Ai Hayasaka: Small Screen Time, Big Impact

You all know how I feel about Kaguya-sama, right? That doesn’t need to be repeated for the nth time because I’m sure that you will get tired of it. (If you don’t, here is a link to where you can see it right here.) If there was something that I haven’t talked about here, it’s the side characters in the show. Ishigami isn’t anybody worthy of note here, but seeing the goofy and unpredictable Chika Fujiwara on screen was a delight most of the time. There is a reason why many people call her best girl and I can’t argue with that. At the same time, I can’t help but notice that there is another character in the show that deserves the same title for different reasons. Her name is Ai Hayasaka and she seems like the most interesting character in the show for me.

(Please note that I haven’t read any manga material, so all assumptions are based on the show itself)

I think it’s very easy to call Ai the fan service girl and just move on. A lot of her on screen moments were other characters commenting on how her school uniform’s skirt was cut short, a disguise she hid herself in that emphasized her features, or the only female character that was in a bath tub. Considering her lack of screen time, that is completely fair. Especially since she is a very attractive drawn character and she did a lot of those things herself. I mean, she obviously didn’t want the class president to recognize who she was for some reason. Also, I feel like Ai Hayasaka cutting her school uniform’s skirt to barely fit her school’s uniform guide lines was some form of rebellion against rules itself without pushing it too far. She is a character that lives with in many sets of rules, so she needed an out somewhere though. No argument for that bath scene though because that was fan service for fan service’s sake. Considering that there isn’t that much in the Kaguya, it’s very heavy for this sort of show.

With all that being said, Hayasaka is the character that is closest to Kagaya herself. You can first say that because she is Kaguya’s personal maid. Sure, that is a start but it continues as time goes on. From all the interactions we’ve seen, Ai is the only character that Kaguya never defends or deflects herself from. While we see the smugness of Kaguya-sama in her student council room with her student council members, everything Ai says and does effects Kaguya differently which not only makes Kaguya more interesting but makes us go “who is this person and why are they able to say” when it comes to Ai. That means that the two know each other more then just going “this one is the servant and this one is the master” kind of thing. The two are obviously close enough to each other to almost be sisters. Thus, the insides and outsides of how they think and feel are well known to each other. So what I am saying is that just by Ai appearing, one of the main characters is much more interesting then they were before.

And how close the two are can be pushed further then that. When Kaguya-sama wants comfort, Hayasaka is there. You can see that in the short scene where Kaguya-sama loses the test score competition against Shirogane. There is a split-second scene where Hayasaka holds an obviously hurt Kaguya to provide comfort. Should I also mention when Kaguya was down in the dumps, it was also up to Hayasaka to not only hype Kaguya up again, she also disguised herself as Kaguya to allow her master to escape and see her beloved in some way. It’s pretty clear how much this young maid cares for her master’s happiness. What a wonderful person she is despite all the things that have been pushed down on her.

And with that, why are there so mysteries with her character? Ai Hayasaka spends a lot of time trying not to turn the eyes of different people away from her. She acts like a complete airhead at school. The one scene centered around Hayasaka keeping Chika out of the student council room proves that. And then she has a small gang that she dances with? Why does she have to disguise herself when people visit Kaguya’s mansion? Does Kaguya not want people to know that she has a maid despite how insanely rich she is? Is there some kind of family dynamic or something that other people don’t want to know? It’s so interesting and makes me just want to know about her even more. Ai Hayasaka is a beautiful girl of mystery.

I’m not usually one for character analysis because I am far from the best one at it, but this one seemed necessary. (Please look at Irina’s blog for some excellent examples of this). To me, Ai Hayasaka is the best girl in Kaguya-sama: Love is war. Mystery, beauty, intelligence, and dedication are traits that can make some one very interesting and alluring and Ai has all of that. She has all of that with less screen time than everyone else important in the show. Completed underrated character. I may not completely know about her, but Ai clearly knows what her role in life is and what she needs to do to continue living in that role. You know what? That’s all I need to know.

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