Hayata the Combat Butler is without a doubt quite a famous series now, with a manga of over 350 chapters and still on-going, and two anime seasons, it seems somewhat odd that a third anime season would be met with such a lukewarm response from fans. Sadly though, it isn't hard to understand why once you've watched the third season for yourself.
Hayate No Gotku! Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You was pushed as a series which should have been easy for newcomers to get into easily without having to know too much about the Hayata world, somewhat helped by the fact this season of the anime was to feature a plot not seen in the manga. However, what we really get is something that both new and old fans of Hayata struggle to get into, with good reason. The plot can't really be considered a strong one because, while it starts off quite well, it quickly loses its way and wastes its time on pointless comedy and hinting at some deeper meaning to the whole thing, and spends a lot of its time introducing (well, I say introducing, it's more like throwing you at them for no apparent reason) a large cast of characters. While the series was pushed to be easy for newcomers to get into, the fact they start introducing characters into the story and make no effort at all to explain who they are quickly shows that the series has little intention of being welcoming to those who don't know of the characters from past seasons, which could be considered one of its many downfalls.
Half the problems come from the series introducing a new character, who comes in and claims to be the sister of Nagi, and while Nagi doesn't quite trust her she still gives her a place to stay and somewhat warms to her. The series seems to waste a lot of time, pointless, with Nagi and her sister, while hinting at a much deeper (and more interesting), plot somewhere in the background which only really gets to shine in the last three to four episodes. Really, it kind of shows why the plot was apparently scrapped for the manga, it just doesn't seem strong enough next to the things which came before it. The characters don't seem to have lost any charm they originally had, but this story just didn't bring the best out in them either, which is again, very off-putting to new viewers of the show. It's true that the plot is actually quite heartwarming by the end, but that just isn't enough to make up for everything that came before it. I can't even say the comedy makes up for it because next to other shows in the season it was tossed in with, or even shows from 2012 in general, it really does fall flat very quickly and keeps relying on the same kind of jokes over and over again.
In terms of animation the studio to handle this season of Hayate was Manglobe (likely best known for Deadman Wonderland and The World God Only Knows), and while the animation is good, I wouldn't consider it as pretty or special as other shows this year. It's fitting but will never really go out of its way to impress and I found myself a little bit disappointed that it didn't push the boat out for its animation, if nothing else.
The music used throughout the show was fitting, but again nothing outstanding or going out of its way to impress. Like the series itself, it settles for what it is rather than working hard to draw new fans in, or really push the boat out and do something different. It's nice, but by no means memorable.
It's disappointing that a series of such a big name ended up with something nice, but by no means memorable. It's mistakes came in a weak plot and throwing far too many characters at us without properly explaining just who they are, both for the sake of newcomers and for those who already knew of the series, but just can't really remember everyone without a bit of help. Hopefully the next season of Hayate is handled with a bit more care and attention towards the viewers.