This is the big one folks. Hayate no Gotoku is one of the longest manga series of all time, and one of the best. It started in 2004, and now sits at #4 in my top manga rankings, behind only Fairy Tail, Saki and Akame ga Kill!
Fairy Tail, Saki, and Akame ga Kill! haven't ended yet, so if Hayate ends without any spinoffs or sequels, this will be the biggest tremor to affect the manga world in history.
With 50 volumes already under its belt, it was time for Hayate to come to an end. Hilariously, the story in the narrative only lasted about one year, though writing it took 14. Hayate has already rejected Nishizawa, Athena and Nagi, so it's pretty clear he's going to get with Hinagiku at the end. I'm fine with that, though she wasn't my favorite. What's important is that Hayate, unlike Rito, is acting decisively and not just leaving girls hanging while wishy-washying around. You see, this is how actual good writing is done. Hayate had just as big a harem as Rito, and yet he deals with the problem whereas Rito does not. What a difference a quality ending can make.
All that's left is for Hayate to rescue Nagi from her sadness one more time, defeat Himegami, settle the crazy magical nonsense of the royal palace, and get things back to normalcy where everyone can just go about their peaceful, school attending days. It's a tall order for just six chapters to cover, but I'm confident that this author will be able to pull it off. Hata Kenjiro is a genius. Not only Hayate, but also his other manga, Ad Astra per Aspera and Sore ga Seiyuu, are all great together. There's no way he doesn't pull this off with a perfect flourish and bow.
I decided Naruto, with its constant bait and switch trolling, was only worthy of 9th place in manga rankings. "If you activate the 8th gate, the death gate, you'll die." Guy activates the 8th gate. Guy lives. "If you eat this red colored food pill, you'll die." Chouji eats the food pill. Chouji lives. "If someone's bijuu is extracted, they die." Gaara's bijou is extracted. Gaara lives. Kakashi dies against Pain. Kakashi is revived by Pain a few seconds later, good as new. It just gets so very tiresome. Any series that is this flippant about death, with people constantly dying and being revived, in a battle manga of all things so that death is pretty much the only drama the story orbits around, is just being flippant with the audience and playing them for fools.
There are good things about Naruto which make up the gap, and in most cases those good things surpass the good things of other series. But it can't beat realistic series where death actually matters, like Cross Game or Akatsuki no Yona, like that. It no longer deserves to be on the same tier as real stories like those.
Meanwhile, March Madness has essentially begun. 24 slots to the dance are decided via conference tournament winners, which are already underway. Since the one game elimination process of these tournaments is the exact same as the overall NCAA tournament, there's really no way to discern the difference between March Madness beginning now or at its official date. Who gets these automatic bids is just as thrilling stuff as who gets to the round of 32, or who among the 'first four' gets slotted into the round of 64.
Watching the conference tourneys is watching March Madness, so it's time to start the revelry now, no need to wait another week. And on that note, congratulations to Northwestern, who has qualified for March Madness for the very first time in its history, the only power conference university to have failed to do so until now. It took 80 years since the tournament's inception, but Northwestern finally got the job done. Go Wildcats!