By Leroy Douresseaux
Aug 11, 2008 - 10:42
Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
Hayate Ayasaki’s parents incurred a horrible debt to the yakuza; plus, they’d spent all the money Hayate had earned trying to support them. The parents disappear after selling Hayate’s organs to pay off the debt. Hayate himself ends up in debt to a teenage heiress named, Nagi Sanzenin. Nagi, called “Ojô-sama,” is also frequently the target of kidnapping plots and various schemes by people trying to get her money. Hayate becomes Ojô-sama’s butler, and he zealously protects her, while she falls in love with him.
In Hayate the Combat Butler, Vol. 8, Hayate accidentally sees Ojô-sama (Nagi Sanzenin) naked, so Hayate leaves the Sanzenin mansion for a few days – with the gift of one million yen for living expenses from Maria the maid. However, the arrival of his cash-strapped friends soon puts the butler-in-debt back in poverty. Schoolmate Hinagiku Katsura takes Hayate into her home, but her budding love for the young butler is yet another complication.
THE LOWDOWN: I’m reluctant to call Hayate the Combat Butler a romantic comedy or “action-comedy” (as the publisher calls it). It seems as if the best way to describe Hayate the Combat Butler is as a situation comedy. Every chapter and sometimes a few times within individual chapters, comic scenarios – built around romance and action (of course), but also around misunderstandings, chance encounters, personality conflicts, etc. – arise. For instance, late in this volume, the discovery of a lost kitten offers an opportunity for laughs, for revealing personalities, and for reintroducing an eccentric character. The quirky art, with its constant shifting between drama and deforming, hits the right pitch for the comedy.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: With its mild innuendo, cheesecake, anthropomorphized animals, and high-strung characters, Hayate the Combat Butler has that kind of broad humor that will likely appeal to fans of comedy manga.