Domestic Girlfriend

Domestic Girlfriend

Domestic Girlfriend anime series cover art
Domestic Girlfriend

Overview

Domestic Girlfriend (Domestic na Kanojo / ドメスティックな彼女) was one of the more interesting anime to come out of the Winter 2019 season. Whether that was a good or bad thing I’ll leave for you to decide at the end of this review.

It’s a romantic drama which is fairly light on actual romance and instead goes for as much drama as it can. But, this isn’t the kind of drama I love. It’s not the kind of drama that puts a knot in your stomach; it’s trashy, fan service drama.

That said, I’ve been known to enjoy my fair share of trash. I mean, I thoroughly enjoyed Eromanga Sensei and Oreimo while I was watching them. And despite how bad My Sister, My Writer was, I thought it was an entertaining watch as well.

Okay, but those are all trashy anime because they fall into the “imouto” genre. What does that have to do with Domestic Girlfriend?

Well, if we take a look at the definition of the word domestic we find this, “relating to the running of a home or to family relations.” I think you know where this is going.

But, this series goes beyond the other imouto anime I’ve mentioned in some regards. Sure, the protagonist isn’t in love with his middle school aged sister, so there’s that, but it’s a lot more complicated. For starters, he has two sisters who he’s in love with.

Characters

Natsuo Fujii is a high schooler who I believe is in his senior year, although maybe he’s a junior. Overall, he’s a pretty standard guy. He’s not excessively a white knight, he enjoys writing and wants to be a novelist, he hangs out with his friends, and he has a huge crush on the cute, young, new teacher.

However, one day he goes out on a group date with some of his friends and ends up having sex with one of the girls who was there. This girl’s name is Rui Tachibana, and she didn’t really have any feelings towards Natsuo, but just wanted to know what it was like.

After their one night stand, Natsuo and Rui never expected to meet again. But, of course it doesn’t end there. As it turns out, Natsuo’s father and Rui’s mother have a surprise marriage, and BAM! Now they’re step-siblings who have crossed the line.

Hina and Rui Tachibana from the anime series Domestic Girlfriend
Hina and Rui Tachibana

But, that’s still not all. Remember how I mentioned that Natsuo had a crush on his teacher? Well, that teacher’s name is Hina Tachibana, and she’s Rui’s sister, now also Natsuo’s step-sister. So, Natsuo now has two step-sisters, one of which he’s crossed the line with, and the other which he’s in love with.

Spoiler: he crosses the line with Rui again and also with Hina at least once. But, just remember that they’re not related by blood so it’s totally acceptable, even if Hina is also his teacher.

As for their characters, Rui is a fairly self-conscious girl who always felt left out when her friends or sister talked about relationships. This is why she initially approached Natsuo during the group date. However, after becoming step-siblings, Rui develops real feelings for him, which Natsuo doesn’t often reciprocate.

Despite being the older sister, Hina is portrayed as less mature. She has more experience than Rui, but her experience is with a married man. Overall, she seems a lot more desperate than Rui, who only has feelings for Natuo. Hina is the kind of girl who will latch on to anyone who shows her affection, even if the relationship is unhealthy.

Reception

As is the case with any romance anime involving more than one viable option for best girl, viewers took to the internet to proclaim whether Rui or Hina was better. There are also some other girls in the series, but it’s clear that the only two who really matter are these two.

Personally, I prefer Rui. She’s awkward, which is cute, but also fairly straightforward about her feelings towards Natsuo. The only real downside to Rui compared to her sister, if you can even call this a downside, is that their romantic relationship is more “vanilla.”

Yes, Rui is Natsuo’s step-sister, but Hina is his step-sister and teacher so there’s two levels of degeneracy rather than one.

The reason I don’t really like Hina all that much is the aforementioned fact that she’ll just latch onto anyone who gives her affection. This makes her feelings towards Natsuo seem a lot less genuine when compared to Rui’s.

Okay, but the fight over best girl wasn’t the only thing viewers were discussing when this series was airing, they were also discussing the overall quality of the series. And, I’ll be honest, the quality wasn’t all that good.

The OP had a nice song, so I’ll give it that, but the rest of the OST didn’t stand out to me in any way. As for the animation, it was pretty bare-bones, but then again I’m not expecting stellar animation from a trashy romance anime.

What really hurt the series in my opinion was the scene composition. Admittedly, I’m no expert on scene composition, but when a scene is really bad, you don’t need to be an expert to see it. One of the major flaws with some of the scenes were how they were simply left hanging in silence for way too long.

Something would happen, or the characters would finish talking, and there would just be a still shot for a couple of seconds before moving on. I’m pretty sure these stills were meant to build up suspense, kind of like the elevator scene in Neon Genesis Evangelion, but they failed completely.

Another issue is that while I liked certain aspects of the characters, none of them really react in natural ways. For example, when Rui finds out that Natsuo and Hina are in a sexual relationship, she tells Natsuo that she’s going to start hating him now.

She doesn’t say she hates him, she says she’s going to start hating him, implying that this is something she needs to actively decide to do. But, I still like Rui anyway. She’s pretty relatable when it comes to how she’s awkward about expressing her feelings.

Conclusion

Overall I’d give Domestic Girlfriend a 5/10. I watched maybe seven of the 12 episodes with a group, and out of all of us I think I rated it the highest. I understand the issues this series has, but at the same time it was enjoyable to watch and I’ve seen much worse anime.

I can’t justify putting it down on the levels of some of the other things I’ve seen, so I think calling it average is pretty fair. It doesn’t do anything well, but it also doesn’t do anything horrendously wrong. It has its ups and downs, and that’s pretty average if you ask me.

So, have you watched Domestic Girlfriend? If so, what did you think of it? And, are you on team Rui or team Hina? Let me know down in the comments.

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