Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Purezza – 01
「一緒に，いきたいです……」 (Issho ni, Ikitai Desu……)
“I Want to Go with You…”
The continuation of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu turns up the fan-service by starting off with a hot spring episode. Too bad they have a run in with the ultimate enemy of hot spring episodes… STEAM!
Seeing as this is a direct sequel of the first season that I covered, I’m going to skip the series introduction blurp and get right into things. For those of you new to the series, feel free to check my previous posts for all your “school idol but closet otaku” informational needs. As a quick refresher for everyone else, the first season left off with Yuuto helping Haruka overcome the huge problem with her parents after they discovered her secret. While they eventually accepted the fact that their daughter is an otaku, Haruka’s father refused to acknowledge Yuuto as her boyfriend.
With the start of Purezza, we find that Yuuto and Haruka are both still having difficulties figuring out exactly what they are to one another. i.e. Are they an “official” couple or just really close friends nearing that stage? While the two of them continue to wrestle with that thought, Haruka’s little sister Mika and their maids, Hazuki and Nanami, continue to help their relationship along. Joining in their efforts is newcomer maid Alicetia Rain, a.k.a. Alice-chan (Kugimiya Rie!), Haruka’s personal loli bodyguard who’s capable of performing her own version of Terry Bogard‘s Power Geyser technique.
At the hot spring, the humour picks up when they go as far as helping Yuuto reenact the intimate moments he could be having in his relationship. In light of this, the show has gone and revived Shiina’s chances as a potential love rival — something I thought would never happen after it looked like she gave up last season. I’m really glad they brought Shiina back into the mix though (with some immediate time together in the nude), as things were getting pretty boring watching Yuuto and Haruka stress over the most trivial matters. Hopefully this will be a mainstay in this second season, even though we all know Shiina’s chances are slim to none.
As for the freaken steam, I wasn’t annoyed by how they tried to cover everything up for a TV broadcast. That’s pretty much expected. However, I was annoyed by how they didn’t cover up everything completely, making me squint for those scenes to try and make something out. It’s like, all or nothing please. God damn teases. Aside from that, it looks like Haruka’s anime of choice at the moment is a sports one about Lacrosse. Lo and behold, it stars all the same cast as Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu! (How convenient…) I did find it amusing when Noto Mamiko showed up at their live event as herself and spoke in her natural voice though. It’s just too bad they didn’t show her face, as I would’ve loved to see their take on an anime version of Mamiko. In any case, it was undoubtedly a meta-joke/shameless plug, much like they did with Ueda Kana before.
On another note, the opening sequence is pretty cool with its magazine-like sequence. The theme is performed by Himemiya Miran and Chocolate Rockers again and the sequence actually features Miran’s anime character. Much like the new opening theme, the ending theme is performed by the female seiyuus again, except this time they’ve been grouped together as a seiyuu group called “N’s”. I wonder how long this one will last…
To be frank, I don’t really have any expectations for this season and I’m more or less watching it because I found the original entertaining. This first episode has already shown glimpses of how heavy the romance element tends to be, but I’m hoping they’ll balance it out better with the humour this time around… somehow. :\
* P.S. I’m getting tired of sounding like a broken record, but this series… Crunchyroll… simulcast… official subs… and stuff.