It's time for another episode of Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu - Purezza and shock, horror, Haruka has asked Yuuto out on a date! Well, that only took twenty-one episodes.... Not counting all the other dates that weren't actually dates because they weren't explicitly thought of as dates that is, if that makes any sense.
Of course, in anime land there's only one place you can go on a first date and that's an amusement park, and so much of this episode is filled with the predictably clumsy attempts from Haruka and Yuuto to do what couples do, taking in the usual haunted houses and spinning tea cups before ending the day on the Ferris wheel, where the usual shenanigans of freak gusts of wind and car movements cause some romantic tension between the two. Equally predictably, our possible big kiss scene is spoiled by a phone call on Yuuto's phone at the vital moment - I should probably label that as a spoiler, but come on, you knew it was going to happen before the episode even started didn't you?
Thankfully, to keep things at least somewhat interesting there's actually a bit of an aside to this date, in that Haruka obtained the tickets for the amusement park from Kayahara, the idol manager we first met a few episodes back. While this seems like a simple bit of generosity on her art, of course Kayahara has hidden intentions, which begin to come to the fore as she ropes Haruka into an impromptu photo shoot. Just what is she planning, and what will this mean for Haruka and Yuuto's relationship, and indeed the rest of the series?
While the progress of this episode was about as easy to guess as they come (no tea leaves or crystal balls required), once again Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu manages to stand up pretty reasonably purely upon the dynamic between Yuuto and Haruka themselves - Ignoring the moments of fan service and outside interference, this pairing's clumsy fumblings towards love are somehow always quite fun and cute to watch, adding entertainment value where otherwise there would be none. Sure, this is hardly enough to push this series very far above mediocre territory, but it does make it quite enjoyable in its own particular and surprisingly gentle way.