While the first season of Hayate wasn’t perfect, it was memorable enough that I’ve missed it since it finished up a year ago. Maybe the saying about absence making the heart fonder has some truth to it because when I heard news of a second season, I did a little jig. Another reason that made me look forward to this is a change in animation studios from Synergy SP to J.C. Staff. I wasn’t dissatisfied with Synergy SP’s efforts, outside of pacing problems in the middle nothing was really done wrong but with J.C. Staff, the show has the chance to be great (or terrible, depending on which part of J.C. Staff does it).
Rating: episode 1 – 6/12B-
Rating: episode 2 – 10/12A
Anticipation Level: medium
The story essentially remains unchanged from the first season, Hayate’s parents ran up a huge debt with the yakuza and sale him into slavery to pay off the debt. Hayate tries to kidnap a super rich girl to get the ransom money to pay off his debt but the super rich girl misunderstands Hayate and thinks he’s asking her out. Nagi, the super rich girl, purchases his debt from the yakuza and Hayate goes to work for Nagi as a butler.
If I had written this impression post after the first episode only, I’d have ranted about how the effort of J.C. Staff was nowhere near as good as Synergy SP. But, I decided that this along with a few other spring shows needed a second episode watched to firm up my opinion of the show. The second episode was a huge improvement over the first episode, on par with the best of the first season, and so my fears where abated. I’d feel much better if both episodes had been great but I’m optimistic that J.C. Staff can continue doing this show at the level of episode 2.
The big change between the two seasons is apparently J.C. Staff has been given a much smaller budget to work with and as a consequence this season can compete with the first season in terms of animation quality. I’m very tolerant in the animation department so while I’d like to see the same animation quality as the first season, the problems with the first episode not being funny where of more importance to me.
Another change I’ve noticed is the amount of anime references in the show. The first season was positively littered with them and while these references where never a huge component to the overall comedic appeal of the show, they were there. In the first two episodes of the second season, I don’t remember seeing them and if there was a few references that I missed, they weren’t as blatantly obvious as the first season.
Of the seventeen new spring shows I’ve watched this season so far, this has had the most comedy and promises to be the most comedic show of the season. The comedy of this series is a good blend of character-driven comedy and comedy based on the tribulations of the life of a super rich high school girl and her classmates. Another reason why I like this show is the voice actors. Nagi is played by Rie Kugimiya, a personal long time favorite; some don’t like her but she’s probably won some of them over after her portrayal as Taiga in Toradora. The announcer, played by Norio Wakamoto, is another favorite of mind. According to anime news network’s profile, he was a real life cop before becoming a voice actor. I also enjoy Hayate’s voice actor, Ryoko Shiraishi, she doesn’t do a lot of shows but roles like Hayate make me want to see her do more.
I always try to balance what I’m watching and this season is very light on comedy and pretty light on non-serious shows so I’m glad for the few titles that fit this mold. Even with slim pickings, I wouldn’t recommend a title that was sub par but on the strength of the second episode, I’d recommend Hayate the Combat Butler to anyone looking for a comedic or non-serious show.