First Impressions on Hayate the Combat Butler with Park Shin Hye and George Hu

This has been an insane weekend for me. I started off Friday night going to the U2 concert and I’m still partially deaf 48 hours later. Then real life got sorta upended for the next two weeks with some unforeseen complications, so suddenly I’m busier than I normally am. I’m starting to feel an out-of-body experience where I am watching myself run myself ragged. Sigh.

My drama load also added two new dramas – in addition to watching episode 1 of Material Queen, a second new TW-drama premiered this weekend that I also wanted to check out, Hayate the Combat Butler with Park Shin Hye and George Hu. The previews were frankly not all that, so I dialed my expectations way low and went in either to get bored or snark.

The cool thing is that neither was my reaction – I thoroughly enjoyed episode 1. Actually, my reaction was a little more than that – I adored it. I watched it with a giant grin on my face the entire time. It was charming, sweet, and absolutely nailed the manga-adaptation tone and vibe. It really is a live-action of an anime, so whether you like it might depend if you enjoy hyper-real situations wrapped in youthful sincerity. If episode 1 of Material Queen was a fine glass of Bordeaux, then episode one of Hayate is guzzling a delicious tumbler of Yakult.

I find both George and Shin Hye perfectly cast, and together they have the cutest puppies-and-rainbows kind of chemistry. It’s totally undeniable, and will make their story so much fun to watch unfold. Yes, the acting is all-around mediocre, but that’s not the point. George has this sincere vibe that totally captures the character of Ling Qi Sa, a humble boy with extraordinary skills who is down on his luck thanks to his debt-ridden parents. I love Xiao Zi (Shin Hye’s character) as well, equal parts bratty kindness and naive young girl.

The first meeting between Sa and Xaio Zi was so utterly winning that I’ve watched it multiple times now, each time feeling this warmth and laughter in my belly. Xiao Zi thinks Sa is coming on to her, but instead he is trying to kidnap her for ransom but is too polite so he asks for her permission first, using such lines as “I need you” and ending with “I want to enslave you.” Mwahahaha, these two kids are going to be a barrel of laughs together since they are both so dim about love and life in different ways.

The dubbing doesn’t bother me at all, because the voice chosen for Shin Hye is not high pitched and cutesy, but is actually quite lovely on the ears with a very fluid delivery. The OST is surprisingly mellow and restrained for a manga-adaptation, nothing outstanding but nevertheless the music chosen is a good fit for the drama.

Episode 1 is just the set-up, bringing Sa into the world of Xiao Zi and making him her personal butler. I’m hoping the sweet friendship and love story between the lady and her butler will work in a way that My Fair Lady with Yoon Eun Hye and Yoon Sang Hyun failed to deliver because the script was such a mess. Hayate feels like such a breath of fresh air, a Summer drama that doesn’t aim high but rather delivers simple enjoyment and happiness. I can’t ask for more. Hayate is a win in my book.


First Impressions on Hayate the Combat Butler with Park Shin Hye and George Hu — 23 Comments

  1. Hope someone will upload in youtube. Thanks koala unni for the update. Fair enough shin ye can deliver the role base on her capabilities. Hope you can do recap for this drama. Thanks in advance

  2. hope to see this too as if my drama load are not enough already …. but sadly most of them are running to the finish line ……

  3. I love U2… their concerts are great! 🙂
    Anyhow – I also watched ep 1 just for the heck of it and ehhh… I didn’t really like it all that much. But I usually don’t get drawn into the this type right away unless I am prepared for it. I’m going to wait until it airs more and then do a marathon. PSH is very lovely in ep 1 and I do think the dubbing is ok. But in general, I was a little bored. Then again, I’m getting into ep 3 of Mei Le Go so that says something about my tastes. I have very strange tastes LOL. Even watched the Mei Le Go Bai Fen Bai.

    Oh – I do hope this is a heck of a lot better than MFL. I think the pairing here is more suitable. After 2 yrs, I thought maybe MFL wasn’t as bad as I thought when it aired. But no – still bad in my eyes. PSH has won me over, but not sure about George yet. “Fighting!” — to quote a line from the show.

  4. my expectations for hayate are quite low too—i was going to watch it cuz of shin hye —it’s actually a very nice surprise that you liked and enjoyed it—my ” uhhh ohhhhh–kay i’ll watch it ” attitude has been you could say “upgraded”
    thanks—-hope everything goes well in regards to your personal side—thanks again truly appreciate your work 🙂

  5. hmm, u got me interested in Hayate okoala. I find George hot n shy quite endearing. Shin Hye is beautiful, a good actress I look forward to watching. I am liking this and finds the pairing a perfect match too. Interesting characters. Will be tuning in for Hayate the combat butler !

  6. thanks for the review :)) hope you could recap this series. the anime is hilarious and sweet. i love nagi and hayate and i’m happy the live-action version captured the charm of the anime with george and shin-hye’s chemistry.looking forward to the next’s gonna get more interesting 🙂

  7. omo…i had to watch this since i’ve been wanting to see Park Shin Hye in another series…though i am really anticipating seeing her next week in HeartStrings…
    i may really enjoy this when the subs come out, i hope soon…i like George and it seems we’d find them a cute pair as more eps gets aired…
    i just didn’t like the fact that the maid is way too sexy here…ha ha ha…

  8. I watched it after your recap, and yes its hilarious. Its so relaxing to watch this drama. I felt like an adult watching cartoons.

    Indeed a refreshing change from the usual “revenge – bitterness – hatred dramas”. Its time to relax and be entertained again – I’ll watch Hayate to its 13th episode.

  9. I agree with you and I have always found Park Shin Hye has chemistry with men who are much older than her like Lee Wan (They must do another drama together) and George Hu here.

  10. I’m so glad that you enjoyed Hayate just like me who even watched the 1st episode without english sub and would just wait for their reaction at times since I’m not Taiwanese.

    I’m so happy that the chemistry between and George and Shin Hye are just perfect because i was worried when i heard they were not getting along but it doesn’t seem that way when you watch the show. My only dislike about this is the maids character. She doesn’t seem to know how to react at times making her face with the same look in every scene (just my observation). They should have gotten someone with experience already.

    Shin Hye is just perfect as I imagined. Her timing is always right which I guess was hard because everyone else was delivering their lines in another language.Im glad the voice they used to dub her is in a perfect pitch. Her facial expression is sooo cute that I like her more now and can’t wait to see her new korean drama end of this month.

    George is equally good in this drama. His facial reactions,timing and all are just perfect similar to Shin Hye so i can’t wait to see how the relationship with these two unfold in the coming week.

    I can’t wait to use my new tv with wifi in watching this drama. Hope they put english subs ASAP since I can’t wait for days at times.

    Best of luck to both Shin Hye and George.

  11. heeeeeee….. i just watch the 1st ep of hayate and everything tht u said is true… i smile all the time…. hayate is really has a tw-drama feel…. i hope hayate can give us a nice story like DTLY… just hope!!

  12. george hu doesnt really catch my attention
    neither shin hye which is surprising cuz i really liked her in “you’re beautiful”
    the girl playing maria seems very stiff

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