- "Please... just for a while... stay with me. I wish time would just stand still."
- ―Nozomi to Ryo
She is the first love interest of Ryo Hazuki and his close friend and classmate. She has a crush on him, although Ryo has more mixed feelings.
- "Get away from me! Don't you DARE lay a finger on me!"
- ―Nozomi to two bullies
Nozomi is very mature and wise beyond her years. However, she apparently believes in the power of good luck charms; one could interpret this as her being a bit naive, more on the "emotional" over "logical" side, or merely superstitious at the least.
While generally shy in nature, Nozomi is shown to have great internal strength and courage, as evidenced by her defending a child being hassled by two thugs and warning them they will regret it if they lay a single finger on her.
She is very much a peacemaker who values love over hate. Nozomi is very empathetic, caring for other people. She has her own opinions, but is considerate to others and how they may feel, and gives Ryo and Ine Hayata some flowers after the death of Ryo's father. She also cares for animals such as the orphaned kitten and helps join the search when the kitten goes missing. Nozomi's desire to become an English-Japanese translator also implies an interest in language and a desire to help people communicate; it could be interpreted as her way of breaking down the divisions which can separate people from understanding each other.
Like many young adults, Nozomi is also somewhat confused and uncertain of the future. She is also uncertain with her relationship with Ryo.
Nozomi was born in Vancouver, Canada and moved to Yokosuka, where her grandmother Toki Aida lives, when she was a junior high school student. She is fluent in both English and Japanese and hopes to become a Japanese/English interpreter or translator in the future.
Initially, her Japanese classmates bullied her, discriminating against her because of the different way she did things due to her different cultures. At that time, Ryo would often stand up for her. Since then, her love for him has grown over the years. She has decided that she is going to confess her love to him.
She then returned to Japan where she attended school with Ryo and continued to help operate her grandmother's flower shop, Aida Florist.
On the day of the incident, Nozomi became extremely angry when she got splashed with mud by a speeding black car which got away, and she never received an apology.
If the player talks to Nozomi, it's revealed she has a tense relationship with her mother and they argue a lot.
Following Iwao Hazuki's murder, Nozomi's parents insist she move back to Canada, thus forming the emotional subplot between her and Ryo. While wanting to respect her parents wishes she struggles to come to terms with leaving Ryo and continues to worry about him, especially since Ryo is facing dangerous groups and gangs.
Nozomi is loyal and worries greatly about Ryo in his constant quest for vengeance. She is also anxious about Ryo leaving for China; Shenmue is set in the 1980s, before mainstream social media and the widespread usage of phones, so their lack of communication caused by their inevitable parting and farewell is a big deal.
Some missable cutscene involving Nozomi include:
- Nozomi at Sakuragaoka Park: Nozomi defends a child being hassled by two thugs Akio Enoki and Tetsuya Nagashima in Sakuragaoka Park.
- Nozomi leaves flowers for Iwao: Although Nozomi does not appear, it is possible for this to occur.
- Nozomi overhears Ryo when he pets the kitten, and is saddened he does not talk to her much.
- Nozomi helps find the missing kitten.
- If the kitten is healed, Nozomi gets the cat medicine but realizes it's pointless now that it is not sick anymore.
Nozomi will always visit Ryo after he does his business in the tattoo parlor. She tells him she was looking for him to talk to him about future college plans.
On one of Ryo's lunch breaks at the harbor, Eri Tajima will take two photos of Ryo and Nozomi, one where they're side-by-side and another where they're more separated. The player must choose which photo Ryo keeps and which photo Nozomi keeps. If he chooses to keep the photo where they are apart, Nozomi is happy that she gets the photo where they are close. If he chooses to keep the photo where they are close, Nozomi is a little disappointed that she gets the photo where they are apart. After the photo dilemma, Nozomi reveals she is moving to Canada, but that she will return to Japan on vacation, and tells him not do anything stupid in the meantime.
Ryo's fierce protectiveness of Nozomi is shown when he confronts the entire Mad Angels gang when she is kidnapped. After rescuing her, perhaps one of the game's most memorable scenes is when Ryo takes Nozomi for a motorcycle ride around the city, while "Wish" (sung by Yumiko Yamamoto) plays.
In an optional cutscene when is only obtained if the player takes their time and does not complete the game before December 26, she confesses her love for Ryo at Sakura Park, however Ryo, preoccupied with avenging his father's death, is unsure of his feelings towards her (although it is strongly hinted through phone conversations and certain events that Ryo feels the same way).
Another optional cutscene, which happens if the player misses the prior scene with her at the park, involves a sad Nozomi crying because of her family situation.
Nozomi's circumstances are unknown following the events of Ryo's departure. She is only briefly mentioned while Ryo is in Guilin, where Shenhua Ling questions him about his past.
While walking, Shenhua asks him who Nozomi is, and the player may choose between "old friend", "woman" and "florist".
He shows her the photo of him and Nozomi together that was taken at the harbor. Shenhua comments that Nozomi is beautiful and asks Ryo if all Japanese women are beautiful like her.
- Nozomi's zodiac sign is Virgo and she has a AB blood type.
- Her phone number is 0468-22-5508. If her grandmother doesn't answer, they can have some amusing conversations.
- Nozomi bears a resemblance to Yuna from Final Fantasy in both appearance and personality. As Shenmue was released before Final Fantasy X, it is possible Nozomi served as inspiration for Yuna.
- A fan joke is that Nozomi is the "original waifu" in video games, due to Shenmue featuring a very realistic and attractive woman as a love interest, as Nozomi stole the hearts of many players at the turn of the 21st century.
|Shenmue Wiki has a gallery for Nozomi Harasaki.|