For six years, I have been telling you that Hayate x Blade (はやて×ブレード) is a most amazing manga. For six years I have been crowing about the fantastic characterization, the awesome action, the hilarious comedy of the women of Tenchi Gakuen. And in all that time, I never once have said that “this volume wasn’t as good as the last one.” You have to figure that at some point, statistics will catch up with this series and there will be a volume that is not as good as the last one.
Volume 13 of Hayate x Blade is not that volume.
Volume 13 is absolutely one of the funniest things I have ever read, and has the beginning of an arc SO full of awesome that I find I am unable to talk about it without using far too many superlatives to be taken seriously.
The volume starts as graduation comes to Tenchi Gakuen, and spring break comes soon after. Graduation at Tenchi is a moving ceremony, as you can imagine – or would be if Hayate knew how to behave in public. Spring break is a chance to see all our regulars kick back a little and have some fun.
It also gives us a chance to see some of the characters involved in a Buffalo hunt in Arizona. (Bet you never expected that, huh!)
And it gives us a chance to meet a few new characters who will be attending Tenchi when the next term starts. Sae’s little sister Saki, who dislikes Akira, but hits it off well with Hayate, is one. And will Nagi become shinyuu with the tall, strong and not-too-bright newbie that is blundering around the campus? These and more new faces will enter Tenchi…soon.
But not until the fight of the century is over.
Since the first chapter there has been a fight that has been discussed, but never fought. A fight that will decide the very future of the school. A fight that will make the word awesome mean something again. A fight that has me freaking right the fuck out as it plays out in current chapters in Ultra Jump. As this volume comes to a close, we are witness to a fight that has everyone in the school on the edge of their seats.
Amachi Hitsugi and Miyamoto Shizuku vs Mikado Akira and Inori Sae.
This fight is everything you could hope it to be.
So, while statistically speaking, there will probably have to be a volume of Hayate x Blade that isn’t *quite* as good as the one before it – that hasn’t happened yet and I don’t expect it to happen at least for another volume.
Hayashiya Shizuru continues to be one of the best story-tellers in manga, IMHO and this series is an absolute must-read for anyone who cares about the craft of manga. Smart-dumb, funny, action-filled and emotional all at once. As surprisingly good at Volume 13 as it ever has been.
Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 10
Yuri – 3
Service – 1
Overall – 9 and creeping ever higher….
This volume came bundled with a mini-Drama CD that will receive a review of it’s very own. Even if you can’t understand a word, you should listen to it for the chance to hear Asano Mayumi (Tatewaki Hikaru) rule the world of voice acting. Also for Sid and Nancy.