This is absolutely *not* the case for Hayate x Blade, Volume 11. In fact, if anything, the plot moves forward most in the giant handwave moments, the sweeping, epic, moments, and any moments that rocks or trees are crashing down the mountain. Frequently, onto Ayana.
Seriously, so much goes on in this arc that I’ll be hard put to synopsize even the broadest strokes.
You may remember from previous volumes, that Hayate’s twin sister Nagi had arrived at Tenchi Academy. Her superiority at the sword and her few-minute edge as the older sister leads both Nagi and Hayate to the conclusion that Nagi will now take her place as Ayana’s sister-in-arms. Hayate, sure that this is a fated conclusion, leaves the school, goes out to mountain behind the school and is found and befriended by obviously crazy Yannagi Makoto. Because of Makoto’s exceptional sword skills, her Edo-period patois and the fact that her hair covers one eye all the time, Hayate calls her Yagyuu (for Yagyuu Jyuubei) and oyabin (“boss” in Edo lingo.)
It turns out that Makoto is the first ever student who graduated from Tenchi’s Sword-bearing student program. Somewhere between her years in middle school and her third year of high school, she broke completely and fled to the mountain behind Tenchi where she has lived and trained, since. We don’t yet know why, but we do get the briefest glimpse of her past in a flashback.
Hitsugi decides that it’s time to deal with Makoto, so she announces a whole-school event – a randori (a many-against-one melee.) All of the swordbearers are told to find Makoto, with no regard for rank, with the exceptions of the student council who are sent out to obstruct the other ranks. The winner will get a prize chosen by which gate they started from – money, food or a trip to Hawaii. All of the students happily head out to find this mysterious graduate.
Ayana couldn’t care less about Makoto. She’s super extra pissed off that she’s here at all and she only has one goal – to find and put the beat down on Hayate for being the cause of this nonsense. And, of course, get her back as shinyuu.
There are a number of scenes of awesome in this volume. Asakura Mizuchi’s preemptive introduction, before Ayana can forget her name again. Sid, being booted out of the helicopter by Nancy. The source of Makoto’s sword skills. What actually goes on inside Ensuu’s head. And Jun fighting Sae has some extra awesome on the side.
The randori format means that we’ll get to see pairs fighting that we’d otherwise never see. As Hayashiya-sensei never lets a character drop after introducing her, that means we get some good fights with characters that you probably forgot about.
Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 1
LoseFanBoy – 1
Overall – 9
The arc isn’t anything like done, although in last month’s Ultra Jump it came to a climax. What the future will bring – and what past will be revealed – is still anyone’s guess!