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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

the oh-no! DVD of the week: ‘Hayate the Combat Butler: Part 5’

It’s supposed to be funny, I think:

Hayate may have won the Butler Battle Tournament but now the school superintendent wants Hayate to join her Butler Corps of Darkness. In an effort to lure Hayate to her side, she sends her mysterious butlers to defeat. Nagi gets caught in the crossfire at the Academy Culture Fest as one the butlers hypnotizes her and now she doesn’t acknowledge Hayate. Will Hayate find a way to break the spell and rescue Nagi?

The cover art makes me think “Ninja Jeeves finds himself in a porno when three irresistible and innoncent young ladies ring the manor doorbell looking for work.”

And perhaps that’s not far wrong: Wikipedia describes the series on the whole as having “a slight harem feel.”


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  • PillowCaseLaw

    Eh, “harem” as applied to anime is mostly just about the fact that the main male lead is surrounded by females, whether he wants to be or not. Nothing necessarily sexual about it, though some wink-wink-nudge-nudge antics may ensue.

  • Knightgee

    Indeed.”Harem” is any anime with a predominantly female cast and only a male protagonist. Sex doesn’t even need to enter the equation. Though it’s a little disconcerting that this dynamic is called “harem” specifically.

    Also, fighting butlers? I’m sort of amused that the formula for so many anime seems to be “Fighting “.

  • Lisa

    I have read that synopsis twice and I still don’t understand it

  • So that’s what that store is all about! There’s a store in Nanjing near the library dedicated to this comic, complete with comics, toys, and DVDs, and they look like these characters (both on this site and the linked site.) It’s just a whole in the wall about the size of my parents’ garage, but still.

    FYI, the easiest way to start a small business in China is to rent one of these little structures, they come in rows, complete with a garage door that rolls up and down in front of your store front. You rent one, put in the stuff you want to sell (anything from car tires to anime tie-ins to fresh fruit) and away you go.

  • there’s a fetish app for that on the new iPad.

    Seriously, the Japanese have this thing for maid outfits. And schoolgirl sailor outfits. And sauna episodes. And winged angel girls with cute smiles and size 40 sniper rifles. And chocolate hearts. And yaoi.

    If you need something safer to watch for your anime… um… ah… try http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OuranHighSchoolHostClub and enjoy…

  • So the DVD is about a butler (a male character) and yet there are three females in maid uniforms on the cover?

    And MaryAnn was just right with the series until Part 5 came out? ;-)

  • MaryAnn

    And MaryAnn was just right with the series until Part 5 came out? ;-)

    I’d never even heard of it. But this DVD popped up on today’s new-release listings.

  • you need more anime, boss.

    Start off with some FLCL, add some Eureka Seven, and any Gundam of your choice.

  • MaryAnn

    you need more anime, boss.

    No, I really don’t.

  • amanohyo

    This is just the tip of the enormous demeaning, misogynistic iceberg that pollutes all of anime (and Japanese culture as a whole) to varying degrees. As PaulW implies, there are a few gems here and there (although adults who like Gundam are just about as silly as those that like Twilight), but searching for them quickly gets depressing. Gratuitous, pandering fan service and insulting costume designs in particular are almost impossible to escape.

    Although a harem anime usually does not include explicit sex (the doujinshi take care of that), two or more (sometimes all) of the female characters are typically fighting over a male main character who has very little to recommend him other than dumb luck. In this way, these shows serve as wish fulfilment fantasies for boys (and sadly, many men). There’s nothing wrong with that up to a point, but it does tend to instill a sense of entitlement in the viewers.

    I suppose the rising popularity of reverse harem products like Ouran and Twilight could be seen as a sign of progress. Alternatively, harem anime and manga could be seen as romance novels for boys, which some might argue would be a good thing. Personally, I find something unsettling about the whole underlying idea of choosing between idealized romantic partners who are all offering themselves to you like fruit in a grocery store display.

    These types of shows aren’t going away soon, so I guess the next best thing, though it pains me to say it, is more shows like Ouran and Twilight with a main character that actually has (or develops) a bit more agency. In other words, less of a “which master will I choose to serve?” vibe.

  • No need to get all bent out of shape over the anime industry in general over this release, there partner. As with all large media types, there are parts that will appeal to you and parts that appeal to others.

    Also, it’s worth pointing out, however Wikipedia describes the anime, it’s actually a satire on several anime ‘themes’ that dominate the industry today. While the Japanese have the tendency to treat a lot of ridiculous things as ‘Serious Business’ (for as much as I enjoy the show, the idea of Iron Chef is very, very silly), which I think is a little absurd, in THIS particular case it’s an over-the-top parody.

  • Orangutan

    When I try to introduce someone to anime, I always go with Hayao Miyazaki’s work. My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke are my go-to movies for him. If they want something more mature, I go to Perfect Blue, which is not a Miyazaki, but still a reliable choice for a psychological thriller.

  • amanohyo is mostly right: the fanservice stuff is really just that, schoolboy fantasies run amok. Some *do* attempt to achieve some wit, or some other saving grace, hence my earlier listing of Ouran Host Club (which can be an inverse harem fantasy in that it’s a girl (who appears boyish) dealing with a room full of flirtatious teen boys). Others are either too soapy (Ah My Goddess), too ridiculous (Girls Bravo), too creepy (Chobits and/or DearS), or too… um, weird (does Utena count here?).

    Harem anime is an acquired taste. I get the impression Mary Ann should stick with Cowboy Bebop, FLCL, maybe Full Metal Panic, Ghost in the Shell series 1-2, Haruhi Suzumiya (Melancholy of), Ghost Hunter Robin, and Hamtaro (aka The Hamster Mafia).

  • amanohyo

    Sorry Tempestdash, when I see a french maid costume, I’m immediately pissed off. To be fair, I just watched an episode, hoping it was some kind of subversive, satirical take on popular conventions, but it’s awful, not even on the same level as the worst Excel Saga episodes .

    I’m comfortable with my generalizations about the show and the medium. It’s self evident that there are parts that will appeal to me, and parts that appeal to others – my point was that most anime does not appeal to me, and searching for the few works that do can be a depressing process for a feminist without a taste for adolescent melodrama.

    Just a long-winded way of suggesting that MA is probably the best judge when it comes to what she needs more of. I know PaulW meant no harm and was just trying to introduce others to the exciting world of anime, but for a lot of people otakuville is a nice place to visit (if that), but they wouldn’t want to live there (especially when they’re having time management issues as it is).

  • Orangutan

    Cowboy Bebop

    Oh man, YES. I am ASHAMED of myself that I left that off my post! Even though I was talking movies. But I still can’t agree with giving FLCL to someone with practically no anime experience at all. To me, that’s kinda like throwing them in the deep end of the pool. From the high diving board. After giving them an acid tab.

    If I was going to recommend a series to start with, Cowboy Bebop is definitely #1. And just to be confusing, I’ll add Full Metal Alchemist to your list. ;)

  • If I was going to recommend a series to start with, Cowboy Bebop is definitely #1.

    Yes to this.

    Madeline Ashby is blogging about each episode of Bebop over at Tor.com. Here’s one where she talks about Faye Valentine as a particularly well-written female character.

  • I_Sell_Books

    Maryann, if you ever get the urge – sudden though it might be, perhaps no more than a fleeting thought and some, heh, ‘spare time’, I recommend the following:

    Ghost in the Shell movies & series
    Samurai Champloo
    Cowboy Bebop (hated it and then got hooked)
    Princess Mononoke

    And I say that as someone who’s only an occasional viewer of anime.

  • “…I know PaulW meant no harm and was just trying to introduce others to the exciting world of anime…”

    Ahhhh, amanohyo, I had included FLCL on my list of recommended anime. I meant bleeploads of harm with that one bwhahahaha.

    It’s either FLCL or the English dub version of Samurai Pizza Cats… wait, that’s not on DVD yet?! EVER?! (I don’t include bootlegs) I’m calling Obama on this!

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