What do you get when you cross independent, strong female characters who tend towards violence and are more than a little cracked, a school festival, maid costumes, a kidnapped kindergartner, 80 eyeglass-wearing fangirls and a whole lot of sword fighting? Why, you get Hayate x Blade, Volume 6.
We left off in Volume 5 at the start of Tenchi Gakuen’s school festival. And right away, something is wrong. One of the kids visiting from Hayate’s orphanage has gone missing – Miki, the very same one we saw in trouble in the very first chapter. Hayate’s frantic rush to find Miki gets completely sidetracked when a ransom note informs her that the child is not lost – she was kidnapped! (Every scene we see from this point on of Miki, involves her stuffing her face with candy and demanding to be spoiled or she’ll make a scene. We’re never worried about her.) The ransom note demands Hayate show up on the north field, where she is confronted by the Mikado Akira Fan Club, who call themselves the A-team. To “protect” their beloved Akira-sama, they demand that Hayate leave the school, or they will be forced to hurt Miki.
But Hayate is not alone for long – first Ayana, then the Kiji-Michi and Momoka-Isuzu teams come running up (complete with Momo-chan and Kijiko arguing about which one of them gets to stand in a high spot and declaim “wait right there!”)
The six are soon joined by two more, as Suzuki, haunting Ayana’s steps as always, joins the group with her partner Sou. And, all of a sudden, the 80 bespectacled fans of Student Council member Mikado Akira suddenly realize that they are horribly outnumbered by the 8 that face them.
It is one of the school rules that fighting cannot take place except when the bell rings – otherwise disgruntled kentousei would be fighting constantly. So, Hitsugi and Shizuku go running over to the north field to make sure that the fight is not held illegally. Hitsugi, being Hitsugi, decides that, rather than stopping the fight which would be dull, she’ll rearrange things a bit to her liking. The A-Team are given wooden practice swords to fight with – and Hayate and her friends, who are mostly in maid costumes (except for Hayate who is dressed as a chick and Momoka who is dressed as a cartoon wolf) get ladles as their weapons. Hitsugi tells them that if even *one* of them gets their star taken, the entire team loses. Or they have to defeat all 80 of the A-team. Before the bout is over, Hitsugi makes sure that Jun gets a bit of the spotlight, by pointing out that the battle is being projected over the whole school. Jun, who had been content to watch up to that point, jumps into the fray.
It’s no contest.
When Akira herself shows up to take on the last of her fan club, they merely collapse in exhaustion. But not before Akira pulls off her studly Student Council long overcoat to reveal…a maid costume. She’s pretty pissed at the point loss on cool.
Following this melee, the second day of the festival begins quietly. Hayate, Jun and Ayana have a frank, but no less violent than usual, conversation about Ayana’s feelings for her ex partner, Yukari. And over on Yukari’s side, she’s wondering why her current partner, Maki, chose her in the first place. Maki’s own thoughts on the subject are rather sweet – she wants Yukari to look at her the way she used to at Ayana. And we see happier moments from before Yukari and Ayana broke up.
Maki and Yukari face an incredibly difficult match. The gong will sound today, and in the enclosure for A-rank fighters, they will be taking on the formidable “Special A’ ranked pair – En Suu and Mei. This is a particularly poignant bout for Yukari – it was this pair that she and Ayana were fighting when she was wounded and scarred.
Back at Ayana’s class’s cafe, Ayana is asked to leave when her reminiscences about that past battle gives off an evil aura that is scaring away the customers. Ayana thinks that she and En Suu share a darkness within them – and that darkness scares her. When she hears the bell, Ayana, then Hayate and the others go running off the to “A” enclosure, but are stopped at the gate by Sae, Akira’s partner.
Inside the enclosure, the battle is fierce. Techniques are fast, and advanced. Maki is hurt in her right arm, while Yukari is pinned to the ground by a ruthless Mei. After a moment, Yukari and Maki both find something important in themselves – and in their relationship – and stand up to fight again.
Who will win…?
You’ll have to tune in next volume! (Uunless you read the monthly chapters, like I do, because I can’t go that long without an episode of this manga. lol)
Action, love, friendship, violence, deep emotion, incredibly dumb physical gags. Hayate x Blade is the *best* manga on the market and it’s criminal that it’s not an anime yet.
Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 5 (Ayana x Yukari for the win here)
Service – 4
Overall – 9
No, really, I don’t think it gets better than this.