The main male protagonist, Ayakashi Hayate alongside the best character in the series, the talking white tiger Tama-chan.
After an extended hiatus, I’ve been lining up a few 2007 anime that should be able to give a stiff test to the current best 2007 anime Nodame Cantabile. ‘Should’ is probably not a good word because Hayate no Gotoku, the first title in this series of 2007 anime review really disappoints. Read on to see why.
Which explains one of the biggest problems with this anime. This scene incidentally happened in a Meitantei Conan parody episode, which is painful to watch. Unfortunately, there are many episodes like this in the series.
Ayakashi Hayate, a poor boy that was abused by his irresponsible parents since he was born, is ‘gifted’ with a 150 million yen debt for Christmas. Desperate, he resorts to kidnap a pompous rich brat Sanzenin Nagi who ran away from home. Nevertheless, the kidnapping failed, and our hero has to become Nagi’s butler instead to repay the debt.
Let me get the anime’s weaknesses out of the way first, because they are numerous. The first one is the story, and oh boy, does it suck badly. In fact, this anime’s storyline is one of the worst I have seen in a year or so. In general, this anime is similar actually to the likes of Inukami or Zero no Tsukaima (has the same voice actress too for the main female protagonist) but I have never guessed that Hayate no Gotoku will be inferior to both! Yes, even to 6 out of 10 Zero no Tsukaima! You should be able to guess by now where the scoring of this title will go.
I only watched about 10 episodes or so before I realized that this anime is going down the way Nagasarete Airantou did. At least Nagasarete Airantou still has plots at both ends of the story. Here in Hayate no Gotoku, there are almost none because the anime mainly consists of the main characters going through the motions throughout the year from the start to the end. If not for some good points of the anime (which will be explained later below), plus with my vain hope that this anime will get better later in the series because I have waited more than a year for this, I would have just dropped this title completely.
There is no need to explain any plot development, because there are virtually none in the whole 52 episodes. About the ending, if the characters do not make a big deal about how episode 52 is the last episode, no one will notice the difference between episode 52 and the majority of the preceding episodes. After all, episode 52 is just another episode where absolutely nothing has happened. And yeah, if episode 52 is the ending, than it is safe to say that the ending of this anime sucks too. If this anime has a second season like what the credits suggested, it is safe to say that I will not watch it. I feel cheated after waiting for a year for this anime to finish being subbed just to find out that it sucks donkey balls.
A parody of Initial D‘s gutter driving technique.
This anime, like Lucky Star or Cromartie Koukou or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, also make lots of references to a lot of other anime/manga/TV shows/personalities etc. From the usual Gundam or The Scream references, there is also a reference to US vice president Dick Cheney (the case where he shoots an old man on the face). To date, this anime has the most extensive scope of references I have ever seen, and this is actually one of the positive points of this anime. Unfortunately, when it comes to implementations, there are many occasions where the presentation is simply lame, such as the elaborate Detective Conan/Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann parody episodes and the numerous censored anime/manga names (in dialogues) and scenes. I also take issues with this anime that makes fun of genre clichés when the series itself repeat the same mistakes later.
Yet another The Scream parody in a Japanese anime.
Moving on with the positives, this anime has an all-around above average character strength. There are many interesting characters here, with the talking white tiger taking the cake. Characters developments, in the strictest sense, are done very well, although in the case of the female main protagonist, it was regressive. Talking about that, at the start of this anime, the two main protagonists are excellent and much better than the stereotypical ones in Zero no Tsukaima. Unfortunately, while the male protagonist keeps his cool until the end, the female protagonist de-evolves and slowly become someone that is even worse than Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière (I’m looking forward to Zero no Tsukaima 3rd season). Other positives that are worth mentioned here are the jokes, which by majority are well-executed. Some episodes are watchable purely because of that. Apart from that, I have no recollection of other positives that can be put in this section.
Evangelion parodies are common recurrence in this anime, and the only one I’m aware of that does it regularly.
The character designs in this anime are excellent. Notably outstanding are the main male protagonist, the other butlers at the school and some other male characters. The creator seems to have the Initial D/Naruto symptoms of not being able to create beautiful female characters though, with the school superintendent being the closest thing of being decent. That and with the fact that black hairs are rare in this real-life Japan are the reasons why this section is not a positive point of this anime.
Our reluctant hero is going to be shafted by the main female protagonist.
Overall, voice acting in this anime is pretty good, but with no one being outstanding.
Our male protagonist here sometimes do cross-dressing when not attending to the whimsical pompous female protagonist…
The OST and the 2nd ED theme is decent, but not the rest of the themes.
…and our hero will always take his time doing ‘this’ and ‘that’ to ‘her’.
A positive point of this anime, the animation is fluid even in fast-paced scenes. The choreography of action scenes (which this anime has a lot) can be patchy, with some questionable scenes that comes along with many remarkable ones. The directing is average though, but if that was the story that comes from the manga, he/she can probably do nothing about it.
The playful interaction between our hero and the main male protagonist.
4 out of 10. One of the greatest disappointments in my life, waiting for a year for this. Coming next: Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Hopefully will not suck donkey balls compared to this one.
Tama-chan, if only he gets more air-time, the scoring could go higher.