12 Days, 12 Moments: Day 1–Hayate vs Santa

Yes, folks, it’s time to be part of the Anime Borgosphere Collective and take part in yet another rush of posts! This time, we’re doing a countdown to Christmas with a post every day about a significant moment in anime this year. I choose to interpret the rules loosely and talk about anime not just from this year, but from other years too (but that I’ve watched this year nonetheless). So why don’t we start with something appropriate for the season?

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Day 1: Hayate vs Santa Claus 

When Hayate no Gotoku was new, it seemed like the freshest comedy to come along in a good while. It broke the 4th wall constantly, the narrator was hilarious (back then), and the humor was self-aware without being obnoxious. It also really looked like that the show was going to take some chances and go to places rarely gone in anime, and this scene captures the early promise that I think has largely been squandered up to now. 

This scene, of course, is really about Hayate and God. Santa Claus, after all, is the image of God that many people actually have–the content of the song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is a kind of systematic theology of its own. Hayate has a frank discussion with Santa and, at one point, even punches him out, but at the same time, it is his belief that actually gives him the wherewithal to buck up and be the capable, responsible boy he is. (This Santa passes off a version of the Americanism that Santa helps those who help themselves, and doesn’t hesitate to pass judgment either.) I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite this clever in anime for a while. I had thought that Santa, for one, was going to make regular appearances whenever Hayate faces a crisis, but these elements all fade away by the second half of the first season and, at the moment, the show is really more or less a random sitcom whose characters produce predictable gags.

It’s a shame, really. I wrote early on that this was one of the most interesting elements of the show and I hoped to see more of it. But during its early golden period, it was stunts like these that made Hayate no Gotoku genuinely special. It seems to be true of many shows this season, which of course you will read about in the next 12 days. :) 


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5 thoughts on “12 Days, 12 Moments: Day 1–Hayate vs Santa”

  1. Oh man, great pick for a great moment! I laughed so hard at the Santa / Hayate conversations. Heck, I’m laughing right now just remembering it.

    Hayate: “Nee Santa-san, doushite boku ni wa puresento mottekite kurenai no?”

    Santa: “Mmm…sore wa na…omae no ie ga bimbo dakara dayo.”

    ROFL.

    I think Hayate’s humor is at its best when it follows the manga closely. In general the less entertaining sections have been the filler episodes or segments where they decided to experiment.

    That said, excellent excellent choice. Thanks for reminding me of why this show made me laugh so hard when it first aired. :D

  2. @0rion, thanks! That’s what a lot of people tell me, actually, that the manga is a lot better. I’m not much of a manga reader, unfortunately, and I usually go into an anime fresh. One of these days I’d like to talk about how that affects one’s experience of watching anime.

  3. That was good old Hayate No Gotoku.
    Too bad the show became so…plain, the first quarter was brillant.
    That discussion was one of the best moment of the show indeed, it was well done and as you said, clever.

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