What’s the show? Domestic Girlfriend, Episode 3.
How’s this episode? This episode worried me a little as it veered headlong into soap territory with one of its plot developments but deftly managed to correct itself by delivering a compelling and emotionally charged series of dramatic set pieces infused with substantial character development.
Wow. Okay then, that’s certainly substantial praise. I made a tweet after watching this episode saying something along the lines of “if you’d told me last year that this show would have been in my Top 3 anime of the season (so far) I wouldn’t have believed you.” Which is as much a comment on the quality of the show as it is the unexpectedness of it considering the zero interest I had in it and the fact it’s continued high quality outshines it’s initial impression.
Okay, so what happens in this episode then? Well through a roundabout way (Natsuo’s friend overhears it while working at the cafe) we discover that the relationship troubles his teacher and new sister Hina has been having is that she’s in a relationship with a married man. He confronts her about it and is again rebuffed with the similar phrase “these are adult problems that don’t concern children”. Then in what can only be described as ‘a very bad idea’ he kisses her. She doesn’t pull away at first, but ~eventually~ does, giving him a slap for his actions—only to be pushed onto the bed where she kisses him.
Oh boy. And he’s taken off-guard by this action on her part, to the point where she’s perched above him and the only thing he can do is look on, shellshocked. She again remarks about him being a “child” and he returns to his room to think on what exactly happened. The next morning his father finds a note saying he’s going to stay with a friend for a while as he needs space and the parents naturally assume it’s because of their hasty remarriage and go into damage control meanwhile Hina knows the truth and the look of guilt on her face clues Rui into the situation too. Rui goes after Natsuo and eventually (and conveniently) finds him, the two are both unhappy with Hina’s actions (the dating a married man thing, not the kissing a minor) and so resolve to get her to change her ways. They return home to the sight of their parents sitting in the dark, contemplating divorce for the sake of their children which they are quick to clarify isn’t the reason for them running away from home. Hina comes downstairs and collapses to her knees in tears.
Sounds very dramatic. It is, and it’s told in a way that doesn’t pander to the audience, there’s no excessive rumination via internal monologues, no amateurish handling of feelings and no dodging difficult questions. I respect this show for its restraint on what could be mishandled into trashy drama but more so I respect the show for just being so compelling on an entertainment level too.
Previous ‘Domestic Girlfriend’ Reviews:
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Categories: Winter 2019 Anime