Fuelling Fiction Through Pain

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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The Rumour Mill Surrounding The Easy Girl

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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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Good Intentions; Questionable Activities: How Will This End?

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Domestic Girlfriend Episode 4 Review

Rui and Natsuo returned to the house in episode 3 with a plan. This week we see that while they are solid on the goal of the plan the execution needs a little work. While we get some adorable moments with the duo as they sneak about after Hina and try to figure out her schedule, in terms of actually achieving anything I have to say they fall pretty flat.

Which is when they take a more direct course of action and go from polite family meddling (if that is even a thing when you are stalking your older sister) to full on invasion of privacy as Rui steals Hina’s phone while she’s in the bathroom. They then try to call the cheating guy and have Rui break up with him but Rui’s just not up to the task and pretty much stammers and hangs up. Again, cute moment for Rui and Natsuo together but still not much forward progress on the grand plan.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 4 Rui and Natsuo

It does mean that we see Natsuo point out that it isn’t Rui’s fault and that he never should have asked the impossible of her in the first place while they lament about their failure at the cafe. This is when our old friend coincidence kicks in again and Hina and Shuu, the cheating guy, enter the cafe. Normally this kind of thing would annoy me but from this story that has been heavily reliant on coincidence from the get-go to keep the drama moving it was more or less expected and the timing was pretty well done.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 4 Everyone in the cafe - Awkward

I also like that they guy didn’t just give up because Natsuo and Rui insisted he break up with Hina. Like many people who are cheating, he actually had seemed to convince himself that he wasn’t in the wrong and that it just wasn’t possible ‘yet’ to do the right thing. While Hina continued to suck up his lines Rui lost her cool and flung her water in his face before bolting with Natsuo hot on her heels.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 4 Rui and Natsuo

This actually led to something I really did like about this whole situation. At this point, Hina is the one with the final choice. The guy is still trying to feed her lines and clearly is happy to continue their relationship as is, so Hina is able to maintain the status quo. However, she can also choose to finally end things. While the last couple of episodes have done a good job of painting Hina as a little bit pathetic, it was nice to see her have the final agency in this little arc before it was concluded with a saccharine sweet family moment at the end of the episode.

So, in case you are wondering, I’m still loving the drama and still think this show goes very well with popcorn.

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Why Not Prepare Popcorn For This Fantastic Drama?

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Domestic Girlfriend Episode 3 Review

Part of the enjoyment of Domestic Girlfriend definitely comes from the incredibly low expectations I went into it with but at the same time there were a few things about this episode that really helped me to enjoy it. Visually this anime is average though the music, particularly the OP, is pretty solid. Voice acting works well enough at conveying emotions but it isn’t exactly the selling point. There’s a lot here that’s decidedly average.

Then you have the plot that seems more or less like yet another trashy harem, and then you start watching it and realises it is more like a soap opera or melodrama. But episode 3 kind of made me realise I’m not watching this anime in spite of its genre; I’m definitely watching it because of what it is delivering.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 3 - Fumiya is a great friend when you are down

Continuing on with the saga of sensei, Natsuo consults his friend about his feelings and ultimately is cheered up by the thought that he’s just kind of jealous. That and the story his friend shares of the office worker having an affair. And then, as they are walking they spot Sensei as she is saying goodbye to someone in a car and guess who the girl having an affair was?

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 3 Natsuo and Hina

It’s a cheesy plot move straight out of a day-time soap and yet here they play it absolutely straight. Natsuo confronts her quietly in her room and she admits it and then tells him to butt out. He kisses her. Inappropriate, yes, and poor timing to boot, but teenage boy who has been highly emotional and is seeing his long-time crush in this situation, while it doesn’t make it right you can kind of see why he gave in to the impulse.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 3 Natsuo and Hina

After slapping him, she kisses him back and then drops them on the bed. I’m going to be honest, Sensei – Hina, is my least favourite character of the central trio so far because she is the adult, as she keeps claiming and yet so far she’s the one who has been making the most awkward and stupid decisions propelling the drama. What is worse, is she then taunts Natsuo for being scared and kicks him out of the room.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 3 Natsuo and Rui

Needless to say, he leaves the house to crash at his friend’s. There’s a whole other thing where Rui then runs away before we get the team of Natsuo and Rui coming back to deal with the situation, but the other point I really enjoyed in this episode were the parents.

Anime parents kind of suck, and these two haven’t really been an exception given they just kind of threw the family together at short notice. But amazingly enough, when the kid runs away, they immediately realise that maybe that wasn’t the best idea (admittedly, it wasn’t the reason he ran away but it would have been fair enough if it was). While I think jumping straight to divorce papers is a little extreme, I really appreciated that the parents and their views are actually here in the story rather than just dealing with the kids and their perspective. Also, consequences of joining two families together without sufficient thought being at least mentioned is something of a novelty.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 3 Family

So yeah, Domestic Girlfriend isn’t a perfect anime, not even close, but I’m going to enjoy my weekly dose of drama from it and so far its been quite the enjoyable ride.

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The Growing Bonds That Join These Characters

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Domestic Girlfriend Episode 2 Review

Given I went into the first episode of this anime expecting that Domestic Girlfriend would be the usual clueless protagonist who falls over and lands on a girl’s chest or with his nose in her crotch and that would be played for laughs, and I would promptly drop the show, the far more serious drama unfolding here is actually a pleasant surprise. While there are certainly elements that might turn some away such as the bathroom scene, the story seems to be dealing with largely characters that act kind of like real people (though there are still gaps in that credibility).

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 2 Rui
I like that Rui gets to the heart of the matter.

This episode largely focused on Natsuo and Rui’s interactions and despite Rui not leaving much of an impression last week, that is for the better. Compared to Sensei’s more stereotypical and silly persona, Rui is a harder read and the audience, like Natsuo, is invited this week to take a second look at her.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 2 Natsuo
Believe it or not, he’s actually being helpful.

There’s an incredibly charming scene at school where Natsuo is attempting to help Rui get used to conversation but somewhere throughout it stops being play and they end up verbally sparring much to the entertainment of the class. While Rui’s transfer to Natsuo’s school is a cliche development, it makes sense given they live together and at least she didn’t land in his class.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 2

However, Sensei does get development this episode as we see that her tears last week were indeed because of a situation and that situation is ongoing. While the audience, and Natsuo, aren’t fully in on the details just yet, it is clear that things aren’t going so well for Sensei when it comes to romance.

So while Domestic Girlfriend may be teetering on the edge of being a soap-opera (the only thing stopping it is that we currently have a very small cast of characters), so far it has been highly entertaining. And I really do love the music so far, particularly the OP and ED.

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