What’s the show? Domestic Girlfriend, Episode 1.
So how’s this episode? So this show wasn’t on my initial Winter 2019 Watch List because of stupid reasons (I only saw the Japanese title and confused it with another show) so when some murmurings around this show started to surface under its English title I was like “oh yeah, I’ve heard of that manga! I should watch the show!” Thus ends the exciting tale of why I’m watching this even though it wasn’t on my watch list.
Nobody cares, get to the review already! Okay fine! So diluted to its simplest this is a show about a guy who sleeps with a girl he has no feelings for (and vice versa) all the while crushing on his young and attractive teacher. Next minute his father announces he is getting remarried to a woman with two daughters and guess what his soon-to-be stepsisters are the girl he had sex with and the teacher he has a crush on! What are the odds?!
That seems… Unlikely? Contrived? Ridiculous? Fanciful? Juvenile? Yes it is, all of the above! But since when has that stopped anime from indulging in the realm of the ~never gonna happen~.
So you’re okay with the premise? The premise is something out of a soap opera but whatever I’m not going to disparage a show for being ridiculous with its general conceit. What I can and will disparage is its execution! Despite framing itself as something of a ~serious~ romantic drama (what with the somewhat dull colour palette, minimalist design and emphasis on full face closeups) this is handled with all the subtlety and restraint and pace as a toddler eating spaghetti with a mallet. The entire episode felt like it was in such a rush to get to the place in the story where everyone was living together that it became almost comical to behold. And as such I couldn’t take any of it seriously because the show itself was so impatient.
Maybe that was intentional though? Regardless of intent it came off as flimsy. But for me the worst thing about the show was that it felt like it was pandering to a very juvenile teenage boy fantasy, the idea of your sexy teacher and the girl you slept with once suddenly living in the same house as yours. And as I said the idea itself isn’t essentially flawed but framing it in such a try hard serious way came across as obnoxious.
Excuse me? Is Mr. Harem Anime trying to shame a series for pandering to teenage boys? I’m not shonen shaming, some of my favourite anime are shonens! The difference is 99% of the shows that I watch that “pander” are either self-aware enough to know that harems are ridiculous and unrealistic and play up to the idea with comic-relief or other kind of shenanigans to offset the “relationship” aspect of the series. Like if there was a bonafide, ‘multiple girls going after the same guy’ harem anime that took itself as serious as this show does I’d have the ~exact~ same complaints as I do with this show.
Okay… I think I see what you’re getting at, you don’t like the show because it tries to hard to be serious when its not serious. Did I say I didn’t like it?
Oh, uh, well I just assumed given all the– No, I mean for whatever reason as much as this show has its problems, I still enjoyed the experience. That might seem unexpected but I legitimately did. Well, right up until the end…
What happened at the end? Well his teacher is sleeping opposite him on the couch and she’s passed out drunk and lookin’ real sexy with her short little shorts and cleavage spiling top. And Mr protagonist has decided now that the family situation is the way it is, he’s never going to get a short at any kind of romantic relationship with her so he leans in, intent to steal a kiss–one first and final kiss from her unconscious lips… and then other girl walks in catching him mere moments from the deed. END CREDITS!
Oof~ the problematic rears its head again I see! Did you just “oof”? Anyway yes, problematic is one word for it, so is attempted sexual assault. Here’s a lesson for you kids, don’t try and kiss and unconscious person! Even if they don’t know it happened, it’s still assault! And yes, it’s no doubt going to be the catalyst for juicy messy ~drama~ but boy do I hate a male protagonist who only thinks of himself and not the women around him.
So you dislike the show now? I’m confused… No, as it is now the show itself hasn’t glorified, endorsed or even pardoned his actions–we won’t know the show’s stance on what ~almost~ happened until next episode. That said I’m not at all in a place where I could say I even like the main character now so that’s going to be a steep hill (among many) this show has to climb.
…Okay. So overall thoughts on the first episode and a recommendation? Messy, messy, messy in every respect. It’s messily paced, messily handled, with messy characterisation and a very messy protagonist. Also, did you see I went the whole review without actually naming any of the characters? I think that goes a way to telling you exactly how I felt about most of the characters on the show–thoroughly disconnect. Just about the only character I did gravitate towards was the dad and that’s only because he’s shown to be the most endearing out of all of them! As for who I recommend it too… I don’t know, I suppose anyone with messy tastes in anime…
If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!