Now that Hayate has begun attending classes at Hakuou Academy, he must now contend with challenges from rival combat butlers, in addition to protecting Nagi (and trying to get her to better herself).
Hayate squares off in a kendo duel with Kaede Nonohara, the butler for the Azumamiya family. The stakes – Nagi's (unwanted) spot in the Kendo club.
Nishizawa follows Hayate home, and has her first fateful meeting with her (presumed) rival for Hayate's heart, Nagi.
After Nagi leaves her notebook at school, Hayate heads to the campus to find it, and discovers that Katsura-Sensei lives on campus.
While searching the campus for Nagi's notebook, Hayate gets lost and ends up in the old abandoned school building. After Hinagiku shows up on campus and discovers what's going on, she sets out after Hayate.
Hayate and Hinagiku get lost and and end up getting attacked by a possessed anatomy mannikin.
After witnessing Nonohara's special technique, Hayate realizes that he needs to learn one too. Nagi attempts to teach Hayate, with mixed results.
After some poorly chosen words by Hayate, Nagi runs away again. While on the street, Nagi runs into Nishizawa, who challenges her to a Karaoke competition.
It's Saki's 20 birthday, and Wataru realizes that he's forgotten to get her a Furisode for her birthday.
Nagi and company go on a vacation on a Sakuya's cruise ship, along with Isumi. Unfortunately the ship is attacked by a very bizarre group of terrorists.
After the terrorists set off their explosives on the ship, Hayate finds himself with Isumi in a hold that is rapidly filling with water, and he's wounded. Naturally, these waters are also shark infested.
Hakuou Academy is having their annual marathon, with a 150 Million Yen grand prize – precisely as much as Hayate's debt. However, it's a double's race, and Nagi refuses to take part. Thus, Klaus sets stakes – if Nagi and Hayate don't win the race, Hayate will be fired.
|Good, but at risk of becoming cluttered|
The last volume of Hayate the Combat Butler set out to setting up a new status quo for the series – by moving much of the action to Hakuou Academy. This installment sets this up a little further, by changing our big three locations from the Sanzenin Estate, the Saginomiya Estate and the City to the Sanzenin Estate, the City, and Hakuou Academy.
This volume's plot focuses on Hayate's pursuit of a “Supreme Technique”, to match those of the other battle butlers in last volume, and the attempts by Nagi and Maria and Hinagiku to help him. Also, now that the Isumi and Nagi triangle from the last few volumes has been resolved, this volume starts building up two new ones – one for Nagi and Hinagiku over Hayate, and the other between Isumi and Saki over Wataru.
Finally, this installment does a very good job setting up personalities for some more of Nagi's classmates, outsides of the ones with butlers that rival Hayate. It's all very nicely done character development, which is really vital when doing any kind of sitcom anime or manga. Ultimately, the personalities of the characters drive the humor, and if the characters aren't entertaining, then the work falls apart.
That said, the cast could become very cluttered, if they continue to add characters at this pace. So, while this is a very good volume in the series, things could very easily fall apart, depending on how things turn out in later volumes.