Ah! Yet another exuberant example of a great concept that has been demolished by poor execution. The story of Nagizoka Haruka no Himitsu starts out with the main character Ayase Yuuto who is of course your "average high school student" stumbling upon a secret that his rich, smart, beautiful, and popular classmate Nogizaka Haruka had been concealing from the world for years. This seemingly perfect girl admired by her peers and the rest is in fact a closet otaku. Due to the treatment she received from her peers in middle school when the secret was accidentally revealed she is convinced that Ayase's knowledge of her secret is the end of her. Instead, Ayase's decision to keep her secret leads to unhealthy amounts of blushing, stumbling, hand-holding and other general forms of High School Harem Anime flirting.
The reason I decided to watch this anime was my mistaken impression that it would delve more deeply into the otaku culture and it is my firm belief that this exactly what it should have done. After all, series such as Genshiken, Welcome to the N.H.K, Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai have shown the great entertainment potential of this genre of anime. In those series, whether you have watched a mere twenty series or an overwhelming two thousand series, there is something you can relate to. Something will make you giggle or cringe and that translates to a memorable watching experience. So without this, what does Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu have to offer? Well it offers the same thing as every other mediocre harem/romance high school anime. An average high school student meets a girl that is miles out of his league. Through chance or circumstance, this young man shows her his ludicrously large lump of kindness and this leads to blushing, stumbling and so on and so forth. Observing this kindness and occasional moments of coolness, other female characters enter the picture providing negligible stumbling blocks on the road for the two main characters' destined love. Fan service, fan service, fan service. At last, all of this is topped off by a non-ending. The End. Of course, that is not to say that the whole otaku theme of the story is non-existent. However, it gets pushed further and further into the background as the show goes on and only pops up when it's needed to advance the blushing into stumbling or the stumbling into hugging and hand-holding.
Unfortunately, the art and animation are the high points for this anime. The characters are attractive and consistently drawn. The animations are fluid and there aren't really any segments or episodes where one might guess that the lead artist had called in sick for. If you want to see what that looks like, refer to the Bleach series. With that said, there is nothing really extraordinary or beautiful to be marveled at either.
The voice acting for this series could have been better. It could have been a lot better. The main character, Ayase, sounds exactly like every other mumbling harem male lead since the beginning of time and the heroine's flat and uninteresting voice began giving me migraines within the first five or so episodes. There are of course also voices that are well done such as the voice of Haruka's sister Mika and generally speaking, the voices fit the characters' looks and personalities quite well. Overall, the voice acting is simply average and the same could be said about the opening and ending songs.
Typical, typical, typical. That is the best word in my vocabulary to define every character in this anime. Ayase is the typical harem male lead character. He stumbles on his words, gets nosebleeds at the sight of cleavage, acts kind to anyone and everyone to the point that can make an average observer cringe and rage, can't make a decision, and the list goes on. Haruka is your typical non-tsundere harem heroine. She is innocent to a point that can't be achieved even by living alone in a cave your entire life. She blushes an average of sixty-seven times every minute and accidentally stumbles and falls into Ayase's arms at least twice in each episode. Haruka's rich and powerful father is your typical anime rich and powerful guy with goons in black suits and sunglasses that take care of business, and keeps an attack helicopter and a jet in his house. Sigh. There is not much point in continuing on with the rest of the characters. The characters, without a single exception, can be described simply as typical.
This anime could have been done in two ways. The first would have been to heavily use the otaku culture and the associated humor to tell the story of how an average high school student came to be with the perfect daughter of a rich and powerful family. Unfortunately, the alternate path of typical high school harem/romance story that has been done to death was chosen. The original concept has great potential, but unfortunately it was executed quite poorly and so this completely average anime gets a completely average score of 5/10 from me.