Greetings! In the following article, I'm writing about Hatake and Haruna being sweethearts and Kano being badass.
...But Webmaster, won't this article contradict what you said in Mean Streaks???
Oh my goodness, I sure hope not! The point of Mean Streaks was to simply make the characters look as mean as possible because it's FUN, while the point of THIS article is to JUSTIFY their mean streaks. NOW. Moving on!
I have several goals in life; photographing Sphinx moths, publishing my own comic book, learning to be a mime, becoming a Pokemon master, and... making people realize what a sweetheart Hatake is!!
Hatake did NOT bully Mihashi for the sake of bullying Mihashi or because he thinks bullying is awesome. Try to put yourself in Hatake's situation for a moment - you absolutely LOVE and adore Kano, and you want to work together with him in a battery SO BAD, and this is a perfect opportunity to do so, and... along comes Mihashi and forces his presence and partnership upon you. Now, I'm not saying MIHASHI is a nasty person here - fudge, I LOVE Mihashi; he's one of my favorite characters ever, but I think he's a flawed character as well, and his flaws make him more interesting and likeable, and YES, I'm actually starting to sway more towards Hatake's side when it comes to their little argument. But back to you being Hatake. Mihashi just came along and crushed your dreams, while at the same time expecting you to work together with him. Wouldn't that frustrate you? Wouldn't you feel like pummeling something? WOULDN'T YOU FEEL LIKE DOING EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT?!?!???
DEEP BREATH. If putting yourself in Hatake's place doesn't work, try to view things as the AUDIENCE instead as one of the characters, because parts of the audience is exactly what we all are. Look at Hatake as a character instead of as a person you have to deal with. Don't you think he's an interesting character? I do for sure! He makes for some seriously awesome character interaction, and thanks to him, the story of Ookiku Furikabutte got more interesting and dramatic. If we didn't have characters like Hatake and his Merry Mihoshi Men, Mihashi would never have been chased off Mihoshi, and we'd never get to witness the story of Oofuri as we know it.
Finally, yes... Hatake is a sweetheart. While bullying people is wrong, he's only human, and he makes mistakes. Mihashi made a mistake too, and ended up hurting a lot of people because of it. The truth about Hatake is, though, that he did what he did for the sake of his friend Kano, while Mihashi did what HE did for the sake of himself. It's the thought that counts, right? Hatake will do anything for Kano! If you STILL can't forgive Hatake for smacking Mihashi around, fast-forward to the end of episode seven again. Hatake and company apologized to Mihashi, and Hatake communicated with Mihashi normally, as if he were one of them. He was even nice enough to tell Mihashi about the habit he noticed! DAWW!!
SO YEAH. If you for whatever sick twisted reason want to go on disliking Hatake, then fine, carry on, it's fun when people have different opinions on characters. Just don't give him all the blame for what happened back in middle school, all right? It makes me sad that people automatically assume that Hatake is the bad guy and take Mihashi's side even though what Mihashi did was more selfish than anything any other character ever did. Even Mihashi himself thinks what he did was wrong! Do people side with him only because he's CUTER than Hatake or what?
While I'm at it, I'd like everyone to know that Hatake's little underlings Yoshi and Miyagawa (and Hiiragi too, I suppose, but he never really got to say or do anything) are totally radical and hilarious and deserve all the hero-worshipping in the world, and I wish they got more spotlight SO BAD. What are their first names anyway?!
Haruna has a lot in common with Hatake, actually - he acts like somewhat of a jerk, and people automatically jump to the conclusion that Haruna is wrong and Abe is right. Also, his stubbornness makes him awesome as a character. I... think I'm going to have some problems writing about him as he's so WEIRD and it's really hard to know what's going on inside his head, but I'll do my best!
Let's have a look at the Haruna and Abe battery back in middle school! It would seem obvious to put all the blame on the big bad Haruna since Middle School Abe was so small and adorable and looked like Sakaeguchi, but again, let's look at things from Haruna's perspective. He'd strictly set himself a pitching limit, and as ridiculous as it might have sounded to other baseball players, it was his own decision, and the others could have refused to let him pitch all together if they didn't agree with him. Still, Abe INSISTED on being Haruna's catcher companion, even when he knew about his ridiculous little rule! He knew VERY WELL what he was getting himself into, and even so, he kept nagging and begging Haruna to change his ways to make things better for Abe and the team. So in that sense, the one being selfish may very well have been ABE!
Let's not forget the EXTRA Musashino-only chapter/episode! In it, we get to hear Haruna's very own dramatic backstory - he had a reason for his limit after all! Now, I have no idea if Abe knew this or not, but now that WE do, it's time to cut Haruna some slack! He even helped Kaguyama out of his slump!
Also, as I stated in the guide for episode 26, Haruna is an incredibly interesting character who interacts wonderfully with everyone he comes in contact with. That alone should be a reason to hero-worship him and forget about his selfish ways. He doesn't mean any harm with his stupid little limit! He's just set himself a goal, and will do anything to preserve himself in order to reach it! He works hard, too!! He's a fun character, and he's never downright mean to anyone unless they annoy him first.
Okay, so Kano isn't getting the blame for any disasters, but a lot of people seem to think of him as some kind of... excuse me for saying this... kawaii neko boy. If I had a dollar for every time I saw Kano represented as some kind of dweeb in fancomics while browsing Yahoo! Japan auctions, I'd finally be able to buy my own dream castle.
So here's the deal! Despite his face being almost as adorable as Jin's and his general nice guy attitude, Kano is actually THE most badass and manly character in all of Oofuriland. While violent and seemingly badass characters like Hatake and Abe may appear reckless and mean, they're secretly big mushy Squishy Bearz deep inside due to their obsessions with the other halves of their batteries. Kano will have no such thing! Sure, Kano loves and supports his friend Mihashi, but he will NOT let their friendship get in the way of his desire to win. His weakness is NOT friendship and love, but his own manly tendency to self-destruct due to his extreme competitive nature and childish obsession with winning. So all in all, Kano is more reckless than any other character out there, and combined with his many other character traits, that's what makes him AWESOME.
You know, one of the things that give me chucks about Kano is the very fact that his adorable Jin-eyed character design contrasts his personality so much. In reality, he should have looked more like Action Man or something. Now that I think about it, it would have made lots of sense for Hatake and Kano to switch character designs! That wouldn't have been HILARIOUS though, so I'm glad things turned out the way they did.