I gotta be honest with you. Every time I finish reading a volume of Hayate x Blade, I award myself a little mental achievement badge. Partially because for a goofball comedy, this is some of the most difficult Japanese I read on a regular basis, but also because it’s such a tremendously excellent series that I feel I have gained something critical with each volume. ^_^
In Volume 1 of the new series, Amachi Hitsugi rolled out the new dorms and the new Hoshitori rules. In Volume 2 of Hayate x Blade Nyan (はやてxブレード 2), she commences the Summer Festival, in which she turns the Tench Academy students’ lives into an unending extreme obstacle course.
First, there’s the entrance to the resort island where the festival will take place. The ladder game used for decision making, Amidakuji, is reproduced as a thin scaffolding crossing the ocean. The bars are coated in oil, so students may slip off into the water. Only those students who make it across will be part of the Summer Festival.
Those who make the crossing successfully find themselves assigned to cottages which include members of both the Tenkuu and Daichi dorms. Right away, cottage members are assigned as teams to run the multi-part obstacle race to gather food and utensils in order to make their evening’s dinner, which is of course, curry. They collect seafood from the ocean, carry heavy portions of rice through the jungle, spelunk to find equipment to cook with and are, if they gain the required items in the time allotted, awarded with the curry powder they need.
To celebrate achieving their first goal – and eating dinner – the Tenchi students annoy the shit out of the Black Group by having fun and lighting fireworks.
Character development-wise, we finally start to crack open the safe that is Nagi. Nagi’s mask slips a bit when she’s paired with Ayana who already knows her weakness for the dark from Hayate. And she is further challenged when Hitsugi basically rips the emotional mask off her in the blunt, but decent manner she has. “Do you love the sword?” she asks…and Nagi doesn’t really have an answer.
While Hitsugi challenges Nagi’s worldview, Hajime does the same to Hayate. You are weak, the Black Group leader tells Hayate, you are dogs who come at Hitsugi’s call. Hayate fights back with – we’re not dogs, we’re having fun, duh.
Hayate thinks she’s weaker than Nagi, but in this volume, it becomes ever more clear that it’s probably the other way around.
A bonus chapter has Visual Band ZLAY (Strawberry Shake crossover!!!) visiting the island and performing in all their Yuri glory, which confuses the heck out of some of the students. Ayana’s all in when they start to play a series end theme she really likes. ^_^
Art – 9
Story – 9
Character – 9
Yuri – 0
Service – 1 We get a little Hitsugi dress-up.
Overall – 9
As always, the action is top notch, the characters are complex, multi-facted, complicated and interesting and the comedy is low and broad. What a great read. More please! Never stop! Achievement unlocked!