So, Volume 14 came and with it, the greatest fight ever seen at Tenchi Academy. Sae and Shizuku, out of the fight and only Hitsugi and Akira left to battle it out. Students and guests were on the edge of their seats and so were readers, I can assure you.Well, at least this reader was.
The battle ended as it had to. Bloodied, on one knee, but unbowed and unwilling to give up, Hitsugi defeated Akira. Phew, because if Akira won, Tenchi would have been disbanded. And here, in Hayate x Blade, Volume 15, (はやてｘブレード) we finally learn why.
We know that Akira’s father is a bastard – we’ve known that for a long time. We know he favors that prig Ryouichi and treats Akira like dirt, merely because she is a girl. And we learn why, exactly he let her come to Tenchi Gakuen – to destroy the Amachi family and the school. Having won the battle, Hitsugi cheerfully pronounces Akira’s punishment – to take over the school as chair. Akira now holds in her hands exactly what she was sent to get, and she runs off to give it to her father, and maybe, finally, get approval from the old man. But…Akira has undergone a transformation, and so has Sae, and together they walk away from what they were told would be their fates, in the quirkiest way possible. I won’t spoil it, but I will tell you that it involves a plastic bag from a convenience store (this time, the late, much lamented AM/PM) cut into a mask.
And so Akira and Sae return to school to find that nothing has changed – except everything has changed. The new trimester has begun and Tenchi Academy is moving! But before that, there’s new uniforms. And more epic battles between “randomly” chosen opponents who are so unrandom that everyone in the audience questions Hitsugi’s honesty. Ayana is once again paired with Yukari; Yuho returns, and Hayate meets (as in “meets in battle”) Nagi’s shinyuu-to-be, Kanai and lots of stupid shit happens.
I was recently discussing Hayate x Blade with Bruce and I said that generally I really dislike physical comedy. Hayate x Blade has a ton of physical comedy – that makes me laugh out loud. The story that wraps the comedy is so smart-dumb that it’s impossible not to laugh. In my imagination, Hayashiya-sensei is Hitsugi, pulling strings and manipulating characters, just to get the best damn story she can out of them. Which, she does.
Art – 9
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 1
Series – 1
Overall – 10
Once again, Hayate x Blade is the manga I wait with greatest anticipation for monthly issue and tankoubon alike. I pray daily that this manga becomes the longest-running story ever, because I cannot imagine my life without it and I expect to live a long time.