Despite its almost half-hearted attempt to build up some love rivalry for Haruka in this series, in reality we knew exactly where this series was headed from a couple of episodes in, making this twelfth and final instalment all but a formality.
While this probably wasn't a good episode for me to watch with just a few weeks to go until my own birthday, as it's given me way too many outlandish ideas (I've already put in my order for a cake the size of Haruka's), it was just about passable as a device to finish the series, taking us through the usual "Oh ho, my present is bigger than yours" posturing from rich boys while Yuuto's simple but uniquely personal gift was the one that captured Haruka's heart. From there, the only real question was whether the script writers were actually going to let Haruka and Yuuto kiss at the end of it all (after Yuuto remembering that he was the little boy who gave Haruka that first issue of Innocent Smile, of course), but after a dollop of fan service their big moment was of course denied with a brief dose of crazed stupidity.
Taking each episode on its own merit, "seen it all before" could be a label applied to every single one - This series didn't so much break the mould as fill it with jelly over and over again until you needed your stomach pumped. I have to be fair in saying that watching Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu has been more fun than having your stomach pumped (watch out for that quote on the DVD release!), and when it delved into otaku culture in its Akihibara-focused episodes it was really rather good, but beyond that it largely floated merrily in its own sea of medicority, never looking likely to either swim to the shore of greatness or sink into the dark depths of dulless. If I had to sum up the series in a single word then? Average.