Haruka's manga and anime hobby is still concealed by her dear friend Yuuto, but Yuuto's other female friend starts to feel affection and attraction towards him, so a feelings war begins among their circle of friends. Meanwhile Yuuto tries to make Haruka happy doing what she likes the most: drawing manga, watching anime, and attending special anime events.
The first season of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (Nogizaka Haruka's Secret) was a quite enjoyable little romance anime. One day, by accident, the very ordinary guy Ayase Yuuto finds out about the titular secret of the shy, ladylike school idol Nogizaka Haruka, the secret being the fact that she's an otaku. Having been ostracized in her previous school due to her otakudom being exposed, she naturally becomes afraid of the same thing happening again. But being the nice guy he is, Yuuto swears not to reveal this fact to anyone. One thing leads to another and they eventually fall in love, though neither of them
consider themselves an official couple by the end of the series.
It goes without saying that one expected at least some development of the two main characters in this second season, Purezza. Problem is, there is none to be had. The reason being that Purezza possesses nothing resembling a real plot. But let's go over the good stuff first - don't worry, it won't take long.
The somewhat unknown studio Diomedea is behind the rudder for this anime, just like they were with the prequel. Purezza's animation is - while not original or impressive in any way - crisp, clean and consistent.
The opening animation should also be complimented; it shows a browsing through a magazine starring the show's characters and is pretty detailed and well-designed. As for the opening song, it couldn't be more forgettable; just your standard j-pop fare, albeit a little more rocky than usual. The same applies to the ED and the BGM, with them both being non-descript to the point of absurdity, but not really grating.
As I mentioned, this anime is devoid of an overarching plot. The major reason as to why this is the case is because Purezza spends most of its running time focusing on its plethora of minor characters (most of them girls, with almost all moe stereotypes covered) and their relationships with Yuuto, more often than not putting them in indecent situations with him (of course). What once was a cute, semi-innocent romance has completely deteriorated into a generic ecchi-harem.
There's even one particular scene with Yuuto applying "erotic, sexy massage" to three girls, resulting in moaning that would make your average hentai blush with embarrassment. I found myself becoming increasingly irritated with Yuuto as the episodes went on and he degenerated into a simple tool with an uncanny resemblance of School Days' Itou Makoto, fooling around with - and getting used by - about every female character around.
Not having read the manga, I don't know if this is the case, but it does feel jarringly obvious that this season is riddled with fillers. And with it being 12 episodes short, it goes without saying that it's unacceptable.
Consequently, the time Haruka and Yuuto get to spend alone is reduced to a select few occasions. And with them both being annoyingly shy and indecisive, their relationship is never given a real chance to progress. Add to this the fact that the scarce romantic events between the two are generally interrupted by the Nogizaka family's obtrusive maid team or some other random (un)supporting character(s) and you have a recipe for disaster.
There are admittedly a few laughs to be had while watching Purezza, but they are always followed by ten or so minutes of painful facepalming. By the end of this season, it felt like Haruka and Yuuto had gotten at most a couple of centimeters closer to each other (not that I gave a damn about their relationship at this point). It also felt like my brain had been thoroughly decomposed.
I could continue ranting about the worthlessness of this anime and perhaps mention the episode in which Yuuto works as a butler for a loli ojou-sama voiced by Kugimiya Rie, but I'll leave it at this. Purezza is a prime example of what's wrong with the anime industry of today, replacing plot with moe pandering and excessive fan service.
Needless to say, this second season of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu was a complete trainwreck and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone expecting a decent romance anime. And if you're in it for the ecchi, there are also better picks than this one. Thusly, we're left with a series that is simply bad and useless. With competent writing, this story could've been told well within 12 episodes, instead of dragging on for 24+, considering that the manga isn't even finished and that a third season is hinted at after the horrible ending.
The only purity found in this anime lies in its complete and utter shittiness. Do not watch.
It'll be hard to find anything likable about Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza , unless you really loved the characters from the Season 1 (and I mean really loved, and I still probably wouldn't recommend it).
In season 1, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu was about a boy, Yuuto, that meets a girl, Haruka, who is a very rich but kind girl that has a secret - she loves anime. In order to learn more about her, he begins to learn about various aspects of anime as he builds a relationship with her. This made season 1 a delightful little romance/comedy, which was
rather fun and charming. However, the same cannot be said about Purezza. In fact, the reason I just recapped season 1 was because there is essentially nothing to talk about regarding season 2's plot.
Story: (3) Poor
The first two episodes of Season 2 talk about anime topics to some degree, but from then on the practice of integrating anime concepts into the episodes disappears. Haruka's anime secret is a non-concept this entire season. For that matter, Haruka herself isn't even really present for half the season. However, in exchange, we get increased fanservice. Yay.
Season 2 instead has essentially 10 episodes of filler, where various returning supporting characters interact with Yuuto, and a couple new minor characters are introduced. The episodes themselves have very little in common with each other. The two episode "dramatic arc" near the end of the season has the most semblance of a plot, but unfortunately the story is fueled by Yuuto and Haruka's cluelessness, making it difficult to accept the arc seriously (and is immediately followed by a hot springs episode, which is the season finale).
Art: (6) Fair
The art is similar to that of season 1's, in that characters are generally drawn pretty well and there's nothing painful to look at, but at the same time nothing particularly stands out about the animation.
Sound: (4) Decent
The opening song is appropriate for the anime, and is catchy enough where I didn't get tired of hearing it after two times. The ending has a fun song sung by the VA cast, and fits the mood of the anime.
The quality of the voice acting is excellent, as there are some fantastic VAs involved in the series. My issue is that they were all underused - partially because of too much spread out attention on all the characters, but mostly because there just weren't enough interesting scenes to utilize talents. A prime example of this is the participation of Rie Kugimiya. She voices a fitting tsundere character in episode 3, but otherwise voices the character of Alice, which other than like 3 lines, says nothing but one word repeatedly for all her appearances.
Character: (4) Decent
Most of the characters from season 1 are back, which is a good thing. However, this is overshadowed by the fact that in Purezza the characters seem to have actually devolved. Both Haruka and Yuuto have become timid, awkward versions of their former selves, and their relationship seems to have been reset as well. (At the end of season 1 they very likely kissed, and yet by the beginning of season 2 not only were they not dating, but they couldn't even hold hands properly).
The supporting character suffer from similar fates. For example, the maids and Haruka's parents, who all played big parts last season, are barely present this season, and when they do appear they don't do anything new. It's almost like the characters traded character growth in exchange for the ability to lose their clothing more often instead.
Conclusion (Overall (4)):
I was looking forward to Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza, because season 1 was funny and delightful. However, the lack of plot in Purezza, combined with character devolution, was just too rough to handle. Even though I watched the anime all the way through and tried my best to like it, I simply can't bring myself to recommend Purezza.
I question if this is an actual continuation of the pleasantly sincere and straighforward 2008 series, because it resembles nothing of what it originally was. Originally a series about a rich girl who didn't want people to know she was really an otaku, the series seems to have thrown its entire narrative out the window in favor of half-assed melodrama, shameless self-promotion, and a LOT more of the fairer sex's skin. In short, because it was profitable enough to bear a second season, it has turned to pandering.
Is it all bad? No, not really. The animation is still top-notch work with appealing and interesting character
designs. The OP/ED combination is also a lot catchier this time around, an improvement on the first season, but the voice acting seems to have gotten much more stale. No one here feels like they're attempting to do anything beyond reading what is on the script which really hurts it in the long run.
But as many of my review readers have come to know about me, I think technical details mean squat on the whole, and this is certainly no exception. The subtitle of the second season "purezza" is Italian for "pure", a word that I would in no way use to convey this series. It's sullied right down to the core. For starters, the titular "himitsu" no longer exists. Oh yes, Haruka still watches anime. Her current interest is Nocutre Girls School Lacrosse Club with lead character Haruna voiced by Amiko Noto.
Don't worry. I wasn't expecting you to laugh. Hell, I don't expect you to laugh at all at what this series has been degenerated to, given it is nothing but cheap ecchi sight gags and this terrible tongue-in-cheek referencing. Much of the plot is entirely inconsequential, mostly because Haruka and Yuuto have become one of the most indecisive couples imaginable. What committed couple after months goes on a date blushing furiously like they're sinning against God?! Grow up, you two!
But they aren't the only infuriating ones. New one-line personality characters have been added (shy loli who can only speak one word, Rie Kugimiya Stereotype #592 and idol singer whose existence breaks the fourth wall) that add nothing to the plot and are incredibly inconsequential as well. How did a series I championed for having well-utilized characters turn out a second season where they do absolutely nothing interesting!
I don't really know what to say in the end other than I'm incredibly disappointed. If you're a fan of the original Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu for whatever reason, you'd be best off avoiding this. The characters meander, the comedy has been turned down to the lowest denominator, and it would rather promote itself than go anywhere useful. There are few generally likeable shonen romances these days. Watching one shoot itself in the foot is a sad thing indeed.
Overall, I give Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza a 4 out of 10.
This absolutely entailing romance story will make you realize or remember what it means to be a man in adolescence to cope with your uneasy feelings to the one you love. This story wraps you around action, comedy, envy, erotic guilty pleasure in this world… of pure innocence.
It continues where the story left off but it’s like Yuuto and Haruka never kissed at the end of the first season. The series gives you the exciting impression of a rival seriously coming into play. Shiina, however, never really does anything but just appear in one or two scenes every two episodes which taunts you at
first but then the director really was trolling. She was the only one with a respectable personality that wasn’t completely flat. Instead, we are treated to a childish romance with no story at all. Yuuto and Haruka have the lowest human intelligence imaginable in that kind of relationship. “Blinded by love” is an understatement.
The way they stall the plot is to be shy all the time, distractions of Haruka’s maids and her sister and random fanservice. The ecchi is sometimes badly timed to break the mood the director was working on.
The parts with story are taken from other sources which leave it ridden with cliché for horrid after tastes. Zero originality.
Yuuto is an enemy to most of the male audience for being too much of a wimp to do anything! If he does try to do something, he acts it out poorly and then gets backed up by maids… MAIDS!! The girls are more “manly” than his wasteful existence. Let me compare him to a rock and you know what I mean. A typical rock is sturdy for support in the world. It erodes to make soil and whatnot or is recycled into the mantle. Yuuto does little to nothing. The rock wins!
Haruka is an overly innocent girl and dumb as shit. On a positive note, they are made for each other. It’s a shame the secondary characters are more developed since all they do is obstruct the “story”. Aside from Haruka’s father, ALL the male cast are failures.
As you drag yourself along this already “fruitful” (but forgot to pick the fruit however it still ripens) series, you just don’t care anymore to see the inevitable, cheesy, obvious romantic conclusion with zero satisfaction guaranteed (unless your experience is low).
Generic ecchi + poor romance story = below average score. Nuff said, nuff said.