I thought the job of a butler was to butle?
Kugimiya Rie returns to her standout role in Hayate the Combat Butler: cute loli tsundere. And hearing her again was probably the best part of the episode. I won’t lie, even though I like Hayate, the first chapters can be downright boring. So, naturally, this transfers to the anime. It still has promise, though. Hayate the Combat Butler begins with the young, hard-working Hayate, son of two deadbeat parents who spend all the money he earns at part-time jobs on gambling, realizing his parents have stolen his money again and sold his organs to the yakuza. Fortunately, Hayate has mad running away skills and flees the yakuza, only to come across a lost young girl in the park. Thinking like any other person in debt, he decides to kidnap her and hold her for ransom. Doesn’t go as plan, though, as his kidnapping attempt sounds more like a confession of love, or at least it does to the girl.
Hayate goes to make the ransom call, but makes a stupid mistake and realizes he fails as a kidnapper and his life is worthless. While waiting to die in the snow, he meets the angelic Maria who gives him her scarf. Hayate is reaffirmed in his faith in humanity and goes to rescuse the kidnapped girl. Yes, she was kidnapped by someone else. After bicycling at 100 mph and getting hit by a car at that same speed, he manages to scare the kidnappers off. Pissed off Hayate is scary. The girl, Nagi, is rescued, and before Hayate collapses from blood loss he asks if she can give him a job. This is how Hayate became Nagi’s personal combat butler. Maria is a maid for Nagi too, just so you know.
This screams, “we wanted an upskirt shot but censors wouldn’t let us.”
As I mentioned before, the beginning parts of Hayate are hardly the most interesting. The jokes often fall flat, like that odd reference to Nello, and his beginning stay with Nagi is drawn out to long, or it was in the manga. Only the physical comedy works well, like Hayate getting hit by a car or the irony of Nagi mistaking her kidnapping as a love confession. However, that is not to say Hayate itself is bad. Its physical comedy is great, Hayate is a gartrap who can take on a hundred Yakuza and beat all their asses, Nagi is both incredibly cute and tsundere, and the other characters introduced later are all pretty cool. You just have to get through the beginning chapters.
In all other regards the anime adaption is perfect. The animation is nice and smooth, and music is okay (the part where Hayate was about to kidnap Nagi being the best). The OP by KOTOKO was pretty good, too. All the voice acting is perfect. Kugimiya Rie really shines as the bratty Nagi, differentiating enough to where she’s not just another Shana or Louise. Shiratori as Hayate works well, though I keep expecting him to say Kozue-chan. I couldn’t even tell is was Rie Tanaka as Maria. Don’t know if that is a good thing or not. And Norio Wakamoto is a godly awesome narrator. The only other thing that bugged me was the censorship. The fact that Hayate’s parents sold his organs was only implied, and they didn’t show him bleeding. Just how early is Hayate airing? I mean, censorship! IN JAPAN! Blasphemy. What’s the world coming to? Hopefully the anime can move through the opening chapters quickly and get to the good stories.