Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hayate Cross Blade-Shizuru Hatashira

Hayate Cross Blade
Shizuru Hatashira
Tor, Nov 2008, $9.99
ISBN: 0765321815

When her twin sister Nagi Hayate becomes too ill to go to the Tenchi Academy that has accepted her in their prestigious “Sword Bearer” program, Kurogane agrees to temporarily go in her stead. Ever the optimist, Hayate assumes the switch should be easy. However, after arrival at the all-girls boarding school, she begins to learn the rules of Star Stealing and wants to compete, but needs a partner. As a first year student, who arrived late, her choice is limited to losers whose eyes look vacant.

Upbeat as always, she observes third year student Mudou Ayana defeat an opponent without using her sword or hands. She learns Ayana has no partner so cannot compete; Hayate wonders what happened that left Ayana alone. She decides Ayana will be her partner though the older girl keeps rejecting her. When Hayate learns the Dandelion Garden orphanage that she was raised in is in financial trouble with owing a fortune to Yakuza mobsters, she makes it her goal to earn money by winning the Star Stealing, but needs Ayana as her Sword Bearer sister to do so.

Targeting older teens as there is some profanity; HAYATE CROSS BLADE is an engaging manga graphic comic book. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that the Pollyanna with blades Hayate arrives at school and never slows down as she does everything to make Ayana her partner and save the Dandelion Garden. Hayate’s always rah-rah can do attitude is a doubled edged sword; fans will admire her bubbly optimism yet at times is irritating just ask the usually stoic Ayana. Still readers will enjoy attending Tenchi Academy where the best swordswomen in Japan are trained through the intriguing Star Stealing program.

Harriet Klausner

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