Yuri Manga: Hayate x Blade, Volume 5 (English)

December 14th, 2009

It is my greatest pleasure as a manga reader to read good stories, told well. Yesterday’s series, Octave, is one such story. The subject of today’s review, for totally different reasons and in totally different ways is, as well.

Hayate x Blade is a good story, told well and adapted into English with excellence.

These are three different things, mind you. Coming up with a good story isn’t that hard, but telling it well is incredibly difficult. And, as you know, it is my conflict-of-interest-laden pleasure to be a small part of the team that creates an English adaptation of this manga that reads so smoothly, so *naturally* that it does not feel like a “transalation” that is “localized” or “adapted.” It feels like I’m reading the original. It’s that natural.

Volume 5 of Hayate x Blade brings us to the long-awaited match between Hitsugi/Shizuku and Kurea/Minori. We get to see what we’ve always guessed – Hitsugi is 50% awesome and 50% freak of nature. And, it’s wonderful. Watching Shizuku gush is so cute I became positively squealy while reading it.

In case you haven’t taken a moment to enjoy Hitsugi’s background music, here’s the video, roller blades and all:

Incidentally, this video also went a long way to provide context for an arc in the middle of Hana no Asuka-gumi. It all makes much more sense now. ;-)

There’s a fair bit of implied service in this volume in which Jun, now that her “keeper” is gone, as she says, pervs out pretty hard. But for all that, there is little actual service – just the threat of it. :-)

And the next arc – which is another rip-snorting story, let me tell you – is set up with one seemingly inconsequential body check by a ducky.

Lastly I just need to say this – Sid and Nancyyyyyyy!!!!! They are the rockingest, most anarchy-est characters evar. EVAR. My one genuine complaint is that Sid was censored. She was not censored in the original and I’m sort of sad that The Powers That Be thought teens can’t see the word “fuck” without exploding or something. The scribbly bits in the text were original, meant to imply that Sid’s “fuck”s here and there were merely the beginning of her ear-burning vocabulary. I object on the grounds that the book has an Older Teen rating and I can’t *imagine* what puritan thinks Older Teens can’t (or shouldn’t) read bad language and on the grounds that it is not the readers’ fault that the wrong age rating was chosen for a series that is written for adults. Yay Sid! Boo big black bars. I will forgive this *only* because the mistake that was plaguing me has now been fixed. Please don’t censor her in future volumes. It’s just silly. Look… “fuck.” No one died.

The best part about Volume 5 is that there is no way in a million years you can guess what’s going to happen next, unless you are already familiar with the series. I will provide no spoilers and I hope none of my dear readers will, either. Let’s just laugh and nod knowingly because we know how funny it’s going to be. ^_^

On the Yuri side, you’re probably wondering how I can call the volume “Yuri” at all. Well – if Shizuku’s oration isn’t a confession of love, I don’t know what is, really.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 10
Characters – 9
Yuri – 4
Service – 2

Overall – 9

It is with sincerest thanks that I nod in the direction of Okazu Superhero Eric P. Eric, you’ve been such a great contributor to this blog…. I can’t really say more than “Thanks,” but that thanks is from the very bottom of my heart for your kindness and generosity for sponsoring today’s and so many other reviews.

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11 Responses

  1. Sean Gaffney says:

    The trouble with the black bars is that I tend to substitute even worse swear words that what were actually there. As I’m pretty sure Sid called the other people at the school ‘bourgeois cunts’. Or at least, that’s what the black bar made me think.

  2. Katherine says:

    I’m absolutely loving this series- including the greatness that is Hitsugi (best headmistress ever). It’s laughable that anybody would be under the impression that teenagers can’t handle “bad” language in their reading material- when they’ll hear every swear word under the sun at any middle school or high school. That aside, I’m definitely looking forward to future volumes!

  3. Matthew says:

    I love the cover. Hide Hayate–that nail-bat has a date with your skull!

  4. @Matthew – That’s *Mr.* Nail Bat to you. ;-)

  5. sarcastic_weasel says:

    My favorite joke from Hayate is still “Sigma UFO?” from volume 3. That one still cracks me up.

    And it’s always fun to see who’s having the moment of idiocy… nobody seems to be immune, not even Hitsugi. (Who is awesome, because she’ll change a rule just because it sounds cool.)

  6. Matthew says:

    @Erica – Don’t let ‘er get me! Ayana-chan’s scary when she’s pissed! (Oop … I used a bad word. Did any teens blow up?)

  7. Nathan says:

    I was always of the opinion that Hitsugi is ALL awesome and ALL freak of nature. Like the hypostatic union of crazy-awesome.

    God I love Hitsugi.

  8. Oh my god…

    When my copy gets to the bookstore, I am going to read it along with that video. It hasn’t even come yet, and I’m already having giggle fits from imagining it XD

  9. Pheonix03 says:

    If I have one problem with the series it’s that it feels like the manga can’t decide if it’s a Yuri manga or not. Though after this volume, I’ve decided not to consider it one.

    And while HxB is great, imo, it’s got nothing on Strawberry Shake Sweet.

  10. Donald says:

    And chibi Shizuku is pretty cute

  11. Decliner says:

    I don’t know, I think you might be biased about that translation thing… since, well, you were a part of it. But I would say it’s a good… erm, translation.

    The sexual threat’s gone now since a certain item of wood killed it.

    And Sid’s a poser using a certain stereotype. Anyways, I thought the censoring meant that the editors wanted to leave the language to the viewers’ imagination. Which I thought made it much more fun.

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