It is always curious when a new anime season begins and Winter 2022 is no different. Anime I thought would click with me, such as Girls’ Frontline left me largely bored and wondering if it was worth continuing meanwhile Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru (or as it is known on Crunchyroll and Funimation ‘My Dress Up Darling’) was an anime I’d kind of considered but wasn’t actually really thinking about prior to the first episode airing and yet having watched the first episode I am now fully on board.
This is also the second anime by CloverWorks that I am checking out this season but looking at the director and voice actors My Dress Up Darling doesn’t seem to have quite as much experience behind it. And yet this may be my favourite first episode yet for the season not so much because it was brilliant in visuals (they work) or animation (again it works) but just because of how it left me feeling.
My Dress Up Darling gives us a first episode that ends in joy.
I will admit, the opening scene of My Dress Up Darling had me a little concerned after we see child version of Wakana Gojo falling in love with the dolls his grandfather makes and then having the typical childhood friend tell him its gross before he wakes up as if from a nightmare. I was kind of thinking we were going back down the path of a character who had abandoned something he loved early on because of a comment made by a friend and now he regretted it.
I really should have given this anime a little more credit.
Instead we see high school version of Gojo is still very much helping his grandfather and sewing the clothes of the dolls while still practicing to make their faces. And he’s very much in love with his hobby and perfectly happy. Okay, he’s a bit of a loner who hasn’t developed much in the way of social skills with his classmates but he interacts just fine with his grandfather and one would imagine he’d be just fine talking to anyone else in his own preferred industry.
That was kind of refreshing to see and sure Gojo might learn to open up to others and maybe speak his mind so he doesn’t get dumped with the afternoon clean-up at school but My Dress Up Darling doesn’t seem to be setting up a narrative just for the sake of overcoming some childhood angst.
Instead we meet Marin Kitagawa a popular girl in Gojo’s class who just happens to be obsessed with anime. But she’s outgoing and has a group of friends around her and she gets her first real interaction with Gojo after some event sends her flying headfirst into his desk.
The basic meeting and boy stumbling through his conversation is pretty standard fare but actually kind of adorable but perhaps would have been forgettable for Gojo had My Dress Up Darling not followed up. While Gojo’s attention was on her Kitagawa’s friend recounts a meeting they had the afternoon before where some guy had tried to pick up Kitagawa and in the process had called the anime character on her bag lame (note to guys picking up girls carrying anything anime – don’t call it lame).
Kitagawa makes a comment about not making fun of something someone loves and it really resonates with Gojo.
Still, My Dress Up Darling hasn’t quite got these two characters together yet but at the end of the episode, when Gojo’s home sewing machine has conveniently broken and so he’s using the school one, Kitagawa stumbles across him and we learn her other passion is to do cosplay only she can’t make the clothes.
Honestly, everything about this episode ends up being just adorable and anyone who has any kind of passion could probably relate to Kitagawa jumping around the sewing room in delight when Gojo agrees to help her.
So on that note I think My Dress Up Darling is the anime I’m adding to my list for this season’s just sweet viewing. Maybe future episodes will have a bit more bite but I’m actually kind of hoping it maintains this tone because I finished this first episode smiling and what more could I ask from an anime.
Images from: My Dress Up Darling. Dir. K Shinohara. CloverWorks. 2022
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