Anime Review: Hayate the Combat Butler – Cuties
Well, the time has come to talk about the most recent Hayate the Combat Butler TV series, and potentially the last series to come out, for reasons which I’ll get into, but also a series that is something of a return to form for the franchise’s anime incarnations.
As the title suggests, Hayate the Combat Butler: Cuties puts the focus somewhat on the women in Hayate’s life. For most of the series, with the exception of the last couple episodes, each individual episode focuses on a particular female character or characters and their relationship with Hayate, with some episodes doubling up on the female characters. Each episode is generally episodic, with some occasional callbacks to earlier episodes.
The cast doesn’t have much in terms of new characters. The sole exception is Alice, the reincarnation of Athena, a woman who Hayate had met and fallen for as a child in a flashback chapter. She doesn’t particularly get much character development here, unfortunately. As with the previous season, the assumption is that you’re actively reading the manga, and have read enough of it to know who this character is and what their story is. The rest of the cast is fleshed out better, with perhaps the stand-out episodes being about Hinagiku and Chiharu Harukaze.
That said, I can’t talk about this series without bringing up the elephant in the room. Of the previous series, this series has a reduced role for Isumi, particularly considering that the series focus on each of the female characters in turn. Considering the health issues that her voice actress, Miyu Matsuki, was experiencing, this may have been a deliberate choice, to ease down the character’s presence instead of recasting the character. With Matsuki’s death and the conclusion of the anime, it really makes me wonder if you’re getting any further Hayate anime series. Certainly a new anime series could help sell tankobon, but it would also entail recasting a beloved character, which is rough.
I did really enjoy the show, and I really liked the return to the episodic, comedic focus, but it also brought into harsh relief that this is likely going to get the last animated Hayate we’re going to get for a long time, if we get any more at all.