Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: anime review – Falling in love with bad anime

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Review: Honestly, there isn’t anything to be praised particularly in Nogizaka Haruga no Himitsu (season 1). All it does is to keep things just above average and avoid making fatal mistakes. Believe it or not, I think this show manages to get away with almost anything thanks to the ever charming leading characters and the lovely chemistry between Nogizaka and Yuuto.

Is being an anime addict that embarrassing? Since I never really share my anime-addict identity to anyone except for selected few closed friends, I guess it is. Yes, Nogizaka’s secret that is used as the name of the show is her being an otaku. This fact is hardly a secret anymore because it is revealed right from the very first episode. The true importance of this secret is that it draws the two protagonists, Yuuto and Nogizaka, together. These two are the heart and soul of the series. Nogizaka Haruka is the eldest daughter of an extremely rich and power Nogizaka family. Typically she is naïve, shy and kind like most of the romantic-comedy leading girl. As for Yuuto, he is from common middle class family and he is very considerate, honest and humble. Their characters are far from unique but they are very likable. As a result, I fell in love with both of them and the anime right from the start and it seemed like once I love something, I tend to be more forgiving and flexible. Some might call this feeling bias and they might be right.

Nevertheless, one flaw is still too prominent to let go. I am a little disappointed with Shiina’s character. She is introduced early in the series when she runs into Yuuto three times within only a few days and Shiina tells Yuuto that their meeting must be destiny. After that, she becomes closer to Yuuto and I was pretty sure that she’d play major role during the end of the show but I was wrong. The anime’s finale completely shuns Shiina. She simply disappears.

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One could arguably say that the entire series is utterly insignificant and does not give anything that really matters to the viewers and that every episode is like a filler episode. I really have no objection to those points. The anime does not try to explore any serious subject. It doesn’t even care much about characterization and development. It is just about the joyful and rather fantastic lives of Yuuto and Nogizaka and their friends. To my surprise, I find the anime as a whole quite solid in its own term. Each episode somehow manages to possess key plot point such as the adventure at the Summer Comiket festival, the trip to Akihabara, the problem with Nogizaka’s father etc. and the anime never cease to entertain.

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu is full of entertaining nonsense. Luckily, the good pacing, lovely characters and, most importantly, the consistently effective humor keeps this adorable anime from being a complete bomb. Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu is the anime to be enjoyed purely for the sake of entertainment and laughter, nothing more. Conclusion: Is this anime distinctively good or special? …No, not really. Is it fun? …All the time. Do I like it? …Yes, I do!
Rating: B

Facts
Title: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (season 1)
Genre: romance, comedy
Released date: July 3, 2008 – September 25, 2008
Episode: 12
Director: Munenori Nawa
Animated by: Studio Barcelona

Ps. Review of the second season will be published soon.

12 responses to “Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: anime review – Falling in love with bad anime

  1. I was never a huge fan of the series, especially when Yuuto’s spinelessness and inability to stand up to others gets in the way during that last arc regarding Haruka’s birthday party. Not my kind of series at all since it had the opportunity to be smart and witty but ended up not being so.

    • you have a point there, actually, and Yuuto’s spinelessness is all the more evident in the following series. Nevertheless, I still can, for this season, overlook this disturbing personality of Yuuto because the anime overall is fun.

  2. I saw first episodes and then i stopped. Just i can’t remember why :/ Does it was because of a lack of time or interest ?
    Anyway your review made me want to try this show again :) Thanks ^^

  3. Well, it was crazy enough not to be bland/unoriginal. You’re right, it doesn’t have too much merit, but I never came off as hating it as I do most ‘bad’ series. I sort of watched it at face value and found it pretty sweet, not comparing, contrasting and criticizing for once. I would never answer ‘Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu’ if someone asked me what a good series they should get into is, but my email is the OPs name, so perhaps it had more effect on me than I’d thought. So I guess my experience was very similar to yours. It is a brilliant name though. Onegai Bitter Tune.

    • I never notice the implication behind your email address before!
      This series is something I can easily label as ‘bad but fun’. I’m happy you enjoyed it, too :)

  4. I think after enjoying stuff like Strike Witches, Saki, and Queen’s Blade, I’ve come to realize that good anime does not necessarily need to be break-through, unique, or “smart”.
    A series can be just as good if it simply has a few solid lovable characters and no major flaws, as is the case with this.
    Anyways, I think I’m also much more forgiving once I have a slight liking for something.
    Great review btw.

    • Thanks for the uplifting reply!
      I think expecting an all around perfect anime can ruin viewing experience sometimes. Just like you said, as long as the anime does not commit major mistakes and manages to create its own distinguish point, it will do just fine. ^^

  5. I like that 2nd screenshot, it’s really adorable. I hadn’t been considering this series and I’m not sure if I ever watch it. Only because I have so many “Grade A” series still on my To Watch list.

    • I wouldn’t recommend this anime unless you start to get exhausted from serious/dark/action-packed shows which will eventually happen after a while. Or so I believe :)

  6. Pretty spot-on about the anime. I had mixed feelings about Nogizaka Haruka from about midway. It was such a typical anime and the ending didn’t help it. It was a very typical ending. The saving grace was the cosplay references and the supporting characters. Yeah, I was disappointed with the part about ignoring Shiina as well, though it’s probably because she looked too much alike Lunamaria Hawke.

    I’m still having a hard time whether I should watch the second season or not…

    • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! don’t watch the second season!
      I’ll write about the second season soon but I can tell you now that there won’t be any compliment in the article!

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