The anime romance genre is vast. You can find from the wholesome fluffy to the saucy smut; there is something for every romance fan out there. Beyond that, however, is the realm of forbidden romances which can never be and which are seen as wrongful. I love to indulge in these forbidden romances from time to time.
During the Winter 2019 season, Domestic Girlfriend was just the guilty pleasure I love to enjoy. However, pleasure was not the feeling I was left with. This was trainwreck of a series and a complex one at that.
Natsuo Fuji is head over heels for his teacher Hina. Knowing his love will be unrequited, Natsuo attends a social mixer. He encounters an awkward girl called Rui Tachibana and the pair sneak out to her house. Rui asks Natsuo to have sex with her. Realizing his unrequited love will go nowhere and not wanting to remain virgin forever, he agrees. In a twist of fate, Natsuo’s dad tells Natsuo he wants to remarry. The moment Natsuo meets his to-be new family, he finds out that his new stepsisters are his teacher crush, Hina, and the girl he lost his virginity to, Rui.
You know what you’re getting yourself into when you read the premise for Domestic Girlfriend. It was meant to be a hot, complicated mess, and that’s exactly what this series turned out to be. It is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and it is understandable why; siblings end up in love with their new stepbrother. You may know titles such as Super Lovers and Oreimo where the main characters are siblings and pursue a relationship. Complex, yes? But Domestic Girlfriend is more complex than those anime as Natsuo has already slept with one of his stepsisters and is in love with the other.
Domestic Girlfriend makes other series look puny. The amount of what happens in the series is ridiculous and infuriating but for me this turned into more laughs, thank god. I didn’t mind Natsuo as main protagonist at the start. He was a boy going through puberty, a confusing time. But he quickly proved how pathetic he was regarding his back and forth between Hina and Rui, letting be taken advantage of and having his fill of either hot sister. Natsuo wasn’t the one out of the three who infuriated me the most, it was Hina. Her irresponsible decisions and poor judgement demonstrated that adults are sometimes worse than a child. It was surprising she even acknowledged her ill actions while pursuing a relationship with Natsuo. A line Hina quoted, ‘You Can’t Control Who You Love’ was beyond laughable coming from her. It’s true you can’t control feelings but there is always a choice in how you decide to act on it. Hina chose knowing full well the risk she was taking by giving into her feelings for Natsuo.
The least annoying was Rui, for whom, if you saw in my reviews, I was rooting for. Rui is not exempt from being foolish. Rui is an awkward individual who doesn’t know how to socialize with others and that only added to her foolishness for falling for Natsuo. Rui could have done better than Natsuo, despite some of her foolish acts. There were plenty times she proved to be least mature to a degree than her sister Hina, making Hina’s character look more weak and pathetic.
Domestic Girlfriend only gets more complicated with each episode with many awkward moments that might make you turn away from the screen. The only thing that got me through to the end of this series was the laughable particular situations and my desire to see the last episode. The series in the last two episodes tried to be serious, where previous attempt had failed, and the ultimate fail came in the final conclusion. That ‘conclusion’ was a load of rubbish; the pacing of events was rushed through, where there needed to be a build-up but that was dealt within a flash. The last few scenes of the final episode were a joke. Everything that happened within this series just passes before you know it.
Along with the trainwreck plot and the main cast of pathetic characters, the other additional characters were like watching paint dry. Momo and Miu were just distractions for Natsuo in-between the hot sisters. I still have no idea why the foreigner Alex along with his terrible Japanese/American accent existed in the series. His character introduction brought nothing. He was just a random character thrown in there.
Art And Music
In this section I can at least highlight on some positive aspects. The music to Domestic Girlfriend fitted the bill fine but the series attempts of being serious failed every time, especially in the emotionally critical points of the complex love triangle. The music became drowned out and in the end it was just there, which is a shame. The opening and closing themes were a different story. The opening theme ‘Kawaki wo Ameku’ was sung by Minami, who you may know for voicing Haruhi Suzumiya and singing the opening themes of Chrono Crusade and Rumbling Hearts.
Minami’s performance for Domestic Girlfriend’s opening was unlike any other I’ve heard her sing previously. She starts out speaking words, her voice begins to elevate and just takes off from there in a fast, raspy tone. Encompassing with the piano in the background which is a standout, it’s the rawest performance I’ve heard from Minami and it captivates you. Her voice reflects the lyrics better than the lyrics can themselves. It is a song about the complexity of love. The ending theme ‘Wagamama’ sung by Arisa Takigawa starts out mellow and Arisa’s voice then picks up, leading into an upbeat tune. It’s a nice melody.
Studio Diomedea is known for works like Fuuka. They have a nice animation style, always visually bright and colorful. I like how they highlight their character designs, specifically their eyes.
If you intend to dive into Domestic Girlfriend, be prepared for a bumpy ride. It is certainly not a romance series I’ll ever revisit, not even for a good laugh. Getting to the end of the series, I’m asking myself why does such a series exist? Well, it doesn’t exist anymore for me. But maybe it exists for other people. You may even enjoy it.
Thinking about how I felt over Scums Wish’s deep complexity of love and exploration of the ugly, I would watch that any day over Domestic Girlfriend. Scums Wish was INTERESTING; not this series, which has you screaming at every turn for all the wrongness that consists within it. Domestic Girlfriend has been my least favorite series for a while now, definitely up there on ‘messed up’ like School Days.
There’s Nothing Domestic About This
- Visually bright animation
- Solid opening and closing themes
- Plot was rushed
- Some awkward, uncomfortable scenes
- Side characters forgettable
- Main cast of characters lacking personality
- Series failed at creating a serious atmosphere
- Ending was very unsatisfactory
At least Citrus was tolerable, but not Domestic Girlfriend. With the way the series ended, another season might be possible so I don’t feel I’ll be saying goodbye to this series for good yet. So If you’re a lover of forbidden fruits with a side of complexity, then this series is for you!
Let us know in the comments what you thought of the complex train called Domestic Girlfriend? Don’t forget to check out our other anime series reviews!
Winter 2019 | Anime Info | Simulcast