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Watch & Learn: HAYATE THE COMBAT BUTLER #1

Why do the Japanese think butlers are so cool?

Did Vash start his own clothing line?
Did Vash start his own clothing line?

Is there no tradition of butlery in Japan or something? Between this and BLACK BUTLER, I can’t help but suspect that the Japanese find Jeeves, Hobson and Alfred to be as exotic as Westerners find Zatoichi, Yoshimitsu and Ogami Itto. Creative license is all well and good, but I almost want to lean into this thing and tell everybody that “butler” ain’t a synonym for “bodyguard.” The only thingsa butler’s going to protect is your tea from getting cold and your shirt from getting wrinkled. I suppose I’m seeing the other end of the mistranslated cross-cultural exchange that’s led so many Westerns to romanticize ninjas when they’re looked at it as deplorable cowards overseas. Maybe that’ll be addressed in some later episode; maybe I missed it in the wordplay because this is subbed? I mean, the episode is titled "In English, 'Unmei' Means 'Destiny'" and that isn’t even true in Little Tokyo.

Rant aside, this episode was fun. Falling snow and a Christmastime setting are sure-fire ingredients to set the mood for me and make any criticism I’d have melt under the warmth of so much holiday cheer. Santa even shows up (although I’m not sure if he's intentionally off-script or if this is another “lost in translation” moment. If it’s that latter, than I’ll have to group this with the Mexican SANTA CLAUS movie in the category of bizarre foreign interpretations of Saint Nick.) Hayate might as well be an ass-kicking Tiny Tim for the amount of misfortunes they put on him to win your sympathy. For crying out loud, the kid’s parents steal from him and then cut out of town! That might actually be worse than getting orphaned.

Like I said, slapstick shenanigans and a yuletide atmosphere get me interested in coming along for more - -especially when the end teaser's goofing on TV regulations. Actually, I’m most amused by the incredibly awkward and ambiguous mixing of criminal tough talk and aggressive romantic advances Hayate spouts when he’s “propositioning” the rich girl. She seems to go along with it because of his, shall we say, animal magnetism, but I’m morbidly curious to see what kind of riff on Stockholm syndrome this might turn into.

Watch this episode "In English, ‘Unmei’ Means "Destiny" here and decide for yourself.

Previous series I've watched for this extend sampling...

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

Daniel_Newton moderator on May 14, 2011 at 3:42 a.m.

I started watching this one a long while back and kind of dropped it, nothing wrong with it, I was just watching other stuff and it ended up being pushed aside a bit. I'll have to restart it some time, good to know you enjoyed the first episode. I remember it being full of parodies and shenanigans, good stuff.

sickVisionz moderator on May 14, 2011 at 3:52 a.m.

Yay, you liked it! his and Paniponi Dash are my two favorite anime comedy series. I hope you stick it out for the long run. Also, you're only at the beginning of the confusion over what a butler is and his actual role. The second or third opening begins with the announcer saying something along the lines of, "He who controls butlers controls the world, and thus the great butler wars have begun."

metalsnakezeroon May 14, 2011 at 4:44 a.m.
I a really funny series even if some jokes are more heavily on cultural references. It as has some character development as the series goes on so theres that.
JJOR64on May 14, 2011 at 5:39 a.m.
I loved the first season of the show.     :)
PenguinDuston May 14, 2011 at 7 a.m.
I liked the first series well enough.  It was kind of funny, but I don't recall too many laugh-out-loud moments.  In all fairness though, I've seen a lot of other stuff since then so I might be forgetting stuff.  I know as far as Rie Kugimiya comedic tsundere characters go, I liked Louise in Zero no Tsukaima more and as far as non-tsundere characters, Kagura in Gintama was more to my taste.   I think need to look at Hayate the second season soon to refresh my memory about the series.  I forget, did he ever discover his secret butler attack in the first series?
Lurkeroon May 14, 2011 at 7:25 a.m.
This series isn't really funny to me. I watched about the first 10 episodes and stopped.

Generally I don't like Japanese humor, but in shows like Naruto, Bleach, etc. I can accept it because I know a badass action sequence is bound to follow.
DocHauson May 14, 2011 at 10:02 a.m.
Uh, Tom, your link here:
 

Watch this episode "In English, ‘Unmei’ Means "Destiny" here and decide for yourself.

Goes to the Black Butler wiki page...unless that was part of the joke, in which case carry on.

On-topic, the story was funny up to a point, but then later on it becomes a gigantic soap opera with too many damned characters to keep track of. It makes me wonder how many stupidly-rich people actually live in secluded mansions in Japan outside of the current Emperor.
sickVisionz moderator on May 14, 2011 at 6:10 p.m.

@DocHaus: I don't think the series is meant to be an accurate/realistic representation of life in Japan...

DocHauson May 14, 2011 at 6:14 p.m.
@sickVisionz:

Halberdierv2on May 14, 2011 at 8:40 p.m.
this is just funniness concentrated.

Dig Deeper into Hayate the Combat Butler

A talented and athletically proficient young man finds himself saddled with his parents' huge debt, and then rescued by a young girl of vast wealth. To pay it off, he becomes her butler.

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