I’ll admit that since writing my First Impressions post, I was thinking at the back of my head that maybe me liking Domestic Girlfriend was a fluke. Surely, this show would eventually find a way to screw up and turn me away. This kind of story still isn’t my usual cup of tea.
And…I still really like this show…well, okay then.
Surprisingly, Episode 2 doesn’t follow up on Episode 1’s cliffhanger the way I expected. Rather than have Rui all upset about Natsuo trying to kiss Hina, you actually have her walking over to her sister and kick her off the couch. That’s a lot more comedic than I expected (though I’ll admit that the joke did land for me). After that, the scene is further played off for levity as Hina actually fears that she might’ve kissed Natsuo because she’s apparently done that when drunk before, leading to an amusing conversation with her brother. You do find out that Rui finds Natsuo’s attempt odd but she apparently writes it off as him possibly trying to cheer up Hina, assuming that he might be privy to their sister’s apparent boyfriend troubles. I’m stumped that this is the route Domestic Girlfriend takes and yet, I am also kind of relieved at its decision. Any other romantic anime of the like would’ve made such a big stink about this kind of plot point, maybe even spend an entire arc on it. It’s kind of refreshing to see an anime stray away from that path and once again, the healthy amount of levity on display here is appreciated.
Even better is that to Natsuo’s credit, it looks like he is trying to genuinely bond with his stepsisters. I particularly loved the part where he tries to hold a mock conversation with Rui after noticing that she hasn’t made any new friends upon transferring to his school. That really comes across as Natsuo actually concerned about Rui’s social life and his frustrations at how cold and blunt she apparently is shows that these two can develop a rapport beyond retroactively awkward sex partners. As for his relationship with Hina, I like how he’s concerned first and foremost about her apparent boyfriend troubles. His crush towards her is seemingly pushed aside and he truly just wants to know what’s going on and if there’s any way he can help.
Every once in a while his hormones does dictate his thoughts such as when Rui asks to talk to him while she’s still in the bath and Natsuo’s mind starts going to places. For the most part though, he is trying to not overstep boundaries. Hell, in that same scene, he is constantly trying to avoid peaking at Rui and that’s even in spite of the fact that he’s technically already seen her nude. Admittedly, this is how Natsuo should be acting but it’s easy to screw this up so I still want to acknowledge Domestic Girlfriend in regards to this aspect.
The only thing I’m still trying to wrap my head around is Hina. You really have to wonder what exactly is going on between her and her boyfriend. Is it just a romance flaming out? Goodness, what if it’s an abusive relationship? I kind of want to suspect that second guess since it could tie into Rui wanting tor try sex because it’s a thing adults do. There’s also the matter of Hina and Natsuo. Finding out that she has a strained relationship does explain that one time Natsuo caught her crying so that kind of debunks my hunch that the scene is related to Hina’s possible feelings towards Natsuo. Still, there’s something about the way Hina conducts herself around her stepbrother that raises an eyebrow. Like, when she has Natsuo feel her hair on his cheeks, I get that it’s to be playful but it very easily also comes across as flirtatious. Frankly, it’s hard to shrug off the possibility that Domestic Girlfriend want me to suspect that the scene is meant to come across in that way.
That aside, I guess I still really like Domestic Girlfriend…this is a surprising development for me.
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