When this latest instalment of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu began with a discussion on what to do at the school culture festival, I was all ready to dust down and roll out my usual complaints about anime clichés - Thankfully, while said culture festival was a starting point for the episode, it avoided going over that old chestnut, instead giving us another solid episode to allow Yuuto and Haruka's relationship to grow.
Rather bizarrely, the end result of the classes voting was to hold a cosplay cafe for the event - Whatever happened to the school that hated anime, manga, and anyone who held an interest in those things at the start of this series? Once I'd recovered from my brain being friend by this rather confusing choice, we were treated to Haruka helping out Yuuto with organising the cosplay side of the deal, while Yuuto's relationship with Shiina in organising the event sowed some tiny seeds of jealousy that are obviously going to ripen tremendously next episode thanks to a (perhaps predictable) cliffhanger ending.
When all is said and done, this was quite a decent episode, and once again it seems that just having Haruka and Yuuto wandering around Akihabara together seems to be about the best thing that can happen to an episode of this series, leaving you rooting for the pair of them despite the possible attention of others to Yuuto. For a moment I thought the reintroduction of Haruka's overblown father was going to ruin the whole feeling of the episode, but luckily his contribution was kept to a minimum, although once again I have to question why they had to make him such a cartoon character (yes, I see the irony there) in a series that is otherwise at least somewhat grounded in reality.
As I've more or less noted before, this isn't going to be a series that people are talking about for years to come, but as shows of this ilk goes it continues to be a pretty solid contributor to its genre, and has certainly remained entertaining enough to remain watchable.