Anime Review: Hayate the Combat Butler – I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

Hayate the Combat Butler, as a manga, recently came to an end, and I have two Hayate Series that I haven’t reviewed yet (though I have previously done a video review of Seasons 1 & 2). It’s time to cover those bases and finish off the other Hayate series.

Hayate the Combat Butler: I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You is something of a break from the norm from the first two seasons, in that the series is considerably more serialized than the first two series – or for that matter the series that came after.

The show is set past where I am in the manga, where the previous series ended, and indeed where the manga was at the time the series aired. During that intervening time Nagi had lost her fortune, started a boarding house where the rest of the female cast moved in, and then got her fortune back and then moved back to one of the mansions with Hayate and Maria while also maintaining the apartments and frequently going back to visit. Also, the idol Ruka had already been introduced prior to this, though narratively she doesn’t play much of a role in the series.

The series itself is also notable as while it is a sort of “gaiden” series, it actually does some serious (as much as anything in Hayate is serious) expansion of the backstory, in particular for Nagi.  We learn how her father and mother met, and what happened to her father (her mother’s fate was already known). The plot also gets into some of the more fantastical sides of things. In particular, the plot focuses on a magical artifact known as the Black Camellia, with a chunk of the mystery being what it is and what it can do.

This doesn’t mean the usual manic comedy that you expect from Hayate is absent. In addition to some set pieces that are both amusing and exciting (like Yukiji stealing from some crooks planning a casino heist because she wants the money to drink some really nice booze). Several chapters from the manga also get adapted in a way that fits in nicely with the rest of the series. Of particular note is the adaptation of the chapter of the manga where Hayate finds himself trapped in a restaurant with Yukiji, Sister Sonia, and an armed bank robber – as Hayate tries to keep Yukiji and Sonia from dine-and-dashing.

The show still has a few little issues. For starters, the series operates has almost the reverse of the “Read the Manga” problem. Instead of having an ending which encourages the reader to keep reading the manga to get the conclusion of the story, we have a manga that operates from the assumption that you’ve been actively reading the manga. On the one hand, the manga is running in Shonen Sunday, the main competitor to Shonen Jump, and the magazine that Detective Conan is running in. So, a lot of people were likely to be reading this magazine.

However, if you’ve primarily been following the show with the anime, you are going to come into this somewhat lost. Even more, it makes for a terrible jumping on point for the franchise, so those familiar with the original series should check out seasons 1 and 2 instead.

Hayate the Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You is available from on DVD and Blu-Ray from (DVD, Blu-Ray) and RightStuf (DVD, Blu-Ray)