By Dustin Cabeal
Hey, guess what? This is the first volume of Hayate the Combat Butler I’ve ever read! Why did I start you ask? Well, I was sent the book for review, and here we are. If you like this series, I would love to hear from you because it’s been running for seven years and I find it amazing that it can still come up with content while recycling jokes from seven years ago.
The story follows Hayate, a boy that’s often mistaken for a girl, that becomes a butler for a wealthy girl to pay off his family’s gambling debts. Because that’s what would legally happen. It’s okay though, he meets and works for an idol in this volume that’s working as an idol to pay off her family’s gambling debts, so it must just be a common thing. So common that it’s a throwaway backstory for motivation in becoming an idol… and a butler.
Hayate’s the butler for four women; I’m sure there’s been plenty of pages explaining that, but I didn’t get it or even care really. For some reason, while dressed as a maid and acting like a woman, he becomes a manga artist assistant… it amazes me that a manga creator would undercut the craft so much as to say a teen girl suffering from illnesses and a teen Butler would be able to pump out quality manga on a regular schedule, but hey… Whatever right?
The jokes, the plots, the fan service moments have all been done and done better. Frankly, I can’t give Hayate any credit there because it’s not like I stumbled into this shit yesterday. It’s a bunch of safe humor, and I’m sure that a lot of people enjoy it because it doesn’t challenge them and there’s always a happy ending because Hayate doesn’t need to sleep or be a real person. It’s fantasy, even with the “terms” of his butlership. Plain and straightforward you’ll either enjoy it or like me, you’ll struggle through a volume and hope to never think of it again.
The art is simple. It’s detailed, but it’s not beautiful. It reminds me of a lot of the more kiddish anime that I skip outright due to the designs. While it’s consistent, it’s just not striking or imaginative. It’s basic but well crafted. There’s not a panel out of place, but then there’s also nothing that will wow you or makes you fall in love with a character. It’s lukewarm art, and that’s the worst in my opinion.
This review is obviously harsh, but to its credit, it’s a consistent piece of work. It’s just not particularly interesting to anyone that hasn’t found themselves invested in the story. Because the thing is, I was never lost while reading it. It was just that easy to dive into, which is a credit to the writing, but when it feels as if it’s something I’ve read a hundred times already, then it’s clear that everything is a bit too much by the formula. Heavy formula writing will never be good or great; it’ll just be average. Like this volume of Hayate the Combat Butler.
Hayate the Combat Butler vol. 30
Publisher: Viz Media – Shonen Sunday