Review: What is worse than failing to create a sequel that lives up to the high quality original? The answer is failing to create at least a decent sequel to the original that is already borderline garbage. Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Purezza is such a case.
The first season manages to gain my love because of the well established and adorable leading couples, Haruka and Yuto. Their chemistry is the only thing that makes the anime enchanting and the less than substantial plot bearable. It’s a shame, really, that the creators of this latest installment do not know this fact and simply settle for a fan service infested show and leave the chemistry between Haruka and Yuto in the dark.
Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Purezza’s plot is quite hard to summarize. It contains all the familiar faces from the first season but seems to loose focus on the main storyline about Haruka and Yuto. Each episode covers wide range of different, unrelated stories like the maid party episode, Yuto’s part time job as a butler or Yuto vs. Shiina episode. For most these episodes, Haruka is left out of the picture.
To put things simply; the first season is about Yuto and Haruka falling in love and nurturing their relationship, the second season is basically about Yuto getting serially abused (physically and sexually) by girls of various ages and statuses. Yuto is always pushed around and, innocently, lured into a girl’s plan to capture his heart with numerous means. He is not just a nice guy like in the first season. In this anime, he is also irritatingly passive and unforgivably foolish.
The relationship between Yuto and Haruka, which is what I anticipate the most, is completely stuck and underdeveloped. In every scene that Yuto and Haruka are together, they will look at each other awkwardly, stutter incoherent things, almost kiss but are interrupted by something predictable like a phone call or a knock on the door and then they will smile to each other and say the same thing like ‘I want to be with you’ for the thousandth times. The only thing that changes between episode is the place this series of repeated action occurs (the house, the park, the beach, the theme park etc.)
For me, fan service is welcomed as long as it does not disturb the flow of the story but in this anime, fan service scenes are randomly and inappropriately added throughout the show. These fan service are not related to the story and, often enough, makes the story illogical or downright pointless. For example, massage scenes or bath scenes pop up out of the blue every now and then during the episodes that has nothing to do with massaging or bathing (the one who baths is there just to take a bath and nothing more).
All of these boring and disturbing things last for almost the entire series until the eleventh episode. In this episode, Haruka is tricked into joining the idol audition while Milan sings a song to encourage Yuuto to express his true feeling for Haruka. I thought ‘Thank goodness! At last something important actually happen!’ It was a last minute returns to the series I hade come to love.
Conclusion: With Haruka and Yuto’s relationship neglected, the show turns into a series of empty, fan service infested, and filler episodes. My advice; watch the first season and forget the second.
Title: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza
Genre: romance, comedy
Released date: October 6, 2009 – December 22, 2009
Director: Munenori Nawa
Animated by: Studio Barcelona