Yuri Manga: Hayate x Blade, Volume 2 (English)

February 19th, 2009

I know you’re waiting for my review of Hayate x Blade Volume 2  in English, but look at it from my point of view. That’s like, ancient history for me. My heart is in the middle of the (as always) awesome soon-to-become Volume 10 and I just finished reading Volume 9 in Japanese. And here you are, asking me to step waaaayyyy back and review this volume. Okay, but only because I love you. ^_^

The first half of Volume 2 follows the trials, tribulations and duels of Hayate’s roommate Momoka, and her determination to save the woman she wants as her shinyuu from an abusive partner. While Momoka does, in fact, win her duel, Riona explains that she can’t partner with Momoka, because being beaten regularly sharpens her comedy skills as boke. (What you don’t quite get from the translation is that both Momoka and Riona are from Osaka. Japanese regional stereotypes for Osaka are an obsession with business, a love of food – especially takoyaki, a local specialty – and…manzai comedy.)

Momoka takes ultra-creepy Isuzu as her partner, a character I love with all my love – I’m so glad that you all can learn to love her too. For those of you who have not listened to the Drama CDs, Isuzu is voiced by Noto Mamiko, with full creepy BGM and echo effect. Isuzu is absolutely delightful.

This is followed by “serious drama” in which Mizuchi and Sou attempt to thwart Ayana and Hayate in their quest. With hilariously laugh-out-loud failure, of course.

Yuri in this volume is in dribs and drabs – Jun’s and Hayate’s attempts to be groped by Ayana, notably, and Momoka’s desire to partner with Riona can (and will be, no doubt) brushed with the fragrance of lilies by fans. But for my part, I’m standing behind Isuzu who, you will learn, is quite besotted with Momoka. And then there’s Hitsugi and Shizuku who are, by their very existence, Yuri and no one can tell me different.

Once again, I must disclaimer this next bit by admitting that I copy edited this book. Although I was not credited, I really did. (And I missed a typo that the one person on this continent who could have possibly noticed it, noticed and pointed out to me. I am contrite…and irked at myself.) So, it is with pride that I compliment Seven Seas/Tor once again on the reproduction of this fablous series. The quality of translation and adaptation were enhanced by top-notch copy editing (joke, joke!) and in every way but three this was a perfect volume. The main thing is the front pages are printed too lightly, and the ToC is a bit hard to read. It’s just a printer thing, probably no one’s fault. The second was my miss. See below for the third.

I think Sean Gaffney had the final word on this volume. He pointed out that intiially, you think that Hayate is the “idiot” mentioned in every chapter title but, by the time you’re done with Volume 2 you realize that *every character* is an idiot. He is 100% correct. On to Volume 3 and more action and idiotry!

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 8
Yuri – 4
Series – 2

Overall – 8

The third thing that made this book less than perfect is not technical, it is organizational. Neither Seven Seas nor Tor bothered to send me a copy. So it is with much thanks that I bow with sincere gratitude to Okazu Hero Bruce McF. for this copy. As always, you are my Hero. ^_^

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19 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    Thank you for reviewing the second volume once again when you have long since read past it.

    I am suspicious that no-one else is talking about it elsewhere. Hayate X Blade is selling well right? Everyone in the world will buy a copy right?

  2. @Mara – Volume 2s rarely do as well as Volume 1. And other than me, this series received some lukewarm reviews at popular websites. So, I cannot tell you if if sold well. I certainly hope so! I think it’s the funnest series I’ve been following for years.

  3. jinstevens says:

    Ooh, I loved the first volume. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of reviews, I remember reading the ANN one for vol 1 some time ago, which basically criticized Hayate x Blade for not knowing what it wants to be – a school comedy, a Yuri story, an action story? I didn’t know what to think about it at the time, but now I know this is actually one of the things I like about HxB. Even though it’s generally funny, it can get serious (especially in later volumes) without becoming overly dramatic and ruining the mood. Oddly enough, it works here but totally fails for other series that also don’t really fit in a given genre.
    So, kudos to Hayashiya-sensei for successfully maintaining a healthy balance of comedic violence and serious violence :-)

  5. @Anonymous – Exacty. I’m used to Hayashiya’s style, so I get that she does gag/action/comedy with some light Yuri seasoning. But for folks who expect action to be Naruto and constipated with “meaning” this kind of broad comedy in their action is like sardines in their peanut butter.

  6. Katherine says:

    I’m loving this series. XD It’s nice to read a fun action manga that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with Yuri as a bonus.

  7. deanbcurtis says:

    There are thoroughly too many gags for any human to quantify, let alone give proper glory. So, I’ll just raise a glass of the HxB Kool-Aid to the playful banter between Jun and Ayana. That and the Chiharu/Ayana/Hayate lap scene. And the Isuzu/Momoka “promise”. And the overtly dramatic pronouncements from Hitsugi. Really great stuff.

  8. bec says:

    !! yah! i just ran out and bought this. (aka. entered my credit card details in at light speed to order it.) i was checking the seven seas website everyday to see it’s release date – it still hasn’t been specified so didn’t know it was out til i checked okazu!
    hxb does the multi-genre thing spot on. hayashiya knows how to write a decent story and conveys it through her art wonderfully – it pains me to think that people may not be rushing to grab the second volume. run run everyone!

  9. @bec @deanbcurtis I agree! Why does a manga *need* to fit a single pigeonhole when clearly, the more stupidity you can cram into it, the better! And sine the series is going strong in Japan, IMHO, it’s the limitations not of the English edition of the manga, but of the reviewers of the manga here that were the problem.

    Intelligent people can clearly see the quality. ;-)

    And yes! The Chiharu-Hayate-Ayana lap scene was a moment of genius.

  10. Donald says:

    The shop I buy my manga at says that Vol. 2 has been selling well, so that gives me hope.

  11. Ledde says:

    Just got this myself yesterday and aahahahaha, it was worth every nickel. Izuzu’s moment of adolescent springtime-hath-come was -just- what I needed, buried under two feet of snow as I am xDDD.

    Anyhoo, good review. How about another one of vol 9? ;-)

  12. @Ledde Why even ask? I’ve been reviewing this series for years. You think I’d stop now, all of a sudden?

  13. Eric P. says:

    It’s still funny, and I happen to like stories, whether movies or anime, that mix many genres into one neat package. With some interesting character/story developments going on, I look forward to the next volume.

  14. Jasso says:

    I squea’d when I saw the review for volume 2. I really did.

    It’s sad that not a lot of people know about HxB. I try to spread the love by sharing my copy with my friends, but not all of them are willing to see past the Yuri which isn’t even a lot. (Not that I’m complaining. Haha.)

    By the way, have you seen this before? Saw it posted somewhere and thought I might share.

  15. @Jasso Yes, for the umpteen gazillionth time. It’s about two years old now – it was the commercial for the second Drama CD.

    Get better friends. ;-)

  16. Jasso says:

    So that’s what that was. ^^ Thanks for clearing that up with me.

    I’m trying. Haha.

  17. I’m going to hold this manga as an example of how the internet should work, as I read your review here, looked at a few scans, decided I really liked it, and just ordered a couple copies.
    I hate buying things I haven’t personally previewed the quality on, you see.
    As for the series itself, I do hope it sells well enough that I can buy it all in English.
    And scanning the other comments, I must say that not fitting into a genre is the most meaningless criticism there is, because genre terms were created to describe art that existed first, not the other way around. Saying something doesn’t know what it wants to be is like telling the platypus he’s a bad animal for being an egg-laying mammal with a beak.

  18. For years I tried to get into manga (I’m more of an anime person) but nothing really appealed to me. I kept seeing your rave reviews here for “Hayate X Blade” so I gave it a shot – and I haven’t been disappointed! I’ve read precious little that has made me laugh out loud as much as this title and I’m proud to be a serial pre-orderer now. I hope Hayate X Blade survives here! Thank you so much for your reviews and recommendations.

  19. @Kara – I am so glad you gave it a chance. I just love this series beyond Yodels and pumpkin seeds.

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