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Valentine’s Day may be long past at this point, but there is still plenty of love in the air…or, maybe more like pent-up sexual frustration? or, no love? We’ll go with love.
Nerds come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds. Some of them like to watch anime, play video games, collect figures, read comics, and…make Japanese Hina dolls? Sure, why not. The story of My Dress-Up Darling focuses on two such nerds, albeit of very different social standing. Gojo is a loner who has literally zero friends, and Marin is the high school hottie who everyone loves and adores. However, after the two have a chance meeting after school, Gojo finds out that Marin wants nothing more than to cosplay her favorite characters. Attracted to her endearing personality (and general good looks), Gojo agrees to help, and so the two begin their cosplay journey.
Is It Horny In Here, or Is It Just Me?
It is not much of a secret that a lot of high school romances in anime tend to be on the…ecchi side of things. Whether one considers that a good or bad thing, that is the reality. This is not to say that is the case for all of them, but a decent portion.
“Yeah, yeah, get to the point!”
…the point is that, I do not mind that much when a character expresses their sexuality openly. In fact, in a lot of contexts, it is more than justified. However, when it comes to a romance show My Dress-Up Darling, some of that should, at the very least, feel earned. Character development should come from more than just how many weird angles a series can shove into one episode, and plot should mean, ya know, plot.
My expectations of this show were pretty low, to begin with, just based on what I had heard about the manga, and for the first two episodes, I was a bit torn. How the series managed to spend an entire episode on measuring Marin’s proportions I will only ever view through the lens of extreme horniness.
Still, what lies past those first two episodes is actually a genuinely entertaining series about
Well, mostly. There is of course the blossoming romance between the main characters, but when they are not obsessing over each other there attention is focused on making cosplay for Marin. Given Gojo’s skills in designing dresses for Hina dolls, Cosplay comes pretty naturally to him, and Marin (being a literal model as we come to find out later) wears his cosplay effortlessly.
This dynamic between the two of them is arguably what feels most enjoyable in the series. Marin tells him about one of her favorite characters, Gojo spends hours on research and coming up with a near perfect design, and then the two of them geek out over it when he finishes it. Of course there is a little more to it then that, but overall it feels incredibly wholesome and fun.
While dynamic female characters are definitely becoming more prominent in the medium, and despite my introduction focusing on the more pronounced sexual elements, it is worth noting that most of the show cast Marin in a light which hones in on her enjoyment of Cosplay. The romance, meanwhile, develops as a result of this, as opposed to be assumed from the beginning.
Being the big, dumb stupid idiot who is easily impressed/entertained, I appreciate the shift towards brighter color palettes. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with drearier color schemes. it of course makes sense that this will changed depending on the tone and subject matter of the series attached to it. I guess what I really mean to say is that it is nice to see a shift in color to match the happier, more popcorn-y direction of slice of life/romance type shows.
With My Dress-Up Darling, in particular, the pinks and oranges stand out in a way that feels really pleasant to look at, especially against the background of Gojo’s house and the various cosplay locations they visit throughout the show. It reminds me a lot of Lovely Complex, in this way, which is certainly not a complaint.
I could speak more about the various problematic elements of the show, but honestly, for a series that is otherwise fairly light-hearted and enjoyable, it feels like wasted breath. It is not a masterpiece by any means, but it is, at the end of the day, fun. I cannot say this is going to be a series that everyone enjoys, but certainly a lot of people will.
How did you feel about My Dress-Up Darling? Let me know in the comments.
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