Monday, 2 November 2009

Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu - Purezza - Episode 5

Who knew that maids and butlers had their own union? Well, they do in Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu - Purezza at least, which leads to Yuuto (who worked as a butler for a while a couple of episodes back) getting himself an invite to said union's end of year party.

It just so happens that this year's big bash is being held by the Nogizaka family, which means that (with one exception) we get introduced to the Nogizaka family moe element team maid team in their entirety. While hosting the event sees most of the team kept occupied, Yuuto is left in the care of young Alice (she of the blonde hair, small stature and one-word vocabulary), appearing to warm to her before an old "acquaintance" enters the scene.

The person in question is one Shuuto Southerland, the loud-mouthed rich kid who last cropped up at the end of the last series of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, and who has apparently been demoted to the role of butler as punishment by his father for his behaviour on that occasion. However, it appears that he's learned little from the experience, as he berates all those around him and upsets Alice, leaving Yuuto to do his best nice guy bit to win the day before the rest of the Nogizaka maid team (and Shuuto's father) intervene.

While this is perhaps not the sparkling material of top-class anime, this episode is at least a bit more of an example of what Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu is, and should be, about - For all its stocking up of moe elements amidst its cast (and I hate using "the m word" to shoot a series down normally), this instalment at least had some emotional crux to it while also reminding us of just how likeable its male lead is (although against some a complete ass, I guess anyone would look like a nice guy anyway, but I digress). More to the point, it didn't feel the need to rely on fan service and cheap panty shots for its kicks (well, okay, maybe once or twice, but I'll let it slide this time), and somehow it felt so much better for it, giving us an actual plot worth mention rather than just an excuse to squeeze in fan service elements wherever possible. This is the kind of series I've been tuning in for every episode thus far, only to be left largely disappointed, so can we please have more of the same henceforth please?

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