Substance? Who knew Hayate had it in it? Somehow, between the Gundam references and talking tiger jokes, a few granules of character and, dare I say, even feeling have snuck their way in. Not many mind you, but enough to make this outing a rather more satisfying comic confection than the last. For the first time the series' unrelentingly comic treatment of Hayate's crappy life softens, allowing us to sympathize with rather than simply laugh at his role as fate's whipping boy. His desire to attend school (who but the world's unluckiest boy would dream of one day being able to study) is both funny and touchingly pathetic-a dichotomy that the series gleefully exploits as it plays Lucy to his Charlie Brown and pulls the football away at the last moment. Nagi also benefits from the sneaking granules, particularly as her family circumstances are uncovered and it becomes ever more obvious that hers are the romantic delusions not of an egocentric heiress (which she is) but of a desperately lonely child (which she also is).
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