In Hayate x Blade 2 (Nyan), Volume 5 Manga (はやて×ブレード2 5), the Ultimate Hoshitori continues moving inexorably towards a climax that will, in some ways, have to be forseeable, and others that cannot be.
While the various members of the white-uniformed Tenkuu dorm take on their counterparts of the black-clad Daichi dorm, and the various members of Hajime’s “Black Group,” among others, Hitsugi waits for any of the combatants to reach her – and make no mistake about it, she wants them to reach her and to face her and Shizuku in combat.
We get to see Jun and Yuho reaching a new peak of skill as they beat the loathsome Hideko and her sad little partner, Rosana. And we get to see Akira and Sae pair off in front of Hajime and Shingetsu, which really would be an amazing fight, if we’re allowed to see it.
But. Really, all our attention is turned to Nagi and Hayate, who face off alone. They battle their inner demons, their feelings about themselves and each other and neither can defeat the other…so Nagi decides to sit and wait for their shinyuu. Unfortunately, Kanae and Ayana are running late because they have been hijacked by the psychopath Thelma and her partner Rui. To defeat them, Kanae and Ayana are forced to dig deep. So deep, that Kanae carries an battered Ayana to the ground where they will be fighting one another. Props to Kanae, because she makes Ayana get up and enter the battleground on her own feet. At last, with minutes left in the round, the battle we all need to see is going to begin – Nagi and Kanae vs Hayate and Ayana.
The extra chapter follows the gang involved in a goofy- and extremely personal – trivia contest. It seems a bit rigged as Hitsugi declares them all losers.
We’re still at 34 main characters (32 fighters, Nagare and Taiyou, Nagi and Hayate’s parents,) for this volume, but it’s shockingly easy to follow who are what and where. As I’ve said before, one of the amazing things about the art in this series (not the most amazing…the most amazing thing is the the actions scenes are followable,) is that one never gets confused at who is who. The characters designs are that unique and identifiable. No mean feat for a book consisting of nearly 3 dozen identically-uniformed people fighting.
This volume was an edge-of-the-seat page turner for me. I’ve been waiting for Nagi and Hayate to fight (and, presumably, work through whatever baggage Nagi is carrying) for volumes. Kanae seemed just plain goofy at first, as we were seeing her through Nagi’s eyes, but we can see that she and Nagi have become a strong partnership in their own right and I feel positive about the four of them fighting now.
Another great volume, deeply embedded in the intense the blood, sweat and tears relationships of sisters-at-arms, with the physical comedy of a Three Stooges episode. ^_^
Art – 10
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 0 Hayate picked up the Yuri ball, but Ayana spiked it at her head. Jun is left merely honestly admiring her “princess,” Yuho.
Service – 4 For me, the blood sweat and tears *is* service and this was a bloody, sweaty and teary volume.
Overall – 10