My Dress Up Darling split its episode in two this week with the first half giving us the conclusion of the photoshoot and the second half focusing in on Marin and Gojo. Which meant the OP played weirdly about midway through the episode. Though bright side, I’d been so engaged with the antics of the characters as they took photos, had heart to hearts and had a wardrobe malfunction that I hadn’t actually noticed the OP hadn’t played so it caught me somewhat by surprise when it finally started.
My Dress Up Darling engages by being fun and somewhat relatable.
To no one’s surprise, Marin really struggled with the photoshoot. As much as she loved the character and wanted to do the photoshoot, staying in character proved to be a struggle as Marin’s trademark goofy grin kept threatening to explode from the sheer joy of getting to become the character and getting to work with Juju having a real photoshoot.
I loved that My Dress Up Darling didn’t turn this into a whole dramatic thing. As much as Juju has some thoughts about the matter, given she takes a far more serious approach to her cosplaying, ultimately they all just work through it and get some amazing photos.
My Dress Up Darling also took time to have Juju and Shinju actually talk about what they want and to really communicate. It was great to see but it kind of felt like the anime was shelving them at that point so it could turn its focus back to the main pair. When Juju was first introduced I’d have happily had her shelved but now I kind of want to see the group work together more so I’m on the fence as to whether I want these two to be in the next couple of episodes or whether I’d prefer the Marin/Gojo focus.
And the Marin/Gojo focus has a few things it needs to deal with.
Yes we have Marin’s crush which also manifests a little bit as jealousy as Gojo explains how he and Shinju worked together on her cosplay. But we also have Gojo making a costume for Marin and then having to tell her he can’t help her actually wear it or take photos because of how revealing it is. Given he’s already measured her in a swimsuit there’s clearly more going on then exposed skin that’s making him feel a bit uncomfortable.
Also, My Dress Up Darling took a large chunk of this episode to have Marin and Gojo interacting outside of a cosplay setting with Marin trying to get Gojo some different outfits. For once he was the dress-up darling and Marin was thrilled with her efforts even if Gojo ended up passing and wearing his usual working clothes.
Still, we learned from the beach episode just how much fun these two characters can be when they are just hanging out together and honestly it makes me want them to become a couple more than watching them work on the cosplay together. It is one thing to share a common goal and get along to achieve it and another to get along in the day to day. These two get along regardless.
As usual, My Dress Up Darling is sweet and fun and Marin is definitely getting more forward in her flirting with Gojo. All things considered, with two episodes to go, it doesn’t seem likely this anime will make a wrong turn at this point so I’m looking forward to the conclusion. Though I can’t really say if I want them to be an official couple by the end or not because honestly this back and forth flirting and blushing is kind of fun.
Last week I asked whether My Dress Up Darling could get any more adorable. Episode 9 answers with a definitive yes. I’ll admit, cute isn’t the be all and end all for me and if that is all an anime has then eventually it is going to run into the problem of holding your interest (platelets and little mummies are an exception to this rule). My Dress Up Darling is so cute and yet a lot of the cuteness comes because these characters are awesome.
However, leaving aside cute and adorable, there were just so many moments this week that made me smile. My Dress Up Darling has managed to build a decent working relationship between Juju and Marin that has enough chemistry even while Juju maintains her distance as a little more stand-offish. I loved it when Marin expressed that she seldom got comments on her photos on social media and Juju pointed out it was because mostly she took pictures of food (and then proceeded to diss Marin’s cooking though she didn’t know it).
Sure My Dress Up Darling is cute but it’s also grounded.
One of the things I really am liking about My Dress Up Darling is that all of these characters feel like real people. They have flaws and concerns and they make mistakes and they get excited over really little things and they are just great to watch.
I’m also loving that Marin and Gojo are both in a way acting as proxy’s for the audience as they are both new to actually cosplaying (while Marin new a bit about it she’d never tried it properly before meeting Gojo and he knew nothing about it). That means there’s plenty to learn about costumes, make-up and wigs and yet it feels organic and not like a massive info-dump.
If I was to have one complaint this week it would be around Shinju’s character. Now Shinju is a great addition and I loved her chemistry with Marin last week. This week, Gojo realises she actually wants to try cosplay to and decides to help her out which naturally leads to some fan-service and poor comedy moments revolving around the size of her bust given the character she wants to cosplay is actually a guy.
Much like Juju’s initial introduction, My Dress Up Darling seems to just push that little bit too far when first establishing this new character. Hopefully, as we saw with Juju, now that they’ve gotten that out of their system, they might start treating her a little less like a gimmick and just let her be who she is going forward. I mean, Marin still gets plenty of fan-service moments (like lifting her skirt to show off her bathing suit and even flashing her bra) but those moments feel more ingrained with the character and story rather than tacked on extras.
Certainly the smiling, happy photos of the three ready to start their first cosplay photo-session were a welcome close to the episode and honestly it was great seeing how excited they all were to get started. I hope we get to see the actual posed photos from the shoot because those costumes looked amazing.
Minor complaints about character introductions aside, My Dress Up Darling remains the feel-good show of the season and one that really appeals to me as an anime fan. Actually, I’m really hoping covid has settled to the point where my plans to cosplay as Sailor Jupiter might actually happen later this year. Though there’s a lot of maybes around that, watching this has definitely made me keen to go for it and honestly I’m now getting inspired to put a lot more effort into it then I originally intended. We’ll see how that goes.
In the meantime, I’m loving this anime and hopefully it continues to make me smile until the end.
I thought Marin was the sweetest and nicest character ever and then we meet the more introverted by equally sweet Shinju and no surprise, the two get on amazingly well as they discuss the camera, different ways to take photos and explore an old hospital as a potential shoot location. My Dress Up Darling is spoiling us by giving us nice characters who are also interesting (a combination that is harder to come by then it seems).
Though it was great seeing Gojo getting a chance with the reaction faces this week. Normally Marin dominates in the facial expression range but I think episode 8 definitely had Gojo come out on top for sheer number of facial expressions pulled throughout the episode.
My Dress Up Darling is planning for a cosplay shoot and for Marin’s summer of dating Gojo.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the first half of My Dress Up Darling episode 8. Despite Juju’s initial poor impression as her character seemed to be used for terrible fan-service fodder, she’s actually not a bad character now that they’ve settled down a bit. Admittedly, she’s still hitting all the clichés for anime girls as she cowers in the corner after their abandoned hospital exploration gets interrupted by a storm.
Still, there was some pretty good chemistry between Gojo and Juju and Marin and Shinju hit it right off and were having a great time as they explored. The only thing that really confused me is they said they were going to a studio and that the hospital had been converted but it just kind of looked like an abandoned hospital. Not a big issue but it just made me wonder.
The second half of the episode focuses in solely on Marin and Gojo and after they finish their exams she proposes going to the beach. Innocent that he is, he assumes it is to scout locations for photos but turns out Marin just wanted to go to the beach. However unlike so many other anime, My Dress Up Darling doesn’t unleash another bikini scene on us or even an accidental drowning or similar beach scenario. Instead we just see two high schoolers letting off steam on the beach and having their food stolen by a bird.
It’s nice that even though My Dress Up Darling does lean into some anime tropes it knows when to subvert your expectations. Besides, we’ve already seen Marin in her bikini so a beach scene wasn’t going to show us anything new from that perspective. Rather, it used the scene to advance Marin’s feelings toward Gojo and she not so subtly invites him to hang out with her all summer.
I kind of hope she just tells him how she feels soon. I mean, they are super maxing out the cuteness as Marin experiences Gojo’s first time at the beach and the two of them share food, looks and the occasional blushing red face that the other one conveniently doesn’t see.
Really, My Dress Up Darling just continues to be the feel good show to watch this season. The fan-service was way down in this episode on prior episodes with far more focus on the character relationships. The saddest part though is there’s only four episodes left and honestly I just want more of these characters. It has been such a great anime to watch each week and I can’t help but smile while watching it.
That said, I am really looking forward to seeing the outfits Gojo is going to make for Juju and Marin. Hopefully we see that completed before the season ends.
Before the Winter 2022 season began, my thoughts on My Dress up Darling were pretty meh. It looked like it could be fun enough but I wasn’t exactly counting the minutes until it began airing. Now it is the highlight of my watch week and honestly I think I’d happily just watch a looped reel of Marin emoting.
That said, this week we got to watch part of the anime that Marin and Juju are going to do a combined cosplay of and I absolutely loved how My Dress Up Darling presented it in the older style format. Honestly, anyone who grew up on Sailor Moon and other magical girl stories would have fallen in love with what we saw of it and can I just ask if they’ll actually make it a real anime because I think it would be awesome.
My Dress Up Darling brings all the characters to the party.
One of the things that I had been a little concerned about so far was that Gojo seemed to be being dragged along by Marin. This week, we clearly see that Gojo is actually really enjoying the process of making cosplay and learning new things and his new connections and experiences are actually improving his core dream of making a better Hina doll.
While Juju was reluctant to cosplay with Marin at the end of last week’s episode, this week Marin found the winning phrase that would get her exactly what she wanted, she offered to share the cost of the photo studio. However, unprompted, Gojo (the guy who has been doing all this work for no pay) also offers to put some money towards it. It kind of shows he’s motivated even without Marin pulling him along and it was what My Dress Up Darling needed to address if we were ever going to get to a romance that made sense. Gojo needed to be involved by his own choice.
Of course though, the highlight of the episode comes when Gojo visits Marin at home. Sure we get some fan-service along the way but mostly what we get is a wholesome ‘home date’ with Gojo largely oblivious to Marin’s growing crush and the two just hanging out, watching anime, and eating food that… well Marin tried and at least My Dress Up Darling didn’t go the full cliché and make some sort of potion looking purple swill.
It’s just such a sweet moment between the two and most anime fans should be able to relate to the first time they’ve watched anime with a crush and where you end up spending more time watching them and their reaction than you do the anime. Also definitely understand the feeling of only eating pudding and then realising that real food is probably a good idea.
Basically, the whole sequence was sweet and relatable.
About my only real criticism of the sequence was that somehow they managed to watch an anime that apparently has 126 episodes through to some fairly climatic moments in a single sitting. While an 11 episode show I could understand binge watching in a single sitting. A 24 episode one I’d accept if they pulled an overnight. 126? Nope. Unless it is a short form anime with 4 minute episodes I’m not buying it.
However when I have to pull real world timing in order to find something to criticise its probably good evidence that My Dress Up Darling pretty much nailed its tone this week. While last week the fan-service plunged into the slightly uncomfortable, here the episode was fun and light and largely adorable and it was exactly what I needed this Sunday.
My Dress up Darling did something I didn’t quite expect this week. Actually two somethings but one of them was much better than the other.
After the cosplay event, Marin returns to Gojo’s home and they begin the task of cleaning the wig and the costume before Gojo’s grandfather comes home and throughout this process Marin realises she actually likes Gojo and the reaction is pretty priceless. Anyone who is still in doubt that Marin is one of the most expressive anime characters of the Winter 2022 season needs to take another look. Her expressions are amazing.
My Dress Up Darling takes the plunge.
You have to appreciate an anime that doesn’t go for the heroine wandering about wondering if they have heart arrhythmia rather than a crush and My Dress Up Darling really just has it happen. Now we just need the other half of the equation, Gojo, to wake up to the fact that Marin isn’t just beautiful in cosplay, she’s a great person who is totally there for him and he should absolutely ask her out.
Anyway the other interesting thing that happens at the start of the episode is that Gojo’s grandfather returns home and finally finds out that Gojo has made a cosplay. Much like Gojo, he is strictly business and soon the two are happily discussing the outfit and how it might be improved.
The seriousness of the sequence is cut down though when Marin’s stomach lets out an earth shattering rumble, the likes of which only anime can produce and the three sit down for a meal. And here’s giving props to the grandfather: after learning Marin lives on her own and eats a lot of convenience store food he invites her to eat with them. Best matchmaking move ever though not really his intention I guess.
Though there is a reason I’ve spent so long on the first part of the episode and that’s largely because the second half, while it all works well enough, has a number of things in it that I’m not a fan of in anime. You know, introducing a new character and instantly having the story treating her like crap and thinking it can get away with it because she isn’t the main character.
Sure, Marin has been used for fan-service in My Dress Up Darling but with the exception of the wind blowing up her skirt last week she’s been the one in control of the situation and it has never felt like she’s been cheapened for the sake of hitting a type.
The same cannot be said for newly introduced Juju who looks younger than she is but in her introduction is naked in the shower and slips and falls into a compromising position that we see reflected in the protagonist’s eye.
Its an awful introduction to a new character and it certainly adds to the story that My Dress Up Darling is just about fan-service and undermines how much heart this story has had up until now. And it is also really unnecessary as this character could have been introduced literally any other way without having a noticeable impact on the story.
Throw in that as soon as Marin meets Juju, who it turns out is the cosplayer Marin was a huge fan of, she pretty much has her pinned up against a wall underneath her.
I kind of hope Juju gets a chance to be more than just the fan-service extra or even a rival and rather gets to become a character because otherwise her presence is going to definitely bring down the fun of My Dress Up Darling. I guess we’ll see what her character gets to do next week.
I will admit I’m not the biggest fan of the flower and heart themed Valentine’s Day. Not because I like to be bitter or rain on other people’s sunshine and sparkles but mostly because I kind of like my romance a little more spontaneous and a little less added as a scheduled reminder. That said, around February each year I start thinking about current romantic anime that I’ve watched or am watching and I like to think about their different takes on romance.
Now for those who have followed my blog for awhile you will know I usually have one or two anime with a bit of romance in my line-up even if isekai, horror and darker stories tend to steal a lot more of my focus. It is always nice to have a little bit of a lighter and brighter spot in my viewing each week and I did grow up on 1990’s rom-coms so I definitely have a sweet spot for a bit of cliched romance.
Winter 2022 has actually left me a little spoiled for choice with the current romantic anime being among the better anime I picked up this season. Admittedly, partly that is because I’m not up-to-date with the two big returning anime (Attack on Titan or Demon Slayer) which immediately ruled them out from the seasonal watch list. However even the bog standard isekai that are usually good for some light entertainment seem to be coming up a little wanting this season.
And so three romantic anime ended up on my watch list and while each has a different appeal and a different way of dealing with romance, all of them have so far been endearing in their own way. So if you are struggling to find your Valentine spirit, here are three current romantic anime that might get you ready to face the day.
Current Romantic Anime You Could Be Watching
My Dress Up Darling
Probably no surprise that the first romantic anime on my list is the anime that has taken over twitter each and every weekend (you know right before the episode of Attack on Titan drops and pictures of titans fill our feeds). My Dress Up Darling (or Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru) has so far been a rather charming affair carried mostly by the female lead, the adorable Marin.
Though right from episode one, I was kind of interested in how Gojo was going to develop in this series given the story seems largely to be following his perspective with Marin acting more like a hurricane blowing through his old views and ideas about himself and helping him open up to others again. And episode 4 kind of made some progress on that.
But what really sells this current romantic anime and makes it something so many people are talking about is it is an anime that really just celebrates the main characters enjoying their passions. While it is listed as a romance, and I’m sure they’ll get to that, really we have a cosplay fanatic with no ability to sew meeting the guy who is obsessed with the tradition of doll-making and so has learned to sew their clothes, coming together and both just respecting each other’s passion and helping each other out.
It’s one of those things where as an anime fan it is a joy to watch because here are two characters with slightly less common hobbies finding each other and just enjoying being who they are. And they are both great people. Not flawless or super genius’ or anything like that. Just normal people who have doubts and fears and don’t communicate well but get a genuine buzz out of seeing the other smile.
Admittedly, for those who don’t like it when female characters are objectified, the camera angles in episode one plus pretty much the entire measuring sequence of episode two (which is most of the episode) are probably not going to land great but for those that don’t have an issue with that kind of fan-service, particularly when it isn’t intruding on the narrative, My Dress Up Darling is an anime to dive into if you are looking for a current romantic anime to try.
I’ll be honest, of the three current romantic anime I’m watching, Love of Kill is the weakest by far in terms of character and story but it does have one thing that will keep me watching and has landed in a spot in this post: the characters aren’t in school.
Yes, romantic anime set in high school and middle school are more or less everywhere but finding adult anime characters in a romance is kind of difficult so when you get you Recovery of an MMO Junkie or similar style stories that have adult characters who are actually pretty capable humans, there’s definitely an appeal particularly for anime fans that are no longer in their teens (not saying you can’t enjoy high school romance but it is nice sometimes to see a different age bracket in the spot-light).
This current romantic anime isn’t one to watch if you are looking for the hearts and glitter version of romance. With the two main characters being a bounty hunter and a killer with one of them all but outright stalking the other and coercing her into a date, if you are looking for a romance that feels sweet and innocent or even just one that shouldn’t involve a restraining order, you might want to look elsewhere.
Despite that, I’m kind of hoping for the two main characters to end up together. Not because I believe in any way that this would be a healthy relationship in real life, but because I have genuinely enjoyed watching their interactions and as much as the male protagonist is not someone anyone should have to deal with in real life, as a character on screen he has some real charisma.
About the only real stumbling block for this one and the reason it isn’t my favourite current romantic anime is because Chateau, the female lead, is still pretty bland but much like Gojo from My Dress Up Darling, I’m hoping that through her interactions with her love interest she might open up a bit.
Sasaki to Miyano
The final of the three current romantic anime I’m watching is a boys love anime with two high school boys at the centre of the story (which kind of explains the name of the anime Sasaki to Miyano – its a little on the nose). Anyway, if you were after sparkles and flowers for your Valentine’s day mood setting viewing, then boy is Sasaki to Miyano for you. Practically every other scene has one boy or the other surrounded by pastel colours and dancing somethings.
The gimmick for this boys love story is that Miyano likes to read BL manga and after a chance meeting with senior student Sasaki, where Sasaki involved himself in a fight to save one of Miyano’s class mates, the two strike up a friendship including Sasaki borrowing various manga from Miyano.
Realistically, this one is the most standard romance of the lot despite being BL given you have the endless blushes, the wondering what this feeling is, sudden jealousy, and as I said the endless sparkly backgrounds. It is genuinely impossible to come out the other side of an episode of Sasaki to Miyano and not be in a more romantic mood and honestly if a guy gives you a Valentine’s gift and doesn’t look at you the way Sasaki looks at Miyano you might just be missing something.
But at least there are some adorable current romantic anime to take our minds off of other things and if none of these are working for you I’m sure you can dig up some older series that are worth a rewatch. In the meantime, I’d love to know your suggestions of anime to watch in the lead up to Valentine’s Day.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime. Join the discussion in the comments. Karandi James
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.
While a lot of the chatter surrounding My Dress up Darling has been related to the bubbly Marin, her partner in crime and co-star Gojo has had a far more lukewarm reception. Part of that is because it is hard to be noticed when standing next to someone who shines brighter than the sun and part of it is because mostly Gojo has been a passive participant in this story being dragged along at Marin’s pace over the last three episodes.
Now episode 1 did give us a spark of what Gojo could be when he began a scathing critique of Marin’s attempted cosplay but he very quickly dialled it back down and apologised. Still, there was definitely some fire there in relation to something he was passionate about. However, My Dress Up Darling is only now in episode 4 giving us a real focus on his character with Marin the one whose screen time was thoroughly reduced this week. Whether you like this development or not will really depend on whether you are watching Darling for the story or for a Marin fix.
My Dress Up Darling gives Gojou’s character some much needed focus.
It is a shame though that the means to getting this focus was pretty much falling back on another standard romantic trope, a failure to communicate. After episode 3 had Gojo avoiding Marin to ensure he didn’t hurt her reputation or to stop rumours spreading, it would have been nice for something a little more inventive to be used rather than just not having Gojo talk through his concerns with Marin. But as much as it is a tired trope, it is used to often because it works.
The basic premise of this episode of My Dress Up Darling is that Gojo is taking Marin’s comment about an event in two weeks to heart and has self-determined that he absolutely must finish making the outfit by then. No thought at all of simply explaining to her how long it should realistically take or how long he needs.
As the episode winds on his stress is compounded by his grandfather falling and hurting his back leaving him staying with another relative and ensuring that Gojo now has to take time to visit him as well as manage the shop and just to throw another spanner in the works it is also time for mid-term tests.
With all of this going on and Gojo having missed school for a day because of his grandfather, Marin actually does trade contact details with him so they could communicate and yet still Gojo powers on alone despite more or less emotionally crumbling under the weight that he has piled on himself.
On the one hand, My Dress Up Darling is painting a picture of someone who is loyal and hardworking. Someone who wants to honour his commitments and not let others down. All of which are admirable traits unless you work yourself into the ground and end up failing anyway. However it is also painting a picture of someone who doesn’t value themselves and who can only find value in his contribution to others.
Throughout the episode Gojo remembers talking to his grandfather as a child about making the dolls and how he practices with the brushes everyday. It’s heart warming and inspiring but I’m sure if Gojo’s grandfather had been at home and watching Gojo working the way he did, he would have told him to take a break.
Where this episode of My Dress Up Darling once again rises above the usual outcome for this sort of failure to communicate issue is in Marin’s response when she’s finally told the outfit is finished and she sees the strain it has put on Gojo. Also, the realisation that he interpreted her words to mean she wanted the outfit ready in two weeks. It was such a heartfelt and honest understanding of the effort he’d put in for her that you couldn’t help but love her all the more and the two of them trying to out-apologise each other was perhaps the most adorable thing I’ve seen in a highschool romance for a while.
Still, My Dress Up Darling doesn’t leave us on tears. The final scene involves preparing Marin’s make-up and her first time trying on the outfit and it is every bit as joyous as it sounds like it should be.
I’m definitely continuing to love My Dress Up Darling and hopefully it continues to help both of these characters realise their dreams because they are both really great people who I’d love to see happy.
Pretty sure it was Irina who mentioned in their first post of My Dress up Darling that there would be ecchi content ahead. While the first episode had some leering camera angles and a few other moments, largely the tone was sweet with two main characters who seem to be genuinely decent and nice people.
Well, episode two made it clear that fanservice was definitely going to be an ongoing feature of My Dress Up Darling, though anyone who watched the OP should have kind of figured that out on their own. But episode three does lean much harder into the ecchi elements and yet still manages to hold on to that overall feeling that these two characters are adorable. It’s a weird mix and yet I have to say at the moment this anime is definitely the one I am enjoying the most this Winter season.
My Dress Up Darling benefits from two great central characters.
Having spent the weekend measuring the adorable Marin Kitagawa for her cosplay and then playing the game ‘Slippery Girls’ in order to study the outfit, Gojo is having some fairly expected dreams that leave him in a state of confusion. His lack of social interaction and relationship awareness becomes all too clear as he arrives at school and awkwardly returns Marin and her friends’ greetings before promptly spending the rest of the day avoiding her.
In a less interesting story this could drag on for more than a couple of episodes as the person being avoided began to blame themselves or something equally silly. Not so My Dress Up Darling. Instead Marin very quickly determines she’s not having any of it and literally drags Gojo back into the plot.
What follows is what could be seen as a fairly typical shopping sequence as Gojo gets dragged about but instead of just montaging them going from store to store and having ever more bags to carry we actually see the two characters interacting as Gojo reveals the drawings he’s done of the outfit and the two discuss the materials with Gojo directing Marin to ones that will help her to achieve her goal.
Its actually relatively satisfying because you see how Marin is bringing the passion for the project and Gojo brings the expertise to see it realised and Marin is genuinely thankful. Though she potentially should have mentioned the timeline prior to now.
The whole sequence is perhaps only marred by the fact that while they are looking at material the background ends up looking like it isn’t attached to the same anime as it seems more like a real scene that has been slightly painted over. It isn’t great visually and fortunately it only occurs in that one section but I hope they don’t use that technique again as it doesn’t fit with the rest of the appearance in My Dress Up Darling.
They do however also visit a shop for Marin to buy the underwear and stockings she’ll need which of course is just another opportunity really for Marin to tease Gojo a bit as he awkwardly stands outside of the dressing room and then reacts in a fairly predictable way when she shows him what she’s wearing. For some this scene will push their boundaries as the character is a high school girl, for others they’ll wonder why My Dress Up Darling missed a golden opportunity.
It would have been far more in character for Gojo to have suddenly gone into full inspection mode and to point out a problem with the chosen underwear or a reason why it was perfect before having his embarrassed freak out. We know when it is to do with his work Gojo becomes super focused and it is usually only later he realises the situation he’s in.
All and all though, My Dress Up Darling has remained fun and upbeat through three episodes and I absolutely love Marin’s character and just how positive she is and how grateful she is to have found someone who is taking her hobby as seriously as she is. Gojo is also doing some solid character work though his more serious nature means he doesn’t have quite the presence as Marin. The two together are adorable and I’m very happy to keep watching this series to see how it all unfolds.
It’s probably a good thing that the appeal of My Dress Up Darling in episode one was the two main characters because from a plot point of view episode 2 moves at a nearly glacial speed. The whole episode is essentially finishing the scene in the sewing room where Kitagawa explains the ‘plot’ of the game that the character is in that she wants to cosplay as, she then visits Gojo at home on the weekend to get her measurements taken, and finally she leaves copies of the game with Gojo so he can research the pattern for the outfit.
It could all be duller than dishwater and yet they somehow manage to pull it off almost charmingly (though not quite reaching the heights of episode 1).
My Dress Up Darling will live or die depending on how much you like these characters.
I’m going to look at each of the three parts of the episode separately given each really added something a bit different to the characters.
Firstly, My Dress Up Darling had Gojo ask Kitagawa about the character she wanted to dress up as at which point she went into a zone that is known by obsessive fan everywhere. She began to describe the plot of the game in detail adding a whole pile of extraneous detail that Gojo really didn’t need to know if the goal is to make an outfit and yet I’m thinking Kitagawa couldn’t have stopped herself if she’d tried.
And while this could have just been a cute bonding moment, instead the audience and Gojo learn that the contents of the game Kitagawa is obsessed with is a little on the risqué side which at first confuses Gojo, then he wonders if she’s making fun of him, before he takes a good look at her and realises she’s deadly serious. And points to him for not just mocking her but rather really listening and looking at her and understanding how important this game is to her. Even if some of the words she was throwing around were definitely sending off red-flags for Gojo.
We transition then to the weekend where Gojo’s grandfather conveniently leaves the house to go buy the new sewing machine meaning Gojo is alone when Kitagawa ambushes him at the front door with cake and decides they should get the measurements done as soon as possible. This brings us to phase two of the episode and it takes up the longest chunk of the twenty minutes.
Now, on the one hand, this could just be a case of over-sexualising a situation as Kitagawa displays herself in a revealing bikini and Gojo does that usual anime boy freak out about potentially touching her while taking her measurements. And on the surface that is exactly what the scene is and My Dress Up Darling extends this scene for longer than you would suspect it actually needs to.
There are two things that kind of make this scene work for My Dress Up Darling though. One is Gojo as he moves between freaked out teen anime boy and more serious dress maker to get the majority of the measurements done. The second is that just as he’s thinking Kitagawa is totally unfazed, as she’s been acting relaxed and confident during the whole session, on the final measurement she does indeed blush.
Clearly Kitagawa had resolved herself before rocking up to a boy’s house with that bikini on to get her measurements taken and she managed to bluff her way through most of the session. She wants this outfit made and this was the necessary first step. Actually, it makes perfect sense she’d prefer to get this done on the weekend rather than after school on Monday.
The final sequence in the episode involves Gojo playing the game that Kitagawa leaves him as reference material. Now we know he’s playing and watching to design an outfit, however his grandfather doesn’t and when he sticks his head in and overhears a somewhat interesting bit of dialogue, he makes the natural assumption.
As much as it is kind of a throw-away end of episode moment, I think most fans of anime will be able to relate to this moment of My Dress Up Darling. Someone walks in while you are watching anime and 9 times out of 10 the characters will choose that moment to be in a bathroom scene or something similar.
Where My Dress Up Darling really works is in Gojo’s non-reaction. He’s not at all concerned about what the characters are doing and is entirely focused on taking notes about the outfit he’s been asked to make. All of which leaves you smiling as the end credits roll.
In honesty, episode 2 of My Dress Up Darling didn’t have quite the wow factor of episode 1, but I like that it is developing these two characters and the interactions between them have so far been very solid. What I suspect though is that this anime won’t be the pure sweet treat that I was kind of wanting but it is does seem like it is going to be fun.
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