Domestic Girlfriend – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Natsuo’s life suddenly becomes more complicated when his father comes home and announces he has remarried a woman with two daughters whom Natsuo has met before. They’re Hina, his teacher and unrequited crush, and Rui, a girl he previously slept with. (Official HIDIVE Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Domestic Girlfriend tries to instill drama with its first episode, immediately setting our hero in an awkward position where his new step sisters turn out to be his teacher, on whom he has a crush, and the other step sister, a girl he lost his virginity to in a one night stand.But this drama comes off unconvincing, as the execution doesn’t make it seem like Natsuo, our protagonist, is in any actual trouble, besides a scenario he’s concocted in his mind. For one, his crush on his teacher, Hina is completely one sided. His single rendezvous with Rei, the younger of the two sisters, was clearly a one time thing that Rei herself initiated and she makes it clear that this was a one and done. However this is anime, so it won’t be that shocking if both girls end up developing feelings for Natsuo and then the true drama starts up. But as things stand it’s hard to buy the amount of anguish and torment Natsuo derives from his new circumstances.
Tom: So much of the drama is inside Natsuo’s head that the stakes of this ‘romance’ he has with Hina feel artificial. With no jeopardy the episode kinda fizzles, with the only real highlights being the periodic comedy used to liven things up. Oh and the side characters. Domestic Girlfriend has Natsuo’s father, who’s down to earth, nice guy attitude feels cute and fun when he’s romancing Hina’s mom. Hina also feels like a fun, lively character, save for some comedy that’s extremely forced. But these little moments aren’t enough to prop up a plot that feels strained and incapable of carrying a series for 12 episodes, let alone the ongoing manga it’s based on.
Linny: I have to clarify that I do not think Domestic Girlfriend is horrid by any means, at least not one episode in. At worst, it is a bit underwhelming and maybe a bit too trope filled. It’s still worth a try, especially if you’re curious about this almost comedy of errors like drama. But if the topic turns you off, and it’s not as Domestic Girlfriend is the first anime to toy with love between step siblings, there’s nothing here to return it to your good graces.
Tom: That’s the weird thing. Linny calls it a comedy of errors, and it kind of is, but the tone for Domestic Girlfriend flits between wanting to be something like Scum’s Wish or Netsuzou Trap, with scuzzy romance and uncomfortable entanglements, yet most of the characters feel too timidly nice, like a more traditional anime romance. They’re caught in misunderstandings that… don’t really lead much of anywhere? At least for now. The episode ends on another misstep by Natsuo that could lead to bigger trouble, but this first episode doesn’t do a great job of selling itself. Right now Domestic Girlfriend feels like a moderately interesting experience, hampered by lack of a strong hook.
Domestic Girlfriend is available for streaming via HIDIVE