Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu - Reviews

Alt title: Haruka Nogizaka's Secret

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DATABASEERROR's avatar
Jul 14, 2016

My anime reviews are always simple, short and straight-forward and is 100% spoilers-free.

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Additional Info: Be ready for some kawaii romantic anime where a protagonist is ready for everything to protect the heroine.

Ending Rating: 95% (Final Season)

Short Review:

Nozigaka Haruka no Himitsu is an outstanding piece of anime. It has a really good mixture of comedy and romance. The very sweet romantic moments are really spectacular which will heat your heart to 100 degree celcius and melt it. This anime truely deservers everybody's time and internet bills.

10/10 story
9.5/10 animation
9.5/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.8/10 overall
Funari's avatar
Aug 16, 2011

Ah, Nogizaka Haruka, which is probably better known as "that other show about an idol girl who turns out to be an otaku except it was made before OreImo".

The premise is simple enough: a girl who seems pretty much perfect on the surface is an otaku and a random guy finds this out, resulting in...

...and I'm guessing they kind of ran out of ideas what they'd actually do after that, since just about every imaginable anime series staple is somehow crammed into merely 12 episodes. After episode 9, I threw out a mostly joking statement about this series following a cliche checklist in the What are you watching? topic, into which another member replied with a bunch of cliches I'd forgotten. They managed to include all of his suggestions, save for Christmas/New Year's, in the 3 remaining episodes. 

Well, the cliched situations are just settings for the main dish of the series: romance. And it hits another stumbling block here: the romance isn't subtle at all, and it actually feels half-forced at times... both out-of-universe and also in-universe. There's the eternal trip-and-fall-into-close proximity which is used multiple times, but the decisive thing here is that it seems basically every single character's reaction to Yuuto and Haruka hanging out together fits neatly into two categories: "Let's hook them up right now!" and "He's such a loser and doesn't deserve her and I'll break them up right now!". Pretty much no middle ground or third options exist, and about no one just doesn't care, either...

...with the possible exceptions of some of their schoolmates, who were sadly left with bit parts while the screentime was hogged by Haruka's little sister, maids and a couple of drunk women Yuuto lives with who all seemed hell-bent on hooking them up and eavesdropping behind the nearest door, wardrobe or bush to the degree I start wondering if these people don't have lives of their own, family or not.

As for the main couple, Yuuto started out as a somewhat snarkier version of the usual protagonist, but started bending over backwards to accommodate Haruka pretty fast. Haruka, for her part, bugged me somewhat since the show seemed to poke me in the ribs and whisper "Hey, look, look. Look at Haruka. Isn't she adorable, eh? Eh? The best, isn't she?" constantly. She was portrayed as basically perfect from the start and the few things that could be considered flaws (being an otaku, her drawings, getting K.O.ed by raunchy doujins) also seemed to be there to just add to the moè. And then there's the overreactions which seemed to border on unintended emotional manipulation at times. Fainting over a doujin you want being sold out? Really, now.

But then there was the saving grace in this show for me, Shiina. She was introduced as the kinda-but-not-quite second love interest since the plot was already railroaded and going at full steam towards YuutoHaruka4LifeVille, so there wasn't really ever any doubt, so I guess "hopeless suitor" would actually sound better. I liked her for the sheer fact that while Haruka, despite being a nice person at heart, blatantly overreacted and caused drama and trouble whenever things went wrong somehow, Shiina was as nice but also level-headed (a refreshing rarity amidst heroines who seem to be contractually obligated to be either painfully shy, obnoxiously bitchy or just plain oblivious) even when being rejected and was able to converse with Yuuto normally as a person instead of Most Definitely A Love Interest. Too bad he was basically snatched away whenever talking to her, which didn't help with the forced feeling at all.

Not much to say about the other characters since they were pretty predictable in everything they did with the maid Hazuki being about the only one who reached some sort of depths. The other maid is an especially bad example, I don't think she did anything as an individual, making her little more than a smugly smiling, teasing, eavesdropping accessory behind Mika.

Visually the series was nice enough, no complaints in that department. No fuck-ups in animation I'd notice, anyways, soundtrack was pretty unmemorable and the voices were pretty much what you'd expect. Solid enough. Plot-wise it was mostly episodic with the exceptions of the 3 first and 2 last episodes. Cliches notwithstanding it was fine, and the finale was pretty alright despite also being predictable.

All in all? It's not a bad series idea-wise and I won't pass up a romance, but it gets hit pretty hard by going through way too many things we've seen a hundred times and overeager shipping in-universe which makes the romance in question a bit cringe-worthy when it doesn't feel like it's happening at the characters' own pace, but on onlookers' terms instead. And the characters I found the most interesting ones got shafted in terms of screentime. If you like a bit ecchi-tinted romances and don't mind many, many matchmakers and/or are just starting anime and therefore haven't seen the festivals and beach episodes enough to get bored of them, this one's alright. Anyone else, well, don't put it on top of your watch-list, I'd say. Almost nothing new here. 5-ish/10

2/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
5/10 characters
5.6/10 overall
DavidWP's avatar
Jul 25, 2011

A great suporting cast is why I like this anime, but the two leads are bland, annoying and under-developed. Lets hope the second seires can put the score up :) Here is the video review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHA_O_ml-kM - this review begins where the Kiss X Sis review left off, so if your confussed watch that review for the 'Sex God' characters storyline :D

BBFC rating - N/A

My BBFC rating - 12 for moderate sex references

7/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
7/10 characters
6.7/10 overall
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Tomo90's avatar
Aug 18, 2011

Haruka Nogizaka is the most popular girl at her school, she is admired by her peers and sort after by all the boys but she has a secret, she is a closet otaku. After a mishap in the library Yuuto Ayase found out her secret. Instead of telling anyone Yuuto decides to keep her secret and quickly become Haruka friend. After befriending Haruka, Yuuto quickly discovers that apart from seemingly perfect appearance Haruka is a shy, clumsy and indecisive person. Can Yuuto prevent Haruka’s secret from being revealed and as they become closer is Yuuto falling for her too?

The story of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu seems pretty standard, girl has a secret and the boy finds out about it, they become friends then slowly begin to develop feeling for each other, the typical high school romance story. However Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu seemed to have step up story wise.  The story is quite funny, touching and has plenty of tender moments. There is plenty of romantic tension and slight bit of ecchi thrown in and the execution is done very well.

The character’s back stories are explore somewhat, which added good character depth, and a connection with audience is certainly there. Although the characters can but put nicely into the stereotypes I didn’t mind because Yuuto and Haruka work so well together. The minor characters play an important part in developing Yuuto and Haruka and certainly add a nice touch to the story.

The music and animation are pretty standard nothing really memorable but it does its job fine so I have no complaints.

Overall a good anime, it’s funny, has a good story and nice romance. The otaku culture was also a nice touch and it definitely mixed things up a bit.

 

 

7.5/10 story
6.5/10 animation
6/10 sound
8/10 characters
7.5/10 overall
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krofire's avatar
Feb 11, 2022

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.

2/10 story
1/10 animation
5/10 sound
6/10 characters
5/10 overall
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