On Christmas night nice, hard-working boy Hayate Ayasaki discovers that he is actually the unluckiest teenager in Japan. His irresponsible gambler parents not only ran away from home, leaving behind a massive amount of debt (about $ 1.5 million). Not only that; for fearful yakuza gangsters are after him, trying to "collect" his organs.
Desperate Hayate thinks of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl Nagi Sanzenin, whom he encountered in the park. What he didn't know was she was a spoiled girl of an incredibly rich family, and Nagi mistakes Hayate's "I want you" for confession of love and she falls in love with him!
In spite of the contrived and impossible opening chapters, "Combat the Butler Hayate" starts pretty well, as an amusing comedy (yes, it is a comedy) about Hayate, Nagi, Maria (17-year-old, Nagi's maid), Klaus, the head butler of the family and Tama, a tiger Nagi keeps in her room. There are several pop culture references (see p.132, for example, references to Batman, Thunderbirds, and Death Note), but most jokes and gags are easy to understand. And they are funny, well, most of them.
Kenjiro Hata's comic has been serialized in Shogakukan's "Shonen Sunday" since 2004. This is a manga for shonen magazine (boys' magazine), so though the manga contains romance (only on the side of Nagi, anyway), the comic is basically a comedy in the vein of Rumiko Takahashi's "Urusei Yatsura" (which was also serialized in "Shonen Sunday"). If you are looking for so-called moe or fan service, you will be disappointed.
VIZ Media's translation is excellent. English words are carefully chosen and faithful to the original phrases. All FX is translated and the content of the English edition is almost exactly the same as that of the original. The only difference is that the preface/postface manga (two bonus four-panel comic strips) are in color in Japanese edition.
"Combat the Butler Hayate" is nothing groundbreaking, but enjoyable nonetheless, with several interesting characters and above-average illustrations.
[TRIVIA] The boy's name "hayate" means "fast, storm-like wind" in Japanese. The heroine's name "nagi" means "a calm" or "a lull."