Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu ~Finale~

July 6, 2013

Finally after all these years of waiting, the end has finally come. Or at least that is what the name in the title suggests. When Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu ~Finale~ came out late in 2012, I guess I was in a way relieved to see that they would be bringing a close to another one of those animes that spanned a couple of seasons but left hanging as to whether our main couple would officially end up together or not. Don’t worry. This finale will answer that question. Instead of turning it into a TV series, the finale is made into a 4 episode OVA. I suppose this cuts out all the unnecessary fillers and get to things as we hit the final stretch.

For the uninitiated, this series is about this guy, Yuuto Ayase who meets Haruka Nogizaka. A seemingly perfect lady-like girl from his school harbours a deep secret: She is into the otaku culture of anime, manga and games. If anyone finds out about it, you can imagine the scandal and how bad the family name is tarnished. So Haruka relies on Yuuto help out with her secret hobby as they grow closer to each other. Of course with other characters like Haruka’s cheeky little sister Mika and her personal maids always spying on her and a love triangle threatening to throw their delicate relationship into chaos, is it all worth it to keep something like this a secret? For Yuuto and Haruka, I think they know what is more important to them.

Episode 1
Shiina waits with baited breath near the school gates. She tells herself this is the day she will do it. This is where their future begins. Just when she is about to speak to her wanted man, to her dismay she sees Yuuto walking in and talking with Haruka. He didn’t even see her. I guess the plan is yet again postponed. Back at Yuuto’s home, he was expecting everyone to discuss about their upcoming field trip at Hokkaido. What he didn’t expect was that it turned out to be a party! He’s the only guy. The rest are all girls. Haruka, little sister Mika, Shiina and her friends, the maids, big sister and the drunkard teacher. Why do I have a bad feeling about this? True enough, they start fooling around instead of discussing the necessary. Haruka gives him her guidebook (horrible drawing still, eh?) to him but Shiina doesn’t feel comfortable seeing how close those 2 are. The highlight of the night is King Game. Somehow, God must be cruel because for almost every turn, Yuuto’s number gets called. He has to do ambiguously perverted looking acts on the girls. Shiina lamenting when she will be called finally gets her turn. It might be the best one yet because the king’s order was to play newlyweds. While Yuuto is totally embarrassed, Shiina seems to be enjoying it. I think Haruka is worried too. The final King Game is the ultimate one. A steamy kiss. Guess who is the lucky guy? Oh heck. Yuuto is the only guy! So who is going to be the lucky girl? Drum roll please… It’s… YUKARI! Oh sh*t! Drunk teacher tries to seduce him into giving her a kiss. I don’t know how but perhaps out of desperation, Yuuto slips out with some body substitution technique and let her kiss a frog doll. It won’t turn into a prince, I guarantee. Everybody else teases Haruka and Shiina because before Yukari was going in for the kill, they screamed out for this kissing act to stop.

The gang are enjoying their Hokkaido trip. As usual the Baka Trio are trying to flirt around with local busty babes. Shiina wanted to be with Yuuto but it’s not her day as her friends forcefully take her along. So it’s Yuuto x Haruka time. They spend time at the cookie factory and the pastures while Mika and the maids spy on them. Since they’re being found out (that cow suit was a dead giveaway) they do not hesitate that they will always follow them wherever they go. Because they are ‘worried’. Can you say ‘worried’ with a smile on your face? There are close moments between Yuuto and Haruka (wiping off cream from their face) and accidental perverted situations (Yuuto was riding a horse with Haruka, she rode faster and he had to grab on to her boobs!). At the end of the day, Haruka hopes they can go out like this again (after a lot of flustering). Shiina waits for Yuuto to return at the hotel’s lobby. I guess it’s really not her day. She waited for a long time and what does she get? Yuuto walking in with Haruka? Is she going to postpone it again? While soaking in the public bath, she remembers all the times and close encounters with Yuuto (past season scenes to jog your memory). After that, she has finally decided. She calls Yuuto out to talk to him. She finally confesses she loves him. Oh! How long has it been? Two seasons? Several years later? Guess what? Haruka who was looking for Shiina to return her handphone she left behind at the bath heard everything. No use hiding it now. Shiina respects her as a friend but she can no longer run away and lie to herself anymore. She can’t back down now and refuse to lose. Shiina doesn’t expect Yuuto to answer soon but hopes he will consider about it. Poor Haruka. Teary eyed, broken hearted.

Episode 2
The trio can’t sleep. For different reasons of course. Shiina is so happy she got that off her chest. Haruka and Yuuto probably still reeling from that shock confession. The Baka Trio watching porn… It becomes awkward between Haruka and Yuuto the next day at the zoo (Yukari: “Don’t go disturb the monkeys and capybaras mating”). Mika and the maids know something is wrong because Haruka hasn’t been smiling and kidnap Yuuto to make him spill the beans! Hazuki wants to use her chainsaw to cut it out from him if he doesn’t speak! Though Yuuto didn’t clearly go into specifics, they know it is him to blame. But they realize he is serious when he wants to be left alone for now. They go bug Haruka and she tells them everything. Haruka doesn’t know what to do and her dilemma is whether Shiina’s feelings for Yuuto are the same as hers. Hazuki advises her that only she can solve this one herself. Haruka tries to talk to Yuuto but he always ‘disappears’. Till she receives encouragement of a video promo of her favourite Nocturne Lacrosse anime that she decides to do her best. Just when she is about this close to talk to Yuuto, here comes Shiina. She offers to take him on a tour of the place since this is her hometown. It’s better than some guidebook. Oh dear. Looks like it’s not Haruka’s day. Shiina’s revenge. Haruka becomes distraught and realizes she wants Yuuto to always be by her side (flashback of important scenes together with him to jog your memory). Mika and the maids spy on Yuuto the traitor with Shiina. Hazuki wants to cut Yuuto up. Mika gives her permission. But it’s not so fast from Nanami. It isn’t certain Yuuto has already decided so let’s have faith in them. Otherwise, she already has Alice stationed at the rooftop ready to snipe and take out Yuuto! Holy sh*t!!! At the end of the day, Yuuto sees Haruka’s guidebook and reads her heartfelt comments in it. Then he realizes and needs to tell Shiina something. Oh no. She knows that look on his face. She knows what is coming. I guess her joy was short-lived.

Yuuto rushes off to find Haruka and when he does, he tells her he already gave Shiina his reply. Then he goes on telling her that there is this someone he always wanted to be with from the very first day they met. Yuuto confesses he loves Haruka. That’s good news, right? Haruka is so happy that she replies him that she loves him and always wants to be with him from now on. Yuuto suggests that they keep this a secret since everyone will make a big fuss about it. Haruka agrees since it will be their exclusive secret. It could have ended with a kiss if not for the magnificent fireworks disrupting. When they have returned home, Mika and the maids have a big smirk on their faces. They know what has happened and no use trying to hide it. I guess Yuuto and Haruka aren’t good liars to begin with. See their body action? Mika wants them to spill out what they have already done. None? She thinks Yuuto is old fashioned for not having hug or kiss Haruka yet. Then she asks what does big sister want from him? There is one thing she always wanted. After all that flustering and stammering, she finally reveals she has always wanted to make babies with Yuuto! OMG! Did we hear that right? Does she understand what she just said? Even cheeky Mika is so shocked? Does this mean they’re going to jump into sex?! Well… Apparently what Haruka meant was she wanted to start a doujin circle with Yuuto. Doujin creations = babies. Oh… Are you relieved or disappointed? This year’s summer Comiket is in August and she thought they could participate in this one together. Yuuto agrees to help. And she should stop referring to it as making babies…

Episode 3
Haruka wants to make a game for the Comiket. Yuuto seeks Nobunaga’s help so he gives him all the easy software for first time programmers. Yuuto and Haruka get to work on their scenario. Mika and the maids eavesdrop outside and they hear ambiguous lines such as “Don’t stare at it too much”, “This is embarrassing” and “Don’t hide it. Let me look closely”. Enough to make your mind run wild. So when the busybodies barge in, it seems they’re just discussing their script. Disappointed? Mika is here to give Haruka her mail. Seems she is eligible to participate in Comiket. One day as Haruka and Yuuto are walking together, Haruka suddenly is stricken in fear when she sees the girls from her previous school, Seijukan Girls Academy coming from the opposite direction. She had a torrid time back then because she was shunned by everyone when her hobby was discovered. Though she still feels sad about that incident, she is glad now that she can be proud of her hobbies. The duo finally finish their game. Yuuto accidentally trip and falls over Haruka on her bed. Mika and the maids waltz in. She really thinks Haruka wants to make real babies. At Comiket, Yuuto and Haruka’s booth doesn’t have many customers. At least an old fan still stops by to check out her work. Yuuto goes to thank Nobunaga for helping out and it seems there are several girls who were looking for Haruka’s circle so he thought Yuuto could bring them back to her. When Yuuto brings them to Haruka, she once more becomes stricken with fear. She starts crying and runs away with Yuuto close behind. As Yuuto finds out, those were her best friends at Seijukan and were always together. But when her secret was out, they stopped befriending her and she was devastated. Yuuto says that this is only something she can solve on her own though he will always be supporting her. He believes in her so she should believe in herself.

Haruka gets the confidence to resolve her past and face those girls. The girls admit though they were shocked to learn about Haruka’s hobbies at first, that was just it and didn’t really want to isolate her. Because Setsugetsuka Tennouji told them and everyone else not mix with her. Since everybody was afraid of that Empress, they had no choice but to abide by it no matter how much they didn’t want to. She also made others do terrible things to her. They want to apologize although it has taken this long. Haruka is sad that she felt hurt and lonely through those years. But because of that, she found something irreplaceable and someone who is more precious than anything (hinting Yuuto). That’s why she forgives them. The girls emotionally hug each other and bury the hatchet. With them helping out her booth and Nobunaga’s advertising, their game was sold out. Haruka shouts out towards the sea of all the things she loves. Anime. Manga. Games. Mamiko Noto (WTF – but me too!). And of course, Yuuto. He too reciprocates by shouting out he loves her. She accidentally trips, which is pretty convenient because he gets to catch her and they both hug. Not knowing the usual suspects are spying and enjoying their lovey-dovey moment. Yuuto is resting back home when he is alerted by his handphone tone! The one whereby he shouted out loud he loves Haruka! Gosh. How the heck did Mika rig it?! More importantly, Mika is in a panic because Haruka is missing. The maids are looking for her but to no avail. Yuuto is about to leave when he gets a call from Haruka’s mom, Akiho. She knows about Haruka’s whereabouts because she is going to be married off soon. Say what? She is grateful for him being friends with her but now wants him to forget Haruka. She gets straight with him. What can he do for her? As a member of the Nogizaka family, they are aiming to insure her future. Can he provide the life she deserves? Can he protect her when he doesn’t have the power to do so? Since he is speechless, it’s goodbye for good then. Click. No…

Episode 4
Akiho is in cohorts with Setsugetsuka. Haruka will be married to Tennouji’s second eldest son, Rodriguez.  With this, Setsugetsuka assures that victory is hers. Morning comes. Yuuto decides to go see Haruka to ascertain her feelings. But he is not going alone because he’s got the support of Mika and the entire Nogizaka household maids to tag along. And off they go to Happy Spring Island. Once more, Yuuto can’t understand why the heck should Shiina, her friends, his friends, his sister and Yukari tag along!!! The more the merrier?! So as everyone parachutes down the island, they know they’re going to be met with resistance from the Hellhound SPs. As they make their way to the chapel where Haruka is waiting, the enemies come in waves so Yuuto’s group gets thinned out as everyone plays their part to stop the Hellhounds and make way for Yuuto to advance. Even the Baka Trio and Nobunaga offer to fight them! Seriously?! They want to show that they are not useless after all? Well, we don’t get to see how they fight but if the SPs do lose to them, it just either shows they’re a useless bunch of personnel or that the friends were just hiding their martial arts talent. Finally it is only Yuuto and Mika left and the final obstacle preventing him from reaching Haruka just over the other side is Gentou. He is serious in wanting to see Yuuto’s resolve that he doesn’t hold back his punches! Can this weak kid really stand up to this big and strong daddy? So serious that Mika can’t even butt in and was made to shut up and watch. If he really wants to see Haruka, he must get through him first. Haruka isn’t going to be a sitting duck and wait for her prince to rescue because she too fights the personnel guarding her to go meet Yuuto. However she too is faced with a trial: Akiho. She wants Haruka to show her resolve.

Gentou dominates the fist fight as he mocks Yuuto the weakling he is and he can’t believe this kind of power he has will protect Haruka. Till he starts badmouthing Haruka that she is a disgrace to the family. This works Yuuto up and he gets enough strength to stand up despite being beaten up so badly. His punches are still weak but he won’t back down. Here are more punches from Gentou then. Oddly for Mika despite watching in tears, she can’t help feel that somehow the guys are having fun punching each other. The only downside is that age may be catching up with the old guy so he is starting to tire out. Gentou asks what Haruka is to him. Yuuto’s answer is that she is everything. There is nothing left to be said and wants him to give him all he’s got. Yuuto hits him with all he’s got (including his love for Haruka) and despite this just cracks Gentou’s sunglasses, he admits defeat and praises a beautiful punch he has thrown. He allows him to pass. Over to the other side, Haruka has also won her match against Akiho. For the first time (at least in this episode), Yuuto and Haruka emotionally reunite and hug each other. What’s this?! Suddenly everybody, friend and foe start applauding our lovebird’s heroic efforts?! Is this all a show?! But the only one not laughing is Setsugetsuka. She wants to know the meaning of this. Akiho apologizes for the inconvenience and explains all this was just to test the bond between Haruka and Yuuto as this is part of the Nogizaka family tradition. But Setsugetsuka is still not pleased. Because it ruined her plans to take over as the head of the Tennouji family by expelling a certain annoying girl with the backing of Nogizaka family’s power. She orders her premier security Cereberus to the fore but nobody responds. Then come forth Touka! She claims her subordinates have already taken care of them. Touka is going to grill Setsugetsuka, the former family head for this secrecy in becoming the next family head. Wow. Setsugetsuka is so panicky right now. She’s done for. In the final scenes, Yuuto and Haruka get married. Clumsy Haruka slips so Yuuto ends up grabbing her boobs. This made Gentou lose his temper and wants to chop him up! I guess daddy still can’t let go of his girl… Lastly, it’s all not lost for Shiina because I think she found a new love… I think it’s that guy from Comiket who sat next to Haruka’s booth. Yuuto and Haruka kiss and promise to have more secrets together.

It’s No Longer A Secret!
The end for good? Seems like it. After coming a long way it is good to see that Yuuto and Haruka will finally be together forever. After all, those who have been watching the previous seasons (like yours truly) must be waiting excruciatingly because for all the close hinting-hinting moments together and if they don’t end up married or at least an official couple, we’re going to scream that we’ve been ripped off. Their marriage finally seals it. Although the final wedding scene seems to be rushed but I feel that it is good since you don’t want to spend another episode just to watch all the drama in preparations for their wedding, right? Besides, didn’t many viewers of some American reality star celebrity complain about how they were ‘forced’ to sit through some wedding preparations that unfortunately ended up in the couple in divorce? The one whereby everybody was saying the wedding ceremony was longer than the days they stayed together. You know what I mean.

As said, the OVAs don’t stall in trying to reach this conclusion so for most scenes you see, it might feel a little too fast. Like when Shiina got her turn in ‘dating’ Yuuto, it didn’t even last an entire episode. Just half. It was like they wanted to get her out of the way as soon as possible so that we can continue focusing on the relationship between Yuuto and Haruka. That is what this show is all about, right? Then the final ‘battle’ scene that felt like bringing together all the other side supporting characters in the series to show their few seconds worth of screen time also felt a bit in a hurry. Who wants to see maids, high school boys and young woman fight a bunch of useless SPs when you know the outcome is already so obvious. Thus it is all about the showdown between Yuuto and his future father-in-law and his resolve over Haruka. I think that the last bit of setup was necessary because knowing Yuuto and Haruka, they would have been dragging their feet on their relationship without making much headway. Therefore this fake marriage setup was to give them the extra push and make the all important decision. Thankfully, it worked.

Besides Yuuto and Haruka, the other characters are fun and amusing in their own way as always. Mika and her maids always have fun in teasing them. If Mika can’t have Yuuto as her boyfriend, at least she is now related to him as her brother-in-law. It’s amusing to see Nanami, Hazuki and Alice pull out weapons bigger than they can hide from wherever they conceal them. Nanami’s hammer, Hazuki’s chainsaw and Alice’s sword perhaps serve as just a warning as I have yet to see them really use it on somebody ;p. We know Shiina didn’t get the happy ending she wanted although in the end she has found her own new love. At least she had some precious moments with Yuuto and I wouldn’t consider all those moments they had were in vain because it made Yuuto finally realize whom he loves more and wants to be with. At least he is better than some male protagonists who remain undecided. Worst than those even aiming for a harem ending. Haha! Yuuto’s sister and Yukari continue to be drunkards but they can get their job done when the time calls for it. Just that Yukari is still the same perverted teacher and I worry if she’s teaching her class the right things. The Baka Trio surprisingly show us that they aren’t just useless perverts in the end. All their unimportant appearance in the past just to build up for this important friendship thingy? I doubt it.

When they introduced Setsugetsuka which I believe I have never heard of her, she looked so familiar at first. Then I remembered her surname. Sounded like somebody familiar. It hit me. Where the heck is that tsundere Touka girl anyway? It’s a small world after all. Who would know that they’re sisters? I guess Touka’s final appearance was just to get this b*tch ff Yuuto and Haruka for good. I figure that Yuuto’s feelings for Haruka now burning stronger than ever, even Touka must give up her love for him. Hey, she’s tsundere so she has never admitted her love to him and there’s nothing to worry about. I don’t know why Setsugetsuka hates Haruka so much even till today she couldn’t get over it. Did Haruka do something bad then? Not that I care now that Setsugetsuka has been put away for good. I was even wondering about Gentou and Akiho’s appearance. If they would even appear at all. True enough, they became ‘final stage bosses’ for Yuuto and Haruka to clear. Now that they have cleared the final stage, they’ve been rightfully rewarded with each other, eh? The only character that didn’t appear in here is that idol, Milan.

The OVA still maintains a little fanservice and jokes that we are familiar with during the TV series and not lose sight of its main focus. There are even a handful of anime trivia for us to spot especially the one at Comiket whereby Mika, Nanami and Hazuki were dressed as anime characters from Accel World, Sword Art Online and To Aru Majutsu No Index. Even the next episode preview, hosted by Mika and Nanami, they are dressed in some anime costume. I could only guess Detective Conan… So with the chapter on this series having coming to a close, we see Haruka not embarrassed to hide her otaku hobbies anymore. She has accepted to embrace it and not fear if someone would judge her for who she is based on that. Besides, it is her hobby and not that person’s, right? Say anything you want, she does what she wants as long as she’s happy with it. Now she has moved on with more embarrassing secrets to hide with Yuuto. Want to make a guess what they will be? Maybe this time she’ll be making babies with Yuuto for real. Shhhh! That’s a secret ;p.

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