In the last couple volumes of Hayate the Combat Butler, we got something of a new status quo for the characters as a whole, while not really setting up what the next arc for Nagi was going to be. Volume 28 introduces a couple of new characters (sort of) while setting up Nagi’s next arc.
The last volume left off with Hayate in drag fighting a robot. This would be Tuesday if we weren’t during Comiket. However, we’re during Comiket so we’re on a weekend instead. During the course of this fighting, Hayate literally runs into the Doujin idol Ruka Suirenji, in a story that basically gets adapted for Hayate The Combat Butler Cuties, except stuck later in the timeline. Aside from introducing another potential romantic interest (sort of – Ruka thinks Hayate is a girl so isn’t interested yet) – all of this leads to the main narrative conceit of this arc for Nagi – giving her a rival.
Nagi gets her own arc
For twenty-seven volumes thus far, Nagi has characters she considers rivals, but solely for Hayate’s heart – Hamster, Hinagku, Athena, etc. She’s had opponents after her inheritance, but they’ve been more opponents for Hayate. This is the first time thus far she’s had something she is trying to achieve that doesn’t involve a male character. Or, to put it another way, at long last Hayate the Combat Butler has passed the Mako Mori test.
The other major developments this issue relate to Hinagiku and Athena. For a reason that has yet to be explained, Athena ages to a small child this issue, taking the name of “Alice” and “adopts” Hinagiku and Hayate as her “Parents” leading to Hinagiku moving into the apartments along with Athena. We don’t get a lot of movement on these subplots this issue, but considering that they just started, that’s fine.
A Day In The Life
However, all of this leads to what just might be one of the best little one-off chapters of the manga thus far – a day in the life of the Sanzenin apartments. This chapter also got adapted for Cuties, and I can definitely tell why – it’s simple, has a bunch of one-off little jokes that just work, and gives everyone an opportunity to bounce off each other.
Aside from all of that, the art continues to be good, with the concert sequences with Ruka being fantastic, and we also get a little fanservice with Maria, which I do appreciate.