Haruka Nogizaka’s Secret

Genre: Romantic comedy
Length: 12 episodes
Score: Good

Haruka is the school’s idol, beautiful, intelligent and popular. But one day Yuto discovers her dark secret – she likes anime.

The premise sounds silly, but this is well made and fun. From random SWAT teams to super maids, this is as nuts as any other romantic comedy. It isn’t nearly as fanserviceful as it could have gotten away with being, despite the best efforts of Haruka’s sister.

It has just enough of a serious side to make the comedy work. Haruka’s fandom for Clumsy Girl Aki-chan, and the way it helps her face life is something many fans will find familiar. The stigma of being an otaku, and how it’s seen by the majority of Japanese people is something anime rarely touches on; and the way the characters react to some quite unreasonable situations is interesting. At one point, Yuto accepts being shunned by his friends, to prevent the same from happening to Haruka. At another, he has to stand up to her father, who accuses him of having corrupted his daughter. And the ending, while a little predictable, evoked the questions of self-worth that many people feel.

In this case, 90% comedy with 10% serious seems to have worked quite well.