Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu

Alt title: Haruka Nogizaka's Secret

TV (12 eps)
3.739 out of 5 from 9,513 votes
Rank #2,758

Yuuto Ayase is not interested in girls - if his two housemates are anything to go by, girls are loud, brazen slobs that are best left alone. However, when Yuuto accidentally discovers an important secret of his school’s most popular female, Haruka Nogizaka, the two become bound in a budding friendship. All too soon, Yuuto discovers that, despite her flawless appearance, Haruka is clumsy, naive, and a closet otaku... and he just might be falling for her.

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It's Over...

Episode 1

It's Over...

It’s my first time…

Episode 2

It’s my first time…

“This is it…”

Episode 3

“This is it…”

Is it okay…?

Episode 4

Is it okay…?

When you stare at me like that…

Episode 5

When you stare at me like that…

It’s…Natsu-Comic

Episode 6

It’s…Natsu-Comic

…I’m in love!

Episode 7

…I’m in love!

…Onii-san

Episode 8

…Onii-san

I was so happy…

Episode 9

I was so happy…

I want to be with you…

Episode 10

I want to be with you…

...Sorry For The Wait

Episode 11

...Sorry For The Wait

It's a Secret!

Episode 12

It's a Secret!

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Reviews

krofire
5

Studio Barcelona’s 2008 romcom is right out of the ark with two of the dullest protagonists ever committed to anime. 2008 falls at the end of the spell when anime in the visual-style of “Clannad” and “Kanon” (both Kyoto Animation 2007) must have been popular. Unlike these classics, “Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu” has not aged well. It really doesn’t help that the show appears to be running in a de-saturated, super-jerky, blurry, pixelated, standard definition on Crunchyroll (in the UK, via Roku). It’s 2022, people! This show is only fourteen years old. The romantic couple are high school class-mates Yuuto Ayase and the titular Haruka Nogizaka. Her “secret” is the rather unremarkable fact that she is an otaku into anime and manga in defiance of her tyrannical father. She recalls losing all her friends in middle-school when they found out. So, she keeps it secret from everyone. That is until Yuuto finds out by accident. He promises not to reveal the fact to anyone and their friendship becomes increasingly close because of the shared secret. The show would be nothing it was not for the colourful supporting cast beginning with Yuuto’s heavy-drinking, sword wielding, sister Ruko, whom he shares an apartment with. Her best friend is the regularly drunk, inappropriately-dressed and flirtatious, Yukari Kamishiro, who happens to be Yuuto’s homeroom teacher. These two are fun enough but then we have Haruka’s family and maids. Despite her humble and shy nature her family possess vast and ostentatious wealth. Two of the maids are key characters, always by Haruka’s side, doubling as her body guards. Maid Hazuki Sakurazaka wields a chainsaw whilst Nanami Nanashiro is occasionally seen using an unfeasibly large mallet for her defence. More often as not, they end up protecting poor Yuuto from Haruka’s wrathful father who is a larger-than-life Yakuza-style character. Upon him learning of his daughter’s hobby she runs away from home causing him to track her down with his own private army (complete with jets and helicopters). Episodes eleven and twelve get a bit insane with Haruka’s birthday party happening on a private Pacific Island her father buys just for the occasion. Remarkably the show got a second season a year later in 2009 (“Haruka Nogizaka's Secret: Purezza”) with a follow on four-episode OVA in 2012 (“Haruka Nogizaka's Secret: Finale”). The light novel series by Yousaku Igarashi spawned a manga adaptation illustrated by Yasuhiro Miyama, a four-episode radio drama and a video game. Between these and the high fan-ratings, this show clearly has its admirers. Quite where the appeal is in such a light-weight story featuring anime’s least-interesting romantic couple, is anyone’s guess. Maybe we missed something. It is an otaku fantasy which may have been to the taste of its target audience. Otherwise, an acquired taste. We didn’t acquire it.

DGFischer
9.5

Haruka Nogizaka's Secret (Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, 2008, Diomedea) is the story of a sweet and innocent teen romance ... drowning in a sea of fanservice.  I mean, when you meet most of the female cast through the time-honored anime technique of pantyshot ... Haruka, first, though it was done most discreetly, as she modestly wears leggings.  But she is a girl who is easily embarrassed, so enjoy these moments of discomfort.  But Haruka’s younger sister Mika comes on the scene panties first, and prospective love triangle third-wheel Shiina holds the record, four indiscrete peeks in 12 episodes. But there are more tricks to accentuate the feminine form.  Lingerie, swimsuits (usually bikinis ... Mika has a bad habit of losing her upper portion), outfits that shout, 'scanty clan.'  It is hard to detect the sweet romance with all the double entendre and oozing ecchi. But there is love budding between rich socialite Haruka and common-class Yuuto, and all because Yuuto agrees to keep Haruka's secret.  And it would be a horrible secret ... if you are a socialite.  Haruka is a dyed-in-the-wool otaku; she's been bitten by the anime/manga bug and bit bad.  But being an extremely shy girl, Haruka has never seen Akihabara, anime’s mecca.  So Yuuto (who hates anime and it his youth had handed away a prime manga to a crying girl) is her escort.  Happy times for Haruka.  Then Yuuto visits Haruka's house ... er, make that a spacious mansion located on spacious real estate.  Haruka is from the upper level of the upper crust.  The contrast between Haruka and Yuuto's social status couldn't be wider apart. Bring on the supporting cast.  Haruka's devoted maids Hazuki and Namani contrasts well with Yuuto's house mates, sister Ruko (crusty boozer) and teacher Yukari (nymphomaniac who can't inspire love).  Then family.  Haruka has little sister love-expert Maki, war-monger weapon selling father Gentou, traditional Japanese maiden (whose deft handling of her parasol can keep hubby at bay) Akiho for a savvy mom.  Strikingly interesting characters which keep the story interesting even though the plotline is so predictable. For the crux of the story is the deepening love between the seemingly ill-matched Haruka and Yuuto.   The charming young boys of their high school cannot understand what Haruka sees in the bespectacled Yuuto.  When transfer student Shiina finds a comfortable ally in Yuuto as she transitions into her new setting, those apparent embarring situations tests Haruka's devotion to her secret-keeper.  Then, the secret gets out.  With no reason for Haruka to hold Yuuto to his promise, she remains his devoted friend.  Then the great test.  In a gala birthday party for Haruka thronging with young men of the upper echelon, will Yuuto be brave enough to give his inexpensive anime figurine when fabulous and costly presents are just lining up all over the place?  And then, a long forgotten link between Yuuto and Haruka that happened long ago ... and caused all this otaku behavior to make destiny happen.  A conclusion that makes one's head spin! The animation technique was standard for the late 2000's, with the teasers and quasi-ecchi creating the typical appeal.  The voice actors excelled, in particular Gentou's Fumihiko Tachiki who could go from ‘grr’ to 'yes, dear' with ease.  That and the honey-sweet, gentle tones of Haruka (Mamiko Noto), whom you cheer for as she takes her place at the top of the social ladder and still know who makes for a friend (and lover).  The theme music uses the female seiyuu as they celebrate the wonders of what secrets can accomplish. Haruka Nogizaka's Secret is a pleasant romp which moves two unlikely lovers as close as a father could tolerate.  There is more progress to make, but you'll enjoy the first unsteady  wisps of young love.

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