「約束です♪」 (Yakusoku Desu ♪)
“It’s a Promise ♪”
Two seasons and 24 episodes later, we find ourselves at the end of the second run of Nogizaka Haruka. Things are left pretty open-ended for a possible third season, but whether or not we’ll get one is anyone’s guess. Here, the story concludes with a Nogizaka-funded trip to the hot springs, where Yuuto finds himself stranded out in a snowstorm with Haruka.
It’s kind of odd for them to finish with a hot spring episode after they started with one, but I guess they wanted to deliver some more in the service department. At least the producers didn’t play dumb about trying to milk it, as Nobunaga even had a line about doing so. Surprisingly, more of the cleavage and underwear shots came from Mika’s ping pong tournament than the hot spring. What was also surprising was getting more development from Shiina. After seeing her help Yuuto last time, the last thing I expected her to do was try to confess to him. However, all that came from it was more screentime for her and some build-up for a potential third season, since her confession ended on a comedic note. The real focus here was Haruka dropping the Moonlight ring Yuuto gave her for Christmas and looking for it during a snowstorm. In reality, that was just a well-executed excuse to get her naked with Yuuto as she tries to warm her body with his.
I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting them to skip kissing and get right down to business. They had me going for a bit too seeing as this is the finale, but in the back of my mind I was anticipating the interruption that’s bound to come. (It didn’t help when they were still in their underwear either.) Lo and behold, the Nogizaka Maid Team comes crashing through the windows a few moments later. If they keep this teasing up any longer, we’ll have another Ah! My Goddess on our hands — a series that has been pulling this routine for the past TWENTY years. Having seen the Ah! My Goddess OVA back in 1994, it was pretty nostalgic watching the two TV series and OVA that aired between 2005 and 2007. However, when Keiichi and Belldandy never get too far in their relationship, it’s not exactly something I look forward to seeing a lot more of. The same goes for Yuuto and Haruka.
To be quite honest, I wasn’t looking forward to a second season of Nogizaka Haruka for this very reason, and the first couple of episodes had me contemplating dropping it. It’s not a bad series by any means, but it recycles the same plot devices over and over again. If you enjoy them, then this was a perfectly entertaining sequel. If you’ve seen your fair share of them like I have, you’ll probably want to find something refreshing to watch instead. The main reason I decided to continued watching (and blogging) Purezza was because I had covered the first season here. Call it the completist within in if you will.
But hey, if I was going to cover something, I figured I’d do it with an open mind. I focused on approaching the show with a fresh take on the story, rather than allowing my reluctance to show through. This actually made things more enjoyable over the course of the season and my impressions easier to write about. It also helped having some new characters introduced, such as Touka and the rest of the maid team, who were a breath of fresh air in the overall scope of things. Objectively speaking, this second season had everything that you enjoyed from the first season, plus a lot of extra fan-service. Production quality under Diomedea (formerly known as Studio Barcelona) improved as well, so there isn’t much fans of the original shouldn’t be happy about. For all those reasons, I completely understand if there are viewers out there wanting a third season.
Personally though, if a third season does end up being produced, I’ll probably still end up watching it for completion sake, but I don’t see myself writing about it due to waning interest. It’s been fun, but not that fun.
* Noto Mamiko’s impersonations during the “preview” gave me a good chuckle, especially her Gentou one. This was available on ytv’s broadcast. Tokyo MX’s had a skit hinting at some potential extras on the DVD/Blu-ray releases.
* See below for the finale version of the ending sequence.