ハヤテのごとく！/Hayate no Gotoku Chapter 394
Ayumu asks Nagi if she has any other ideas for defeating Ruka. Nagi states that as the main character, she should be guaranteed to win. Ayumu rejects this, demanding to know what Nagi means by being the main character. Nagi explains that she's the main character of her own life and she has the characteristics of a main character. Ayumu points out that Ruka's traits are much more in line with a main character than Nagi's.
Ayumu scolds Nagi for assuming Hayate will stay with her even if Ruka pays off his debt. Ayumu tells the story of a parrot she once owned, named Ran-chan, which she'd raised from a chick. One day, Ran-chan managed to get out of its cage, where it flew off, never to return. Ayumu thinks that Hayate is the same, and that given a chance, he'll leave and never return.
Chiharu likes the notion of Nagi thinking of herself as the main character in her own life and sites Kinnikuman as a case for using mountain seclusion to perfect something.
Inside the cabin, Ayumu drops a massive stack of blank paper, telling Nagi that just being in the mountains isn't enough. As such, she demands Nagi do nothing but create storyboards and stories but not work on her art since even Ayumu knows that Nagi can't close the gap with Ruka in art so quickly. As such, Ayumu insists Nagi can come up with a good story, believing in miracles. Nagi reminds Ayumu that Ayumu doesn't know whether a manga is any good or not. However, Ayumu has this covered, having invited Ashibashi-sensei to help with that aspect, baiting him with the promise of sansai (mountain vegetable) nabe.
Chiharu and Nagi are both not happy that Ayumu has brought in a professional manga-ka. Ayumu tells them that she doesn't want Ruka stealing Hayate away, thus she will do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn't happen.
Nagi recalls her previous encounter with Ashibashi-sensei, remembering that she lost her confidence when she discovered the difference between herself and a pro manga-ka. Ashibashi-sensei tells Nagi that her manga he saw back then was good and original, only rough around the edges. Hearing this, Nagi is encouraged. Chiharu realizes what Ayumu has done, but Ayumu feigns ignorance, stating that it is important to have self confidence. Ayumu then asks Chiharu how to make sansai nabe while Ashibashi-sensei calls his assistant, Azumamiya, to let him know that he won't be back for a while.
You know, I really loved this chapter, mainly because Ayumu really got a chance to shine.
All along, Ayumu has been set up to be the bland, normal girl who's one of Nagi's rivals for the love of Hayate. At times, she's very cautious, such as when she confessed to Hina that her strategy with Hayate was one where she wasn't fully rejected, but despite knowing she probably would be rejected, she's going to try to get to a point where she might be more than friends at the very least.
Of all the girls who love Hayate, Ayumu is the only one to confess her love for him. (CORRECTION: I meant to say that she was the first one to do so and the only one to do so for a long while. Unfortunately, that isn't what I typed. ^_^;;; ) That came as an act of desperation, but when the time came, she pulled the trigger and acted. Ayumu may be the boldest and bravest character in Hayate the Combat Butler. When she first met Nagi and was sent packing, she didn't let that stop her. When she and Nagi met again and Ayumu lost the karaoke contest, she again didn't let that stop her because Hayate means that much to her. Thus, she and Nagi have become friends, and Ayumu is also friends with Hina and various other ojousamas that would otherwise never even notice her.
In this chapter, Ayumu brings her A-game when it comes to helping Nagi, thus insuring Hayate doesn't leave. Her strategy for Nagi is right on, since creating a very interesting/entertaining story is key and can overcome poorer quality artwork. Then, she does something that Chiharu and Nagi would never dream of doing - have a professional manga-ka come out to this remote, mountain cabin to help Nagi grow as a manga-ka. As I said in my review of the previous chapter, while Chiharu is certainly a needed person to help Nagi get on the path, it is ultimately Ayumu that gets Nagi there. I believe that is exactly what will happen here.
On a more humorous note, one wonders how Ashibashi-sensei started addressing Ayumu as "Ayuyu." *lol*
I have this feeling that next chapter will switch to Ruka and Hayate. Nothing to do now but wait for it. ^_^