Hayate the Combat Butler Manga Volume 20 (Viz Edition)

ハヤテのごとく!/Hayate no Gotoku manga volume 20 review
Hayate the Combat Butler Volume 20 


Since I’ve already reviewed this volume based on the Japanese tankoubon, this review will focus on the Viz release, then some last moment thoughts.

On the translation side of things, there is the much-appreciated, continued usage of Japanese honorifics and titles, including “ojousama.” The various translations I’ve seen of that always make me cringe. There’s the usual adaptation moments where it seems clear there’s an attempt to sound cool more so than just be accurate but readable.

Viz’s policy is to replace almost all Japanese text where ever it may show up.  For the most part, I tolerate this, but from time to time, I have to call them out on it.  This is such time.

There’s a scene where Nagi is on the beach, worried about the missing Hayate, and uses a stick to write out “liar” in the sand, in katakana — usotsuki (ウソツキ) being the Japanese word. Because Americans seeing Japanese might cause a disruption in the space-time continuum, opening a wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, Viz’s aggressive, anti-Japanese policy comes into play.  Thus what looks to be text written in the sand now looks like cheap printing.  See for yourself.

Hayate the Combat Butler Volume 20

Scanlation version (Japanese text)

Hayate the Combat Butler Volume 20

Viz version (English text)

Seriously Viz, leaving the Japanese text in would have been the right choice because Nagi is writing in the sand.  Why ruin the art just to put English there, especially since you could have gone the non-offensive route similar to what the scanlators did. I know it may not be much, and like I said, most of the time, I just roll with it. However, this time, the Viz English print was like a fist coming out of the pages of the manga and punching me in the face.

To be fair, from time to time, Viz does retain Japanese text in their releases, but only when they see no viable way to replace the Japanese with English.  That happened in this volume, where Hata-sensei screwed Viz royally by daring to use a ton of Nagi’s hats to spell out mokuji (もくじ), the hiragana way to spell out the word for “table of contents.” In a case like this, Viz couldn’t cheaply wipe out this awful Japanese text, so with much wringing of hands, they left it in.  Fortunately for Viz, no wormholes have been reported, but there may have been other, unforeseen events, such as the date I had with a hot babe.

One thing I haven’t talked about (or not much) are the volume’s splash page art from Hata-sensei.  Unlike the chapter splash pages, which Hata-sensei uses to do anything he wants with his characters, the volume splash page is actually canon art to the story.  As such, whatever is depicted there is something that is part of the story.  Sometimes, we see those events play out in that volume, but at other times, we don’t see those events at all until much, much later.

For volume 20, the art shows two figures at the wall painting below Nagi’s Greek residence. One of them looks to be Nagi’s grandfather, but the other figure is cloaked.  So, it will be interesting to see whom that turns out to be.

As normal, no translator notes are to be found here, which I always find to be a shame, especially in a title with parody references to other series, or with certain cultural items.

Despite my rant above, I am grateful to Viz for continuing to release Hayate the Combat Butler with proper Japanese honorific usage. Shockingly, Viz is only making us wait five months for the next volume (February 12, 2013). ^_^;

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7 Responses to “Hayate the Combat Butler Manga Volume 20 (Viz Edition)”

  1. burnpsy says:

    To be honest, I actually like that Viz swaps out all of the Japanese text for English text… when they do it right.

    I buy my volumes in bulk (I import from the US to save lots of money), so I hadn’t picked this one up yet. I agree, that’s just plain ugly. If they’re gonna change something like that, they could at least put more effort into it.

    But alas, this series down’t move nearly enough copies for them to care. I’m actually rather surprised that we only have a 5-month wait for the next one, in fact. Maybe sales increased very slightly? Who knows. This series deserves better sales than it gets, though.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I’m surprised that for a series that doesn’t sell as well, Viz wastes so much money stripping out the Japanese. They should just leave it in and follow the Del Rey route of having text translations between panels or where ever.

      Anyway, it is depressing for me that the series doesn’t sell as well. Other than a lack of translation notes, the series is mostly well done for Viz. I would have thought more folks would be into it.

  2. Lan says:

    will you be reviewing the new series. To me it seems completely off. There are too many characters and the humor is lost.

  3. Damn I have got to get around to reading the Combat Butler manga, I really like the anime.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      The manga really is quite good, better than the anime because the flow works so much better. Plus, even though it is slow in moving forward with the main plot, the plot is interesting.

      Also, Viz is doing a good job with this manga, so I encourage folks to buy it.

  4. […] I got a big kick out of the gag reference to volume 20 of the manga (which came out in 2009 in Japan), when Saki, Wataru, and Sakuya (remember her?) were […]

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