Hayate the Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You — Final Thoughts

Hayate no Gotoku! Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
ハヤテのごとく! CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU

I’m a big fan of the Hayate the Combat Butler manga series, more so once my eyes were opened to the fact that there was an actual plot to the series, making it rise above the parody, gag filled, romantic, harem comedy series I’d come to enjoy.  So, when I heard that manga creator Hata-sensei was writing the third anime outing for the Hayate the Combat Butler series, naturally I was very interested. The results turned out to be a mixed bag.  I’ll start with the problems first.

The first problem is the character designs. Manglobe took over the anime production duties from J.C. Staff, and naturally, they have to put their stamp on the characters. The results are not very attractive as the characters look like they’ve been punched in the face. The characters are recognizable for sure, but they just aren’t attractive, which is a shame. Even Hina, who’s often perceived as the hottest of the babes in the franchise, just looks unattractive in this anime. Visual appeal is a big part of any anime production, so when you take characters that people enjoyed looking at in the manga and previous anime incarnations and make them ugly, you aren’t starting on the right foot.

The second problem I had was that the first half of the anime, which is supposed to take place some one month after the movie and some two months after volume 34 of the manga, took certain manga stories from volume 34 and before to animate those stories. I would have preferred this anime series been 100% original and leave any anime story adaptations to a future Hayate the Combat Butler anime series that picks up where Hayate the Combat Butler!! left off.  This is partially due to the fact that the stories brought forward mostly didn’t work as well in this future environment, with the anime-only character of Ruri being either inserted into some stories or replacing another character. In either case, Ruri was not a good choice of characters to bring in.

This brings me to the third problem with the anime, which wasn’t one for me personally, but will be for anyone who’s not read through volume 34 of the manga. For some reason, I find myself surprised at the number of people who really enjoyed the first two anime series but refuse to read the manga for whatever reason. However, even those who do read the manga as far as Viz has released, which as of this posting is volume 20, are going to be confused about some aspects to the anime. That’s because as I mentioned earlier, the anime takes place a couple of months after volume 34 and assumes that the viewers of the anime have read through volume 34.

For those who have read through volume 34, which would be me, the anime offers tantalizing clues to things that are apparently forthcoming in the manga. ^_^  For us, it was nice seeing Yukari-chan House is still there (complete with some of the residents), seeing Nagi’s doujinshi success (though the actual details are still unknown), seeing Wataru’s apparent success, and more.  I liked this feeling of story progression, but that’s what made the anime’s going back and pulling stories from the past to bring them into this future story more frustrating. I wanted the anime to be pure canon, not partial canon (assuming that’s what it turns out to be, which is likely based on how Hata-sensei does things).

My other problem with the anime’s story is that the production team is trying to be a bit too clever by half. They kept throwing apple symbolism in our face, which became quite tedious to me. Because the idol character Ruka is so popular in Japan, the production team kept trying to work her in, both as a way of selling a music CD and as a way to just give her face time. However, she didn’t actually contribute anything to the story until the very end (a minor contribution), and even then, she wasn’t seen interacting with her friends and former housemates.  She was just in concert and some of the other characters were watching her.

The good part of the anime came from it revealing the identity of Nagi’s deceased father, and his relationship with Nagi’s mother, Yukariko. Hata-sensei had previously teased an image of Nagi’s father (Shin), showing him to somewhat resemble Hayate and to be wearing a butler’s uniform. Hata-sensei had also stated that he was a blonde foreigner, explaining why Nagi has blonde hair. I had no real problem with the way Shin was brought back, though how he survived all those years in the magical kuro-tsubaki artifact is a bit dodgy to me. Still, though Shin didn’t initially act like a father, he did at the end and was rewarded as a result. I hope that Hata-sensei incorporates this element of the anime into the manga since it would be a side-story, thus he wouldn’t have to spend manga time telling it.

Since a good deal of this manga took place in Las Vegas, there was plenty of Engrish to go around. Unfortunately, too many laughs came from here, which wasn’t the intent of the Japanese since I doubt Japanese audiences would much notice the Engrish vs. English. Still, the Japanese seiyuu didn’t do too badly as I’ve seen other anime titles where the Engrish is just insane. However, this is the fist anime I’ve seen where so much English profanity is thrown around.

Speaking of humor, there were some humorous moments during the first half with the silly OP/ED segments. Only the modified tale of URASHIMA Taro was really funny to me of those.  Within the anime itself, two moments stuck out comedy-wise. First was Yukariko’s first meeting with Shin, which contained a really unexpected moment. The second was Fumi hosting the quiz contest, where she was used to great effect since her questions were unexpected. As I have often stated, for me, the funniest materials come from those completely unexpected things that happen, whether in a slapstick context or in a gag-punchline context.

In the end though, this anime is just a mixed bag for me. There are too many negative elements to recommend this to casual anime viewers, especially in light of the anime’s plot being dependent of viewers having been current with the manga.  However, for fans of the manga series who are current with the manga, the story elements regarding Nagi’s father and mother are of great interest, more so if Hata-sensei officially makes them canon. Even then, the anime would be 2 out of 5 stars.

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22 Responses to “Hayate the Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You — Final Thoughts”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dolly may have been a bad influence to Tsugumi because Tsugumi was so obsess with getting the kuro-tsubaki from the way she’s acting when she snatch the kuro-tsubaki from Nagi. But after Dolly died, Tsugumi no longer want the kuro-tsubaki.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t it seem like Nagi came to Las Vegas for nothing since Tsugumi is leaving with Shidou?

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s too bad Nagi never got a chance to go to Area 51.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t it seem like Tsugumi was on both Nagi’s side and Dolly’s side at the same time?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I find Tsugumi’s screentime in the final episode odd. First she was looking at Nagi with a sad look on her face. Now, she leaves Nagi and get in Isumi’s way when she’s trying to help Nagi.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hayate didn’t comment that Nagi’s father look like him.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Tsugumi says she was abandoned but didn’t say what the reason was. So Tsugumi was abandoned for no reason?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      The writers decided the reason Ruri was abandoned wasn’t important, only that she was abandoned. Writers have to decide on what information helps the story move forward and what information is just extraneous, especially when there are time constraints.

  8. Anonymous says:

    If Tsugumi isn’t really Nagi’s sister why would she lie that she’s Nagi’s younger sister?

  9. arimareiji says:

    My other problem with the anime’s story is that the production team is trying to be a bit too clever by half.

    This sums up about 80-90% of why I ended up mostly disliking this round of Hayate. This (and other anime I’ve seen, including the first half or so of the original Hayate) kinda reminded me of the anime production team depicted in OreImo… if you’re so sure you could tell a better story than the author, then tell (and try to sell) your own story. Don’t co-opt someone else’s and use it as a vehicle to try to show how much more clever you are. Leave that kind of behavior to Hollywood.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Yeah, I hear ya. Unfortunately, this has gone of for ages with anime adaptations. Sometimes it works well (for the most part), like in the Slayer’s franchise.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Tsugumi calling Nagi her big sister is like Yui from Sword Art Online calling Kirito and Asuna papa and mama.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for the necro-post, as I have just finished watching HnG: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, but I really have to voice this out:

    So, the production staff has changed, huh? So that’s why I thought the character’s looks (Hinagiku, really??) and key places (like Sanzenin Mansion) changed, albeit not for the better, I think. I like their original character designs just fine. These little graphical changes has been nagging me all throughout the series… and then as I am a big fan of Hayate x Hina, I think it’ll only exist in fanmade creations, huh? Maybe, that’s also a reason they have when they made Hina slightly less pretty than Nagi to put back the spotlight to Hayate x Nagi, seeing that Hina was more generally liked by fans.

    Other than that, the plot was interesting, sans Ruka’s monologues, ’cause it doesn’t work for me that much. OP and ED songs are good, but I like the last season’s better. Yeah… I’ve already loved the first two seasons that much that I was expecting much, much more this time around. Though it lost some of the charms I loved in its prequel, this’ll have to do until J.C. Staff comes back to do this, or Manglobe steps it up to the level the series has achieved prior to this.

    P.S. I’d really love to watch some more Hayate x Hina scenes… anyone knows where can I find some, moe~? (either canon or non-canon)

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      >I like their original character designs just fine.

      Yeah, the character designs here just sucked. They were better for Cuties, but that series had other problems.

      >Other than that, the plot was interesting, sans Ruka’s monologues, ’cause it doesn’t work for me that much.

      I know, right? They had to give her something to do since she’s not a part of the actual story except briefly at the end. I suppose otaku in Japan may have gotten angry if she weren’t included in some way, but it was a waste of time.

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