Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Purezza – 08
「してあげる……」 (Shite Ageru……)
“I’ll Do It For You……”
Yuuto continues to establish himself as a male protagonist who’s different from your typical harem leads. Instead of finding ways to sneak into Mika’s all-girl’s middle school, he’s more concerned about looking like a criminal and getting arrested.
While Yuuto’s worrying about what to do about Mika’s invitation, he’s greeted at the gate by three of her friends (left-to-right): Hatsuse Hikari (Yuuki Aoi), Tougasaki Eri (Toyosaki Aki), and Fujinomiya Miu (Hidaka Rina). Much to Yuuto’s surprise, Mika’s told all her classmates about him so they’re quick to him like a celebrity (or pet hamster depending on how you look at it). With everyone getting a bit overzealous, Mika drags Yuuto off out of jealousy and takes him to her “Modern Theater Arts Culture Research Club” room. (Gendai Butai Geijutsu Bunka Kenkyuu bu 「現代舞台芸術文化研究部」 is quite a mouthful!) On the way, Yuuto finds it hard to picture Mika as the well-respected student council president that she is, but has more difficulty dealing with Eri, Hikari, and Miu’s questions about girlfriends and being called useless later on. Those three are then quick to try sitting on Yuuto’s legendary lap, but just to toy with Mika for a bit.
To escape embarrassment, Mika gets Yuuto to watch and critique their “Sweet Mika-chan” play. Afterward, Eri asks for some advice on how to portray the male lead’s emotions, so Yuuto hesitently helps out. However, he asks that it be anyone else but Mika or he might burst out laughing, which leads to a near kiss scene between him and Eri. Luckily for Mika, they’re interrupted by a public announcement calling her to the vice principal’s office. She later returns to find that Eri and the others left early to give her some alone time with Yuuto. Together, her and Yuuto clean up the room and end up getting locked inside after school hours. Mika quickly panics while Yuuto remains calm, making her wonder how he’s able to do so while alone with an “innocent and frail” girl. As a last resort, she tries to force some nervous response using her appeal, but
Hazuki, Nanami, and Alice arrive looking for her. On their way home, Mika gets Yuuto to carry her as compensation for her embarrassment, and uses the opportunity to tell him that she hasn’t given up on making him “Mikka-Mika” for her.
So last week was all Shiina and this week was all Mika. I’m starting to think we’re forgeting about somebody’s “himitsu” at this rate, but she did show up here and there with a little fan-service. I have nothing against Haruka, nor do I approve of Mika trying to steal her boyfriend by mounting him, but I rather enjoy these non-Haruka-centric episodes. As I’ve probably mentioned several times before (dating back to season one), things go way too smoothly when it’s just Yuuto and Haruka. All we can really expect from those two at this point are kissing situations that get interrupted. To spice things up and give us some entertaining awkward moments, the other girls have to get involved more and push Haruka off to the sidelines, much like they’ve done here.
In terms of humour, I found Yuuto and Mika cramming into a locker to hide from a teacher pretty amusing. After Yuuto suggested that it was his belt rubbing up against her and Mika wondered if it was his cellphone, his expression during the brief pause read “Hmm, that would’ve been a better lie.” The scene with Mika pouncing on Yuuto and trying to seduce him was just as good, but mostly because of the ominous tea cup cracking in the Lacrosse anime at the same time. This is the face of a sister who doesn’t have the slightest clue of what’s going on. Now if I had to poke fun at something, it would be how Yuuto’s phone didn’t have any reception when they were locked in the clubroom. You’d think standing over by the window would help, but I guess it would’ve spoiled the fun if we had a sensible out.
On a casting-related note, I still find it amusing how this series recycles seiyuus more so than others. It’s not a bad idea when most actors/actresses can do a wide range of voices, but Toyosaki Aki and Satou Rina didn’t really stray from their norms here. Aki sounded just like Mai does (i.e. her usual voice), except during the part where Eri was acting. I’ve only ever heard her use a strong/confident voice like that as Ooshima in Umi Monogatari last season, but wish she’d use it more often in future roles. I guess it’s hard though when everyone wants her for the “moe” voice. Rina on the other hand was still credited as Shiina, even though Shiina herself didn’t show up this week outside her Lacrosse counterpart.
* Any votes on whether Mika’s Moonlight Strawberry Princess (Gekka Ichigo Hime) title sounds better than Haruka’s “Nuit Étoile” (Night Star)?
* The steam was unavoidable this week, even in Tokyo MX’s broadcast.