Hayate the Combat Butler Manga Volume 15

ハヤテのごとく!/Hayate no Gotoku manga volume 15 review
Hayate the Combat Butler Volume 15

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SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Hayate the Combat Butler 15As the Mt. Takao trip continues, Aika recalls her meeting with Nagi’s grandfather wherein he gave her a cursed pendent, stating its power was contained. Aika no longer believes that as she’s completely lost. However, she’s found by Isumi, who can sense the cursed stone. Isumi apparently places a seal on the stone and tells Aika that the stone may be to powerful for Aika. Aika agrees.

Elsewhere, Hayate’s group is still battling the bear when Azumamiya makes a foolish attempt at bravery. Still elsewhere, Nagi’s group is making their way to the top of the mountain as Chiharu ponders the fact that her secret life as a maid hasn’t been exposed. During a conversation, she makes a Gundam reference, which immediately catches Nagi’s attention. However, before Nagi can probe, Chiharu deflects attention to the arriving Aika, minus Isumi. Isumi is lost again and is foolishly attacked by the giant bear. Isumi’s barrier stops the attack and she’s about to deliver punishment when she notices the bear is injured. In exchange for healing the bear, the bear is to take her to the summit.

After everyone arrives, Katsura-sensei remarks that they will have to come back. Someone then realizes that Izumi is missing. After everyone goes home, Isumi comes home on the head of the giant bear.

Maria shows Hayate the jungle sauna in the mansion when the power cuts out and the two have to make their way to the exit in complete darkness and without Hayate looking at Maria, who’s lost her skirt.

At the video store, Saki is irked by Wataru’s glowing talk of Aika and realizes that one day, Wataru will grow up and leave her. Her attitude has Wataru consult Ayumu who says it is love. This leads to the false assumption that Saki is having an affair with an older, married man, something seemingly confirmed when Wataru observes Saki with a plain clothes police detective.

Nagi finds herself wide awake at two in the morning and ends up at Hayate’s room, surprised to find him still up and studying. To help her sleep, he suggest exercise, specifically a swim in the pool. Nagi is somewhat embarrassed by this but agrees, only to discover that it didn’t help her sleep the rest of the night but somehow, Hayate is still up before her and chipper.

Hayate and Ayumu finish work and then Hayate escorts Ayumu to her school so she can retrieve a notebook. She’s hoping for ghosts at school (so she can be held by Hayate), a wish Hayate says isn’t so good since he’s experienced ghost at his current school. Hayate ponders what would have happened between himself and Ayumu had he stayed at her school when they find a tied up night duty teacher and something pretty evil looking to boot.

First-year student Fumi heads to Hakuou Gakuin for her first day at school when she encounters Hina up in a tree with a kitten. After causing Hina to land in a bramble patch, Fumi is surprised that Hina knows her name without having asked. Fumi then encounters a sleeping Nagi outside and decides to wake her up so she won’t be late for class. However, her unconventional method of waking people up doesn’t sit well with Nagi, nor does Fumi’s assumptions of Nagi being potential dropout.

The next day, Fumi arrives early at school again and encounters a passed out Katsura-sensei, who’s not happy at having been disturbed before class starts. After classes start, Fumi is educated about Hina being the student council president. Fumi makes her way to the student council clock tower and is let in by Chiharu. She encounters the Katsura-sensei again and assumes the worst when Katsura-sensei ponders aloud about burning the place down to cover the fact that she missed class.

Makimura-sensei recalls her time as a student at Hakuou Gakuin when she was the student council vice-president and a 10-year old Maria was president. Maria shows how “clumsy” she can be when Makimura reveals she’s been secretly recording all of Maria’s activities for her new film appreciation club. That “clumsy” behavior continues into the present whenever materials from the past surface.

Nagi orders a car model kit and an RC car after seeing a commercial on an anime program. However, she has no desire to build a model and she doesn’t have any skills with the RC. After a strange dream, Nagi decides to give the RC another try for the sake of being a true, loving otaku.

Hina and Ayumu are working the cafe when Hina learns that Hayate thinks Hina hates him. She realizes her behavior and attitude have been bad and so she decides to try to be better. Her gentle words and smile at all sorts of events that would normally set her off are deemed even scarier than her normal reactions. Riza and Miki are scared enough to get some tickets to a kids movie and send Hayate on a date with Hina, knowing that Hayate is the safest boy on campus. Hina’s instinct is to reject Hayate’s date request when he asks but then she realizes this is her opportunity to show Hayate she can change.


Hayate the Combat Butler has long been a favorite manga of mine. Of the fifteen volumes Viz has published to date, volume 15 had me laughing the hardest. I’m not sure if it is because everything in this volume is 100% new to me or if I was so desperate for a laugh that I just found it funnier. Actually, I think it is a little bit of “A” as well as Hata-sensei’s comedy writing, enhanced by this art.

The conclusion to the bear story had me laughing so hard. The bear’s look of pity at the attempts to follow the plan from the movie Jurassic Park cracked me up. Even funnier was when the bear attempted to attack Isumi. *lol* Yeah, she fights youkai on a regular basis and the mere reveal of her ofuda slips caused hoards of rats to flee. Still, I didn’t expect her to have a barrier that powerful when she was attacked from behind. Her reaction to that attack is what was funny. The fact that the bear is now attached to her, enough so that it took her home was also very funny. I hope the bear shows up again in the manga, specifically during a visit to Isumi’s mansion.

Isumi’s role in the comedy doesn’t stop there. While Ayumu and Hayate are about to have their encounter with something from the pages of Bleach, Isumi remarks to the ghost priest Radiostar that she can sense a ghost AND that it is “wicked.” With Radiostar looking at the panties on dolls, Isumi’s remarks about the ghost being “very wicked” comes off as VERY funny.

However, new character Fumi is the winner of this manga for comedy. Nearly everything Hata-sensei had her do was outrageously funny. From Hina being forced to land in a bramble patch to trying to wake up Nagi by placing bread crumbs on her head before attempting to place a bird there, Fumi was a laugh a minute. I mean seriously, where does one get the idea to wake up a sleeping person by putting bread crumbs on their head and then placing a bird there to peck the crumbs off said head? *lol* That’s so outlandishly absurd and yet combined with Fumi’s sincere look, I found it to be outrageously funny. She only had two chapters, but she’s got to come back ’cause someone that funny can’t be kept in the closet (bearing in mind that she could steal the whole manga).

The story of Wataru and Saki having misconceptions about what was going on with the other person and their feelings for each other was sweet and funny at the same time. That was a nice combo. Also in the sweet category was Hayate trying to get Nagi worn out followed by Hayate teaching Nagi how to “drive” the RC car.

I wonder what purpose the cursed pendant plays in the story. Hata-sensei really went all out showing how Aika scored it but what the purpose behind the stone(s) are (since I believe Hayate still has one as well) is a mystery to me.

While I’m thinking of it, if Chiharu made a Gundam reference, I guess that means she’s a closet otaku, eh? If so, that might be fun to explore.

I’m looking forward to the new story arc that started with Hina and Hayate going on a date. That should be fun, especially with Hina forcing herself to be all smiley. ^_^

Viz-wise, I’m going to have to do a little bit of something that I don’t really want to do. For the most part, the translation/adaptation choices meet with ANB-approval as a wide scope of honorifics are used as well as some Japanese terms here and there. Unfortunately, an editorial decision was made at times to be hipper. For example, when Fumi encounters the passed out Katsura-sensei, one of the things she thinks in the original Japanese is, “Human is dead” in Engrish. Viz wipes that out in favor of her saying, “She’s dead, Jim.”

While there’s no doubt that Hata-sensei is a fan of some American programming, I had a suspicion that “She’s dead, Jim” was a rewrite because it didn’t fit. Indeed, Fumi has a knack for mixing English in with her Japanese and editorially speaking, Viz does nothing to denote this. There are two choices when it comes to someone in the original Japanese mixing English into their sentences. First is to reverse translate the English into (Romaji) Japanese, which I’ve seen done but I don’t think it works too well here. The other thing is to mark out the moments she starts speaking in English and put a note stating that this was in English.

For example,

“This sentence was originally in Japanese. <This is in English.>* Did you see I spoke English there? <I kiss you!>” *

*Spoken in English.

It isn’t that difficult to do IMO and I’m not sure why it isn’t done more often. I know that for some Del Rey releases, translator notes have been used to show what parts were originally in English amidst the Japanese. That’s fine, but the denotation marks I’ve used more quickly and clearly show when English is being used. I wish that’s what Viz and other manga folks would do in these situations.

There was another moment where the adaptation choice just came out and screamed, “American slang rules!” That’s when they have an embarrassed Hina tell Ayumu to “step off.”

Step off?

Sorry, but that just gives me the cringes, especially since I’m told the a proper translation is to have Hina say, “Fool” to Ayumu. Considering the context of their conversation combined with Hina’s embarrassed reactions, that seems natural since that kind of scenario is not uncommon in manga stories and I’ve seen others use “fool” there. Why Viz wanted to go with “step off” is a real head-scratcher.

You know Viz, you could help matters a great deal by having translator notes. Good translator notes that have the translator explaining how things went down specifically in the Japanese and why they modified it for the English buys a lot of goodwill, at least with me.

I was very surprised to learn that we are about ten volumes behind Japan on the manga. Volume 25 is coming out next month in Japan and we are only just getting volume 15. That’s roughly 2.5 years behind the tankoubon release. I wonder why we are so far behind in the U.S.?

Regardless, and despite my problems with some slang usage as well as some other issues, this is a great volume and certainly worth the purchase.

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4 Responses to “Hayate the Combat Butler Manga Volume 15”

  1. Kota-kun says:

    Good Review as always ANB 🙂
    I didn’t catch the reference to Bleach though? Can you tell me which chapter it is, and I’ll look for it.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I see that Google’s bloody “smart” editor made some changes because I was trying to use the “<" and ">” markers in my text. I’ve fixed that by hard coding what I want and thankfully, Google didn’t rewrite that. *_*

    Anyway, the manga doesn’t have traditional chapters in the way one would expect. Chapters return to “1” every volume. That said, it is the sixth chapter of this volume and entitled, “Can’t Live Hiding in the Dark.”

  3. Cooleofranco555 says:

    Sorry, if this i a little off topic but since you bought most of the english hayate manga before, were there any translations issues, like honorifics,japanese terms, and such?
    I’m thinking of maybe trying to read this manga again after losing interest and maybe even buy it too, cause i do think it is funny. But there’s this recent problem of manga publishing companies shutting down scanlation sites, like Onemanga,and im afraid that i wont be able to read it online anymore to see if it’s someting i would buy. I don’t want to purchase and later regret because of some mistakes or that i didn’t like how the story played.
    P.S If its not a bother, can you tell me your email? I have a few questions concerning manga and you seem like an individual who knows more than the average fan

  4. AstroNerdBoy says:

    For the most part, the Viz adaptation of Hayate the Combat Butler is quite good. They’ve really gone otaku with the manga, if that’s your thing (it is mine). So all of the honorifics are there, most “oneechan” or “oniichan” titles/honorifics are left in, terms like “ojousama” and “waka” (the male equivalant) are left in as are terms like bocchan and bocchama. In one volume, they left “youkai” in but I think most of the time they translate that.

    The only constant complaint I have with the Viz release is a lack of translator notes.

    As to my e-mail, it is at the bottom of the right column of the blog. ^_^

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