My Dress up Darling did a pretty solid job this week of celebrating the success of Marin’s first cosplay and the joy that comes with that as well as some of the practical considerations with dressing up in clothes that weren’t originally intended for a real person to wear. And while there’s a moment where some viewers will be wondering just how far a scene intends to go as Marin recruits Gojo to wipe the sweat from her back, for the most part this episode manages to keep things fun and light.
That isn’t to say that some of the more fan-servicey moments don’t work. In My Dress Up Darling, where the character wants to dress up as a character from a game that clearly includes sexualised content, some of the fan-service lands exactly where it needs to. Even the wind blowing up Marin’s skirt toward the end of the episode seemed fairly fitting given the situation. However, I suspect a lot of viewers actually were wearing expressions much like Gojo in the stairwell scene and it was one of those moments where you know if someone (who doesn’t watch anime) walked in while you were watching that scene you’d probably be stuck trying to explain how the story got there.
My Dress Up Darling perfectly captures the joy of fandom.
So the fan-service element will remain the dividing line for some people whereas for those it doesn’t bother, watching My Dress Up Darling is an absolute joy. In a time where the online discussion largely revolves around outing the next toxic fandom or ‘celebrity’ controversy, seeing a character just in love with the cosplay process and being ecstatic being at their first event and feeling a sense of community and inclusion with so many others who were simply embracing their love for characters is something truly joyous to watch.
The episode begins exactly where episode 4 left off, with Marin having tried the outfit on for the first time and her and Gojo doing an impromptu photo shoot in his room. All of this leaves Marin hyped and since the outfit is ready anyway she impulsively decides they may as well go to the event on the weekend.
What I love is that even though Marin has met her goal she doesn’t instantly just do a ‘thanks, see you later’ to Gojo. The way she asks if ‘they’ should go to the event implies she never once considered attending without him and he is very much a part of the experience. He made it possible and she is incredibly thankful and wants to share it with him. To steal her word from the episode, its absolutely adorbs.
And in terms of becoming Shizuku-tan, Marin’s biggest issue is she can’t keep the big, goofy grin off of her face long enough to stay in character. She’s delighted by achieving her goal and has to keep reminding herself not to grin for the photos. I loved how My Dress Up Darling built this up as her initial photo efforts were a little lacking and even at the event itself she swaps between awkward, to finding her feet in the character, to still being the smiling fan-girl who just wants to enjoy the situation.
The only moment in the whole episode where I kind of wanted to eye-roll was as Gojo started thinking his time with Marin was done. Seriously, someone should sit Gojo down and make him watch the first four episodes of My Dress Up Darling. But for Gojo, the task he was given, to make the costume, is completed.
Fortunately, much like the last misunderstanding, Marin quickly hits this one on the head informing him that she has so many other number one characters she wants to be. Seriously, every anime fan can relate to that feeling.
And just like that, the two are irrevocably linked now. If you throw in Gojo’s appraisal of Marin’s first cosplay that leaves her blushing and wide-eyed on the train as he dozes off for some well deserved rest after the marathon effort to get here, these two are as good as locked in. Of course, I don’t doubt there will be a few minor problems along the way.
The wonderful thing about My Dress Up Darling though is it always leaves you smiling. There’s just so much fun to be had while watching and while I’ve never gone for a super-fancy cosplay effort like Marin, I have dressed up as Maka from Soul Eater for a convention and as Yuri from Yuri on Ice for another and seriously it is just fun. And honestly, this series just makes me remember everything I love about being a part of the fandom. Even if Marin is actually dressing up as a character from a game rather than an anime.
Images from: My Dress Up Darling. Dir. K Shinohara. CloverWorks. 2022
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