If you have been following Hayate x Blade (はやて×ブレード) from the beginning, you are vaguely aware that there is an itch in this series that is not being scratched.
But first, as Volume 10 opens, there’s the persistent and dangerous Ensuu and Mei to deal with. With incredible effort, and the stupidest technique ever (one used in previous volumes but no less silly this time) Ayana and Hayate *finally* bring the bad girls of Tenchi to their knees. Yay Team Us! Woo hoo!
From almost the very first volume, we know that Hayate is one of a pair of twins. In fact, her older sister Nagi was the one originally accepted into Tenchi Gakuen, but wasn’t able to attend because she was in the hospital. Only a few volumes ago, we were given a glimpse of the elusive Nagi, but that wasn’t enough! Nagi needs to be in the story, and soon, I felt.
Well, so did Hayashiya, apparently, because Nagi finally arrives to take her place among the sword-bearing student body at Tenchi Gakuen. And by doing so, she confuses the heck out of the idiots that surround her sister.
The best moment is when Jun comes face to face with Nagi, and looks her over in detail. You look the same, she says, but you’re not Hayate. (Thus proving that Jun is in fact the smartest person at Tenchi, which was a given, since she’s a lesbian.) Nagi does a little moronic song and dance, asking if that makes her look more like Hayate. I laughed because, well…it did. ^_^
Nagi is instantly not really all that likable. In a series chock full of really likable characters (with the exception on Ensuu, who is so completely crazy that you can’t dislike her, and if you do, after Volume 11 you won’t anymore. Because it’s hard to dislike someone that…so *completely* off the rails,) Nagi stands out as someone that it’s quite easy to not like. Watching Hayate frantically trying to please her older sister is a little heart wrenching. When Nagi publicly proclaims that it is her intention to take Ayana as her shinyuu, and Hayate just rolls over, it’s massively heart wrenching. Not just for us, either, as Ayana makes the point that she, and no one else has the right to choose her own shinyuu, dammit, and she’s chosen Hayate. That she makes the point with a reverse suplex does not diminish the message.
But…Hayate knows that she’s not as strong as her sister, and so she slips out of the school into the woods, where she meets, Yanagi, aka Yagyuu, a crazy-eyed, Edo-period slang speaking, ex-Tenchi swordbearer. And so, we are launched into what may well be the absolutely most strange arc in this series so far.
Will Hayate be able to survive the training at the hands of her new oyabun? Will Yanagi’s reputation come back to haunt them? Will Ayana be able to convince Hayate to return to her? Will Hitsugi take matters into her own hands to bring discipline to one of the very first graduates of the sword-bearing program at Tenchi? Or will the entire school be thrown into a crazy free-for all?
Yes, all of the above, coming in Volume 11. ;-)