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!
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. ^_^