Hayate the Combat Butler 11
So, did you know Izumi has a weird little grandmother who drinks blood to stay young and commands a herd of angry stray cats (and a monkey)? Because she does. She does all of those things. It's rather weird. And when Izumi loses her powers and it seems that only Hayate('s blood) can restore them, granny gets it in her head to get that help no matter what. Admirable purpose I suppose, but she's very... insistent.
Speaking of Izumi, we also get to meet her parents finally, which answers a long-standing question about one of her consistent failings.
In the latter half of this book, everyone heads off to the hot springs. They all have their own reasons, but none of them seem to be "to relax at a hot spring." Bigger boobs? Better grades? Finding aliens (haha, like that would happen)? Sure. But when Nagi gets lost on her way there, she and Nishizawa have some unexpected time together. I really like the two of them hanging out and their interactions.
This is a really fun volume, answers some old questions and aside from a visit from the creepy butler, is highly enjoyable. (I know, I know creepy butler's advances on Hayate are meant to be funny, but his seeming disinterest in listening to "no" moves it from funny to awkwardly attempted-sexual-assault-y).
Hayate the Combat Butler 12
The first half of this volume is a continuation of the hot spring story, but it actually got surprisingly sweet and tender. Nagi finds out just how much she means to Hayate, and is willing to share her memories of her mother - and a deep regret she's held onto since she was a little girl. It wasn't unexpected per se, but it was surprising that things got this serious.
After they go back home, things get a lot more episodic. Hayate travels into the mansion's "garden" (the distances within it are measured in km), the whole group helps out as a cafe and we get to learn about the sharing of the most mundane of stories in what might be one of my favorite chapters in this entire series - and one of the ones I think is the funniest.
But the first part is really the highlight. For something that occasionally strays from the general hijinks premise, it's strange that it's one of the strongest parts of the overall series. But if you're in it for the wild nonsense, it might not be right up your alley.