Some weird things have happened to the sequels for both Natsu no Arashi and Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu. It’s almost as if they’re… not as good. Which is strange, since I’d say they both started off one-upping their originals. What happened!? I hate writing negatively about things so often, but this shit needs to be said.
Let’s start with Nogizaka Haruka. The first series was a nice and cute romance that hit some good buttons for me, and I came out thoroughly enjoying it. The main attraction of the first series was the titular Haruka herself–she’s simply an adorable girl who happens to like the crazy anime junk I do, which obviously makes her attractive to dudes like me. This new series started off pretty well, and raised the bar even higher with delicious amounts of fanservice, but around half-way through they totally forgot why their limited audience was even watching this show–that being, Haruka herself. I already addressed the show succumbing to harem tradition, and while I like the others girls well enough, they’re sidekicks. Second bananas. The diverted attention towards the other characters (especially Shiina, dear god) did knock the show down a bit, what’s really killing it is their attempt as a season finale.
The last season ended with some average-level drama that was all fun and good, and I felt ended the series well. There’s a very specific problem with how they’re doing that this time around, and it’s a complaint I have with the series as a whole, that being: Where the fuck is Haruka? I would think the people behind this TV show know that their audience is limited (The main girl isn’t some tsundere, there’s an actual romance between two people and not ten.) and they would know why they’re watching the show. If so, why divert attention from it? That’s not what people want. Honestly, I’d have no problem with this current arc if Haruka had more than five minutes of dialogue.
Next is Natsu no Arashi. The first series was a fun-but-not-perfect show that had some inspired drama and some good jokes, topped off by a tame-but-interesting SHAFTXSHINBO touch. This second season opened nicely with a bunch of fun time-traveling vignettes, but after a while they grew a little stale. At around that point they decided to switch to some drama again, and while I welcome said drama, how it comes about and how it’s resolved just doesn’t really move me. I wanted them to at some point address Hajime’s affection for Arashi seriously, but how it’s addressed and how it’s resolved is almost good, but not quite there.
A similar thing could be said of the production of the show itself. It seems SHAFT isn’t really giving it their all. It’s not like the animation is bad or anything, there’s just a lack of heart, I think. Kind of like Maria Holic–the “SHAFT Look” is there, but it’s merely cosmetic. It doesn’t seem like there’s much else to it.
As far as the story portion of both of these shows go (and this applies more to Haruka than it does Arashi) the blame can probably be left in the hands of the original authors, but as far as Natsu no Arashi’s direction goes, well, I really expect more out of SHAFTXSHINBO.
Hopefully this blog will become less of a Debbie Downer in a bit. Hopefully.