Unless you’re me and then you want Drama CDs! Luckily, that’s exactly what we’re getting. But more on that tommorrow. Today, we do the manga – and a contest. But you’ll have to read to the end to learn what the contest is. :-)
First, let’s talk Volume three of Hayashiya Shizuru’s action comedy Hayate Cross Blade (or Hayate x Blade if you prefer.)
At the end of Volume 2, Hayate had befriended Sou, a girl older than herself, but who looked the same age. Sou’s shinyuu is manipulative Mizuchi, who has some issue with Ayana. To make things worse, Mizuchi’s mother is the one behind the destruction of Tanpopo Koen, the orphanage Hayate is trying to rebuild. (It’s the usual story, Mom wants the land…)
Sou is very distressed when Mizuchi challenges Ayana, but despite her partner’s proclamations, Ayana beats her down practically with one hand, which *infuriates* Mizuchi. To add salt to the wound, Ayana doesn’t remember the insult (baka) that she handed Mizuchi last year…in fact, Ayana has no clue who Mizuchi is. This all rankles, but Mizuchi with Sou following behind her, backs off.
At this juncture we meet yet another new character. Pale, sickly Yuho, who turns out to be Jun’s shinyuu. Yuho is in and out of the hospital, therefore Hayate hasn’t yet met her. Yuho and Hayate get into a friendly argument about who would win, Jun or Ayana…which naturally becomes a challenge for a battle in the next Hoshidori. Whee! Jun vs Ayana – they should have sold tickets.
Ayana finds out that Mizuchi’s mother is behind the desctruction of Tanpopo Koen, and, with a paper bag over her head as a disguise goes off to disuade Mom from encroaching – ever again. I can never begin to express to you how hysterical this scene is…it’s something you have to see for yourself. The whole thing with the paper bag is insane and I love and adore Hayashiya-sensei for being the kind of person who can come up with this kind of madness. (In an earlier scene Hayate and Ayana – with paper bags in place – had protected the orphanage from Mizuchi’s mom’s henchdude. Hayate gave herself and Ayana nicknames based on the grocery stores names on the bags. When she goes to Mom’s office, Ayana, killing herself for being a total baka, uses the name “Lawson Kamen” once again…then goes and bangs her head against a wall for a while afterwards.)
Meanwhile Shizuku, who is my third favorite character (right behind Jun and Ayana) is down with a cold. She can’t ring the Hoshidori bell, so no fights can happen. The bell, apparently, is insanely heavy and she’s the only one who can ring it. In order to feel better, she inexplicably takes Hayate’s baka advice and makes herself *really* sick. The chapter ends with an incredibly touching and emotional scene between Shizuku and her shinyuu, the Head of the School, Hitsugi, right after which Hitsugi gets ill from taking care of Shizuku.
While the challenge between Jun and Ayana brews, we learn some back story stuff about Jun’s relationship with Yuho. It turns out that *waaaaaaaaay* back, Yuho’s family and Jun’s were the same blood. But Yuho’s side was royalty and Jun’s side served them. And to this day, she serves Yuho as a retainer. In fact, she calls Yuho “Hime.” We also learn that Yuho isn’t just anemic sick, she’s like terminal sick. And her mother objects, strongly, to her being at this school – blaming Jun, of course, because Yuho wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for her. Yuho’s mother shows up, slaps Jun, is beaten about by an angry Yuho, hops on her broom and leaves. Now Yuho really wants to fight with Jun. And she wants to fight Hayate and Ayana.
Hayate and Yuho discuss their relationships with their partners and Hayate likens them to shampoo and conditioner. Each is fine, but limited, but togther – they work perfectly. Yuho feels less of a burden after this baka therapy. Meanwhile we’re getting backstory about Jun and her early training in swordwork by her father, who instills in her a strong sense of duty to protect and serve.
Hand in hand, Yuho and Jun face off with Ayana and Hayate. Yuho and Hayate, as “Ten” (heaven) fight each other, and Jun and Ayana, as “Chi” (earth) square off. Hayate’s complete lack of style is immediately no match for Yuho, but Jun and Ayana appear evenly matched.
As they fight, the tension rises, and we learn in an amazing display of power that Jun isn’t just a servant to Yuho – she’s a ninja. We’re all impressed, but Ayana just smiles. As Hayate falls to Yuho’s superior skill, the manga ends with Ayana and Jun passing each other in the usual samurai sword battle thing – gasp!
Here’s the question I have for you…who do you think wins? Leave your comment here – who wins and why do you think that person wins. I will choose one person’s comment and that person gets a Hayate Cross Blade figurine as a prize!
Art – 7
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Service – 2
Yuri – 6
Overall – 8