new I feel this would be a really familiar episode to any fan. Manga readers, what say you?
- I will never make Hinagiku smile. I will never princess carry Nagi. I will never get scolded by A-tan. FOREVER ALONE!!
- If each episode centers on a different character, are we going to get a different ED every time? I hope so, because I quite enjoyed the art & music on this one.
- With this post done, my hiatus from episodics officially begins. I’ll probably take a week or so to recharge, but after that you can expect some new Stilts Out Loud posts to start appearing. Look forward to it!
ED: 「ヒロインはここにいる!」 (Heroine wa Koko ni Iru!) by 白石涼子 (Shiraishi Ryoko)