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Hayate the Combat Butler: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

7 min read

Hayate Season 3Kidnapping & wackiness in the same series? Is that possible?

What They Say:
Hayate Ayasaki’s life has never been easy, though after being sold to Yakuza who want to harvest your organs to pay off your parent’s debts, it’s hard to imagine things sinking much lower. But since becoming employed as the butler/bodyguard of teenage heiress Nagi Sanzenin, Hayate’s misery has been primarily focused around Nagi’s insecurity, laziness and the frequent attempts by various parties to kidnap her (with the occasional scheme cooked up by her Grandfather on the side.) However, when a new and unexpected relative arrives without warning, and issues concerning Nagi’s long dead father rear their ugly head, Hayate finds himself thrust even further into the deep, dark, messy drama of the Sanzenin’s clan affairs. And that is only the beginning of his troubles, as somehow aliens, haunted swords, an untrustworthy kitten and even a cross-dressing curse will all come into the mix as well. Will our embattled butler fight his way through these epic complications? Or will his undoing come special de-livery? When you have REALLY unusual domestic problems, only a REALLY exceptional domestic servant will do in HAYATE THE COMBAT BUTLER: CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU – THE COMPLETE COLLECTION!

The Review:

Audio:
Since the disk set is only available in Japanese with subtitles, the standard DTS-HD MA 2.0 sound track best suits this format. However, since there is a concert at the end of the series, additional sound modifications might have been better suited for this musical finale.

Video:
The usage of the 16:9 widescreen format helps to showcase the colourful panoramic environments of the series. However, since this ratio is now the standard of most anime, it doesn’t add any appeal to the visuals as compared to any other similar collections in the genre.

Packaging:
Sentai Entertainment gave the disk set a standard cast art cover with an uncomplimentary pastel pink background; this colour may make the collection stand out on the shelf, but since all of the girls in the series are more tomboyish than even Hayate, I doubt any of them would wear this much of that shade. The company should have also more spent time in designing informational liner notes for two separate dvds instead of cramming both disks of the season into one case – more is not always better.

Menu:
The menus of the disk are very basic. The cover artwork is used as the background and each episode is listed in a standard menu format so that they can be chosen to be played individually or in order. There is nothing added to distract from the viewing and any Extras are on the second disk.

Extras:
The extras on the disk are sorely lacking. It would have helped to have added some background information on the subordinate characters since we last saw them over five years ago in the original series; unless the viewer is a loyal watcher and remembers their individual quirks, each one just seems like more theatrical dressing. But instead, Sentai decided to only to show textless opening & closing animations and add some trailers for their other acquisitions. Extras are supposed to add to the content of a disk, not subtract from it by just tacking on non-essential materials.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Nagi Sanzenin, your typical 13 year old heiress: she lounges around watching anime, playing video games and reading manga, an average neet, right? Wrong! Aside from the fact that she doesn’t go to school (or doesn’t want since it would cut into all her important activities), her day also includes annoying her friends at work, thinking of new ways to get into trouble and the occasional kidnapping. That’s a normal day, right?

Now with a new semester about to begin and Nagi having already slept past noon, everything seems to be coming along for another lazy day sitting in front of the TV until something peaks her interest – a show about Area 51; of course, the young mistress wants to go investigate and see some aliens! But a phone call from the Las Vegas police notifies her that the property of her late father must be retrieved otherwise it will be disposed. Nagi wants to go now, but of course, Maria tells her that she must go to school and wait until the next break before she can go exploring.

Annoyed that her plans were foiled, Nagi runs off only to realise that she forgot her wallet and cell and now cannot get back home. Of course, Hayate shows up in time to escort her back to the mansion, but is distracted by a young girl just long enough for two bandits to kidnap his master and thus ensues another wacky escapade of him chasing them down and crushing any hopes for a ransom. But as the pair arrive home, the anonymous child appears again and identifies herself as Ruri Tsugumi – Nagi’s little sister.

Of course, in her typical caustic fashion, Nagi doesn’t believe her and states that she must have a hidden agenda; but with nothing to verify her claim, Ruri must now show her sister that she does have something to call her own – her proficiency in Systema. After Hayate reluctantly becomes her punching bag and of course is chastised for his victory, Ruri is now given the chance to show Nagi that she is worth having around and prove that she is family.

As Ruri embarks on a trip into Akihabara to spend time with Nagi’s friends, Maria calls Nagi’s grandfather to find out more about her master’s wayward father; his name was Shin Hayek, a thief who tried to steal the Sansenin family’s greatest treasure, a clock named the Black Camellia. After he was caught by Yukariko, Nagi’s mother, they eventually fall in love and are married.

But as school break arrives, Nagi now has lost interest in gathering her father’s things and Ruri reveals that she was only after the Black Camellia; unfortunately, that clock is now in Las Vegas and the police will only release the property to a family member. With nothing left to loose, Ruri stages her own kidnapping and sends in a fraudulent ransom note that she will only be released for the clock, in Las Vegas.

After retrieving the Black Camellia, Nagi, Hayate and Maria find out that the clock is cursed: it will bring the owner only bad luck but when both hands strike 8, a miracle will occur. However, soon afterwards, the clock is soon stolen again and the gang must once chase after the timepiece, but in the chaos, Hayate is trapped and quits being Nagi’s butler. But as the time for Ruri’s exchange draws closer, we find that true friendship and love will conquer all that life may bring and happiness will be the expected result.

In Summary:

This set of the series is like most of the others in the previous seasons – a droll tedium. Each episode uses the same formula of Nagi always trying to find a way to avoid doing her schoolwork or finding some way to amuse herself at the expense of Hayate or her friends, with this cycle being no exception. At least in the previous ones, nothing was taken too seriously and mostly were used as cheap laughs. But this time, to make matters worse, they use a convoluted plot that unless you are paying attention or watched the season a few times, nothing really makes any sense. It feels like the whole thing was slapped together, or as Nagi & Hayate point out:

Nagi: “Do we really need a back story like that now?” Hayate: “No one would buy that story line now.

If the main characters are asking this at the beginning of the season, what chance will the rest of the episodes really have?

The other sad part was the waste of the whole stable of colouful characters were only given supporting roles in the omakes or cameo appearances peppered throughout the episodes; none of these really had any bearing on the underlying plot. It was almost as if they were slipped in to show that there were still alive. And of those more used ones, no one makes any worthwhile contributions until they are either needed for comic relief and/or used due to their abilities/resources. And sadly, no one really lasts for more than a few lines, then they skip back to one of the main characters.

As mentioned previously, while the plot is weak, Ruri was mostly ignored for most of the series until someone mentions the Camillia and only then used for comic relief like the rest of the characters. Why introduce a new character if you’re not really going to use her as a main character?

All in all, this season was almost as if they found some extra story ideas they missed in the first series and movie and decided to try to create a new disk set to revolve around a substandard plot. Sadly, I would not really recommend this series for lovers of the previous disk sets.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean opening animation, clean closing animations and Sentai trailers

Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sharp LC-42LB261U 42” LED HDTV and Sony BDPS3200 Blu-ray player connected by HDMI

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