Mar 29, 2019
Stark700 (All reviews)
Fate is a funny thing. Some may believe in it while others pass it off as a superstition. When someone like Natsuo decided to have sex with a girl named Rui, and later became his step sister, is that fate too? It’s too bad since this high school boy has been in love with a teacher named Hina Tachibana and his life got even more complicated when she is his step sibling too. What the hell is wrong with this world?

From the way I see it, Domestic Kanojo (also known as Domestic Girlfriend) subscribes to a complicated romance story that feeds off of its drama. The first episode immediately makes us realize that Natsuo is not ready for a serious relationship. He’s pretty much the typical sensitive type of guy who lacks experience with love. Sure, he may have had a one night stand with Rui but what she wanted back then was purely to know what sex is like. Natsuo didn’t feel committed to the relationship either since he’s in love with Hina. Domestic Kanojo is saturated with drama so you should expect plenty of. The most evident is this complicated love triangle between the two main leads – Natsuo, Hina, and Rui.

The meeting between the first three characters on screen brings out nothing more awkwardness. It almost felt like a moment of social suicide for Natsuo as he realizes the reality of his situation. But hey, everyone loves a secret right? Well, maybe not Rui. In the most direct way possible, she pretends not to know Natsuo and whispers to him to forget about what happened. Despite this, it seems Rui has developed feelings towards him. The show explores a deep degree of puberty for Natsuo and Rui. Being the younger characters, they try to experience what love is. However, the show also makes it unclear who Natsuo is commiteed to on several occasions. In many episodes, I feel like he uses Rui as a replacement for Hina. In respect, Hina also does show feelings towards Natsuo as the show progresses but a big question remains is “will or will they”? However, both sides of Natsuo’s relationship brings about controversy. Hina is at least 7 years older than him. Rui’s relationship with Natsuo would pretty much be designated as incest considering their circumstances. Like I said before, controversy and Domestic Kanojo belongs in the same sentence.

Outside of the main cast, I confess to say the other characters are far less appealing. For instance, Momo is introduced as the nice and friendly ‘girl next door’ type. It doesn’t take long for her to show interest in Natsuo but the show dumps her without much development whatsoever. Natsuo’s friend Alex is introduced later with a goofy personality who manages to make no impact in the story whatsover. The manga expands more on his character but the anime adaptation treats him like a butt monkey. Perhaps the more important supporting cast includes Shuu, a married man who had engaged in an affair with Hina. There’s a plot that involves Natsuo and Rui trying to get Hina to break off their relationship yet she seems reluctant. Indeed, this show has adultery and isn’t shy to express it. The storytelling themes reminds me of modern day telenovela where romance always seems to have consequences.

But hey, Domestic Kanojo could make a break for experimenting with love right? After all, the first episode included Natsuo and Rui in a sexual one night stand to experience what it be like. The sad truth is that neither seems satisfied and didn’t grow up from their experience at all. As someone who have read the manga, this 12-episode adaptation can’t even manage to capture the magic of their intimiate scenes. It’s hard to get emotionally invested into any of the main characters when you see how many mistakes they make. While I can say this is relatable to real life relationships, the anime indulges in too much drama. Every episode seems to add drama on top of drama for the sake of….drama. Anyone who is familiar with character relationships in similar dramas can easily see how flawed the characters are. To me, this was nothing less than a guilty pleasure that occasionally bought out some unintentional humor from time to time. By the time I reached the final episodes, I can say it’s pretty much a laughable drama with too many mistakes to fix.

Diomeda is a questionable studio to be honest. Even some of their work in recent years (Sky Wizards Academy, Unlimited Fafnir, Fuuka) reminds me of production quality similar to the mid 2000s. You’re not going to find high level visuals or realistic animation here. Instead, you’re going to get fan service shoved down your throat in the form of panty shots, boobs, and in some cases, nudity. (yes, there’s an actual uncensored version out there) The manga isn’t shy with its sexualized content either. But for all its flaws, I give credit due for the incredible opening song (Kawaki wo Ameku) performed by Minami. It’s one of the most well decorated theme songs for a drama anime I've seen in recent years. The melancholy, stylish piano choreography, and character emotion in this song is phenomenal. Similarly, I also give praise for the performance of the two main female leads – Rui and Hina. Despite being flawed characters, their voices expressions reflects their personalities and emotions rather well.

Watching Domestic Kanojo wasn’t an easy experience for me even as a manga reader. There are several episodes that made me want to tear my hair out. Relationships in this show is expressed through drama added on top of drama with weak direction. It isn’t one of those fairy tale romances with a happily ever after. No. This is more like a telenovela that’s suited for live action than anime with too much stupidity. Except, it is an actual anime...