Hayate the Combat Butler (ハヤテのごとく! Hayate no Gotoku!?) is a Japanese manga series, written and illustrated by Kenjiro Hata, about a boy who starts a new job as a butler and the events he experiences with his employer. Shogakukan have released 29 volumes in Japan. The English edition of the series has been licensed by Viz Media for distribution in North America. The style of the manga has a comedic gag with a slight harem feel and constantly breaks the fourth wall. The series includes numerous references to other anime, manga, video games, and popular culture. A 52-episode anime adaptation of the manga by SynergySP aired between April 2007 and March 2008 on TV Tokyo. A second, 25-episode anime season by J.C.Staff aired between April and September 2009. On July 4, 2008, Bandai Entertainment announced that they have licensed the first anime series. On June 11, 2009, Animax Asia started airing the first anime in South-East Asia with English dubs done by Red Angel Media. The second season English dub started airing on Animax Asia on July 21, 2010. An anime film adaption produced by Manglobe was released in August 2011. A third TV anime series has been announced.
Hayate Ayasaki is an unlucky teenager who has worked since childhood to make ends meet due to his parents' irresponsible behavior. One day he finds out that his parents were planning to sell his organs to the Yakuza to make money, leaving behind a massive gambling debt on his shoulders of ¥156,804,000. While running away from the debt collectors he ends up meeting Nagi Sanzen'in, a young girl who is the sole heir of the wealthy Sanzen'in estate, and due to a misunderstanding Nagi ends up falling in love with Hayate. After he rescues Nagi from some kidnappers, she hires Hayate as her new butler.
Aside from performing his ordinary duties as a butler, Hayate must fight to protect Nagi from harm, a difficult task since her life is always in danger because she is the target of other individuals coveting her family's fortune, and sometimes deal with some extravagant requests from her, oblivious to Nagi's true feelings for him. In the later story, Hayate has to deal with the feelings of several other girls, including Hinagiku, the student council president of Hakuō Academy. He is revealed to have had a romantic relationship with a female character some ten years previous, who is revealed to be Athena, chairman of the board of Hakuō Academy.
The Hayate the Combat Butler manga was first serialized in the Japanese shōnen manga magazine Shōnen Sunday in May 2004. The manga is written and illustrated by Kenjiro Hata. Viz Media announced they acquired the rights to publish the manga in North America and released the first volume on November 14, 2006. The most recent English release is volume 16, on September 14, 2010. The English translations are done by Yuki Yoshioka and Cindy H. Yamauchi; English adaptation is done by Mark Giambruno. The latest Japanese release is volume 29, on August 10, 2011.
The Hayate the Combat Butler 52-episode anime aired on TV Tokyo in Japan between April 1, 2007 and March 30, 2008, produced by animation studio SynergySP and with music by Kōtarō Nakagawa. The series is also slated to air on the CS television network Animax starting on October 25, 2007, where it will receive its satellite television premiere, and will be shown uncensored.
As a result of originally being backed by TV Tokyo, the anime has had several elements censored or toned down. Examples include Hayate's mother's gambling addiction being referred to as "Investing (money, in the given case, Hayate's paycheck) in her dream" and Hayate merely being given to "nice men" for work rather than to the Yakuza for his organs (although at one point, mention was made towards harvesting Hayate's organs for money). Characters in the show make reference to the fact that they apparently cannot show the offending material and that the show is "fighting the broadcast code". There is some censorship that is intended as a joke as in any given instance of Hayate bleeding being censored by a sign reading "can't show this". The anime, like the manga, has references to other anime as well as some original references such as bleeping out words. This method of censoring references has followed onto the English translation of the manga. The DVD contains two audio tracks; one track contains the original audio aired on TV Tokyo and the other track removes the bleeping. Bandai Entertainment has announced plans to retain this for the dub, using the Japanese audio tracks in such instances.
Throughout the anime, the audience can see some of the characters breaking the fourth wall. Those that do not break the fourth wall are thinking that the characters are talking to blank space. The narrator is seen talking with Hayate at times, and this makes Hayate realize that there is an audience. Also, some characters may introduce themselves to no one but the audience. Most of the cast have references to their voice actor's previous roles (Nagi for example has an eyecatch where she wears the outfit of Louise's uniform in Zero no Tsukaima).
Before and after the commercial break, there is a unique eyecatch each time. The characters who appear state a phrase which is an on-going game of shiritori. Starting with episode six, a small segment began playing after the ending credits called the "Butler Network" featuring Hayate, Nagi, and sometimes a guest. It is meant to cover the animation production, broadcast dates, advertise character song albums and DVDs, and follow Hayate's endeavors in fighting against evil as he becomes a great butler.
On June 11, 2009, Animax Asia started broadcasting the anime on their South East and South Asia channels with English dubbing done by Red Angel Media. The anime airing on Animax-Asia uses the censored version of the anime and some of the characters in the English dub speak with accents. For example, both Maria and Saki speak with British accents while Klaus speaks with a German accent. On September 28, 2009, QTV 11 started the Filipino dub of this anime; it was second in Southeast Asia. TVB Jade also started the Cantonese dub of this anime.
An original video animation (OVA) episode was released on March 6, 2009 in DVD and Blu-ray formats. A second anime season of Hayate the Combat Butler titled, "Hayate no Gotoku!!" (an additional exclamation mark) aired 25 episodes between April 4 and September 18, 2009, produced by animation studio J.C.Staff. Unlike the first season, the second season retcons the events of the first season by claiming at the onset that a month has pass since Hayate became Nagi's butler. Furthermore, the second season is more faithful to the manga than the first season. On July 21, 2010, Animax Asia began airing the second season, including the OVA, with English dubbing done again by Red Angel Media along with Cantonese and Mandarin dub. A third TV anime season will be produced.
A light novel based on the series, written by Toshihiko Tsukiji and illustrated by Kenjiro Hata, was released on May 24, 2007, published by Shogakukan under their GAGAGA Bunko label. The novel includes a doppelgänger and barrier that Maria encounters, Isumi Saginomiya's magic that happens in front of Nagi's eyes, and the corruption of the building of the Film Analysing Club (You Tobe) that Izumi Segawa, Miki Hanabishi, and Risa Asakaze were members of.A second light novel entitled Nagi is the Familiar!? Let it ★ World Conquest (ナギが使い魔!?やっとけ★世界征服 Nagi ga Tsukaima!? Yattoke Sekai Seifuku?) was released on March 18, 2008. The title is the combination of Zero no Tsukaima and the phrase which is similar to Lucky Star's first opening theme, "Take It! Sailor Uniform" (もってけ!セーラーふく Motteke! Sērāfuku?). The cover of this novel features Nagi wearing Louise's costume. Insert images are drawn by Kenjiro Hata and Eiji Usatsuka, the illustrator of Zero no Tsukaima light novels.
A video game by Konami for the Nintendo DS entitled Hayate no Gotoku! Boku ga Romeo de Romeo ga Boku de (ハヤテのごとく!ボクがロミオでロミオがボクで Hayate the Combat Butler! I am Romeo and Romeo is Me?) was released in Japan on August 23, 2007. A limited edition of the game was released on the same day which included a Hakuō Academy student notebook and a drama CD.
A second game was released in two versions on March 14, 2008. They are both entitled Hayate no Gotoku! Ojō-sama Produce Daisakusen Bokuiro ni Somare! (ハヤテのごとく!お嬢さまプロデュース大作戦 ボク色にそまれっ!?), however, they differ between their story settings. One game is set at the Sanzen'in's mansion, and the other one is set at Nagi's school. Unlike the first game, the main character is Nagi. Players will train Nagi; she may also learn some attacks or tricks to make an appeal at contests. Players may easily trade data with other players using wireless connections (however, the game is not Wi-Fi compatible). Similar to the first game, there are many Konami parodies included. While the first game is a one-way path with non-controllable actions made by players, in this game, players are able to control where characters go and talk to gather information in continuing the story. While the first game was rated A (all ages) by CERO, this second game is rated B (ages 12 and up). For both the first and second game, there are a couple of hidden stories or voices that can be unlocked by passwords. After completing the second game, unlock voices in Omake Mode with the code: "↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← →". The third video game installment was released in spring 2009 for the PSP.
The opening theme to the anime adaptation, "Hayate no Gotoku!" (ハヤテのごとく!?) by Kotoko, was released on May 23, 2007. The first ending theme, "Proof" by Mell, was released May 30, 2007. The second ending theme, "Get my way!", is performed by Mami Kawada and was released on August 8, 2007. The second opening theme, "Shichiten Hakki ☆ Shijōshugi!" by Kotoko, was released on October 17, 2007. The third ending theme, "Chasse", is performed by Kaori Utatsuki and was released on November 21, 2007. The fourth ending theme, "Ko no me kaze" (木の芽風), is performed by Iku and was released on March 19, 2008. The opening theme of season two was "Wonder Wind" performed by Elisa. The first ending theme was "Honjitsu, Mankai Watashi Iro!" by Shizuka Itou (with Eri Nakao and Sayuri Yahagi and Masumi Asano). The second opening theme was "Daily-daily Dream" by Kotoko. The second ending theme was "Karakoi: Dakara Shōjo wa Koi o Suru" by Rie Kugimiya and Ryoko Shiraishi.
There are twelve character song albums sung by the main characters from the anime adaptation. The first two were released on May 25, 2007 and feature songs sung by Ryōko Shiraishi as Hayate Ayasaki and Rie Tanaka as Maria. The last two, released on July 25, 2007, feature songs sung by Rie Kugimiya as Nagi Sanzen'in and Shizuka Itō as Hinagiku Katsura. Miyu Matsuki as Isumi Saginomiya and Kana Ueda as Sakuya Aizawa was released on September 21, 2007. Marina Inoue and Saki Nakajima as Wataru Tachibana and Saki Kijima, as well as Mikako Takahashi as Ayumu Nishizawa was released on November 21, 2007. Hitomi Nabatame as Yukiji Katsura and Sayuri Yahagi, Eri Nakao, Masumi Asano as Izumi, Miki, and Risa was released on January 25, 2008. Two duet character albums starring Hermione Ayasaki and Nagi, and Maria and Hinagiku were released on March 21, 2008.
The original soundtrack was released on June 22, 2007 and a drama CD based on the anime adaptation was released on August 22, 2007. On September 21, 2007, volume one of a two-CD radio drama called Radio the Combat Butler was released.
Live-action TV series
Additional notable merchandises include many school related goods which were released near the start of the anime series in March and April 2007. Many other goods such as clocks, mugs, and posters were released a few months after. In 2008, a 1/8 scale (approx. 21 cm or 8.25") figurine series (entitled, "Hayate no Gotoku! Collection Figures") created by Jun Planning was released. Maria was released in March. Hinagiku figurine with Masamune in her hand was released on June 19. Nagi figurine with video game controller was released in July. Also, Kotobukiya released a series of 1/6 scale swimsuit figurines. Hinagiku was released in January 2009; Nagi in April 2009, and Ayumu in May 2009. Shogakukan released an art book titled Hayate the Combat Butler Official Box on November 16, 2007.
Over ten million copies of the manga and other Hayate-related books have been sold in Japan as of January 2009.
Volume 14 of the manga is given a C+ by Carlo Santos, reviewer for Mania, citing Hata's overextension of a complex work with multiple simultaneous plotlines and constant scene changes. He does note that Sakuya's birthday party as an example of the work's strong point.
Part six of the anime is given an overall B rating by Chris Beveridge, reviewer for Mania. Although, in his opinion, the storyline and nature of the anime has not changed much, he was suddenly captivated. Beveridege sums up these feelings for the final episodes:
Hayate the Combat Butler may have simply clicked for me in these episodes at this time whereas the others just didn't. It's likely that it's just the same as it's always been but it's just the right stuff at the right time in that it made me laugh and smile and look forward to more episodes. The parodies are pretty regular and the characters haven't changed much....Hayate the Combat butler [sic] doesn't stray from what it's done in past episodes, but these episodes had a certain flavor and flow to them that left me pretty happy, which is a surprise after five volumes that left me feeling ambivalent at best.
- Manga official website (Japanese)
- Anime official website (Japanese)
- TV Tokyo's website for the anime (Japanese)
- Animax's website for the anime (Japanese)
- First game's official website (Japanese)
- Second game's official website (Japanese)
- Hayate the Combat Butler (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
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