It Just Sort of Happened
I’m still not sure why exactly I watched Domestic Girlfriend from start to finish. High school romantic drama isn’t exactly my favourite, relationships between students and teachers definitely aren’t something I jump into watching, and relationships between siblings (even step siblings) equally aren’t exactly an appeal (even if I don’t blanket drop them). Domestic Girlfriend has a whole bunch of elements that are questionable right off the bat and some viewers will walk away, and that’s fine. For whatever reason, I decided to give this train wreck a watch though and found that while it is definitely a soap opera and like watching a train derail in slow motion, there’s something quite compelling about that.
At the heart of the story is Natsuo who after a group date ends up having a one night stand with Rui. He’s suffering from an unrequited love for his teacher, Hina and Rui is a suitable distraction with something about her reminding Natsuo of the girl he likes. Rui seems to be a serious girl but for whatever reason has decided she needs to know what it is like to be with a guy and so the two have their one night and then they both move on with their lives. Only, as so often happens in fiction, their single parents have apparently been seeing each other and are now moving the whole family in together on first meeting. Naturally, Hina also turns out to be Rui’s sister. Awkward.
What follows is a round of secrets, misunderstandings, teenage angst, emotional repression, poor choices, and occasionally sweet moments where characters are actually open and honest and momentarily have a real connections before it all gets swept away by the next poor decision. By the time Hina and Natsuo actually start a relationship, which is definitely a bad idea given the circumstances, things are already spiralling down and when they are inevitably found out by the school there’s no surprise at all.
What is more surprising is that despite these characters being forced along by the drama of the plot and essentially never getting to make the right choice because that might actually help things get to a pleasant resting point, I don’t hate these characters. They work in their roles and in each moment their actions seem true enough based on what has come before. Okay, if these were real people they would probably always be dysfunctional because they don’t think things through anywhere near enough, but in the context of this story they work and there is real chemistry between them. Particularly the trio at the centre with Rui, Hina and Natsuo.
There are a few moments where the anime does go for more sexualised content and not the usual played for laughs anime kind. This may put some viewers off but honestly if the fact that both sisters are pursuing their step brother and one of them is his teacher didn’t already put you off it seems unlikely over-hearing a woman masturbate is going to. Still, it is worth putting the warning in there that if you don’t like that kind of content then maybe Domestic Girlfriend just isn’t going to work for you.
I will however bring this to a close with the biggest positive of the series. That is, the OP. I absolutely loved this opening song. It just feels so raw and emotional and absolutely fits the feelings sitting underneath the actions of these characters. Seriously, if you missed this OP during the Winter 2019 anime season you should give it a try because it was amazing. While that might not be enough to make you watch the show if melodrama isn’t your thing it is still worth talking about. Particularly as it hits the one minute mark.
Okay, Domestic Girlfriend isn’t an anime I’d absolutely recommend, however if you are looking for a romance anime and you don’t mind one that doesn’t exactly get its happily ever after, then Domestic Girlfriend isn’t bad. While it certainly won’t work for everyone, the story does roll along nicely and in the one season we get a suitable amount of development and a reasonable amount of closure by the end. The characters could have spared themselves a lot of the drama that unfolds by making a few more sensible choices but we could say that about a lot of shows.
Overall, I actually enjoyed this one. It wasn’t brilliant but for twenty minutes a week it was kind of fun to get into a more soap opera style story.
- Series Review – Domestic Girlfriend
- Episode 1 – And He Thought This Was a One Night Stand
- Episode 2 – The Growing Bonds That Join These Characters
- Episode 3 – Why Not Prepare Popcorn For This Fantastic Drama?
- Episode 4 – Good Intentions; Questionable Activities: How Will This End?
- Episode 5 – The Rumour Mill Surrounding The Easy Girl
- Episode 6 – When In Doubt, Just Pile on More Characters and Stir
- Episode 7 – Domestic Dramas and More Mundane High School Problems
- Episode 8 and 9 – Making Choices and Hearing Truths
- Episode 10 – Natsuo, If You’re Going To Lie, Cover Your Tracks
- Episode 11 – Foolish Hearts and Foolish Choices
- Episode 12 – Fuelling Fiction Through Pain
- Images from: Domestic Girlfriend. Dir. S Ibata. Diomedea. 2019.