Domestic Girlfriend Anime Series Review

Domestic Girlfriend Series Review
Domestic Girlfriend Episode 1 Natsuo

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.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 3 Natsuo and Hina

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.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 1 Rui

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.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 8
Domestic Girlfriend Episode 9

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.

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Karandi James

2019 Winter Anime End Of The Season


Winter 2019 has had its ups and downs throughout but regardless of my final thoughts, I had a lot of fun this season. There was always something to look forward to and as some shows faltered, others rallied. While I know some shows are ongoing and some have not yet aired final episodes (and in the case of Boogiepop wa Warawanai I’m just hopelessly behind), this is my final standings for the Winter season.

In the listing I’ve commented on where the series was at the mid-season point in the list and whether it has moved or not but if you want to see my mid-season thoughts they are here.

Hopefully you enjoy and remember the results of the reader’s poll will come out later today.

Number 15: Boogiepop wa Warawanai

Previously placed at position 13. It didn’t even deliver the little that was expected.

I was vaguely hopeful that this one would improve, but realistically I’m struggling just to convince myself to finish watching it. It has continued to be a meandering mess and while some have enjoyed the mystery I’ve mostly just found it frustrating.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 10 Nagi

Not aided by ugly visuals and characters that are pretty bland, there’s very little compelling me to keep going with this but I will finish it at this point. I kind of feel I past the point of no return a while a go. Still, if I wanted to pick the series on my watch list that I most regret watching, Boogiepop would be it.

Number 14: Grimms Notes

Previously placed at position 15, Grimms Notes continued to underwhelm.

While it would be nice to say that it managed to pull its narrative and characters together, mostly I just felt this one oozed wasted potential until the very end. Not that there weren’t some fun moments along the way, but it just never felt satisfying to watch.

Grimms Notes Episode 8

It isn’t all bad news with some of the character moments being cute enough and having a simple ‘save the story zone’ plot each week. Even if the main story line felt hopelessly underdeveloped and the themes unexplored, it wasn’t as if this ever became unwatchable.

Number 13: Sword Art Online Alicization

Previously at position 10, how this has fallen.

I was disappointed when Sword Art Online Alicization was only managing position 10, and yet honestly I can’t say this has gotten any better. If anything, the faults with the pacing, character motives, exposition, and just idiocy have gotten worse to the point where I’m honestly wondering whether to keep going with episode reviews when it continues or whether to just let this one go and review it once they finally finish it.

Eugeo - Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 23

An increasingly frustrating and underwhelming watch full of babble about things that barely make sense even in the context of the story, and characters who essentially break the rules of the world at will, it all just became fairly tiresome to watch this season.

Number 12: Kaguya-Sama Love is War

Previously and still position 12.

For a comedy anime it wasn’t bad. It isn’t really my style and to be honest outside of the occasional moment where the characters really clicked there were a lot of times where watching this was just kind of empty. Still, the visuals, animation and sound design of this one were pretty fantastic so I can’t fault the production in the slightest.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 6 Shinomiya

However, ultimately, if I’d stopped watching this one it wouldn’t have mattered. There was no compelling reason to keep going and while I can see why it appeals to some, it really isn’t speaking much to me.

Number 11: Endro

Previously placed at position 14, this one actually was kind of charming fun.

Despite the pastel colour scheme and cute girl antics, I actually did find this one entertaining from week to week. There were some moments that really just shone for both the story and the characters proving you really can take something fairly standard and make it shine if you put enough love and effort into it.


Honestly, this isn’t going to be something I watch again but if you like cute girl stories or just want a fun slice of life/comedy that has an adventurers setting thrown in, this is actually really cute and entertaining. The only reason it didn’t get higher up my list is because I’m just not that into cute girls and some of the friendship sequences made me roll my eyes hard.

Number 10: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Previously position 7 there’s just no denying the second cour was ordinary.

After slowly warming up to the show in the first cour, the second cour that aired during Winter 2019 of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime was overwhelmingly average. Now source readers will pull out the ‘it gets better’ cards as well as explain that some bits were skipped over, but none of that changes the fact that the anime is most definitely average.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 19 Rimuru and Milim

There were some cute moments and character encounters and a few fairly awesome moments in the occasional fight, but a lot of this second cour was sitting around talking, or introducing characters we were never given a reason to care about who effectively had their problems solved with minimum effort. It remained light and fun to watch but had absolutely nothing to hook the audience or to convince me this would ever be worth watching a second time.

Number 9: The Price of Smiles

Formally position 5. Okay, I was being optimistic.

It is almost scary how on the nose my prediction for this series was at the half-way point. I suspected we had a show that would simply kill off its characters towards the end and in the lead up to the final episode we had one prominent character death an episode all to serve the ‘war is bad’ slogan this anime seemed to want to plaster onto almost every episode. That doesn’t mean it was terrible. There was actually a lot of promise along the way. It just never quite delivered.

The Price of Smiles Episode 10

Still, there have certainly been worse mecha anime over the years and while the ending was foolishly optimistic and naive, much like the main character, I can’t say I’m upset with it. While The Price of Smiles never managed to break into being something truly good, it certainly skated along the edges of it and kept me hopeful throughout.

Number 8: Domestic Girlfriend

Previously in 6th position.

Right, so you get what you expect when you keep watching a melodrama and as the story progresses they have to push to increasingly forced and silly methods to up the ante. That said, there is a certain delight in watching this train wreck unfold and while I wouldn’t say I actually like any of the characters, I kind of am curious about where they will ultimately end up.

Natsuo and Hina - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

This one somehow manages to be trashy without actually being trash and while it isn’t great it is also something that is hard to stop watching. While the occasional scene pushes the sexual content a little further than I’d like and the basic premise and the idea of teachers and students dating isn’t something I’m thrilled about, I can’t say that this is actually a bad watch. Not really one I’d jump to recommend but one that I’d honestly have to admit I’ve been enjoying despite the many complaints I might muster about it.

Number 7: The Rising of the Shield Hero

Previously in position 4.

I’m honestly pleasantly surprised that this one has remained as entertaining as it has. With Sword Art and Slime both plummeting in the ranks during the Winter season it seemed isekai fantasy was taking a serious downward turn. While there are plenty of points against Shield Hero in terms of pacing and at times characterisation, I’ve mostly had fun watching it and continue to look forward to how it rolls out this story.


While this one might also take a downward turn as it moves into a second cour, I’m kind of hopeful of this one just keeping things moving. And while the fights remain fresh, the story doesn’t linger for too long on any one part, and Naofumi continues to be an interesting character to watch, I’ll probably keep enjoying this even though I would hardly call it great.

Number 6: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka

Down from position 3.

I kind of knew this one probably wouldn’t hold in the top 5 for the season but I was hopeful. A dark magical girl story that actually seemed willing to deal with the trauma a teenage girl would face if forced to fight to save the world and watch companions die? It is a good idea and at least provides some kind of grounding for the violence rather than just being opening gratuitous in killing off young characters grotesquely.

Asuka - Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka - Episode 11

However, the execution both from thematically and in the delivery of the narrative have been somewhat lacking and once again we’re left with a show that is more concept than delivery. The over the top torture segments also don’t help to ground this as anything more than something trying to be sensationalist when actually there’s a reasonable attempt at exploring trauma and PTSD buried here but alas the show can’t give it the time or weight it needs between the other ideas it wants to cram in an a desire to imperil Asuka’s classmates. I didn’t mind this but I kept wanting more from it and by the final few episodes it was clear that it wasn’t going to deliver.

Images from: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka. Dir. H Yamamoto. LIDENFILMS. 2019.

Number 5: Meiji Tokyo Renka

Formally in position 10 – nice climb.

While this one reeks of mediocrity in visuals and almost everything else, this is the anime I’ve gone back to again and again just to feel good and kick back and relax. There’s something incredibly fun and infectious about Mei as a character and the cast of guys surrounding her aren’t too shabby. The supernatural elements work well but it is Mei’s ongoing relationship with Ougai that really grabs your attention.


While I won’t say this improved as it went, it maintained its standard throughout and the characters are naturally charming enough to slowly make you warm to them and each episode feels just that little bit more fun than the last. Not one to be proclaimed a master-piece but for those who don’t mind the occasional reverse harem romp this one is certainly a fun time waster to fit into your viewing schedule.

Number 4: The Morose Mononokean

Previously number 8 on the list – this one exceeded expectations.

Season two of The Morose Mononokean continued to far outstrip season one and advanced the plot and character development in a way I’d been wishing the first season to but it just never got to. There is very little to complain about with this second season with almost everything being better than season one and the balance between yokai of the week episode and episodes developing the world and characters being pretty well thought out.


With cute yokai characters, conspiracies, blossoming powers and generally more supernatural fun, The Morose Mononokean ended up being one show I began to look forward to each weekend. The chats with Irina around the episodes were also a factor as watching a show is always better with friends, but honestly this one was a delight this Winter season.

Number 3: My Roommate is a Cat

Previously number 9 on the list (that’s quite the rise).

If I was asked whether this got better as the season went on and whether that accounts for its rise, the answer would be a clear no. This isn’t a story that gets better. There’s a solid character journey for Subaru and one that I greatly appreciated which certainly accounts for a lot of its rise through the ranks, but what My Roommate is a Cat does brilliantly is deliver a fairly consistent performance. Tie in consistently meeting expectations week after week with concluding a character arc in a fairly coherent manner and My Roommate is a Cat might be decidedly average in a lot of ways but it was one that I found a very satisfying watch in the end.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 8

This anime definitely demonstrates the power of simplicity in that it has a very simple gimmick with the cat narrating part of the episode from its perspective but otherwise the character count is low, the scenarios very low key, and things tie in together way too neatly for real life but in a way that makes for a fairly entertaining weekly watch. Not to mention, there’s a cat in it and apparently having a cat in it is something that makes a story recommendable.

Number 2: The Promised Neverland

Remaining in second place.

I feel a bit bad for The Promised Neverland. Given the genre and style of story in almost any other season this one would have been a sure number one for me. Yet, opposite Run With the Wind that mostly didn’t rely on cliff-hangers to maintain viewer interest or suspense, I just can’t say that the gimmick filled Neverland is better even if I’m certainly enjoying it a lot.


The mark of a great story where I want to know what happens, where it keeps me guessing and theorising, and when the reveal is made it may not be what I thought but everything kind of clicks into place as all the anomalies and hints suddenly make sense even while a new mystery rises to be solved. The cast are charming, the setting thrilling, and all and all this one has been a delight to watch this season.

Number 1: Run With The Wind

Maintaining first position.

While I never expected to like Run With The Wind that much, even with a fairly strong showing from The Promised Neverland, there just isn’t any reason to not make this my number one of the season. I’ve fallen in love with the team and through the final episodes I cried, I cheered, I cried some more and then I smiled through those tears in absolute delight. It really helps that every character had a moment to shine in those final episodes and each character journey felt like it was given time to draw to a conclusion. It was a lovely viewing experience and one I’m really glad I picked up.

Run With The Wind Episode 22 King hands the sash to Kakeru

Whether it was Shindo’s absolutely heroic actions during his leg of the race, the general camaraderie and support each member showed for the others, or the feat they accomplished together, there were just so many moments to celebrate. This anime is gorgeous, well put together and has just the perfect number of episodes to tell its story. For all that I do have some minor complaints, they are just that, minor. This is definitely my pick for must watch of the season.

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Karandi James

Fuelling Fiction Through Pain

Domestic Girlfriend Post Title Image

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

The secret is out and Hina takes it all upon herself (which as the adult in the relationship and the supervising teacher that quite clearly acted in a way contrary to her position it makes sense that she does this). In order to avoid the scandal becoming public, Hina accepts a transfer of position (why she isn’t fired is a question I guess we’ll never understand) and then she vanished from Natsuo, Rui and the rest of the family (though she does send her mother a text). Domestic Girlfriend has been big on these extreme reactions to emotions rather than more measured responses but to be honest at this point this was actually a fairly low-key way to handle the situation.

Hina - Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

All of which is better than Natsuo’s approach which is to literally hide in his room. I’m going to give full credit to the support cast of Domestic Girlfriend in this instance for not putting up with that. The support they give Natsuo in this episode is phenomenal and Natsuo really hasn’t appreciated Rui enough given everything she’s done for him (of course, her throwing herself at him in the end is all kinds of weird but more or less expected from this story at this point).

Rui - Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

After being encouraged, shouted at, and dragged to a bath house, Natsuo turns to writing to help deal with his emotions. While at first he ignores the food and other supports Rui brings him, in time it is almost as though the writing provides a release for him and he returns to the world around him.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

Of course, this being the kind of story it is, it isn’t just a personal writing venture. he gives the draft to his teacher who is a writer who just happens to decide to pass it on and the next thing you know Natsuo is winning an award.

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There’s something very unbalanced about Domestic Girlfriend in that some moments are really grounded and touching and then it does things that makes you wonder just what planet these characters are living on. It always takes things just that little bit too far and pushes them past the ability to suspend disbelief.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

That said, for an anime that has been borderline trashy since the beginning, is well outside my usual preferred viewing genres, and is generally full of characters that aren’t all that likeable, there’s been something kind of great about watching this. It is going to make for an interesting review and I’m kind of looking forward to writing it.

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Karandi James

Foolish Hearts and Foolish Choices

Domestic Girlfriend Post Title Image

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 11 Review

The drama continues in Domestic Girlfriend but as each of these characters insists on making fairly short sighted decisions I’m more at the point of just kind of watching to see what wrong turn they take next. Rui, for her part actually gets out of this episode fairly unscathed making a number of reasonably sensible choices. The biggest one being to simply push Natsuo away from her thoughts and not hold a grudge against her sister. That could have gotten ugly and certainly would have strained the family relations and so Rui is actually acting the most sensible of any of these characters right at this point.

Rui - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

Unfortunately, Rui being reasonably sensible doesn’t help Natsuo and Hina who are apparently just born to be stupid in love.

Still, before I tear Natsuo down too much, he did do one smart thing this episode (which if I said he’s stupid in love but not actually stupid). Shaken when Rui wins an honourable mention in the writing contest, Natsuo decides he needs to start taking writing seriously if he ever is going to pursue a career as a writer. Fortunately he’s more than determined enough and actually willing to work for it, so the progress made on this front is actually kind of pleasing to see this episode.

Advisor - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

While I still find the adviser guy a little creepy and honestly hard to get a character reading on given he seems to fluctuate in whatever mode they need for the scene, his offering Natsuo advice is actually kind of nice to see and you could actually see these two developing a nice mentor/student relationship. Assuming of course he doesn’t flick back into creepy mode.

Natsuo and Hina - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

However, Hina and Natsuo together are a terrible idea because they both just stop thinking. On a school trip, Hina invites Natsuo to her room to talk. There’s a whole lot of stupid just in that decision. Then Natsuo declares he wants to get more serious with her at the same time that she says they should break up. She then outlines some fairly clear and logical reasons why they should and he just rejects them out of hand. Why worry about reality when you have true love on the table, I guess is the reasoning but it just sounds so dumb. And she accepts it.

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Next thing they are making out and discussing when they fell in love and he even reveals he saw her masturbating that one time… This is while they are on a school trip and she is there in the capacity of the supervising teacher.

But it is all sunshine and roses because he asked her to marry him one day. It really is just a disaster you can’t look away from.

Natsuo and Hina fireworks - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

By the time the end of the episode rolled around you’re just waiting for it and when Hina is called to see the head-teacher you more or less know what’s about to happen. Of course they end it there and I know I’ll watch it next week anyway because this is some great pop-corn worthy melodrama. It’s just terrible and yet unmissable all at once and the only question left is what stupid choices will they make next week?

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Karandi James

Natsuo, If You’re Going To Lie, Cover Your Tracks

Domestic Girlfriend Post Title Image

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 10 Review

Getting caught in a lie seems to be a theme this episode. First we have the literature club adviser away ‘sick’ for multiple days prompting his oh-so-concerned-students to go visit him at his home. Turns out he’s not sick. He’s actually an author, one that Natsuo is a fan of, and he’s just behind on his deadlines. He openly tells his students this while puffing on a cigarette and blatantly says he hasn’t told the school that he’s working on the side.


Domestic Girlfriend Episode 10
Model Teacher

Are any of the teachers at this school actually going to have any kind of moral or ethical standard?

However, that isn’t really a drama. It is more just foreshadowing lies coming apart which Natsuo, being a wannabe writer, should have paid more attention to given he’s been lying to Rui about where he’s been going for dinner and it is going to bite him.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 10 Natsuo fall down stairs

The next day at school he’s teasing the girl who like the literature teacher a little bit and she elbows him in the ribs, at the top of a staircase, sending him flying in a way that defies any kind of physics unless Natsuo actually launched himself backwards at the same time as she elbowed him, but let’s ignore that part of the story for now. After falling down the stairs he breaks his leg and so begins Rui in care-taker mode.

Do we even need to discuss how breaking a leg doesn’t prevent his hands or brain from working so why he really doesn’t need his step-sister to share a bath with him? This story has gone for a lot of contrivances in order to create drama and fairly uncomfortable situations like the one we get where Rui is reaching for the soap in the dark bathroom (yeah, you can see where they go with that already). While usually these aren’t too intrusive, the way they blow a broken leg out of proportion here is insane.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 10 Rui
Pouting Rui is still pretty cute.

Yet, despite how many things he apparently can’t do on his own in this scene because of a broken leg, later on his father apparently has no issue with his son going out in the rain and one crutch to find a missing step-sister.

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Anyway, Rui ends up at the cafe and finds out that Natsuo hasn’t been going to his friend’s place and so calls Natsuo on it, and he lies again. Not only that, at the next opportunity he lies to Rui again saying he’s going to apologise to his friend and off he goes to Hina’s house, where Rui later finds him having confirmed he isn’t at his friends house.

So, drama.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 10

Despite how idiotic the plot is here and how overblown everything is, I can’t say I actually dislike it. Outside of the bathroom scene, I actually quite enjoyed watching the train wreck that is Natsuo’s life right at the moment. Still, wondering how exactly this one will wrap up.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 10 Anime Maids
Also, random maid montage at the beginning as part of the school festival because why not?

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Karandi James

Making Choices and Hearing Truths

Domestic Girlfriend Post Title Image

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 8 Review

For some reason, this week Domestic Girlfriend has added in a new character. A male student at Natsuo’s school who has returned from overseas and intersperses English amongst his fairly over the top dialogue. Not sure what his purpose going forward is but he didn’t serve much purpose in this episode other than to kill some time before Natsuo spotted a rumoured underwear thief and the two of them chased him down.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 8

Then again, he did manage to make a reason for Rui to get annoyed at Natsuo. Alex asked Natsuo to set him up with Rui and when Natsuo tentatively started trying to get Rui to meet him she slammed a knife down on the counter and stormed out of the room. See, communication is a wonderful thing.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 8

Anyway, that then allows Natsuo to take food to her room which leads to them making out before being caught by Hina.

And all of this drama is simply leading to Natsuo finally having an actual conversation with Hina at the festival they go to, after Hina announces she’s moving out on her own, and the two of them more or less admit they like each other. You know, the whole teacher/student sister/brother thing aside. I love how they didn’t even try to address those issues but we get a hand holding scene at the end so I guess we’re supposed to think its all sweet.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 8

I’m just waiting for Rui to lose it.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 9 Review

Unexpectedly, this episode begins with Rui running into Hina’s former flame and the two end up at the cafe, accompanied by the literature club adviser. I keep wondering what ethics or code teachers in Japan are supposed to be following because anime does not do a great job of showing much of a line between teachers and students.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 9

Keeping going with that same kind of idea we have Hina leaving Natsuo a key to her new place. After a hard day of moving, Natsuo returns and the two have a bit of a kissing session before Hina puts the breaks on the whole thing. It seems really weird that she’s accepted that she is going to be involved in a relationship that is questionable from a number of points of view but she doesn’t seem to want to dive in.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 9

Not sure that kissing a student at school is a particularly good move mind you if the idea is to keep the breaks on the relationship.

Anyway, Alex joins the literature club so apparently his character is going to keep hanging around. I still don’t get the point of his character mind you but there he is.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 9
This however sounded and looked delicious.

I will admit I was a little underwhelmed by the developments here and while that is kind of to be expected given this has always been a melodrama, previously I was a lot more caught up in what each of these characters were doing. Now it is kind of going through the motions as we set up for the next train wreck.

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Domestic Dramas and More Mundane High School Problems

Domestic Girlfriend Post Title Image

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 7 Review

It feels like this anime put the accelerating drama on hold and decided just to let all the characters ruminate on the current status quo. The end result is a far more satisfying mix of interactions between the characters even if this means a deeper dive into the potential of a relationship between the main three. However, the possible relationship between Hina and Natsuo is problematic as it is, and worse is Natsuo potentially starting a relationship with Rui in order to prove Hina wrong. All and all, this episode just kind of nailed the tension inherent in the situation, added just enough drama to make it entertaining, a bit of sex just because that sells, and mixed it all into what was an overall slow moving but enjoyable watch.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 7 Hina

I will admit, I had some real tension early in the episode when Hina began leading Natsuo into the ocean. I’m not the biggest fan of drowning scenarios having a lot of anxiety around water and I wasn’t really sure where they were taking that scene. Fortunately they aborted the situation, though I’d really like to know how Hina assumes that double suicide is the appropriate response to the confession of a student/step-brother.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 7 - Hina and Natsuo head out to see

I did however like that relationship drama, while present throughout the episode, wasn’t the only thing going on. The Literature club that they joined is looking toward its publication for the school festival and there are exams to study for. Life goes on even while these emotional hits just keep coming.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 7 Natsuo under the covers

That said, finding a happy ending here may not be possible given Hina is clearly still in love with Shuu (who, it turns out was her teacher when she was in high school – this anime loves its coincidences), Natsuo is in love with Hina though he’s trying not to be, Rui is clearly jealous of everyone who gets close to Natsuo and is pressing her advantage at home, and all and all this just seems like heartbreak is right around the corner for more or less everyone involved. At least the parents seems happily married though after actually having a presence earlier in the anime they’ve since slipped into the role of missing anime parents, though the mum did make a brief cameo in this episode.

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When In Doubt, Just Pile On More Characters and Stir

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Domestic Girlfriend Episode 6 Review

Last week we added Momo to the already over-crowded list of potential love interests for Natsuo. This week we add a male teacher (who is probably more teasing than serious) and a member of the school’s literature club. Were they actually needed? Not so sure.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 6 Natsuo and Rui

Starting with the teacher, I kind just accepted with the premise that we were going to have a teacher behave fairly unethically, and Hina has certainly given us that. Whether Natsuo is her student or step-brother (and in this case he is both) her behaviour in previous episodes toward him was wildly inappropriate as the adult in the situation. So to have Natsuo run into another teacher with questionable boundaries and actions is probably pushing things beyond just being melodramatic into outright silly territory. Particularly when it looks so much like queer baiting and doesn’t seem likely to yield anything resembling an actual romantic relationship.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 6 Literature Club

Meanwhile the new literature club girl is pretty much a walking cliche of a shy girl stereotype and somehow I’m fairly certain she’s going to end up crushing on Natsuo as well. It doesn’t help that both Rui and Momo decided to join the literature club. Just makes the whole situation feel like this story didn’t know what to do for a mid-section or with its premise of Rui and Hina becoming Natsuo’s sisters and so we’re just adding drama to stretch it out. I was almost waiting for the student council president to show up and threaten to shut down the club. It would fit with the unoriginal and fairly pointless developments this episode delivered.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 6 Momo and Rui

About the only spot light in the mess of attempts to stir up new and improved melodrama, was Rui struggling with her feelings. This was probably the most emotion we’ve seen out of Rui yet and in an episode that was well below the bar set by this series so far Rui was the one shining spot to come out of it. Hoping it picks up again next week.

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Kawaii Doodle Class : Sketching Super-Cute Tacos, Sushi, Clouds, Flowers, Monsters, Cosmetics, and More
Kawaii Doodle Class : Sketching Super-Cute Tacos, Sushi, Clouds, Flowers, Monsters, Cosmetics, and More

The Rumour Mill Surrounding The Easy Girl

Domestic Girlfriend Post Title Image

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 5 Review

With Hina’s ‘affair’ business mostly wrapped up this week I wasn’t surprised she was taking a back set in this episode of Domestic Girlfriend, though I was surprised at just how little presence she had. Instead our focus is first Rui and then Natsuo connected via Rui’s new friend, Momo.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 5 Rui and Momo

Momo is an interesting addition to the cast. Not because she’s overly interesting given we have standard nice girl/flirty persona masking damaged and lonely girl trope and so far she hasn’t really deviated off that script enough to have much of her own personality. No, what made her interesting was the way first Rui and then Natsuo interacted with her.

Rui is warned off Momo fairly quickly when her classmates realise Momo has given Rui a present. They toss the toy in the bin and tell Rui a bunch of rumours that surround Momo. While some of them seem plausible and even quite likely, others just seem exaggerated for the sake of it, but the girls spread them all with the same amount of scandalised delight. I almost cheered when Rui retrieved the toy from the bin and pointed out she’d make her own mind up.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 5

We then get a sequence of Rui and Momo shopping which is where the two run into Natsuo.

Natsuo who is still in nice guy/save the girl mode. Naturally Momo, flirty girl masking damaged girl, falls for him and while she does ask Rui if it is okay, it seems fairly obvious Momo has set her new target. What surprised me more about this was Natsuo going along with it on the second day as a means of moving on from Sensei. While rebounding with the first girl who asks you out may not be the best solution at least he seems ready to try to move on.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 5 Momo
That would probably be a firm ‘no’.

It didn’t surprise me in the least though that Natsuo pulled out of actually sleeping with Momo and ended up cooking her a meal instead. While we first met Natsuo when he slept with Rui, he kind of questioned whether or not he’d made the right choice then so I didn’t see him going for another girl he just met even if he is trying to rebound.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 5 Rui

Though the less said about the day in between when Natsuo first gave Rui a sponge bath and then gave her a suppository to deal with a fever the better. Domestic Girlfriend is still being just a little too creepy at times with the whole siblings/not-siblings and girl-I-first-slept-with/little-sister borderlines and to be honest the whole nursing the sick Rui probably didn’t need to go any further than getting her the water and maybe finding her some food she could eat.

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2019 Winter Anime Half-Time

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Fireworks

With a lot of shows very strongly into their mid-season and some of the shine coming off those that started strongly and some of the weaker shows rallying and finding their feet, I decided it was probably time to take a look at the shows on my watch list this season and see how they were going. Unlike some seasons during 2018, there’s nothing on my watch list I actually actively dislike, which means even the anime vying for the bottom rung of my watch list are actually relatively decent shows even if they aren’t to my personal tastes.

That isn’t to say I’ve got nothing but golden shows on my list. In as much as there’s not a lot I really dislike, there’s not a lot that is making me sit up and take notice. Most shows this season I could watch or not and while I’m having fun part of me feels that as a viewer I was spoiled for choice last season with so many really great anime.

Right now I am following 15 anime and I’m going to count them down from the weakest on my watch list to the anime that might make it to the top for the end of the season. For each anime I’m going to give a brief impression so far and then my prediction for the rest of the season. These are all just my opinions and some of these anime are only 4 or so episodes in, so I’d love to know your take on the Winter Anime so far.

If you don’t want to read the whole post I’m going to try linking to the individual titles so you can check out the ones you are interested in. Hopefully it works.

Number 15: Grimms Notes

There’s not much to say about this one. It isn’t a particularly good anime and the narrative so far has been told out of order for no reason that I can figure out other than to be annoying. The characters are pretty shallow and so far the exploration of the premise has been woefully underdeveloped.

Grimms Notes Episode 2 Ex

I know, I said that I wasn’t watching anything really bad. And Grimms Notes isn’t. Watching it is kind of just numbing really. What kept it in my line-up at all is the fact that there is a potentially interesting premise at the core of this anime and if they get around to exploring it and the characters develop a bit and their motives are made clear, this has the potential to be really interesting. At the moment it isn’t, but it also isn’t unwatchable, so for now it can sit at the bottom of my watch list.

Prediction: This probably won’t improve and I’ll ask at the end of the season why I didn’t drop it.

Number 14: Endro

This one was recommended to me by Cactus Matt. I’d actually passed on the first episode based on the art work and the basic write up as it didn’t seem like it was something I’d enjoy. In honesty, it isn’t really my kind of thing, but there are enough interesting points that I don’t dislike watching it, and I actually feel like it is getting more interesting as it progresses.

Endro Episode 2 Leader

The main cast here are actually reasonably fun to spend time with when they are doing something (I’ll pass on anymore pyjama parties though) and the quests they go on are amusing enough. The fantasy elements are kind of fun and the comedy isn’t too eye-roll worthy. All and all, this one is actually just kind of pleasant but for me fairly forgettable.

Prediction: Either this will continue to be pleasant enough but  unremarkable or we may take a downward turn if they up the  comedy and slice of life aspects but minimise the adventuring. I  guess we’ll see.

Number 13: Boogiepop wa Warawanai

Frankly, Boogiepop wa Warawanai is a mess of frustrating narrative and bland visuals. But from a core concept point of view this one is something I should enjoy. Which is probably what makes it so frustrating is you can actually see a really interesting story bubbling underneath dull conversations and forgettable characters.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episode 2

I’d really like to like this one more but at the moment I’m watching more out of hope for improvement than any expectation of it. Then again, even if it doesn’t improve noticeably, it is an interesting idea and one that I’m not going to regret watching (at least I hope not).

Prediction: I’ll be an optimist and hope this one makes my top ten by the end of the season because it just got that little bit better and utilised its strengths.

Number 12: Kaguya-Sama Love is War

This one, I’m not loving the concept of. It is a beautifully produced anime, visually impressive, with a great score, but I’m just not feeling it. It doesn’t help that I’m not a comedy fan in the first place and that I find the central conceit of this anime ridiculous, nor does it help that so far most of the schemes have either been predictable or ludicrous.

Kaguya Sama Episode 2 Shinomiya

Still, this one is actually getting a little better as it goes (something readers of the source have been insisting would happen since the start) and there’s a possibility of continued improvement. My main hope would be that the two main characters actually start to feel like characters and not caricatures and that would increase my enjoyment of this a lot more or less instantly.

Prediction: Again, I’ll be optimistic and hope that this one continues slowly getting better and maybe it will end up in the top ten by the end of the season.

Number 11: Meiji Tokyo Renka

Meiji Tokyo Renka has actually been rather surprising so far. I honestly expected something like Sengoku Night Blood or Libra of Nil Admirari neither or which was particularly noteworthy but both were watchable. However, Meiji Tokyo Renka has so far managed to make Mei, the protagonist, relatively interesting for a harem protagonist and I’m liking that they seem to be doing something with the premise.


Certainly this anime has its share of generic harem tropes and it isn’t exactly jumping to the top of my list, but I’m certainly actually enjoying watching it so far and it has the potential to get better as the season progresses.

Prediction: I think this one will sit right about here on the list. Even if it uses all its narrative potential the central premise here isn’t as interesting as some others and the overall production isn’t amazing. That said, I think it will stay entertaining.

Number 10: Sword Art Online Alicization

I’m a little disappointed that this one is placing so low but realistically after a lot of set up in the first arc, this second arc has been trying to bury us under exposition and honestly the plot doesn’t seem to be moving anywhere very quickly and I’m not entirely sure I like a Kirito who sermonises more than hits things with his sword. All and all, Alicization isn’t really working for me.

Sword Art Online Episode 15 Alicization Kirito

There are certainly still moments of cool to be found in this series and that is what has kept it in the top ten (even if it is scraping the bottom). However we’ve come a long way from the Aincrad Arc and at this point I’m really convinced Aincrad was where Sword Art Online should have begun and ended. I really enjoy that story and while I like these characters, they’ve been suffering from increasing diminished returns ever since. Except Asuna who shone in the Mother Rosaria arc but she’s all but vanished from sight at this point.

Prediction: Disappointment? I think this will slide further down the list before it gets better. I’ll happily be wrong though.

Number 9: My Roommate is a Cat

I do not believe I went in to this one with any expectations but for a slice of life story about a socially awkward author adopting a cat because he’s inspired to write a story despite no knowing how to look after a cat, this one is pretty adorable. The central gimmick of the cat getting to narrate the events of the episode from its perspective at the end each week works well enough and while this one isn’t exactly amazing, I’ve kind of found my relaxation viewing each week.

My Roommate is a Cat Episode 5 Haru

Alright, a lot of the draw for me is actually the author, Subaru. For some people they just find him rude and off-putting in the first couple of episodes but I actually kind of related to him fairly quickly and kind of saw his point when he was annoyed at his editor for dragging him out to a noisy place to talk when there really wasn’t any need to do so.

Prediction: This one is cute and relaxing but that’s about all so I’m doubting this will move any higher up the list unless something else seriously falls apart. That said, I’m not expecting this to really move down the list either as it has been pretty consistent so far.

Number 8: The Morose Mononokean

Season one of The Morose Mononokean was kind of happy nothingness. I like yokai stories so I enjoyed it well enough but it wasn’t overly remarkable. Still there were a lot of potential plot points left unexplored and it has been an absolute delight seeing them being explored and expanded upon so far in season two. It is everything I could have hoped for from a follow up to this series.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 4

I also think it looks a bit better this season though that might just be the distance between season one and two talking. Either way, so far season two of this has done an excellent job at looking at the characters and the lore of the underworld and I’m really curious to learn more about how everything works. Plus, more fuzzy.

Prediction: I wouldn’t have picked this one as a potential season favourite prior to watching it – more casual nothingness. However, if things continue to develop the way they are… This one has a lot of potential to rise up this list.

Number 7: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has been up and down for me since the beginning. I wasn’t a huge fan of it but it slowly won me over and built on its strengths. The mid-season point, so the start of Winter 2019, was actually really solid. But we’ve since had a lot of talking and meetings and its been awhile since anything really exciting has happened.


Realistically, this one isn’t going to be topping my must watches any time soon, but on balance it has remained pretty fun to watch and given the absolute lack of stakes or tension it is pretty relaxing to tune into each week. That said, it is also hard to really care about where it is going.

Prediction: This will hover around here for the remainder of the season and whether or not it manages another emotional highlight, like Shizu’s death or the defeat of the orc lord, may determine whether it goes up a few spots before the end.

Number 6: Domestic Girlfriend

Really wasn’t expecting this one to place so high on the list and yes it is full of teen melodrama, enough to rival any soap opera, and no it isn’t overly logical and it does rely heavily on coincidence. What it does right though is make me actually care about the central trio (or at least two out of three) and want them to find some way to be happy at the end of all of this.


It kind of helped this along that it was nowhere near as trashy as the title and promo images made it look which automatically made me more favourable toward it (low expectations always help a show along). That and some of the characters have actually made some good decisions in amongst the melodrama that have surprised me. All and all, hardly a perfect anime but one that I’m kind of hooked on this season.

Prediction: One of two things will happen. Either this show will manage a beautiful emotional ending or it will completely implode. I’d love the former but I suspect the latter.

Number 5: The Price of Smiles

Of all the anime titles this season, this is the one I’m probably the least sure about. The first episode was interesting enough but relatively unimpressive. Since then, it has managed to really make me care about the characters despite the limited screen time some have had, and I’m interested in the conflict, but the anime as a whole is still a little bit rocky.

The Price of Smiles Episode 3 Stella

I think this one has a lot of potential but it all depends on where they take the story and if they actually get around to doing anything with the questions they are raising. Also, whether or not these characters actually learn anything at all from their experiences. It’s really hard to tell at this point if this anime has the strength of writing to get this right or not.

Prediction: I’d like to be hopeful but I suspect we may just have a show that kills off its characters toward the end in order to make for a tragic ‘war is bad’ kind of message rather than any actual narrative depth.

Number 4: The Rising of the Shield Hero

Well, this one certainly made a contentious start to the season. For me The Rising of the Shield Hero has done exactly what I expected having read the light novels. It isn’t great but it isn’t bad and so far the adaptation has it all the notes it has needed to even if it isn’t exactly the same as the source – though given how many versions the story has gone through all ready it would next be the question of which one.


Where Shield Hero is succeeding for me and why it is so high on my list is that it seems to have made Naofumi’s character a little more tolerable even in the early stages of the story, while still making him flawed enough that a redemption story is needed. Plus, Raphtalia is just kind of awesome. I’m having a lot of fun watching this one and looking forward to more.

Prediction: Not sure how much material they will cover in 25 episodes or whether we’ll end on a good resting point, but I do know that the novels meander a bit so this one may very well sink a little on this list despite generally thinking I’ll enjoy it.

Number 3: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka

I suspect already that this one is not going to last in the top 5 by the end, however I’m leaving it here for now for the simple reason that I’m glad an anime that is deciding to put teenage girls through trauma is then actually interested in examining how trauma affects people. Some of the things anime characters go through and just kind of shrug off with no lingering impact is kind of insane so dealing with the real ongoing trauma as Asuka tries to integrate into a normal life, was actually kind of great.

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka - New battlefield

Though a single concept within a story can’t keep it as a must watch unless it does something else. Visually, this one is a bit hit and miss but there are some beautiful sequences. The characters have so far been the strength of the show but the villains are a little weakly developed at this point. There’s a lot that might be amazing about this and a lot that could go wrong so we’ll see where it ends up at the end of the season.

Prediction: I don’t think this will stay in the top 5 but I do think I’ll be glad I gave it a watch this season.

Images from: Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka. Dir. H Yamamoto. LIDENFILMS. 2019.

Number 2: The Promised Neverland

Such a promising, suspenseful and beautifully directed start to the Promised Neverland. While I will admit we’ve gradually been winding back the praise on this one, it was still a first episode well worth watching because so few anime manage that much characterisation, world building and intrigue in twenty minutes. Plus, the directions of this series has so far been really interesting though even that aspect seems to be winding down.

The Promised Neverland Episode 3 The Kids Train

I’m definitely with this one for the season and in terms of genre it is doing a great job of keeping my interest. Now that the anime is far enough ahead I’ve read the first volume of the manga and my interest is even more piqued by the potential for this plot. Still, there’s been some shaky characterisation in the last couple of episodes and that gorgeous direction seems to be giving way to more pedestrian approaches. It will be interesting to see if this one can hold its nerve to the end.

Prediction: This one may not stay quite so high on my list but it would have to make a serious downward turn to leave my top 5. Very much recommend trying this one.

Number 1: Run With The Wind

I do not think I ever believed that a sports anime (other than Yuri On Ice) would be topping my watch list and yet Run With The Wind has managed to build from strength to strength over its season. I doubt it is going to derail now and it has been exception at building up the cast of characters despite the large number of them. Add in great sound design and some interesting visual choices and we have a very solid anime.

Run With The Wind Episode 12 Kakeru

I like that this anime doesn’t seem willing to bite off more than it can chew. It knows what it is and it isn’t trying to be anything more than that. But it is working hard to deliver the story of these boys coming together as a team in an interesting manner and so far it has largely succeeded (though Kakeru’s back story dragged on a little too long). I’m very much caught up in this story at this point and hopefully it will nail the ending.

Prediction: This may not finish number one but it will definitely be up the top of my list. Consistent delivery of quality character work and competent narrative makes this an easy recommend.

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