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Hayate X Blade Vol 1 Paperback – October 28, 2008
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"Hayate X Blade is the best manga on the market and it’s criminal that it’s not an anime yet." —Erica Friedman, Yuricon
About the Author
Shizuru Hayashiya is the artist for the manga Onegai Teacher. She is both writer and artist of Hayate X Blade, which is among the most popular and longest running yuri manga series in Japan.
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Basically the story revolves around how Hayate must play the Hoshitori activity (basically swordfightnig at school) to get enough money to pay back a loan. She meets various characters along the way. This book goes through her school life.
The journey through the story is quite hilarious as everyone refers to the young Hayate as an idiot (even the chapter titles). Usually she is referred like this because she is extremely naïve, childishly hilarious, or just childish in general. However she does have her moments. It is essentially split into sections in which we are introduced to the hoshitori, the mission, the period when Hayate needs to get a sister-in-arms, and then the resolution. It can be a really fast page turner for a story for the battles of the hoshitori are intense and the character interactions.
The character interactions are where it shines. This is definitely one of the highlights of this manga. It set a new bar for those who write theirs and need to effectively produce a quality story while trying to introduce characters in an effective manner. Thanks in part to sometimes Hayate's bluntness, it has made it easy for the Shizuru Hayashiya to get the reader introduced and engaged in the other character. One of the favorites is the amazing Ayana Mudou, who is an excellent match for Hayate however, in this volume, suffers from trying to get rid of Hayate. Hayate gets really attached to Ayana. It is hilarious and funny, and when they do meet up, it gets even more funny. Also the interactions between Ayana and her rival, Kaicho and her sister-in-arms, and their researcher, as well as Hayate and the orphanage keeper, are all excessively funny. It may be this funny however the story remains serious (though Hayate likes to break the air of seriousness).
This is ultimately one of my favorites now and I hope it continues to deliver in subsequent volumes. The artwork is beautiful as well, lettering and translation seems to be on point and modern English sounding. The characters also have great designs.
-Read in the traditional format
-A fast page turning story
-Great character design
-Tenchi Academy Sword-Bearer List Files at the end of each chapter are helpful for getting to know each character's
-Great bonuses (Manga preview)
-Pink Cover is kind of girly
-Postcript from the author
-End dialog between Hitsugi and Shizuku
-Inukami Special Preview
The main character is a young heroine who blindly throws herself into everything (literally and figuratively) and who believes that no matter what she and her friends will win. The story is full of slapstick comedy as the main character gets herself into all kinds of trouble due to the fact that she doesn't think much before she acts. All of the characters are interesting and well realized and there is a lot of sword fighting action. It's the best yuri/action manga I have read so far, and although it is centered in the ever present school environs of most yuri manga, it is 100% different than all the others. I highly recommend it!
Let this be known right meow, this manga actually had me in a steady state of giggling.
Hayate is your standard hyperactive, clueless protaganist who has to be told the premise of her own story but possesses the agency to get things started. Ayana is the "tsundere" character, all thorns but with a mushy heart.
But those tropes fail to convey the sheer comedy genius that is this graphic novel. I had a chuckle practically every page.
"I need to do a flashback!"
"Uh, sure, go ahead."
Self-referential jokes like these occasionally pop up, and much of the comedy is written in the tiny comments made by the characters or the omnipotent author/narrator. The visual gags are so prevalent that I would call this a 'physical' comedy, despite it being in a static, print format, due to the sheer energy in Hayate's actions.
In terms of art, I have no complaints. The panels are very kinetic, energetially moving you from place to place as Hayate sprints to her next destination. The uniforms are simple and bold, and I applaud Hayashiya's coloring and shading, particularly in differentiating Ayana's black hair and black uniform. In fact, I find Hiyahishiya's work very pleasing to the eye, with just enough details to understand the setting and lots of attention paid to motion lines.
The plot wastes no time, jumping right in--as Hayate tends to do--so fast that an immediate reread was enjoyable in covering small, hilarious tidbits I had missed the first time.
The manga is being marketed as a Yuri comic, but in the first volume there isn't too much romance, though the couples have obviously been established. Though if what I've read elsewhere is true, the romances will pick up in the next volumes anyhow, and I'll enjoy this book as the groundwork for even better chapters in the future.
To top it all off, there's plenty of unanswered, urgent questions that leave me impatiently waiting for the February release of Volume 2.
For maturity rating, I give this a T for Teen. I say this only because of the violence inherent in a manga about sword fighting, as well as the fact that Ayana beats Hayate up whenever she is annoyed with her, which is approximately every five and a half pages. And occasional curse words, but nothing anyone hasn't heard before.
Seven Seas very helpfully included a guide to the different ways of addressing people, as well as translation notes. There are a few gags, however, that might require previous knowledge of manga motifs, but they don't distract from the story, so newbies should feel welcome.
I highly, highly recommend this manga to anybody. It's funny, cute, lends itself well to multiple readings, and buying it will support this underappreciated genre of comic. Of course, maybe some rampant popularity would also get some more of Hayashiya's work over here--oooh, Strawberry Shake Sweet--hint hint.