Drama CD: Hayate x Blade 1

April 13th, 2006

People have been mistaking my review of the Hayate x Blade *Mini* Drama CD for a review of the *actual* Hayate x Blade Drama CD, so I thought I’d better get that done. The mini CD came with the April issue of Dengeki Daioh – the full Drama CD is available from Amazon JP through the Yuricon Shop.

I have to admit that the drama CD, (which was released as Volume 1, so we probably can expect more,) was surprising on several levels. Most importantly for us, the focus on Yuri was upped quite considerably from the manga – but in a strange fashion. But let me get to that in a second.

For those of you unfamiliar with the basic plot of Hayate x Blade (or Hayate Cross Blade, if you prefer,) you might want to read some of the posts –  including reviews of the manga –  in my category for the series.  The review of the Mini Drama CD, linked above, has a list of major cast members, so I don’t have to do all that gushing and jumping up and down in excitement again. ^_^

In short, this series is about students at a girls’ school who, paired up with sisters-in-arms/partners…read into that as you will…fight with swords for rank, prestige and other tangible and intangible rewards. Our heroine is grumpy Mudou Ayana, a skilled swordswoman with a past, and hyper Hayate, a young girl with a mission.

The beginning of the Drama CD is half a dozen very short tracks, which detail in very silly ways, a typical Hoshidori battle for Ayana and Hayate (in this case against Suzuki, a student with a grudge against Ayana, but whom Ayana has completely forgotten.) This is interspersed with flashbacks on how Ayana and Hayate met, fell in love, wait…no! (imagine the sound of Ayana punching me to the moon)…

Hayate’s stories go a lot like that on this CD. She’s sidetracked easily. Her sound effect for a flashback is very amusing, too. :-)

So we learn about how they met and became shinyuu, and why they fight.

In the opening tracks, we also meet and spend time with Amachi Hitsugi, school chairwoman and principal and her partner Shizuku…and Hitsugi’s lovelorn hanger-on, Tatewaki.

After the first half dozen tracks the story settles down a bit and we follow Ayana’s bout against Suzuki, and Tatewaki’s hopeless bid for Hitsugi’s attention. The last few tracks are significantly longer….but much, much weirder.

In the manga it is Ayana’s roommate, lesbian Jun, who frequently comes on to Ayana and gets pummelled into oblivion for it. In this CD, Jun has a very minimal role (boo, hoo!) but *Hayate* is all OVER Ayana. She manages to say the Japanese version of “coffee, tea or…me?” about a dozen times – and of course, gets pummelled everytime for it. This is a really abusive, violent comedy, let me tell you. LOL But if you’re familiar with the creator’s, Hayashiya Shizuru’s work, (Strawberry Shake Sweet and myriads of Jesus Drug doujinshi…) you’re familiar with her style.

Tatewaki also has a strangely inflated role. In the manga, she’s an “oh, you’re here too?” kind of character, but she’s all over this CD. It’s horrible and pathetic and really mean-spirited (and, obviously, funny) the way she’s treated. LOL For instance, Tatewaki makes soba noodles for Hitsugi-sama, and the rotten so-and-so goes and shares them with Shizuku right in front of Tatewaki! *And* she’s all lovey-dovey and flirty with Shizuku while she’s doing it, just to rub salt in the wound.

One of the final tracks involves Jun, Hayate and Tatewaki concocting a plot to get Ayana for hayate and Hitsugi for Tatewaki. Need I mention that it’s ridiculous, over-the-top, full of random bondage…and a complete failure?

The last track involves Hayate trying to get a night alone with Ayana. Under the guise of studying, she plays the wife, but Ayana’s not a happy hubby. She locks Hayate out of the room, until Hayate shares a tear-jerking, gut-wrenching sob story that turns Ayana to emotional mush. She lets Hayate back in on several conditions…. The next morning Jun archly asks her about her romantic night alone with Hayate. Ayana asks where she heard that they spent the night together? Hayate, of course, Jun replies…and we end the CD with more unspeakable (and kind of uncommunicatable on Drama CD) violence. LOL

So Yuri? Yes.

Anything good? Well Hitsugi and Shizuku are awfully snuggly.

Tatewaki and Hayate are more goofy than anything else. And Ayana gets the usual tense moment with her former partner, Yukari.

Sadly Momoka, Isuzu and Jun all have teeny tiny roles here – I look forward to more of them all in future CDs. Isuzu *still* manages to be all googly over Momoka in the few moments she’s on, which was lovely.

The sound effects, of which there were many, tended towards the “silly noise” type, for auditory slapstick effect. But Hayate’s “flasback” sound still wins. ^_^

The final track, to my delight, was a bonus track in which all the seiyuu are given a chance to discuss a theme – and today’s them is!: The moment you realized you were a moron. ^_^ This is very fitting, as you know if you’re familiar with the series, since every chapter beings with a variation on the theme of baka, i.e., idiot or moron, in this case. Alot of the seiyuu’s moments of baka-hood seem to revolve around difficulties with Tokyo’s train system, which made me laugh – I’ve been there.

(I’m not 100% sure, and I really have to go back and listen again, but I could have sworn I heard them mention Morishima Akiko, the manga artist who drew up the Yuricon in Tokyo report for Yuri Hime 1, and also drew up a report on the recording of this CD for Yuri Hime 2.)

Ratings:

Story – kinda weird but fun 7
Characters – 7
Voice Acting – also kind weird but fun – 7
Yuri – 7
Service – no visuals, and yet *still* fanservice – 2 ^_^

Overall – 7

It wasn’t as hysterical as the Mini CD, but it’s still pretty fun, and funny. I’m looking forward to more!

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