Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Hayate no Gotoku! Can’t Take My Eyes Off You Ep. 1

Initial impression – it’s back and who knows? it could be the best one yet

Autumn 2012 (?? episodes) (synonym – Hayate the Combat Butler) (more info)

Hayate no Gotoku has always intrigued me.  It’s bursting with references to other anime almost to the degree that you have to be an extreme anime connoisseur like me to understand all the humor that’s going on.  It’s also just got a weird premise.  Hayate from a poor family gets strapped with his parents’ debt when they flee the country to avoid loan sharks, leaving Hayate to fend for himself.  Through a series of misunderstandings, he ends up the personal butler of a rich girl named Nagi Sanzenin.

Nagi is a paradox of character traits.  She’s an otaku who usually does nothing but watch anime, play video games and skip school when she can get away with it, but she’s also a genius prodigy who has skipped several grades and is currently enrolled in high school.  Her only sources of motivation are the constant nagging of Hayate and her maid, Maria, to coax her into going to school, or she’ll be inspired to try something she saw in an anime and an adventure will ensue.

When I explain the premise in such dry terms, even I think this doesn’t sound like a very good idea.  But this is a case where a very off the wall compilation has been saved by good writing and terrific voice acting.  Rie Kugimiya always shines her brightest when she plays tsundere characters and Nagi is as tsundere as they get.  Hayate also has a great actor in Ryoko Shiraishi and her coy, almost motherly tones coming through the male lead creates a funny role reversal.  The cast also has a lot of other good names in the lineup including Shizuka Itou, who plays the role of student council president and Hayate’s confidant, Hinagiku.

Even as this series indulges in tropes that feel somewhat dry and overused, considering that I’ve relished every other previous iteration of Hayate no Gotoku, I’m in no doubt that Can’t Take My Eyes Off You is also going to be loads of fun.

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