Bam. This particular series is a bit of an unusual sort. The setting is an academy that has its trademarked Absurdly Powerful Student Council (damn tvtropes popping up everywhere), and besides education, it has an entire separate branch of stuff called 'Sword Arts', which is kind of a duel-your-way up thing with wooden swords. There's a complex system of stars and dueling pairs, and various different rankings of which I'll attempt to do a quick summary.
There's rankings from D-C-B-A-S, and every student participating in Sword Arts has to have a partner. One person is the 'Earth', and the other's the 'Heaven.' The Heaven partner gets a star on their left shoulder, and the Earth person gets a star hidden somewhere on their body. Each person tries to strike the star of their respective positions (For example, a Heaven star person tries to smack the other Heaven person's star), and the way to win is for the Heaven person to get their star hit. Ah, Christ, I'm total shit at summaries of battle systems. :|
Alright, moving forward. Hayate X Blade focuses on a young girl who goes to a school in place of her sister because of family issues, and doesn't really want to participate in the swordfighting, until she realizes you can earn big bucks from it. Yeah, somehow the school pays people money to beat each other up with wooden sticks. The girl (Hayate Kurogane) realizes that her orphanage is in debt to evil debt collector people, and resolves to fight her way to the top, earn monies, and pay off that debt. She needs a partner, of course, and goes off to find some who aren't creepy or failures, and finds this girl who used to be an A rank, but dropped out of it after a mysterious accident, and now stays in her room playing dating sims and videogames (Ayana Mudo). Here's a cover of one of the volumes.
Yes, Hayate seems to have some kind of problematic growth disorder. But her hyperactivity makes up for it, and she's kind of like an insane maniac when it comes to some things. Hayate and Ayana go around fighting pairs and beating people up, each one with their own reasons--Hayate for the orphanage, and Ayana because she wants to meet with her ex-partner (what with the mysterious accident and all) and fix things. You get the feeling that Ayana and her old partner had something going on, until shit happened and the partner got badly injured by the opponent, and....hm. Must stop myself from spoiling.
The series has light yuri content, even though the cast is pretty much all females, and it operates mainly via subtext. There's a lot of hinting at things, though the focus isn't the hinting at all, if you get what I mean. The series is more action/adventure plus comedy, and the yuri-ish parts of it serve mainly as a continuous, smooth-running bolster to the action meatiness. The comedy stands strong on its own, though at times it does have a slice of life feel to it, and depending on your reading tastes, you may falter with it as you read because of the slower pace with which it introduces and reveals characters. People looking for a quick fix on stuff probably shouldn't go with this, but if you're interested in a developing story, with interesting, quirky, and sometimes quite detailed characters that involves swordfighting and sometimes insanely random humor, check it out.
Also, in case it hasn't become obvious, this series has a pretty damn large cast. I can't even keep track of all the characters sometimes, but the design of each of them is unique enough to be able to tell the difference between them, unlike some other mangakas' work. The titles of each chapter also endear themselves to me, since every single one has the word idiot in it. :3 There are some genuinely badass characters, and they run the whole gamut...Ayana Mudou, the cold, stuff-happened-in-past swordsman that's very skilled, but has a definite weak spot for her former partner; Kuga Jun, the pervert and endlessly hilarious character who's actually a very good swordsman that dual-wields because of her partner (it's a seriously sweet story, this); Mikado Akira, a badass who keeps her distance from others and wants to defeat the student council president, but also cares a lot about others; Ensuu, who just wants to beat the shit out of Ayana, and was a cause of why Ayana separated from her previous partner...the list keeps going on. The crazy thing is that the series is so damn hilarious even when it goes through the slightly more dramatic moments.
Lastly, Jun is hilarious. It behooves me to say more about why, but I will resist impolitely and the readers will have to wonder. Overall, the manga's got great art--the kind of art where the character design stays consistent, and everyone has very expressive faces. Sometimes the funniest parts of a page is from the expressions, and the mangaka does this very well for Hayate X Blade. Though this manga doesn't focus on the yuri, it's an awesomely sound and solid manga on its own for comedy and other hijinks, and I'd recommend this one to anyone who likes some slice of life comedy in their light action/adventure. Ah, it's also written by the same person who did Strawberry Shake Sweet, Hayashiya Shizuru. Which leads me onto the next number...heheh. Can you tell that I like transitions?