In an industry filled with series prematurely ending, or fading out after hanging around just slightly too long, or long-lived series sputtering to an end a decade after the readers have moved on, it’s not often we’re around to see a well-told story come to a well-told end. It’s even rarer to face the end of a beloved series without tears and accompanying whimpers of self-pitying whining. ^_^ Here we are at Hayate x Blade, Volume 18. The End.
The Black Group has declared their purpose – they will bring Tenchi Gakuen to its knees by snatching all of the students. Unfortunately for them, those same students have developed tough muscles and thick brains in their time at Tenchi and have no intention of going down without a fight.
And while the Black Group fighters meet their matches all around the school, Hayate faces Maki, while Ayana faces her inner demons and fights Yukari. It’s not as emotionally crushing as it might have been, since Yukari has set the past aside and encourages Ayana to let go of hers. Eventually they are able to battle each other with everything they have.
Hayate and Ayana…lose their matches.
Hitsugi brings the Black Group encroachment to an end, by unmasking the leader of the enemy – Hajime is actually her cousin. And Hitsugi comes to a conclusion.
Her time as Chair of Tenchi has been fun, she tells the gathered students, but she wants to return to a more normal life. To that end, she is stepping down as Chair of the school and President of the Student Council. Furthermore, she’s splitting the student body into 2 dorms – one headed by Hajime, the other by Kurea (whose punishment will never end, seemingly.) Sword-bearing students will still be able to fight, but the rules (and I’m guessing, the uniforms) will change. In two months, students will need to decide which dorm they will align themselves with. I’ve been guessing which pairs will go where since I read this the first time. ^_^
All the while this is going on, Hayate is visiting Tanpopo Garden, to present Chiharu with the school’s deed and to announce that she and Ayana have been awarded A rank.
The series comes to an end officially as Shizuku rings the gong, announcing the next round of Hoshitori.
The epilogue consists of Hayate (and Ayana) handing out Shigeru Family cat mascots to willing and unwilling (and confused, poor Kei,) recipients, as the students consider which dorm they will join.The volume ends with Hitsugi and Shizuku considering their mascots, while everyone else heads out to practice, as they all wait to use their swords in the Hoshitori once again.
I would write something really touching and emotional right about now, however I have already read the prologue of the new series and it begins with a visual gag that is spit-take inducing – it is this gag that is used as the promo for the prologue and now I’m laughing again.
So long Hayate x Blade! It’s been fun.
Welcome Hayate x Blade 2! We look forward to meeting you.
Art – 9
Story – 10
Characters – 9
Yuri – 0
Service – 0
Overall – 10
Thank you, Hayashiya-sensei, for being one of the best storytellers in manga. ^_^