For those readers with short attention spans, or whose reading comprehension has been affected by too many hours on irc here is a short review of Hayate x Blade (aka Hayate Cross Blade) Volume 5:
Hitsugi x Shizuku = win.
Now, for the rest of you, here’s the long version. ^_^
We left off in Volume 4 just at the beginning of the ultimate hoshitori battle – Student Council members Minori and Kureha have challenged School Chairman Hitsugi and her partner Shizuku. The winners to become (or remain) the President of the Student Council and the losers to drop an entire rank and lose their place on the council altogether. Minori and Kureha have been working on what they believe are the keys to defeating Hitsugi.
What they don’t count on is that for every measure of insane cool Hitsugi brings to any situation, she brings three measures of cheesy and effed up. Shizuku and Hitsugi stolidly defend against the oncoming attacks until they have the measure of their opponents, and Hitsugi cues up some cheeseball BGM – and they’re off! Hitsugi dances with her opponent; not because she can’t defeat her instantly, but because she’s a FREAK and wants to wait to the climax of the music. ^_^ At the right moment, Hitsugi and Shizuku make their moves.
Kureha and Minori are surprised to note that their stars didn’t make any noise when hit, and are even more surprised to find that their white uniforms have now turned black, signalling their defeat and loss of rank. (Hitsugi fan and hanger-on Tatewaki explains that material in their uniforms were made by the Amachi Corp., Histugi’s family’s company. They are made with built-in nanotechnology that responds to the loss with this significant and symbolic change of color.)
They take their loss gracefully, but not so the penalty game Hitsugi enforces – running 30 laps of a four kilometer course. Kureha, as the challenger, is ready to do it alone, but Minori insists on sharing the pain. As shinyuu they draw closer together, everyone says “awwww”, but they still have to finish the laps. lol
Meanwhile Hayate continues to train extra hard so as to be able to rank up with Ayana. They discuss how, eventually, they’re going to have to fight Yukari, Ayana’s former shinyuu. In a rare moment of emotional vulnerability, Ayana confesses that she feels alot of guilt about that relationship. In her last fight with Yukari as her partner, she went berserk. Although she doesn’t remember doing it, she injured Yukari quite badly. The reason, we learn, that Yukari wears her hair over her left eye is to conceal a scar that runs down from the forehead to cheek, assumably caused by Ayana’s sword. Hayate tells Ayana that she doesn’t want to know about the things that make Ayana sad – she wants to know about the things that makes Ayana happy.
The school festival approaches, Hitsugi tells the student body – although she herself had forgotten until just yesterday. She arbitrarily decides that all events must be done in maid costumes. Jun has been tasked with making the costumes for her class, so you can bet that Ayana’s costume is wildly inappropriate for anyone to wear in public. :-) Jun gets a lot of milaeage and physical abuse this volume, because the whole maid costume thing is entirely too appealing for her to behave.
The book ends with two omake stories – one, the backstory for the Hayate x Blade Drama CD. That is, Hitsugi was bored one day and came up with the idea. Wackiness ensues as Jun tries her best to encourage Ayana’s innate sexiness with wildly inappropriate script suggestions.
…thinking about it, Jun loses a lot of blood this volume. ^_^
The second backstory is a gag about the school suggestion box. Since so many of the complaints are regarding Jun’s perviness, Ayana’s loud and violent expressions of anger and Hayate’s habit of talking while she eats and spewing food around, the next day finds *four* suggestion boxes, one each labeled “Kuga” (Jun), “Mudou” (Ayana) and “Kurogane eating” (Hayate.)
Next volume the school festival begins and chaos ensues!! With maid costumes!
Art – 9
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 7 (Jun’s a lousy role model, but undeniably lesbian. Hitsugi x Shizuku as I said, equals win. They get winner with each volume.)
Service – 3
Overall – 9