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.

Everyone has secrets, right? On the surface they may look normal or even better but beneath that exterior they hide something that must never ever, ever, ever, ever being found out. The risk of exposure means the end of the life or in this sense, the perception of others towards them. So in today’s versus blog, we’re going to compare a couple of girls who have a secret that they can’t share with the rest of the general crowd. If you’ve been in the anime scene for some time, you could have at least guessed it will be Haruka Nogizaka from Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu and Misaki Ayuzawa from Kaichou Wa Maid-sama (you could’ve guessed it from the blog’s header too). Yes, these girls definitely do not want others to know the secret hobbies and stuffs that they have been indulging for the past, erm, who knows when.

Initially I intended this blog for these 2 girls but decided to add in Kirino Kousaka from Ore No Imouto Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai. However due to some lack in information, you will notice that not all topics will have Kirino’s detail (maybe it’s a secret). I guess it’s better than including some in rather than regretting having not putting in any at all.

The secret
Haruka: A major otaku who loves animes and mangas.
Misaki: Works as a maid at Café Maid Latte.
Kirino: Erotic little sister games.

Why must it never be found out
Haruka: Due to her privileged upbringing, such obsession is frowned and looked down upon by society and thus her fear that this will lead to a ruin in her reputation.
Misaki: The boys will start teasing and lose respect for her once they find out a tough girl like her is doing something so otaku. If her reputation goes down, this means they are likely not to listen to her anymore.
Kirino: Wouldn’t it be weird for a GIRL to play such games?

How she got into it
Haruka: When she was young, she ran away after being scolded by her father for having such hobbies. A stranger boy she met at a park consoled her by giving her a copy of Innocent Smile’s first issue.
Misaki: In order to help out with the tremendous debt her missing dad has left with the family, she works part time to help her mom pay off the debts.
Kirino: Although she herself doesn’t know the reason for her obsession, it is speculated that she is using the games as substitute for her brother complex.

Her appearance
Haruka: Beautiful, intelligent and the unattainable idol and perfect girl.
Misaki: Well erm, if you ask me she just looks plain and normal…
Kirino: As a model, she has got to looks, right?

Her character
Haruka: Gentle, kind, soft-spoken but can be a natural airhead, naive and clumsy.
Misaki: Strong, aggressive, brute, competitive and demanding especially towards boys (she somewhat initially hates the male species) but nice and friendly towards girls. But when she’s at work, she puts on a cute and gentle personality.
Kirino: Confident and stylish, she is also a perfectionist and an over-achiever. But her interactions with her brother lean more towards sibling-hate as she constantly and violently abuses and bosses him around. Something like a tsundere too…

Her nickname
Haruka: Nuit Étoile (The Night Star) and Lumière du Clavier (The Piano’s Light).
Misaki: Demon President.
Kirino: Kiririn.

Blood type
Haruka: Type A.
Misaki: Type B.

Birthday
Haruka: 20th October.
Misaki: 29th September.

Height
Haruka: 155cm.
Misaki: 165cm.
Kirino: 165cm.

Hair colour
Haruka: Brown.
Misaki: Dark brown greyish.
Kirino: Yellowish orange.

Eye colour
Haruka: Brown.
Misaki: Gold.
Kirino: Blue.

The school she attends
Haruka: Hakujou Private High School.
Misaki: Seika Public High School.

Her special skills
Haruka: Playing the piano.
Misaki: Akido.
Kirino: Track athletic and modelling.

Sucks at
Haruka: Drawing.
Misaki: Cooking.

Closest friends
Haruka: Shiina Amamiya.
Misaki: Shizuko Kaga and Sakura Hanazono.
Kirino: Ayase Aragaki and Kanako Kurusu.

Affluence status
Haruka: Very wealthy and rich. Heck, daddy bought an island just for her on her birthday!
Misaki: Poor and modest. Heck, they get by with her sister’s unusual luck of winning prizes at raffles!
Kirino: Moderate and typical Japanese household and lifestyle.

Siblings
The first 2 have younger sisters who are totally the opposite characteristics. While the third has an older brother in which they are distant.
Haruka: Mika – lively and cheerful and loves spying on her sister.
Misaki: Suzuna – laidback and shows very little expression in her appearance and speech.
Kirino: Kyousuke – wants to lead a normal life.

Mother
Haruka: Akiho – looks very young for her age.
Misaki: Minako – looks very much like a middle aged woman.
Kirino: Yoshino – normal housewife.

Father
Haruka: Gentou – loving and doting father despite looking like a yakuza head.
Misaki: Unknown – ran away from the family.
Kirino: Daisuke – strict and grumpy policeman.

The boy who knows her secret and best possible love interest
Haruka: Yuuto Ayase.
Misaki: Takumi Usui.
Kirino: Kyousuke – No, contrary to the topic, she will NEVER be her love interest in any circumstances.

How their relationship developed in keeping the secret
Haruka: Yuuto helps her out with her secret hobby as she is the only person she can lean on and rely to. Their feelings develop as she gradually relies more and more on him.
Misaki: Usui’s constant ‘bullying’, teasing, bugging, bothering, annoyance and mischief throws her off her pace for his own personal amusement (that’s why he didn’t expose her secret). She becomes more and more of a tsundere even if it obvious that there are feelings developed between them.
Kirino: Kyousuke is forced to give her ‘life counselling’ therapies by fulfilling her needs such as buying those games she likes in secret. Though she continues to be rude, bossy and demanding, she does gradually open up and feels grateful for his deeds.

Other people who knows her secret
Haruka: Her parents, Mika and her maids, Hazuki Sakurazaka and Nanami Nanashiro.
Misaki: The baka trio and subsequently later Hinata Shintani. Of course her family members too.
Kirino: Ayase, Kuroneko and Saori.

First kiss
Haruka: After lots of ‘interruptions’, they finally land their first kiss at the Ouse Cape (more like she kissed him) in episode 6 of season 2. There are other suggestive scenes that they kiss but not as clear as this one.
Misaki: As early as the 6th episode Usui kissed her before he jumped down to retrieve a picture of Misaki in a maid uniform. Oh, there are many other parts he kissed her. On her hand, her back… And they land another kiss in the final episode too when they’re alone in the classroom after the cultural festival.

Love triangle equation
Haruka: Haruka-Yuuto-Shiina. For Yuuto.
Misaki: Misaki-Usui-Hinata. For Misaki.

Her rival
Can be considered as one…
Haruka: The equally wealthy Princess Blizzard, Touka Tennouji.
Misaki: Usui and Tora Igarashi.
Kirino: Kuroneko.

Club
Haruka: Loves the TV series, Nocturne’s School Lacrosse Club.
Misaki: Is the president of the student council body.

Fanservice scene stealer
Haruka: The one at the hotspring and the one in her Santarina outfit.
Misaki: The beach episode and the various types of cosplay outfits she don for Maid Latte’s special themed occasions.
Kirino: In her shorts, bending down looking through her stuff…

Seiyuu
Haruka: Mamiko Noto.
Misaki: Ayumi Fujimura.
Kirino: Ayana Taketatsu.

The baka trio
Actually somewhat related to the topic but felt the need to put it in because the first 2 series had this idiotic trio.
Haruka: Nagai, Takenami and Ogawa – always having their own idiotic discussions and wishing the same thing every New Year but end up having the same bad luck.
Misaki:  Naoya Shirakawa, Ikuto Sarashina and Ryuunosuke – after losing their delinquent attitude, they frequent Maid Latte and become Misaki’s biggest fan. Albeit acting like idiots and always losing out to Usui.

Conclusion
I guess it’s hard living a double life. You have to worry whether or not your other identity will be busted and the consequences once that happens. For the time being, it’s safe to say that their secret will be protected. So far those who know the top secret are those considered close to her and in her circle so no worries if it will turn out into a national disaster or scandal. As time progresses, they find that it isn’t so much about their secret that they have to worry about but the boy in question. They have definitely grown in their characters and in a way are a better person than before. I’m not saying they are pretty much worse off but at least for Misaki, she learns to accept boys and not group them all as the same and hate them. As far as Haruka is concerned, she is more open about her hobbies and doesn’t have that fear when she talks about animes and mangas. Though they are still confined to the people she trusts the most. And Kirino? Let’s just say she hates her brother lesser though the sibling hate is still there. At least she’s grateful at the end. It’s okay to have a few secrets and possibly one or two people who know about them. After all, we are not perfect. Oh, as for which of these girls fare better in my opinion? That’s a secret :).

  

Did her secret get found out by the mass public? Was that why they made a second season? Well actually, nothing in this sequel that comes close to that so much so the way the storyline was played out here made me forgot that she indeed had a secret to protect from the eyes of the public. Fans of the seemingly attractive and highly perfect high school girl but in actual fact she’s an otaku, sure did have their wish come true in the sequel Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu: Purezza. At first, I thought what on Earth does Purezza mean? I thought it was some kind of pretzels or pizza or a combination of both. Then I thought based on a widely believed but false assumption, it was stem from the English word "Please". Uh… Of course at the end of it all, I came to discover it is an Italian word which means ‘pure’. Just like Haruka herself.
 
For the uninitiated and to keep it simple, Haruka is that said girl and her chance encounter with ordinary boy Yuuto who unwittingly discovered her darkest secret, led from a ‘relying’ friendship to a blossoming relationship that falls short of being an official couple. Of course add in a bunch of odd characters like the busybody little sister and her maids, the over-protective father and very young looking mother, a potential love rival, the very unrefined and drunkard pair in the form of elder sister and homeroom teacher, and a bunch of other guy losers, Haruka and Yuuto’s so called friendship are being put to the test and to me at the end of the first season though they got closer, it was frustrating that they didn’t develop any further from there. But hopefully in this second season, that may change. Hopefully.
 
Those intending to watch this series or for those who have watched the first season, be warned that the fanservice and sexual innuendo levels are raised. I’m not saying that there are full blown nudity but I felt that this season takes a little more ecchi turn. For instance, Yuuto in an ambiguous position that would make the innocent, let’s say, shriek in total horror. Even if it’s not his fault. Then there’s the fanservice part in which viewers get to see the girls in their lingerie. And this isn’t the uncensored version, you know.
 
So back to the storyline, Yuuto at the request from his ever otaku buddy Nobunaga, is watching another shoujo anime called Nocturne Girl’s School Lacrosse Club. Funny thing about this anime is that the characters closely resemble those of Haruka, Mika, Hazuki, Nanami and Shiina. Not to mention their names and voices too (but of course). It’s like some sort of a real life parody, eh? Next day as Haruka and Yuuto go to school together, as usual they attract unwanted and deadly jealous stares from the guys around. Young or old. Too bad losers. Haruka’s sticking with Yuuto. In class, Shiina invites them to a hotspring since she has extra free tickets. Not just a couple of extras, a few extras. So much so those 3 stooges loser boy classmates could even tag along (their names that I don’t bother to remember). If Yuuto thinks he’s going to have a nice train trip alone with Haruka, then think again because Mika can’t resist tagging along with her maids. Seems they really love to watch their relationship development. In addition to the trio, they have an extra member maid tagging along for the rest of the series. She is Alistia Rain AKA Alice and veterans can tell Rie Kugimiya voices this over shy loli. She is so shy that she doesn’t have proper dialogue lines and only sighs and heaves throughout the whole series. What a waste. But Alice is no pushover because if there is any threat or at the command of her higher ups, she goes into threat neutralizing mode, displaying super strength and agility. Don’t mess with this loli. Innocent but dangerous.
 
When they arrive at their destination, guess who is there? Why, it’s Ruko and Yukari sensei. Oh great. That’s what Yuuto needs. Then the usual hotspring fanservice with the girls teasing each other’s bodies while the tempted loser guys could only hear from the other side. Yuuto intends to tell Haruka that her Lacrosse Club are making a special appearance in the area but is whisked away by Mika. They have a plan to have Yuuto and Haruka spend their lovely time at the hotspring. I’m not sure what kind of plan is that because drunken Ruko and Yukari come into the room to see Yuuto being taught to let a maid suck something big and hard (a cucumber for your information). Ruko gets upset and starts cutting down her little brother. Later Yuuto after barely escaping from Ruko’s wrath, soaks in the hotspring alone when Shiina comes in. They chat on stuff and before they know it, the other girls come in so Shiina distracts them while Yuuto makes his escape. The next day, Yuuto manages to speak with Haruka alone on the Lacrosse Club’s event. She is thrilled and agrees to go. Shiina is worried and wonders if Yuuto and Haruka are dating (with the help of the maids, Yuuto and Haruka were separated from the rest). However they need tickets to get in and luckily Nobunaga was just passing there. He gives Yuuto his tickets knowing he is a ‘beginner’ in this area. In the hall, Yuuto notes how the main character of Lacrosse Club sounds so much like Haruka (haha! Of course lah). Haruka thanks Yuuto for these wonderful memories.
 
Back from the trip in episode 2, you’d think Yuuto and Haruka are ready to take their first step into adulthood by suggesting to do ‘that’. So irresistible that Mika and her maids are eavesdropping outside their door with tapping devices. However daddy Gentou just happened to pass by and doesn’t like what he hears so he cuts down the door in his rage only to see them drawing doujinshi. Mummy Akiho isn’t pleased with hubby invading his daughter’s privacy and takes him along for a good lecture. The others? What others? They’re gone by the time. It seems Haruka wants to participate in a doujinshi event via an illustration drawing book of the Lacrosse Club. You know how horrible her drawings, don’t you? I guess Mika was bored watching them draw so she tries a little distraction by showing embarrassing photos of Haruka and herself when they were young. While the duo continue to draw till exhibition day, Shiina is at Yuuto’s doorstep, hoping to ask him out to a movie. Unfortunately it will be the biggest mistake of her life. Since Yuuto is out, Ruko and Yukari invite her in and I guess they start to get horny and molest Shiina! Oh the horror! Haruka and Yuuto meanwhile have set up their booth and line up their finished copies. Initially Haruka feels nervous but gets used to it. The hall is soon crowded with people but nobody seems to be stopping or buying their work. Mika and the maids plan to help out but were being chased out for being mistaken as cosplay performers. As time passes, Haruka’s morale diminishes so Yuuto goes to show Nobunaga Haruka’s work to get his opinion. In the end, Yuuto learns that it isn’t how many copies one will sell, but the heart and soul one has put in. With renewed hope, Yuuto goes back to Haruka and cheers her up as he calls to the crowd to have a look at their work. Haruka joins in and soon they have their first customer. She sold her first copy and this made Haruka very happy so much so she is brought to tears. At the end of the day, though they only managed to sell 3 copies, at least they are happy. And as for Shiina and the perverts, I can’t believe she’s still being molested till sun down! So violated! Such shameless breach of modesty! WTF?! Poor Shiina…
 
In episode 3, Yuuto decides to find a part time job to buy a gift for Haruka after finding out she is doing the same and he somehow ended up working as a butler for a super stinking rich, obnoxious typical tsundere brat named Touka Tennouji. Hey wait a minute. Isn’t she the voice of Rie Kugimiya? Now I know why Alice doesn’t have speeches… Anyway, it is the same stinking attitude which has several butlers of hers lasting for only a day as said by the head butler Mudou Koinugawa. So can Yuuto stand up to her? Hey, he’s faced worse attitudes than her. Her sis and teacher for instance. Besides, Mudou feels Yuuto has the power to change Touka. Touka proceeds to abuse Yuuto for the slightest thing which include calling him Rodriguez, making him do time impossible chores and any other stuff to her fickle whims and fancies. This Touka girl would even drag him after school to be her butler! Because of that, Ruko and Yukari are lifeless without their slave around to cook for them. Serve them right. Then the usual tsundere-ness. She scorns him, dangerous things start to fall on her, he saves her, treat her injuries and probably you can tell she’s starting to have feelings. Yuuto retires to his room only to find the maids waiting there out of ‘concern’ for him. They mention about the inheritance issue of the Tennouji household since the head has recently passed away and Touka is 3rd in line for the inheritance.
 
That night, a blackout occurs so scared Touka goes to Yuuto’s room and makes an excuse to accompany him till the lights come back. They chat as he finds out, she intends to get out of this family but can’t now because she needs its powers for world domination! Seriously?! People, beware of girl in cow pyjamas bent on taking over the world (lol). Suddenly the alarm went off and it seems a couple of intruders have invaded their mansion. They swiftly took out the bodyguards so Mudou hands Yuuto the task of bringing Touka to safety. When they can no longer run, it is revealed the intruders are Ruko and Yukari, who want Yuuto to feed them. WTF?! Wait a minute. A whole bunch of MIBs got beaten and the mansion destroyed by a couple of drunkards?! How useless is that?! The next day, Yuuto gets paid for his job but is only 5 Yen. Well, it seems they have to deduct his pay to repair the damaged security system and the wounded bodyguards. Wait a minute. A couple of drunkards can cause this much damage?! Grateful Touka promises to help him out if there is anything in the future. Yuuto appreciates this so Touka goes back to her tsundere mode.
 
Haruka along with her family and usual maids are having their Christmas party at Yuuto’s home in episode 4. Thankfully the drunkards aren’t home because they’re at some Christmas drinking competition. Everybody beware. Mika shamelessly sits on Yuuto’s lap and since she doesn’t listen to daddy, he falls into despair. He falls even deeper when the girls put on Santarina outfits and when Mika says she hates daddy for being boring. I guess Haruka did try to indicate the same thing but in a less direct and polite manner. Gentou is going to slice Yuuto up but Alice takes care of him. Akiho takes Gentou back so the kids are by themselves. While working in the kitchen, Yuuto collapses due to his part time job fatigue. He wakes up in his room to see the gang around. He is also introduced to another medical maid of the family, Maria Yukinohara. Haruka decides to stay back and take care of Yuuto in bed. As expected, they trip while Haruka tries to feed him. In such an ambiguous position (not to mention the fanservice), would viewers finally see the duo make their first kiss? Unfortunately kiss, interrupted. Mika calls them Yuuto and even has the cheek to say they might be doing lovey-dovey stuff. Well they would if you had not butt in. With that mood ruined, they continue to chat about believing in Santa Claus as Haruka goes prepare Yuuto’s present. No, she’s not going to wrap herself in strings for Yuuto. It’s his lawn decorated with beautiful lights. She also gives him a necklace souvenir which he likes very much. In return, he gives her a ring and puts it on for her. Oddly it started to snow but the duo stay close together watching the beautiful scenery. And I should’ve guessed it that Mika and the maids were the one making the snow from the rooftop.
 
Yuuto must be having some wonderful dream about Haruka in episode 5. But no matter how good he is, the maids wake him up and whisk him away to the International Maid and Butler Union Year End Party hosted by the Nogizaka maids. Well, since he worked as Touka’s butler, I guess he has been registered as one. All the top 10 Nogizaka maids are here as they introduced themselves (dramatic explosion effects included). However Yuuto counts a couple of maids short. The 4th ranked maid, Minamo Kusumoto is busy with stuff with 2nd ranked maid is currently MIA and it is so unspeakable that the mere mention of her would bring horrified faces upon the maids like it’s the end of the world. Perhaps some things are better left unknown. The party starts as Yuuto is left with Alice. Yuuto meets Minamo when Alice’s tiny fumble causes a little commotion. Well, the crowd are pleased to learn she is from the highly respected Nogizaka maid team so Minamo disperses the crowd. During the bingo game, Yuuto notices Alice wanted a frog stuffed toy but she got depressed when she didn’t win. When Yuuto wins his turn, he takes the doll for her instead of the rice cooker he wanted.
 
Remember that Shute jerk from the last season? He’s back and being made a butler to repent his ways. But did he learn from his mistake? Nope. Still high and mighty, arrogant and looking down at the rest. So when Alice accidentally bumps and splashes water onto his suit, the bastard threatens her like even stepping on her doll. Yuuto goes to protect her and even on his knees begs for forgiveness on her behalf. However Shute continues to pour wine over his head and insult them all so Yuuto tells him off that they’re not just servants, but valuable and irreplaceable people. He should be a shame of himself for calling himself a master. Shute isn’t going to take all this and sends his butlers to beat the commoner up but that’s when the Nogizaka maid team steps in. After teaching him a lesson, he still hasn’t learnt. Till he receives a phone call from his dad. He’s not amused and apologized on everyone’s behalf. He was wrong that his useless son would learn his lesson and allows the rest to do whatever they wish. Yeah, payback time. At the end, for the first time, Alice speaks a smatter of Japanese as she thanks Yuuto. The other maids also thank him for standing up for them. They feel happy for they will do their best from now on. Alice along Hazuki and Nanami hug Yuuto in their appreciation. Thankfully, that’s all the appearance Shute will ever make. Good riddance.
 
In episode 6, Haruka learns from Akiho about a legend that if she watches the first sunrise of the new year at Ouse Misaki with the person she truly wants to be and exchange a kiss, they’ll be together forever. Sounds too good to pass up, right? Yeah, the New Year episode with the gang paying the obligatory visit to the shrine and have their fortunes read (funnily, Nobunaga’s fortune are all otaku based like some mangas going to be animated for the year. WTF?!). Guess what? Mika and the maids are there too working at the shrine. But that’s not the only problem Yuuto will face. A group of Haruka fan girls whisk her away to spend some time so Yuuto is left alone. When she finally manages to give those loser girls the slip, Mika and the rest plan to record their lovey-dovey adventures but each time they get thwarted by the crowd (thinking they are miko priestesses) and the police (thinking they are suspicious stalkers). Yuuto and Haruka bump into an obnoxious and rude pink hair girl. She requests them to hide her from her manager, Yayoi Kayahara, who is looking for her. Once she has passed, the girl thanks them and goes off. Kayahara comes into contact with the duo wondering if they had seen the girl. But she soon gets word that she has returned and before she goes back, she hands Haruka her name card as she is seemingly interested in her. Yuuto and Haruka continue their time together. Haruka’s clumsiness has her trip and almost undone her kimono. They go to a nearby shed to fix it as she requests Yuuto to stay by her side for fear of being alone. By this time, viewers should’ve seen this coming. They slip, fall into an ambiguous position, prepare to kiss, something interrupts them, they forget about it and carry on. Geez. Then Haruka brings Yuuto to Ouse Misaki and thanks him for the wonderful and special memories. He too says he always wanted to be beside her. That’s when she kissed him! Oh yeah! Okay, maybe just peck his cheek. Nervous Haruka tells him about the legend as they watch the sunrise together.
 
Shiina steals the spotlight in episode 7. She meets Yuuto on his way to buy groceries for his rowdy ‘bosses’. A freak mishap has Shiina dropping her hairpin into a nearby river. Gentleman Yuuto goes to look for it even if the water’s freezing cold. I can’t believe he took the whole day till it’s sun down! Shiina is so moved that she cried. Yeah, those nearby busybody kids watching tell Yuuto to kiss her and even think he made her cry. Back home, Shiina has one of her usual fantasies of Yuuto so she accidentally hurt her foot. Her pals Ryouko and Mai along with Yuuto pay her a visit (I guess he just wants to get away from the drunkards). Cheeky Ryouko starts raiding Shiina’s room and sifts through her underwear closet since the latter is being reduced to a crippled. Then the gang play Old Maid with Yuuto being the loser so he has to give them all back massage. Probably his practice with the drunkards made him good with it because Mai is really enjoying it so much so she’s making feel good ambiguous sounds. Then it’s Ryouko’s turn so she strips down to her undies for a full massage and what do you know, he exceeds all expectations. Is he that good?! You could say the best hand job in the world. Haha! Finally it’s Shiina’s turn as Ryouko suggests Yuuto to massage at forbidden places. If not for their embarrassment, Ryouko would’ve had her perfect fun. After they leave, Shiina has trouble moving around and drops the kitchen utensils. Oddly, Yuuto was still around so he rushes back in to help her. He even makes her dinner and stays with her. Like I said, it’s better than going back to that useless pair back home. Let them starve to death. Tired Yuuto falls asleep at the table so Shiina takes this chance to cover him warm with a sweater and from this angle, did she kiss him? Morning comes and Shiina’s foot is healed as she is back to her normal happy self.
 
Yuuto has been invited to Mika’s all-girls school in episode 8. Mika’s classmate Eri Tougazaki, Hikari Hazuse and Miu Fujinomiya escort him in. Hmm… It’s like this whole school has never seen a guy before because they’re so stunned to see Yuuto. Likewise, he feels so out of place. It seems Mika has invited Yuuto to her class so that she could brag about him! WTF?! Her classmates are even taking down notes in this so called interview. Then they all get so thrilled when they touch him till he fell off his seat so jealous Mika has to take him away. Mika and her friends then bring Yuuto to their Modern Theatre Arts Culture Research Club room. Then when her pals start to get friendly and even sit on Yuuto’s lap did Mika really start to get jealous. See lah. Her plan to bring him to brag has backfired. She tells them that his lap seat is reserved for her and only her. Then she shows him a play script and acted it out in front of him. Further to asking him for his opinion, they have him help out in their acting too. I supposed he could’ve turned them down if they had not put on those innocent wide puppy eyes begging please. Yuuto acts out with Eri and there is one scene whereby they’re supposed to kiss. Mika realizes this and puts a stop to their act before they really do it. Mika heads out after being called by the vice principal. When she returns, she sees Yuuto waiting alone and the rest have gone home (their plan to set them up?). A teacher is coming and who knows what she’ll do if she sees a boy in an all-girls school. They both hide but when she’s gone, they’re devastated to find that they’ve been locked in. Mika tries to seduce him but that dense guy isn’t getting it so she pushes him over. While on top and spewing those please-look-at-me-too lines, she prepares to kiss him but is interrupted by her maids who came in search for them. How embarrassing. On their way home, she has Yuuto carry her home as she whispers in her ear that she hasn’t given up yet and would make him fall for her inside out. Has her onii-chan complex turned into a lover’s love?
 
After being left out for the last couple of episodes, it’s Haruka’s turn to be back in the limelight in episode 9. Haruka asks Yuuto out for a date. No, not just as company to an anime event. But a real date to a theme park. Finally? The duo meet at the theme park but also see Kayahara and her assistant Nozomi Kobayakawa. They invite them to a photo shoot even nearby before leaving. As usual, busybody Mika calls at the right (or wrong, depends on how you look at it) time, interrupting their date. Yeah, she even has a guide book on dating for Haruka to follow. After sitting all the rides, they go over to the photo shoot as Kayahara is thrilled to see them. When Yuuto first steps up to take his shot, they quickly get over with him and give their extra and undivided attention to Haruka. Talk about substantial difference in treatment. Haruka is nervous so her smile isn’t natural. Kayahara then notices how her smile is most beautiful when she is with Yuuto. At the end of the event, Haruka and Yuuto go ride a Ferris wheel. Okay, expect the usual pattern. The carriage shakes, they both lose their balance, Haruka on top, they get back up, get ready to kiss, Mika’s phone call interrupts. Damn it girl, stop calling at important moments! The next day, Mika comes in and notes that there is trouble. A congratulatory note from Kayahara’s production company that she has passed the audition to be a future model idol. Say what?
 
They go seek an explanation from Kayahara in episode 10 and it seems due to some mix up process, the accidentally entered her. They want her to continue with the audition since it’ll be hard to back out. Haruka agrees since she’ll be taken off after the auditions though there may be some lessons to take. Yuuto stays by Haruka doing her lessons but Kayahara tells him he would distract her and to leave :(. Yuuto bumps into that pink hair girl and her obnoxious attitude is still there. She instantly orders him to do errands and I don’t know why the guy just obliges. Furthermore, she makes him her manager! Why don’t you just refuse, Yuuto? Then he sees a poster resembling her and realizes she’s a pop idol, Milan Himemiya. Another odd part is that when Milan asks Yuuto to pick a dress for her next interview, she strips right in front of him. She’s not embarrassed because she doesn’t see him as a guy! Just like the obedient dog he is, Yuuto becomes a temporarily dedicated manager. They are in a car to send Milan home as Yuuto asks about Kayahara. She says she may look like an innocent and caring person that loves helping others but it is made worse that she herself is believed to be such a person. You know what this means. Yuuto goes back to get Haruka but finds out from Kayahara that she has left.
 
Over the next few days as Haruka continues her lessons, Yuuto also continues his reluctant manager job. Mika and the maids once again are worried that the supposed lovebirds aren’t spending enough time together so Mika plans to give him a practical lesson for Valentine’s Day. Not good. He’s damn right because when Ruko and Yukari come in, they see Yuuto in a position trying to make a loli maid lick a shining upright chocolate banana. Slicing time. It’s amazing how he escaped from that. Next day, Yuuto accompanies Milan to a recording studio for the Lacrosse Club anime. Yuuto calls Nobunaga for advice on what to do. Then some male seiyuu couldn’t show up so the producer has Yuuto stand in. This kid is sure useful. Even if it’s just a single line, everyone is amazed by his talent and give him a round of applause. When Yuuto goes back to get Haruka, he sees Kayahara and Nozomi plotting something sinister. Yup, they have plans to make Haruka into a full fledge idol. Yuuto isn’t happy that they lied but more importantly does Haruka know of this. Kayahara wants Yuuto to do them 2 favours. First, never tell Haruka that this conversation ever takes place. Second, stay away from Haruka. Oh dear. Don’t fall for that lame excuse that it will put pressure on her! Oh no. Some wicked person this Kayahara turns out to be.
 
Because of that Yuuto isn’t his usual self in episode 11. It’s so obvious. Thinking for Haruka’s case, he even declines to accompany her to her lessons even if Haruka invites him. After school, Milan confronts Yuuto that she was being told by Kayahara that he wanted to quit being a manager. But the point is, is Yuuto really going to listen to her and not his feelings. He’s still indecisive so she goes off. Yuuto is so disturbed that even Mika and her maids are worried. He wants to be left alone so they go do some detective work and find suspicious stuff about Kayahara’s company. Something about such a small company incurring large expenses. Yuuto receives free tickets to Milan’s Valentine’s Day live concert (because she WANTS him to come) so he gives them to Shiina and other friends except Haruka (it seems Haruka’s final audition is on that day too). At the concert, Milan notices Yuuto looking gloomy so before her next song, she tells her life story about regrets and making decisions to try and hint indirectly to that dilemma-ridden kid. Yuuto remembers the times spent with Haruka and though the audience are bewildered of her rare banter, Shiina knows he wants to go see Haruka and encourages him to do so. Without a second thought, he rushes to the audition.
 
The winner is going to be announced with Kayahara and Nozomi happy that their plans are working well. However Yuuto barges in and apologizes that he can’t go with her request because he needs to tell Haruka his feelings. I can’t believe 4 guards are not enough to stop a kid from running towards the stage. He says he wants to be close to Haruka and she reiterates the same. But when Yuuto says he doesn’t want her to be an idol, she gets puzzled and spills the mistake thingy and that she thought she was just filling space for this audition. However Kayahara isn’t going to let her plans go down the drain yet as she will still win if she announces the winner. Before Nozomi could, a smoke screen is tossed at her courtesy of the Nogizaka maids. Gentou too has a hand in this. He announces he has bought over every single particle of their company right down to the merchandise they made. So technically, they belong to him. He would’ve sliced them for tricking dear Haruka but after Akiho and Mika say that they did try to make Haruka into a beloved idol despite their self interests, he puts down his sword. Phew. Yuuto and Haruka resume their I-want-to-be-by-your-side conversation. In the aftermath, Kayahara and Nozomi are relegated to some embarrassing game show, Milan seems less obnoxious during her TV interview and Haruka gives Yuuto Valentine chocolates and her own original piano CD (the reason why she entered the audition). Yuuto suddenly hugs her, much to her embarrassment. Before he could proceed further, his spider sense is tingling because he busts the eavesdropping Mika and the maids. He’s so used to this by now.
 
The whole jinjang gang are invited to the Nogizaka holiday hotspring villa in episode 12. Get ready for round two of hotspring fanservice with cheeky Ryouko fondling the Nogizaka sisters’ boobs while Gentou steadfastly guards Yuuto. I wonder why he doesn’t guard against the other boys. Maybe he sees him as a direct threat to his beloved Haruka? Then more fanservice with ping pong as the ball goes here and there and the girls end up in various ambiguous fanservice pose. What more can I say. That night, Shiina thinks of confessing to Yuuto and follows him to the boys’ section. While stammering and building up lots of emotion, Shiina even starts hugging Yuuto under the blankets but to her horror she finds out it is Gentou! Of course Akiho sees this and misinterprets. If this was a shonen anime, her stormy aura could’ve blasted the entire villa. Shiina runs away in embarrassment upon seeing Yuuto who has just come in. So the next day everyone makes a trip to the shrine minus Gentou because that guy has been so traumatized hiding in a cabinet profusely saying he won’t do it again. That’s how you tame a tiger. Somehow I find everyone’s luck reading at the shrine to be somewhat the same when they took it the last time.
 
Before dinner time, everyone receives the bad news that Haruka is missing. Rumour has it that Haruka was seen going out alone and currently the blizzard is at its worse. Gentou mobilizes the entire maid squad to look for them. Yuuto wants to help out and I guess it must be one of Hazuki’s fetishes to have Yuuto wear a giant white bear anti-freezing suit. He gets separated and finds Haruka searching for her precious ring in the snow. She is so desperate that the freezing cold doesn’t even get to her! Eventually she finds it but the cliff they’re on collapses. They see a nearby cottage and seek refuge in it. Their clothes are wet and they need to dry and warm themselves before they catch a cold. Any ideas? Damn right. Strip down to their undies and huddle close together in the bear suit big enough to fit them both. Oh yeah! Are they going to do it for the first time? The build-up of their romantic mood (which may lead to ahem, ahem) is ruined when all the maids bust in. Always at the right time. Or wrong time, depends on how you look at it. Haha. How embarrassing seeing them like that. How did they find them? The cottage is just behind the inn and the bear suit contains a tracking device. Gentou is crying blood so Alice has to ‘shut him up’. Akiho asks what they were doing so they both confidently answered "It’s a secret!". They sure know how to get around. But I guess they’re so amazed by their answer, everyone applause instead (except for Gentou of course). Did Haruka and Yuuto kissed during the end credits? Leave that to your imagination.
 
Ah well. Even if Yuuto and Haruka did not really confess their true feelings for each other, I guess having wished to stay by each other side is good enough. Something in this series still bugs me. If that idol stint would expose and make Haruka famous, wouldn’t that mean her secret hobby is in danger of being revealed? I mean at the end of the first season, she wasn’t so obsessed about protecting her secret anymore and came to embrace it. If her other classmates found out about it, would that be troublesome? I guess all that don’t matter as long Haruka and Yuuto are happy together. While Haruka is quite cute whenever she is in panic, embarrassed or shy mode, I have mixed feelings on Yuuto, though. It is quite admirable that he is a tolerant, nice and helpful guy and wouldn’t hesitate to assist those in need. But in this sequel, I felt that he was too obliging so much so I find it quite annoying. Has he ever learnt to say ‘no’? And that everything has a limit of what one can do? From Touka to Milan, he’s just like a total servant to them! Say, what happened to Touka? I thought she’d make a final episode appearance and help Yuuto out but it was Milan who took that part instead.
 
I guess this season too they tried to throw in a little love triangle tension but I felt it wasn’t as suspense as in the first one. Shiina has her moments but it didn’t come close in changing or move Yuuto’s heart an inch. That final ditch attempt to confess her feelings was a bold one and though it was a total failure, at least she tried. The first step is always the hardest. Try again, girl. Not that I’m getting my high hopes up Yuuto will be looking at her. What about Mika? I’m still wondering if she’s really serious about making Yuuto her true lover or maybe it was just the spur of the moment. She seemed desperate then. Perhaps it’s always better and more exciting watching other people’s romance, eh? As for Ruko and Yukari, I feel they’ve both been reduced to useless side characters bumming around. Have you seen any other supporting minor characters who spend more than half of their screen time appearance getting drunk and rowdy? And Gentou has got to learn to let his daughter go. One way or the other. Kayahara and Nozomi are quite the ‘villain’ though sometimes I feel if they’re really sincere in making Haruka an idol or not. From the looks of it of course she was just a tool to further their self interests. It makes me wonder do successful idol hopefuls undergo lots of these rigorous stuff? Maybe. If that’s so, I don’t want to be an idol :). On a side note, I notice this season, Hazuki and Nanami didn’t wield their chainsaw and hammer respectively. Did they do away with those weapons of theirs because they have Alice now?
 
As mentioned the sexual innuendoes were turned up but really can’t get enough of that, if you go buy the DVD versions, I’m sure you’ll get to ‘see more skin’. Guaranteed. So which is better? Victoria’s Secret or Haruka’s Secret? Haha! Just kidding. Likewise, the episode titles sound ambiguous as ever like episode 2’s "Please Put It In", episode 3’s "It Hurts…", episode 6’s "My Body Feels Hot" and episode 9’s "This Is My First Experience". How do they relate to the story in that particular episode I wonder? Just like in last season, there are a few anime trivia for viewers to spot. For instance Alice’s club which resembles closely to Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan’s Excaliborg and that little scene with Touka and a little tiger in hand is a reference to Toradora’s Taiga because both characters are voiced by the same person. I kinda noticed most of the trivia come from characters played by Rie Kugimiya in other animes.
 
For this particular season, I didn’t like the rock pop opening song, Chouhatsu Cherry Heart by Milan Himemiya and Chocolate Rockers (for your information, Milan isn’t a real person. She’s just a moniker created for this series and the voice behind her character is Hitomi Nabatame). I didn’t find it as catchy as the first season probably because of the heavy rock beat. The ending theme too did not appeal to me. Himitsu Suishou! Urato LOVE by N’s is a pop piece with some techno effects. Plus, the lyrics especially towards the end of the song sounds a bit gibberish to me and took me time to understand what they’re saying (not that my Japanese vocabulary is good anyway). The ending credits animation has the characters in chibi form doing some random dance. Cute or what? As something extra for this season, at the end of the show there is a short segment called Nogizaka Vocabulary Fundamentals whereby viewers can learn simple anime related words such as cosplay, Komike and tsundere. The mid-intermission has characters of the series in random poses while uttering a short sentence usually related to that episode’s story.
 
So will there be a third season? No news of it yet. Even if there is, I’m definitely going to watch it to see the love developments between Haruka and Yuuto. I do look like Mika and her maids, do I? Maybe they should rename this series and discard that ‘secret’ word in the title. Like I said, did it even come close to Haruka’s secret otaku hobby being exposed? Heck, she doesn’t seem worried or bothered now that has taken a back seat. For me, I’m still the same anime lover and sure my love for it has grown over the years that if you look at it in another way, it’s like an addiction. And I’m proud of it! It’s no big secret.
 

Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu

Although anime and manga are one of the most successful exports of Japan today, and that the global trend is steadily continuing to rise, there are still some quarters who view them as kiddie stuff and grade otaku hardcores as childish and immature. Before you start blowing your top, let’s just say that there are 2 sides of the coin. Depending on which side you are on, views and opinions may differ very much.
 
Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu is another one of those animes which explores the otaku world. But this series isn’t totally about the discriminations faced by the anime and manga enthusiasts. Instead, we have a high school girl named Haruka Nogizaka, who is seemingly the most perfect (if not close) person whom everyone yearns or admires to be. She is pretty, attractive, intelligent, active in clubs, gentle and well mannered. So much so her schoolmates nickname this idol of theirs Nuit Etoile (The Silver Star of the Night) and Lumiere Du Clavier (The Shining Princess on the Piano) for her skilled piano play. Seems like the perfect untouchable lady, eh? However Haruka has a very deep secret that nobody else knows. No, she’s not a hooker by night, mind you. She is an otaku addict! Surprise? I don’t blame her for wanting to keep this hobby a secret because if anyone gets to know about it, her reputation and people’s perception of her will change drastically. For the worst. All their hopes and dreams on this perfect girl will come crashing down.
 
How is this girl going to handle the pressure if they find out about it? More interestingly, how long can she hide this secret of hers? That is what I would like to know. Not that I’m a sadist, but rather seeing that this is a romantic comedy genre, I’m hoping to get some laughs instead of garnering hatred for all those anti-anime and manga people. But then again, I’m not a cruel hearted person laughing at other’s misfortune. Plus, there are a few fanservice here… You can’t leave those out in an otaku-themed anime, right?
 
The series starts out in episode 1 with an ordinary boy, Yuuto Ayase. In short, he’s normal but the people around him aren’t. He has to put up with their shenanigans most of the time. Like his classmate Nobunaga Asakura who is a hardcore anime and manga otaku who calls Yuuto late in the middle of the night just to tell him to watch an anime series on TV, Dojikko Aki-chan. And you think little girls only watch magical series, huh? Well, in Nobunaga’s case, nobody scorns him for being an otaku because he’s a nobody. To make things worse for Yuuto, his elder sister, Ruko and her best friend, Yukari Kamishiro who is also Yuuto’s homeroom teacher of the school he is attending Hakujou Academy, causing a ruckus while watching that show too. First thing you’ll notice is how crude and ‘unrefined’ these ladies are. They like to get drunk and undress their top while watching the show. How can a person like Yukari be a teacher? Her character sometimes reminds me of Mitsuka of DearS. Yeah, sexually deprived. So much so Yuuto calls her ‘sexual harassment teacher’. It is because of these reasons, Yuuto doesn’t have a girlfriend. Rather, he gave up on them. Uh huh. His buddies sometimes tease him for being gay. Life is hard for a normal kid too. Elsewhere, Haruka too is watching that show in her room.
 
The next morning, Yuuto goes to school and as usual meet his classmate buddies when they overhear Haruka’s piano masterpiece. In class, Nobunaga gets excited telling an unexcited Yuuto about the magical girl show he saw last night. He then shows him a magazine which he borrowed from the library, Innocent Smile, which seems to attract Haruka’s attention. She stands up suddenly but walks out of the classroom, puzzling everyone around her. After school, a P.A. announcement informs Nobunaga to return the book he borrowed and for some reason, Nobunaga decides to entrust this responsibility to good ol’ Yuuto. I guess he has no choice but to do it for him. I think Nobunaga did so because he doesn’t want to get scolded by the librarian uncle. Yuuto received it on his behalf. At the library, Yuuto notices Haruka who is trying to hide her face. Her clumsiness causes her to bump and tumble the bookshelves. Yuuto saw 2 things which he shouldn’t. One, her panties. But that isn’t as bad as the second one. It’s that Innocent Smile magazine that she just borrowed. Haruka stars panicking and is in tears thinking that her secret has been exposed as she rushes out. Though Yuuto deduces Haruka may be an otaku addict, the other passer-bys aren’t please to see that Yuuto has made their idol cry. Not good.
 
Because of that, Yuuto tries to explain to Haruka but she avoids talking or seeing him. So much so, Haruka’s self-proclaimed Imperial Guard confronts Yuuto to prevent him from causing anymore bother to their idol. It’s like as though Yuuto’s the bad guy. Fortunately for Yuuto, he manages to meet Haruka on the school rooftop one evening. Haruka is distressed that her secret is out but Yuuto doesn’t care for all that and just wants to be her friend. Plus, he promises not to tell anybody else about it. Haruka is relieved. That night Yuuto gets a panicking call from Haruka. It seems that in her attempts to avoid Yuuto, she forgot to return the Innocent Smile magazine and tomorrow’s the deadline. With the public announcement, her secret will be exposed. Yuuto is the only one she can rely on since he knows her secret. Yuuto agrees to help her out as the duo sneak into school at night to safely return the magazine. I wonder why the school isn’t locked up. Where’s the security? This is a private high school, right? Due to the many mangas Haruka read, she starts to fear those ghostly stories and clings tightly to Yuuto’s arm as they trudge through the dark hallway. As they leave, they are freaked out by the sound of a monster cat, which turns out to be Yukari’s lost handphone. Some ringtone. What’s it doing there in the first place? In the end, Haruka thanks Yuuto and you can tell that it’s a start of a beautiful friendship and for those who have watch too many of this kind of series, that’ll all turn into love in the end.
 
In most episodes, you’ll see just that. How Yuuto and Haruka get along with each other, since the former is the only person whom she can rely on when it comes to her secret hobby. Hanging out with Haruka isn’t that all bad as Yuuto starts to learn about the otaku world. Also you’ll find that Haruka isn’t a perfect person like everyone views her to be. Besides being a little clumsy and sometimes scatterbrained, she’s also a little naive when it comes to the feelings of the heart. It’s ironic that if an otaku like her has read so many shoujo mangas, she’ll at least be able to identify with that. But she’s a little dense when it comes to herself even if she’s been pinpointed the obvious. Haih… Of course there will be other characters to spice things up as well.
 
So in episode 2, because Yuuto is seen walking together with Haruka to school, this causes the admirers of Haruka to be jealous and wonders who that unknown is and stares at him with stabbing glares. Losers. All of you. This episode has Yuuto being invited by Haruka to accompany her this coming Sunday to the famous Akihabara district, the holy pilgrimage of all otakus alike. Yuuto has a fear of going to that place because Nobunaga ‘used’ him and left him stranded in that crowded place. Sunday comes and Yuuto keeps his promise. He finds out Haruka has made a shopping plan of places to go and see before buying the latest release of a PDS, a portable game system (the reason for this trip to Akihabara). The reason for visiting several places is so that their trip won’t end so fast. Don’t mind her badly drawn map. Yuuto asks how did Haruka ended up in this otaku line when she replies when she was young, she was crying alone on a swing after getting scolded by her dad. A boy then comes up to her and gives her an otaku magazine to cheer her up. That’s when she got into it all though her memories of it are a little hazy. Common sense indicates that that boy is Yuuto but he himself doesn’t remember pretty much about it.
 
The duo bump into Nobunaga at Akihabara so Yuuto tries to shield Haruka from his otaku pal’s eyes. Nobunaga is surprised to see Yuuto here and thinks he has finally become an otaku. After he leaves, Yuuto realizes Haruka is nowhere to be seen and thinks she is lost. He frantically searches for her but bumps into a girl named Shiina Amamiya (panty shot cue!). He soon continues his search and finds her being surrounded by 4 muscle men. Yuuto jumps in to protect Haruka but it seems Haruka was just giving directions to those lost men. I don’t know what language they were talking, but it sounded funny. And Haruka speaks it fluently too (I think). Their trip through Akihabara include visiting a Gachapon store (Haruka couldn’t get the Dojikko Aki-chan one no matter how much she tried), eating at a maid cafe whereby the maid waitresses convince Haruka to put on a maid outfit and gets their picture taken. The final destination is the PDS store. As they approach the counter to make their purchase, Haruka is being told that they are sold out. Horror! Did they go sight-seeing too long? Haruka is devastated and in shock so much so she faints. Yuuto carries her away to a park where he comforts her by saying he had lots of fun today and wasn’t a burden to her. Haruka’s relieve and tears cause Yuuto to faintly remember something similar in his past when he’s interrupted by a call from Ruko. On their way home, they spot a Gachapon machine and Yuuto tries his luck one more time for her. This time he got the figurine she wanted. Haruka is very happy and says how she’ll treasure this present from him as they agree to visit Akihabara again.
 
In episode 3, Yuuto gets invited to Haruka’s mansion to study together for the upcoming exams. But since Haruka’s map sucks (sorry), Yuuto is having a tough time getting there until he meets a little girl who draws a better looking map there. Plus, it seems she knows his name. Yuuto is greeted by the head maid and Haruka’s personal maid, Hazuki Sakurazaka upon arrival. Seems like a no nonsense serious maid. The mansion is so big that even Yuuto himself gets tired from walking from the lawn right up to Haruka’s room. Yuuto is surprised to see no otaku stuff in her room. Haruka tells him that her hobby is also a secret from her family, especially her strict dad who disapproves of it all. As they study, both their hands met when Haruka dropped her eraser. It is then when that little girl Yuuto met earlier comes crashing in. Eavesdropping, eh? She is Mika, Haruka’s little sister and her personal maid Nanami Nanashiro (why does she wear a pair of sunglasses? Her hairpin accessories look weird by the way). Mika takes an instant liking for Yuuto but don’t worry, she looks up to him as her onii-chan. You can tell that Mika and the maids love to set up and watch Yuuto and Haruka together. Also, the trio knows of Haruka’s secret hobby (because of her obvious strange acting) but decide not to make a big fuss about it. Remember how dense Haruka is when it comes to love? While Mika is playing with Yuuto (nothing hentai lah), she accidentally trip on top of him. Haruka spots this but didn’t think it was something serious. Most otaku would already jump to the conclusion that Yuuto may be a loli. Good thing or bad thing?
 
After the exams, Yuuto and Haruka are talking in the hallway when a student bumps into her, causing Haruka to drop her bag and expose an otaku catalogue. In a pinch, Yuuto takes the fall by pretending to pick up his catalogue, much to everyone’s relieve who didn’t think Haruka could be such an otaku. However even if the cover up is perfect, Haruka runs away in tears. Haruka is absent from school for several days so much so Yuuto receives death threats in his shoe locker! Those losers think Yuuto made Haruka cried because he has associated her with his otakuness. WTF?! Then a guy, Takashi Ogasawara comes up to Yuuto and tells him not to get close to Haruka anymore.
 
Yuuto goes to visit Haruka’s mansion that night but meets Mika and the maids at the gates. Though they initially thought Yuuto did something bad to Haruka, they realize he can’t be a bad guy so Mika tells him about how Haruka was transferred out of middle school right away when her secret was exposed. The gang tries to coax Haruka out from her room which she has confined herself in ever since. They managed to do so when Mika tricks her by using a seductive move on Yuuto (like she’ll steal Yuuto away from her if she doesn’t come out). So partly, it’s Haruka’s jealousy which causes her to bust out of her room to tell Mika not to do such things. Though Yuuto explains that her secret is still safe, Haruka says that’s not the point. Her worry is that Yuuto will lose all his friends like how she once did when her secret was exposed. But Yuuto then says they are not real friends if they think like that and even if it comes to that, he’ll always have Haruka as one. Haruka is relieved once again and asks Yuuto to always be by her side as they both embrace. Haruka goes back to school with Yuuto the next day but is being confronted by Takashi who tells her not to hang out with an otaku loser like Yuuto. Takashi then gets the surprise of his life (just as everyone else) when Haruka does a judo throw on him. She tells him not to say bad about Yuuto and admits that the catalogue is hers. Wow. Not afraid anymore. Plus, she tells him to speak out directly to her if he has anything to say. Way to go girl! You deserve what you get Takashi. Don’t play play with her. Haruka continues walking with Yuuto wearing a smile on her face.
 
In episode 4, Haruka suspects something wrong with Hazuki’s behaviour so she consults Yuuto. Mika then suggests following her. On the day where Hazuki goes out to do some shopping errand, Mika, Nanami, Yuuto and Haruka follows her (or stalking?). Haruka is thrilled because she’s wearing an outfit which resembles Shana of the anime series Shakugan No Shana. Haruka’s cute when she tries to emulate Shana’s trademark lines. Urusai! Urusai! Urusai! They’re even playing that 1st season theme song! Nobunaga spots them and Yuuto once again tries to hide Haruka. The funny part is that Nanami did a voice impersonation of Kana Ueda to send that over-enthusiastic Nobunaga scrambling to search for that ‘popular and beautiful’ seiyuu. Of course Nanami sounds so much like Kana Ueda because she’s the voice of this character here! Anyway the gang follows Hazuki to a stuffed toy shop and then to their surprise a lingerie store. They think she has a boyfriend. While the girls go in to continue their snooping, embarrassed Yuuto decides to stay outside. Once again he bumps into Shiina (that panty shot again!). They recognized each other and she cheekily says he’s doing so on purpose before excusing herself. Haruka then comes out as she and Yuuto continue to follow Hazuki. What happened to Mika and Nanami? They’re engrossed in trying out different bra and panties since they’re having a bargain sale. Let’s just leave them there. The duo bump into drunken Yukari on the overhead bridge and she’s so unashamed of herself in broad daylight! WTF?! She wants to do a threesome?! They manage to give that sicko teacher the slip and we find out Haruka isn’t knowledgeable in those, erm, let’s just say intimate relationship definitions, when she asks Yuuto what Yukari was talking about. Of course that guy can’t just explain to her like that. Some things are better left unknown.
 
The duo are resting at a cafe whereby to Yuuto’s surprise, finds Ruko working part time as a waitress there. Ruko and Haruka gets to know each other and big sister requests Haruka to take care of his useless little brother. Later in the day, they spot Hazuki entering a bridal shop and she’s being greeted by a man. They think he is Hazuki’s boyfriend. They rush in only to be mistaken as clients for a wedding shoot. The staff dresses the duo up before realizing they’ve got the wrong person. They certainly suit each other in their wedding clothes. A premonition of their future? To make things up, they took a free photo shot of them. As they leave, Haruka starts thinking if she’s in the way of Hazuki’s happiness because Hazuki has always been taking care of her since small. When they come home and ask Hazuki about it, she was reluctant to tell them since it was an unimportant matter until Haruka spills her true feelings about Hazuki. Hazuki then realizes the misunderstanding and explains that she has just gone to the hardware store above the bridal store to get replacement chains for her chainsaw. Since she’s a regular customer, the store manager personally came out to greet her. She thanks them for looking out for her which causes Haruka to be overcome with emotions. Mika and Nanami then come back from their lingerie bargain and realized their whereabouts has been busted. Mika then passes a lingerie present she bought for Haruka. Haruka gets embarrassed and tries to hide it when the wedding photo shot slips out. Mika picks it up as she and Nanami starts teasing them while Hazuki congratulates Yuuto.
 
Call it fate or destiny. That’s because in episode 5, Yuuto once again bumps into Shiina. You must be thinking that he’s a lucky guy because everytime he does so he gets a shot of her panties. Yeah, it must be fate because Shiina is a new transfer student in Yuuto and Haruka’s class. And she there’s an empty desk right next to Yuuto. See how the trend is falling into place? Friendly Shiina too has her bunch of admirers as she is quite skilful in many things. I’m thinking did they choose the new girl over Haruka? Or can they occupy both great ladies in their little cramp hearts? Shiina makes friends with Haruka and the latter isn’t jealous or anything but is impressed as well. Likewise, Shiina is thrilled to know Haruka is that famous Lumiere Du Clavier pianist and is a big fan of hers. With the upcoming swimming tournament, Shiina agrees to enter but the catch is, she doesn’t know how to swim. Yuuto and Haruka agrees to help her out. While the duo are coaching Shiina, there are other ‘unwanted disturbances’ who is taking advantage of using the pool like Mika and her maids, Ruko and Yukari in one of her tiny bikini, having a BBQ-cum-drinking session. At the end of the day, Mika, Nanami and Hazuki hints to Haruka that she has a new rival for Yuuto but you know Haruka’s pretty dense, disappointing the trio.
 
On the day of the event, Yuuto’s words made nervous Shiina regain her self-confidence. During the race, Shiina experiences leg cramp. Yuuto without thinking dives in to save her. Why is everybody else just watching? Anyway he takes her to the infirmary whereby she feels bad for not winning after receiving their special coaching. But Yuuto doesn’t care for all that and is glad that she’s fine. Shiina’s other classmates come in and are concern for her but after finding out she can’t swim, they decide to do their best and win the race on her behalf. When it’s over, Nanami drives Shiina home (OMG! She’s a speed demon behind the wheel!). Haruka walks home with Yuuto and says how he looked cool when he saved Shiina but felt a pain in her heart when she watched him do so (it’s called love, girl!). Yuuto comforts her and says that he’ll save her too if she’s drowning, making Haruka her happy self again.
 
Haruka invites Yuuto to the Comiket in episode 6 so he has to turn down a pool invitation offer by Shiina, in which she is okay with it. Before that, Nobunaga warns Yuuto not to underestimate the Comiket. A first timer like Yuuto would get the shock of his life to see the tremendous crowd at Comiket. He gets ‘drifted’ by the sea of otaku enthusiasts. Haruka is here to get a doujinshi work but they find a long line waiting so Yuuto suggests jumping queue. Haruka informs him of several courtesy rules which makes the Comiket a success. As they are walking through the crowd, Haruka gets bumped but luckily Yuuto catches her in his arms. He then suggests to hold hands so that they won’t get lost (looking like lovers, aren’t they?). Finally they arrive and queue at the doujinshi booth but when it’s their turn, a fat otaku jerk walks ahead of them and buys the last copy. Haruka is devastated once more that she didn’t manage to buy the things she want and almost faints. Yuuto starts raising his voice about how that fatty snatched the last copy but Haruka tells him not to do so or else he’ll be seen as a bad guy. Yuuto then apologizes for his outburst. As they walk outside, a well-dressed man comes up to them and gives Haruka his copy of the doujinshi book he bought. He says after seeing their actions, he was moved and decided to give it to them before heading off. Haruka is in delight as we find out that man is actually Nanami in disguise! Woah! It seems Mika and the maids have followed the duo here and they have thought that fatty a good lesson he’ll never forget.
 
Haruka and Yuuto continue to walk around Comiket and we see lots of anime references here such as Shakugan No Shana and a yaoi version of Inukami! OMG! Haruka can’t handle the ‘hotness’ and nearly passes out. Yeah, she nearly did that again when they pass by an ecchi booth. So innocent lah this girl. Unknown to them, an MIB-like man is spying on them. Yuuto also bumps into Nobunaga again as he tries to hide Haruka once more. Outside, the duo notices a cosplay photography session and decides to take a closer look. However all the photographers spot Haruka and thinks how pretty she is and starts snapping away. But Haruka feels uneasy so Yuuto tries to stop them but they wouldn’t listen. Yuuto then takes Haruka’s hand and makes a run for it but those shutterbugs won’t let him go so easily. Now this is the best part. The duo are being saved with the appearance of Hazuki in the disguise of Dokuro-chan! She’s singing that Pipiru Pipiru Pii line and holding her chainsaw as her Excaliborg (she’s calling it by a different name)! Yeah, she cuts everyone’s camera with her chainsaw! Personally, I feel that Hime of Kaibutsu Oujo is the only girl fit to hack and slash with the chainsaw but for Hazuki, I guess she’s just okay since it’s her trademark. Furthermore, Mika and Nanami also saves the day as they disguised as Hecate and Wilhelmina of Shakugan No Shana respectively! Perhaps Haruka should’ve dressed as Hecate (only fans of the series can understand what I mean ;)…). They tie up those losers before escaping upon realizing that they have broke 1 of the Comiket rules.
 
As they ride the train home, Haruka is quite happy on today’s outing but obviously Yuuto isn’t because he saw through Mika and her maids’ disguise and possible interference. The train suddenly jerks which causes Haruka to stumble into Yuuto’s arms. He apologizes but she doesn’t mind as they stay that way a little longer. On the way home, Yuuto meets Mika and the maids who are asking where he went with Haruka in a lovey-dovey mode. He fires back the question to them. Mika then says if he spots anyone suspicious, Yuuto points at them (damn right!). But since this isn’t what Mika meant, she says never mind before leaving. Yuuto is back in his room when he gets a panic call from Mika who is calling for Haruka’s whereabouts. Just then his doorbell rang and to Yuuto’s surprise, finds Haruka’s in tears as she collapses in on him.
 
It seems Gentou, Haruka’s dad has found out about her secret hobby and is furious. Thus in episode 7, he dispatches his personal guards dubbed the Hell Hounds to look for Haruka. Since Haruka is on the run, she seeks refuge at Yuuto’s place. I guess Ruko and Yukari love to see some romance blossom between 2 healthy young teenagers and allows Haruka to sleep over since their parents are overseas. Hazuki is there too to protect Haruka. So the usual welcoming party which results in Ruko and Yukari getting drunk and sleeping in an unashamed position. That night Mika calls Yuuto to say how they have only a day before their whereabouts will be discovered by the Hell Hounds. Hazuki tells Yuuto take Haruka up to her bed while she patrols the area. Since Hazuki is a little drunk, she keeps banging her head into things. That night, Yuuto has a lot on his mind when Haruka comes in and wonders if she could sleep with him since she’s afraid of sleeping alone. Don’t worry, nothing steamy happening. I suppose Yuuto has to sleep in an awkward position since Haruka is holding on to his hand like that.
 
The next morning, Yuuto finds Haruka making him breakfast but the serenity is soon to be broken when Hazuki spots the Hell Hounds closing in on Yuuto’s home. They surround the house as Gentou takes a step into the house. He looks like a scary guy so it’s understandable that Yuuto didn’t want to open the door when he rang the bell. Because nobody answered, Gentou slashes the door open. He is met with Ruko who clashes swords with him. Looks like this sister is not a useless drunkard after all. But Gentou himself is a skilful swordsman, deflecting each and every of Ruko’s strike. Who wouldn’t get mad if somebody busts in without permission and furthermore breaking down the door. Hazuki chips in as she fends off the Hell Hounds with her chainsaw. But they are too much as they pin the ladies down. Haruka is paralyzed in fear as Yuuto steps up to protect her but Gentou throws him aside with ease. Gentou wants Haruka to come back and says how he over his anger from trashing her otaku stuff. Though still afraid, Haruka says she doesn’t want to go home and has done nothing wrong even if Gentou says animes and mangas are childish and useless (all anime fans revolt!).
 
Yuuto then stands up and lectures back about what’s wrong of being her hobby even though Gentou blames him for influencing Haruka. Ruko and Hazuki are moved by his manly words and overpowers the Hell Hounds to regroup themselves. It could turn into a bloodbath if not for Mika and Nanami’s arrival. Well, more importantly, Akiho, Haruka’s young mom (why do mothers in animes look hot and gorgeous?). You can tell that no matter how tough Gentou is, he is the kind of guy who bows down and fears his wife. She must have a reputation to make a tiger shiver in fear. Yeah, Gentou can’t even talk back as Akiho mentions that there is nothing wrong with Haruka’s hobbies. So long as she does well in her studies, she’s okay with it. Gentou has no choice but to accept. Relieved with the way things ended, Haruka hugs Yuuto and everyone gives that smirking look that something interesting may have happened between them. Except for Gentou who still doesn’t approve of their relationship. Gentou and Akiho leave with their Hell Hounds after apologizing for the ruckus. The rest decide to go get breakfast after their victory (can’t believe Yukari slept through all those noise!). Haruka smiles as she holds Yuuto’s hand.
 
In episode 8, Mika teaches her friends some dating and love tips but it was too much for them to handle. Though Mika notes how her only interaction with males are only her dad and Yuuto, she and Nanami decide to go eavesdrop on them in Haruka’s room. Sounds ambiguous. Enough to make their face go red. Mika and Nanami bust open the door to tell them not to do such unholy things but find out that they’re just making pancakes. Phew. Because Mika feels that Yuuto’s relationship with Haruka isn’t progressing, she decides to teach him a few tips on dating by dating Yuuto herself. I wonder why this guy is so obliging. Can’t turn down a girl? Maybe he views it as nothing serious. So their date include the usual, holding hands, eating a large ice cream at a parlour (fanservice cue!) and going to the movies (Mika falling asleep and her sleep talking is annoying other movie-goers).
 
Later Mika tells Yuuto how Haruka will be waiting for him at the fireworks festival when they bump into Shiina in her yukata (no more that panty shot). Noticing how friendly Yuuto is with her, Mika drags him away to buy some yukatas. Jealous? At the night of the festival, Yuuto gives Mika a piggy-back ride so she could see the fireworks. Yuuto’s words seems to surprise Mika when he says how he’s a burden as she has to teach him those stuff. Of course Mika has to be modest and says how she had fun the whole day. This causes her to fluster a little as she notices his gentle side. Starting to have feelings for onii-chan, eh? Haruka and the maids come by and Yuuto comments on how Haruka’s yukata suits her (as advised by Mika earlier on). Nanami teases Mika for having fun on their outing as they watch the fireworks together. With summer break over, class resumes and the first thing Yukari mention is how she got dumped by her boyfriend 3 days ago. Yeah, she starts crying in class. Not that everyone’s interested in her personal life. After recomposing herself, Yukari announces the upcoming cultural festival and wants a male and a female volunteer to represent their class. Shiina excitedly volunteers because she wants to blend in quickly and get along well with everyone. With that, Yukari handpicks Yuuto to be her partner. Reluctant at first, he soon agrees after Shiina’s request for his assistance and ‘support’ from everyone else. I’m not sure about her "First Move Deathblow" motto but everyone sure loves it including Haruka.
 
So the newly elected class reps have to choose a theme for their cultural festival in episode 9 as they take ideas from their classmates. What’s this? Yukari suggesting a beer garden? And when her proposal is being shot down, she goes into crying mode saying how Yuuto promised to marry her when she was young. Is she still drunk or what? Surprisingly Nobunaga who is not from their class suggests a cosplay cafe and everyone agrees. Why is he doing this? Well he did suggest this theme for his own class but was rejected so he’s doing this as revenge through Yuuto’s class. While Mika and the maids start to plan how Haruka should win over Yuuto, Yuuto requests Haruka’s help in designing cosplay costumes, much to her delight. So they’re at the cosplay store as Haruka puts on an outfit when Nobunaga comes in to collect an outfit he ordered. Yuuto panics and tries to hide Haruka so they both cramped themselves in the tiny changing room. Ambiguous position, I must say… Thankfully Nobunaga leaves, so the duo leaves and Yuuto gives Haruka a Dojikko Aki-chan musical box which he bought earlier on. Just then Yuuto gets a distressing call from Mika warning him that Gentou is furiously on his way to retrieve Haruka because she has broken her promise to meet a famous pianist coming over to their home today. You can see Haruka shivering in fear.
 
The Hell Hounds must be real effective in finding out Haruka’s position as they surround them in no time. Gentou is going to strike Yuuto with all his rage when he is blocked by Nanami and Hazuki who has just arrived in time. Thankfully Akiho is here too so that guy has to keep his mouth shut. Yeah, she even punches him out cold. Akiho talks to Haruka that if she wants them to approve of her hobbies, then she has to keep up with her studies too. Yuuto then says how this is his fault because he asked Haruka out without knowing her schedule but Haruka denies and says it’s hers. Even though she knew of this, she still broke her promise because she wanted to be of help to Yuuto as this is the first time he depended on her. Yuuto and Haruka try to insist that the fault is theirs when Akiho stops them. She understands their feelings and though it saddens Akiho that Haruka broke that promise to her too, she’ll forgive and overlook this one. As everyone rejoices, Haruka requests for Yuuto to be her partner at the festival’s folk dance, in which he agrees. In class, Yuuto and Haruka shows Shiina their cosplay outfit as everyone starts their preparations. Back home, Mika and the maids notice Haruka baking cookies for Yuuto but the shape of the cookies seemed horrible (hopefully not the taste). Once done, she goes back to school to find Yuuto and when she opens the class door, she is shocked to find Yuuto on top of Shiina with a hand on her breast. You know, a veteran like me can tell that it’s some misunderstanding. I suppose they add some dramatic effect by showing how Haruka dropped her cookies like it’s the end of the world, end of her life with Yuuto.
 
We find out what really happened in episode 10. While Shiina was talking to Yuuto, a sign was going to fall on her so Yuuto instinctively pushed her away, which ended up him being on top of her. And all in good timing, that’s when Haruka opened the door and started jumping to conclusions before running away heartbroken. Shiina tells him to quickly go after her and when Yuuto catches up to her at the shoe locker, Haruka says that there must be a reason but you can tell she still feels hurt. That night, he calls Haruka but was told by Hazuki she has gone to bed. Yuuto attempts to try again the next day but surprisingly finds Haruka back in her happy self. Even Shiina sensed that the problem has been resolved between them yet. Mika and the maids visit Yuuto’s cosplay cafe to ask about how Haruka’s cookies taste like but Yuuto didn’t answer seeing that they don’t know what really happened. Hazuki seems suspicious though. Later Haruka is entering the school’s 35th beauty contest dubbed Miss Hakujou and Shiina’s participating as well along with 6 other finalists. As expected she wins. She can’t be everyone’s idol if she doesn’t right? Haruka notices Yuuto looking at her in the crowd and diverts her eyes. Yuuto then knew something isn’t right and goes to talk to her backstage but she continues to run away. Yuuto frantically tries to find Haruka all over school but couldn’t find her.
 
Yuuto then meets Hazuki who tells him her sad love story about how she was separated from her loved one, Eric, 3 years ago. She doesn’t want him to make the same mistake and to always think of Haruka first and tells him that Haruka is waiting behind the gym. Yuuto finds her sitting on the steps alone with the Dojikko Aki-chan musical box in hand and starts apologizing. However she says that he doesn’t need to do so since it’s not his fault to begin with. Though her heart starts to feel pain whenever she sees him with Shiina, she doesn’t want to trouble him further that’s why she forced herself to smile. In short, she has that painful feeling that Yuuto would be leaving her. However Yuuto assures her that he’ll always be by her side unless she doesn’t want him anymore. So after Haruka says she do want to be with him, they both embraced. If it was this easy to settle things. But I guess it’s good for Haruka seeing that this is the umpteenth time already Yuuto have to reassure her. Even if the folk dance has ended, Yuuto suggests that they dance and use the Dojikko Aki-chan music box for the music. Behind the bushes, Mika and the maids are happily watching when Mika says how she never knew of Hazuki’s sad past. However it is revealed that Eric is Hazuki’s beloved teddy bear and that he has returned to her. Through Yabay! Auctions. Haha!
 
Mika informs Yuuto of Haruka’s upcoming birthday in episode 11. He goes to Akihabara alone to get a present but is indecisive. He gets an unsuspecting help from Nobunaga who’s extremely glad that he’s ‘opened his eyes’ to the otaku world. After Yuuto gets a Dojikko Aki-chan figurine, Nobunaga says how he has changed and this prompts him to tell Yuuto how back then Yuuto gave away a special magazine away to a stranger without his permission. Obviously, Yuuto doesn’t remember much about it. On the way home while thinking about it, he is picked up by Hazuki and Nanami in their limo to Haruka’s birthday party destination. Where is it? They need to take a supersonic jet there. Have you figured it out? An uninhabited island near the equator bought by Gentou solely for Haruka’s birthday. How rich is this family?! Besides, Ruko and Yukari are invited along as well. Of course there are other famous celebrities and guest for the party but Yuuto gets disheartened to learn that their presents are lavish and beats his puny otaku one. While wandering around the beach, Yuuto meets an old man who is looking for his fishing hook and helps him find it. The old man asks his relationship with Haruka, in which Yuuto replied that they’re just friends (why isn’t Yuuto happy with that answer? We know lah *wink wink*). Yuuto is soon called by Mika and he gets the nose bleed of his life when he sees her in her swimsuit. That’s right. This kind of genre won’t be complete without a fanservice swimsuit episode.
 
So the usual fun in the sun and sea with Mika still teasing shy Yuuto by getting close to him and I’m not sure if she deliberately unhook her top so that Haruka can run close to Yuuto and stop her little sis from making naughty advances. I’m amazed that Ruka and Yukari can even get drunk on the beach. They really love their beer. A little suspense occurred when Haruka accidentally slipped into the deep parts and nearly drowned. Luckily she’s saved and brought back ashore although unconscious. Though not life threatening, the other girls scheme to have Yuuto give Haruka a CPR. Yeah, they’re really anticipating with hope to see their first kiss! Yuuto has no choice but to do so but Haruka opened her eyes just when Yuuto got his face to close to hers. They both got embarrassed and backed away. Yuuto gets upset when he finds out the girl’s plan to make him do so. But Haruka seems a little happy. However from a distant in a yacht, a rich guy, Shute Sutherland, isn’t too pleased to see that ordinary bespectacled kid so close to his fraulein Haruka. That night when the party starts, Shute confronts a lone Yuuto and starts his snobbish obnoxious talk to irritate him. He delivers the deathblow when he asks Yuuto what sort of presents he is going to give Haruka. When Yuuto didn’t answer, he proceeds to show all the jewellery and luxurious accessories he is going to give Haruka. Yuuto is disheartened and ‘paralyzed’ by the fact that his present seems very insignificant to his. Shute tells Yuuto to go away quietly if he doesn’t want to be embarrassed later on. Oh no. Has Yuuto been ‘defeated’? Will Haruka be taken away by a rich prince (un)charming?
 
Haruka’s birthday party begins in episode 12 and Yuuto is still depressed over his insignificant present. If not for Mika calling him, I guess he would’ve sat this one out. In the crowded hall, on Mika’s advice, Yuuto manages to shout happy birthday to Haruka in a stunning white dress, making her feel happy. Because there are too many people, each of them are given a number to queue and give Haruka his present. Yuuto’s number is 596. That’s a long way. While Yuuto tries to ignore drunkards Ruko and Yukari (they’re dumbfounding the crowd with their Godzilla-like chugging down), he bumps into Shute again. That jerk proceeds to taunt Yuuto when he spots his lowly present and snatches it away. He and his underlings tosses it among each other as Yuuto tries to take it back. A struggle ensue when Yuuto accidentally rips off his present’s cover, revealing the figurine. Shute mocks his cheap present and tells him to go away. Defeated Yuuto thinks he is unworthy of giving his present to Haruka and decides to leave when he is stopped by the old man from the beach who opened his eyes by saying "So the first friend Haruka brings back is an unwelcomed guest". Yuuto remembers all the moments he spent with her and gets his confidence back as he heads back in. Good timing because his number is being called. However, impatient Shute jumps the line to give his (including his crappy cheesy sweet talk. Ugh!). Yuuto ignores that jerk as he goes ahead of him and gives his present to Haruka. Shute is still bragging about Yuuto’s unworthy present but gets the biggest shock of his life when he hears from Haruka’s own mouth how she’s very happy. The crowd has never seen Haruka this happy before and what amazes them even further is the fact that Gentou shook hands with Yuuto! A sight anybody would least expect to see.
 
Shute isn’t happy and even tries to call his Papa to intervene and do something (spineless kid!). Papa gets ready to do something. That is, until that old man shows up. Because Shute was being rude to the old man and Papa recognize who this old fart is, he punches his idiotic son as they both got down on their knees to apologize before leaving. That’s right! Go away you sh*t head! It’s your lost! Anyway Yuuto finds out that the old man is Ouki and is the previous head of the Nogizaka family. Which means, he is Haruka’s grandpa! After watching the fireworks, Yuuto is alone in Haruka’s room and the latter shows him all her collection of Dojikko Aki-chan. When Haruka tells him about that first magazine she got from a stranger which got her addicted to the otaku world, Yuuto remembers Nobunaga’s words and instantly he remembers that he is that boy who gave the magazine to her. It took you long enough, buddy. He gives out a heartily laughter and since Haruka pesters him on what’s so funny, their little commotion had clumsy Haruka fall on top of Yuuto. Another near face to face encounter. Then I don’t know how it happen because we see their room lights out as Yuuto slowly goes on top of Haruka as they prepare to kiss. Holy sh*t! Unfortunately, they’re brought to a screeching halt when the busybodies who are eavesdropping on them comes crashing in (because too many of them was leaning on the door). Kiss, interrupted. Even Ouki and Akiho are interested to see the development between the two. Except for Gentou, who’s going to slice Yuuto apart! As the duo flee from Gentou’s wrath, Yuuto tells Haruka to go to Akihabara again when they return. Just the 2 of them. And when Gentou demands what Yuuto is he planning to do with his precious Haruka, the 2 of them replied "It’s a secret". Oh heartbreak for papa. The final scenes show Yuuto and Haruka enjoying themselves at Akihabara. The rest too tag along and some things don’t change like the drunkards (happy hours is all year round) and Haruka still can’t handle ecchi stuff. And Gentou becomes a ‘donkey’ because he’s carrying heaps of stuff Akiho bought.
 
Well, what a nice and feel good ending. That’s should such animes end like. We can see that Haruka has undergone the most changes throughout the series. She was somebody who fears about her secret being exposed. In the end, she has become more open about it though I’m not sure if everybody else especially her schoolmates know about her secret. Even if they do, it’s not like she’s going to make a big deal out of it because all that matters is that Haruka enjoys her hobby from the bottom of her heart. Yuuto too played a role in helping Haruka overcome this fear of hers. Yuuto gets to learn more about the otaku world and Haruka gets to learn that being an otaku isn’t a bad nor embarrassing thing. So who says an ordinary boy doesn’t get the girl in the end? Well, maybe Haruka isn’t that all perfect, but it beats many of those losers.
 
Since the series focuses mainly on Haruka and Yuuto, I felt that some of the other character’s presence didn’t make an impact. Take Shiina’s for instance. I was hoping that she would at least get involved in a love triangle between Yuuto and Haruka or she’s some spy trying to find out about Haruka’s secret. In the final episodes, heck she didn’t even make much of an appearance. Perhaps this series is too short to see whether Mika’s onii-chan feelings would turn into a lover’s one. There’s always that possibility, you know. But I guess she and the rest would prefer to watch those innocent lovebirds. Don’t worry, Yuuto’s a decent guy and as far as they’re concerned, Hazuki and Nanami will always protect and ‘watch’ over them. As for Ruko and Yukari, I’ve never known a pair of ladies who drink for half their appearances. So my initial question, how the heck did Yukari became a teacher in the first place? Something which could only happen in animes, eh? And the overprotective Gentou has to let go of his precious Haruka sooner or later. Perhaps too soon.
 
My favourite voice acting is Haruka who is of course voiced by my number 1 favourite seiyuu Mamiko Noto! Another round of applause to this multi-talented lady who portrays the many moods of Haruka such as being her dreamy cute innocent self and at other times an anxious shaky distressing girl. I just love her voice! Other casts include Wataru Hatano as Yuuto (Tomokazu of Yumeria), Mai Goto as Mika (Sumomo in Happiness!), Kaori Shimizu as Hazuki (Akira of School Rumble series), Kana Ueda as Nanami (Mikan in Gakuen Alice), Rina Satou as Shiina (Haruka of Minami-ke), Hitomi Nabatame as Ruko (Nobue in Ichigo Mashimaro, Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Miyu Matsuki as Yukari (Harumi in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei – love her voice when she starts sobbing and kicking up a fuss), Aya Hisakawa as Akiho (Skuld of Aa! Megamisama, Maya of Tenjou Tenge), Fumihiko Tachiki as Gentou (Zaraki from Bleach) and Reiko Takagi as Nobunaga (Kaolla of Love Hina, Sakura of Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan).
 
I guess the drawing and art should appeal to those who are into contemporary Japanese bishoujos. Some of the background music have that luxurious and rich feel in it with those grandiose orchestral strings. Like the mid-intermission (which also features still poses of the characters) and the next episode preview (with a cute crayon sketch-like drawing). As an otaku-themed series, you can’t leave out all those little otaku trivia for viewers to spot. By the way, there are tons of them if you keep your eyes peeled (for starters, take note of the advertising boards and window display in the anime). Some are obvious to spot while others may need a sharp eye.
 
If you don’t mind the little fanservice, I guess this show is quite enjoyable to watch. So are you still having reservations about anime and manga lovers? Well, you are still entitled to your opinion. It very much boils down to one’s taste and preferences. Thus a lesson here is never to judge a book by its cover and that still waters run deep. I’m sure everyone has little secrets of their own. Who knows, maybe your parents are even otakus behind your back. You just don’t know. While it’s no secret to my family, colleague and friends that I’m an anime lover, however there’s still a secret that they don’t know relating to it. I’m not telling because I’m planning to keep it that way! Some secrets are never meant to be exposed or revealed. ;)
 
P/S: No anime and manga otakus were discriminated or biasly prejudiced during and after the making of this series. (Hahaha! Just joking).
 

Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu