I Hope Nippon-sempai Notices Me: Hayate no Gotoku and When to Let a Good Joke Die
Those who know me from the occasional mention on these columns, Nerdfit WritersCast, or old What’s Nu in Animu know that I have a pathological hatred for Rie Kugimiya. This despite watching and enjoying Fairy Tail, Shakugan no Shana, and as the title suggests – Hayate no Gotoku
Which brings me to the fact that I have to amend that I actually like Hayate no Gotoku, I did like it once. However it continued to make a second and third season, each more awful than the former. Now some would say that it’s unfair to say that the former is ruined by the latter.
Per usual – what a crock of bullshit. While we all agree the Matrix is good, we can’t stop ourselves from saying that the sequels were frankly not great. That’s the rub though. We wish we could pretend it away, but within a conversation you couldn’t bring up the Matrix, and not discuss the sequels within 5 minutes. Which sadly ruins it. I touched upon this in my sequel-itis article because in truth Gunslinger Girl 2, made the first worse.
Kind of sad and depressing to think of when you get down to it. I mean here you’ve managed to create this amazing creation, and you want to continue it. Not necessarily for moneyhat reasons either, but because you feel there’s more to tell, more for your audience to enjoy. The problem being that even during and after the creation you really need to be objective and see that if what you’ve followed with is not only something that you feel needs to exist, but that your audience wants to exist.
Some of the best things in the world are brief, it may sound cliche – but a moment of brilliance is brighter in the mind than a dying light. Imagine a FLCL 2? It’d be shit. Even giving the largest benefit of the doubt to it’s creators, I’m sorry but you just couldn’t do it, and in truth we’d never want you too.
Back to Hayate then, Hayate was a fairly standard school gag comedy, the best part being how awful the titular character gets the short end of the stick, and manages to come through it like a flying badass. The jokes in the series we’re okay, and for a 52 episodes series it managed to keep itself from getting too dull that it didn’t leave a bad taste in the mouth when it left. (Consider for a moment a Good comedy anime that’s that long in 1 shot.)
Unlike Sayonara or Minami-ke (with some exceptions in the middle.) where the quality never proceeded to go downhill and keep digging. Hayate however suffered greatly from this. The second season’s focus on characters we didn’t give a shit about was awful, and the third season half hearted reboot was like a giant middle finger to anyone who liked the series for a reason beyond Rie Kugimiya playing a twin tailed loli.
It suffered from the greatest failing of comedy. Timing. Timing is everything in comedy, when and how you tell the joke, but also how long the joke goes on, whether it’s referred back too, etc. No 2 jokes have the same timing, and the skill comes from knowing when you’ve got it ‘just so’. Hayate proceeded to drag itself out far longer than it should even have considered doing so, and in that action it ruined nearly any good will it had.
So then how to handle this weeks suggestion? Well to borrow from the greats let’s take a look at Excel Saga. I think the goal of the series is for the main characters to all be superheroes, and their leader is a super villain. The comedy starting from them all trying to save the world, but causing Evangelion-levels of Tokyo damage. That’s not good enough though. To ensure the joke is not dragged out, this’ll be just 13 episodes, and the final episode it gets super serious completely disconnecting from the previous episodes when the heroes realize that Dr. Boss is evil (his name is Dr. Boss, because that made me giggle so good enough.)
They then try to stop his plan of building a rocket to destabilize Earth’s orbit and send the world into a permanent Ice Age. In doing so though they manage to stop Dr. Boss, but they’ll have to die in the process. And that’s what happens. They don’t manage to pull through, or just make it, or come back after the credits. They just die, and the show ends.
It’s a dark comedy okay so sue me.
Anyway kids that’s all for this week, hopefully sempai notices me and makes Super Sentai Sekai Destruction
Last Week: Manyuu Hikenchou and How Anime Ruined Tits
The Buffalo is Nerdfit's longest active content contributor. Having helmed various podcasts (What's Nu in Animu, WritersCast), columns (I Hope Nippon Sempai Notices Me, Advanced Game Theory, Booze Reviews, Anime Season Previews, etc) - currently he writes a weekly article column of 'Buffalo's Shit to Think About'