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Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Season 2 Episode 11 Review: I Want to Keep Feeling it...

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) So, operation Let's Annoy the Audience I mean Yayoi Kayahara's plan to separate Yuuto from Haruka is proceeding well, because Yuuto is a doormat. While other people, including Milan the idol singer and Mika try their best to rouse Yuuto to action, he is immobilized, largely because the writers mistake Yuuto's indecisiveness and weakness in the face of conflicting goals for a genuinely interesting personality, when in fact it is maddening and utterly cliched. The issue gets forced a little bit when Yuuto suddenly receives a whole load of tickets to Milan's concert on Feb. 14th, the same day that Haruka's audition is scheduled to take place. This would seem to work into Kayahara's plan, as this would keep Yuuto away. So, it's the day of the concert and Yuuto is at Milan's concert, far away from the audition hall. The evil talent scouts are practically rubbing their hands in glee. In the meantime, Mika and the Maid Squad have been looking into the evil talent scouts company and have found out some interesting things. Things that gain the attention of another party as well. But the real push comes from Milan, who goes so far as to make a nice little speech about choices and dedicates her next song to a certain stupid obstacle When you see the word stupid (and hear baka in the Japanese), it's pretty obvious who it is referring to. So, Yuuto goes and storms into the audition hall, and we get a speech that seems like the writers watched the movie The Graduate one too many times. In the end, the day is saved, though not by Yuuto. Instead, it was an ending that I saw coming about, oh, fifteen minutes before it did. Predictable writers are predictable. So, we end with justice being served, and lots of mushy stuff. Source Here

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, Season 2, Episode 10 Review: It Gets Like This...

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) And so, it is revealed that the audition letter that Haruka received was a mistake. That does not matter, however, as Ms. Talent Agent (Yayoi Kayahara) begs Haruka and then practically pushes her into saying yes. And Haruka, being the good-natured fool...I mean person that she is, says yes. It becomes abundantly clear later that this was all just an act (I had my suspicions from the very start), and that Kayahara is a scheming trickster, but we'll come back to that later. For the moment, Yuuto is deliberately separated from Haruka. He winds up bumping into Milan Himemiya, the pop idol who sings the opening song to the show, and whom he also ran into during the New Year's festival. Milan mistakes him for a lackey, ordering him to get her a non-carbonated soda. Yuuto, being the doormat...I mean nice guy that he is, complies, and from that point onwards, Milan treats him as her gopher, which in Japan is called a manager . He then has to attend on her as she goes to a photo shoot. Thus, he gets roped into her orbit, while Haruka is taking lessons on how to be a trained monkey...I mean a pop idol. To Read More Click Me!

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Season 2, Episode 9 Review:

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) Haruka's impression of Mika is hilarious. Is the rest of the episode? We start off with Haruka and Yuuto meeting up early for their date at an amusement park, and getting so lovey-dovey that they started to make me slightly nauseous. Fortunately, we are rescued by Ms. Kayahara, the talent scout whom they met back at the New Year's shrine trip. She is the one who actually gave Haruka the tickets to the amusement. No ulterior motives there...right? And we get another Haruka impression. This time of Gentou. Let's see who's next. Well, no more impressions, but it appears that Mika has given Haruka a guide book to help her on this date. Interesting, considering she tried to steal her older sister's boyfriend in the previous episode. Anyhow, Mika also calls to check up on Yuuto, encouraging him to show her sister a good time. To Read More Click me!

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Season 2, Episode 8 Review: I'll Do it for You

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) Ah, Mika. So mischievous. So devilish. She has asked Yuuto to meet her at her school, one of those doesn't-exist-in-real-life, or at least, I seriously doubt it, all-girls schools where they are training young girls to become young ladies. Or something like that. Once there, a small escort (both in numbers and in size) arrives to take him to Mika's classroom, where Yuuto is introduced as the "real" onii-san (big brother). Apparently, all of these spoiled rich Japanese girls don't know what an older brother looks like. Yeah. Uh huh. After they paw all over him for a while (and we get an inappropriate look at underage panties) Mika takes Yuuto out of the room, since he is about to be overwhelmed by her pre-teen/young teen (it's hard to tell the way they draw them) classmates, who seem to be acting more like crazed fujoshi (female fans of yaoi, the love that dare not speak its name between two males) than the middle schoolers they are supposed to be.

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Season 2, Episode 7 Review: It Might Have Gone In...

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) Ah, poor Shiina. The third wheel in the relationship of Yuuto and Haruka, she longs for his touch, but he's just out of reach. Except for today. For today, while Shiina was supposed to met with a friend, her friend canceled and that leaves Shiina alone. Surprisingly, she runs into Yuuto, and the two walk around town together, as Yuuto is returning home with groceries for his worthless sister and her drinking buddy. While they are walking together, Shiina's special hairclip gets lost in a stream, and Yuuto, even though it is very cold out, walks into the water to get it. It's a heartwarming moment that affects Shiina very strongly. And so, she decides to do some cooking, since, as we know in anime, the highest worth of a woman is her ability to cook for her would-be man (how very enlightened and modern). Unfortunately, while Shiina is doing a little happy dance, she kicks her foot into some furniture and injures herself. It would look to be a bad start to the year. To Read More Click Me!

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Season 2, Episode 6 Review: My Body Feels Hot...

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) It's New Year's, so time for the traditional visit to the shrine, as well as a New Year's fair. And so Yuuto and friends are at the fair, where Nobunaga is geeking out over the miko (shrine maiden), along with his equally nerdy friends. Only Yuuto is not that impressed with the festivities, as it's all things he has presumably seen and done for years. Haruka as well shows up to the shrine festivities, but before she and Yuuto can pair up, a gaggle of girls from their school arrives to claim Haruka for themselves. Escorted by this squad of girls, Yuuto and Haruka can't get together, until much later in the night. And when they do, the show pretty much turns into an old fashioned romance, like something out of the 1950s. Including a musical score that is slightly reminiscent of that era. The director for this episode really knows his old movies, as there are interesting little touches, such as showing the waves coming in along the beach when Yuuto and Haruka are about to kiss at one point. To Read More Click Me!

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Season 1, Episode 5 Review: If You Look At Me Like That...

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) Yuuto is awakened by Haruka in a situation that I'm sure many men would envy: Haruka is greeting him this morning dressed only in an apron. Nothing else, just the apron. Just as he, or is it we, think that it's about to get better, it's revealed that it is just a dream. As Yuuto snuggles up to a pillow, we see the Nogizaka Maid Team in his room, curious about what he is dreaming about. But they don't have time to ask. Before Yuuto can even realize it, he is whisked away by the Nogizaka Family Maid Team, off to their mansion. Why, you might ask? Because, it's the 95th World's Maid and Butler Union's Annual Party, and Yuuto is invited. His part-time stint with the Tennouji Family was enough to enroll him as a member of the Union, and so he gets to hang out with the real maids and butlers, since those who simply cosplay in maid cafés and the like are not invited. And this year, the event is being held at the Nogizaka mansion, since the location rotates among its members. To Read More Click Me!

Japanator First Impression: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Purezza

This is a romantic comedy. A harem anime. The worst offender. The last season was more about the two main characters and secret keepers getting to know each other better, and I assume that this second season would show how they further their relationship. But you wouldn't know from the first epsode. Really, no time is wasted. The show opens with an onsen episode. Breasts are bared, as are asses. I'm sure there's a good story to be told as far as the couple's relationship goes, but we'll have to get a few episodes in first. So far, all we know through this first episode onsen-based character recap is that Yuto is surrounded by hot girls that shed their clothes often. The fact that Haruka is a closet otaku is barely even touched on. What I liked: * The trick intro (you'll see) * In-episode store Animers (Gamers, anyone?) * The shameless T&A already What I didn't like: * The trick intro (you'll see) * The lack of story * The shameless T&A already Source: Japanator

Episode #01

Carrying on from the first season, it's clear what this show is. It's nerd wish-fulfillment of the highest order. What boy who is not with the "in" crowd has not dreamed of somehow gaining the affection of the homecoming queen, even if it's not official love or a relationship just yet? Of course, things are not that simple, as it appears another girl also likes him. In its favor, the show is fairly lively, sprinkled with simple, throwaway humor, and, refreshingly, the little sister character is not out to stop the boy from getting the girl, but is instead all in favor of him. On the other hand, the show can't help but employ some of the usual cliches of the romantic comedy genre, including the "Are they, aren't they?" dillydallying about, as well as the all-too-common love triangle involving a boy who in real life would probably be lucky to score a date at all at the wealthy private school he attends, let alone snare the attention of the school's hottest girl, and the other one is not bad either. But, for those who would like to imagine that they too could wind up attracting the notice of the girl of their dreams, but are in touch with reality enough to know that that is not going to happen, this show may be some comfort for your tortured soul. Click me!

SideReel's Fall Anime Preview - Sequels - Featured

In Part 1 of my fall anime preview series, I highlighted some of the most exciting new anime coming next month. This installment is all about sequels in all of their shapes and sizes, from international mega-hits finally receiving their long-deserved ending to a certain promising sci-fi/fantasy spinoff and a noir mystery story that has plenty of potential. Let's hop right in and see what's coming up in the tried and true department! InuYasha The Final Act Starts: 10/3 on Nihon TV The highlight of the fall season for many American anime fans is the long-awaited closure to Rumiko Takahashi's fantasy epic InuYasha . VIZ Media knows this, and has already announced InuYasha: The Final Act for American distribution. It's likely that this series will get the One Piece and Naruto Shippuden treatment, with subtitled episodes available online shortly after the Japanese broadcast. That's great news for fans who have already had to wait five years since the end of the original InuYasha anime for a real ending. For newcomers to the series, InuYasha is a fairy tale starring a modern schoolgirl named Kagome Higurashi, who finds herself in feudal-era Japan after being attacked by a monster and dragged down a well. She is forced to free the half-demon InuYasha from his imprisonment in order to save her life, and after the two of them shatter the Jewel of Four Souls to prevent its robbery, they embark on a quest to recover its pieces. Between InuYasha's quest to become human, frequent clashes with his arrogant half-brother Sesshoumaru, and the machinations of the demonic mastermind Naraku, Kagome has a lot of obstacles in her way before she can return home... that is, if she really wants to return home in the end. InuYasha The Final Act will give fans the ending they've wanted for years, as InuYasha and Kagome's friends finally put their personal demons to rest, put the Jewel of Four Souls back together, and, most importantly, resolve the volatile relationship between InuYasha and Kagome! Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini Starts: 10/9 on TBS Japan Darker than Black deserves some extra notice on this list for one reason: it's not an adaptation of anything. The original Darker Than Black series was not adapted from a manga or a light novel series, but went straight from concept to storyboard to anime. It wasn't perfect, as the first series left a whole lot of questions unanswered, but the neo-noir mystery/thriller set in a world of superspies and assassins known as Contractors was an unmitigated success. FUNimation is currently releasing the first series in English, and it's definitely worth checking out. The second series takes place two years after the events of the previous season, when the Contractor Hei and his assistant Yin escaped the clutches of the shadowy Syndicate. Hei and Yin meet a Russo-Japanese girl named Suou Pavlichenko, and through her they get wrapped up in a war between Contractors and the many intelligence agencies that employ them. Hopefully some of the unresolved questions from the first series will be resolved, but even if they don't, the new Darker than Black promises a lot of solid action and suspense that will make it worth watching. Shugo Chara Party Starts: 10/3 on TV Tokyo The third installment of Shugo Chara, along with Kobato , is the highlight of what would otherwise be a barren season for fans of magical girl anime like Sailor Moon and Card Captor Sakura. The ongoing story of the popular series picks up where the second season left off, as Amu Hinamori and her Guardian Characters Miki, Ran, Su, and Dia struggle against the evil plots of the Easter Company. The villainous and cold-hearted Easter Company seeks to plant sorrow and doubt in the hearts of the world in order to create "X Eggs" and find a special heart egg called The Embryo, and it's up to Amu and her Guardian friends to keep their plans from reaching fruition! Meanwhile, back in real life, Amu needs to find the courage to be her true self, and deal with the attentions of an ever-growing number of boys! Shugo Chara is a shining example of the magical girl genre, blending fantasy adventure with the kind of drama that young girls can relate to easily. Adults have been drawn in by the excellent character designs, high production values (especially the music!), and surprisingly complex emotion and character depth. If you aren't afraid to watch a show that's ostensibly for tweenie girls, you will find Shugo Chara to be a sweet and light little drama that doesn't burden itself with the over-the-top soap opera antics of other shows. The only problem is that this season, Shugo Chara Party! will have a short live-action component, which might lead to some embarrassing moments if certain people catch you watching 11-year-old Japanese girls in pastel costumes. To Aru Kagaku no Railgun Starts: 10/2 on Tokyo MX Unlike the other shows on this list, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (A Certain Scientific Railgun) is not a direct sequel to To Aru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index). The show is a spinoff to the popular modern fantasy anime, focusing on the life and times of the most popular character from its parent work, the psychic Mikoto Misaka. To Aru Majutsu no Index drew a lot of attention with its setting, with its use of Clarke's Third Law to build a world where the supernatural has been distilled into science and is studied in classrooms by students with psychic or magic powers. One of the few things that dragged down the Index series was the main character, Index, so taking the most entertaining parts of the previous show and cutting the chaff could make Railgun a winner. Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Purezza Starts: 10/6 on AT-X Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu (Haruka Nogizaka's Secret) is the heartwarming story of the "perfect" girl, her covert nerdiness, and the boy who ends up having to help hide her many hobbies from a disapproving world. The second season of the otaku hit will adapt more of Yuusaku Igarashi's romantic comedy light novels into animated form, continuing the misadventures of Yuuto Ayase and Haruka Nogizaka as Yuuto helps fend off the scorn of "normal" people while dealing with a legion of classmates who are jealous of the time he spends with the school idol. How much you enjoy the Nogizaka anime rests entirely on whether or not you like the female lead, and she's not for everybody. The series has sucked in plenty of fans in Japan with the fantasy of a girl who is beautiful, fabulously wealthy, musically gifted, intelligent, and a huge manga/anime fanatic. If that contradiction appeals to you, you'll love Nogizaka - if you're not interested in the secret exploits of a rich girl, you'd be better off staying away. Those are the five big sequels coming up this October. Are you going to be checking any of them out, or will you be watching the newer shows instead? Join me next time, when I cover a few sleepers that might become hits.