I remember chortling, heavily, when I first saw the preview for this episode–especially when the title wasÂ announced: “Neko Mimi Mode Sends You to Hell!” That, of course, raised some pretty high expectations for the level of t3h funny in this episode and I’m happy to say that it delivers (for the most part). This episode was a great send up of various otaku-moe conventions.
The actual crossdressing scenes weren’t as funny as they could be, to be honest. At least not until they started playing it up and totally milking the cliches, like:
I have to admit the hints of bestiality–adumbrated by the narrator, no less–threatened to cross the line from being really funny to be just a little creepy. Especially this pose by our friendly Tiger, which is a pose normally seen as a prelude to an assault:
(Side note: the narrator has returned to his comfortable groove of being annoying and unnecessarily foreshadowing future events.)
This kind of leads to an observation about how Hayate’s androgyny–which is very apparent in his character design–has really not been played up. Until now, that is. I remember someone at my anime club first watching this saying: “everybody is so cute!” Admittedly, one of the main reasons I still watch this show is not only to see which anime genres they’ll skewer but to see Hayate, with his innocent and cute expression, get subjected to all kinds of slapstick. With a smile.
Finally: I totally dug the references to Hayate going for the “Maria-san ending” and, if I’m not mistaken, a subtle allusion to a joke from Haruhi Suzumiya in the Butler Network omake at the end. (Is that a common or well-known sort of joke in Japanese culture? Somebody correct me if I’m wrong. If this were Lucky Star, which KyoAni is stuffing full of references to their past productions, I’d be more sure that this was a Haruhi reference. But considering the last episode was current enough to mention Gurren-Lagann I wouldn’t be surprised!)