This is easily the weakest episode in Domestic Girlfriend so far…but only marginally so.
I say “weakest” because, for once, I actually thought the comedy backfired this time around. Natsuo’s friend Fumiya (the same friend who appeared in Episode 1) and his numerous complaints about being single, exaggerated though some of them might be, got very heavy handed. Marie the cafe manager being a transgender stereotype is uh…look, it’s 2019. Times are changing, anime.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t the melodrama that I took issue with. And believe me, this episode is definitely where that attribute gets cranked up a lot. But damn, if this is how Domestic Girlfriend executes its histrionics, I guess I don’t have much to worry about. A lot of what happened this episode actually worked really well. What is going on with this show? What is going on with me? I haven’t felt this perplexed with an anime in a while.
Last episode ended with Natsuo finding out that Hina has a boyfriend and this episode elaborates by revealing that the latter is actually in an affair with a married man. The way in which Natsuo learns this is preposterous. Basically, Hina is a regular at the cafe and Fumiya overheard the scandal while waitering there. It’s quite the coincidence though it does admittedly pale in comparison to the basic premise of this show so perhaps it’s not worth harping on too much. To be fair, Natsuo’s reaction makes for a worthy trade off. Realizing the teacher he’s admired and loved isn’t that much of a role model must feel earth shattering.
Naturally, Natsuo tries to confront Hina over this new information. What an engrossing confrontation that was. Infidelity is obviously a bad thing but I completely get that Hina would rather make it her problem only. She knows love is clouding her judgment so the least she could is not get anyone else involved, including Natsuo. I’d question Natsuo’s rationality behind kissing Hina as a response to his sister’s declination but then again, the impulsiveness is the point. For one, there’s hormones. An obvious and maybe cheap excuse, I know, but I’d say it’s balanced out by Hina’s own irrationality. Furthermore, Natsuo is tired of being shrugged off as a kid and having his feelings downplayed. Kissing Hina not only is an attempt to validate his feelings towards Hina but it’s also to force her to recognize him as an adult.
Which actually makes it all the more riveting that Natsuo’s attempt completely backfires. I thought for sure that when Hina returns the kiss, that meant she does reciprocate Natsuo’s feelings and that two just further complicated their respective love lives. Instead, her action is more explicitly mocking Natsuo for trying to act like an adult. Natsuo tries to use for force to be acknowledged as a grow up but Hina counters with force to make him realize he’s still a kid. Just the way she advances so much on him to the point that he starts to feel uncomfortable is a shock to the core. It’s downright humiliating, especially when you consider the fact that he has in fact done sex before. As extreme as it was him for to crash at Fumiya’s place, can anyone blame him for doing so?
Obviously, it’s very scummy of Hina to school Natsuo like that (wait, no pun intended) but at least she realizes that she screwed up big time here. Humiliating Natsuo doesn’t give her any joy, just confusion over what she did and when she finds out her brother has ran away, she’s visibly shaken over the damage she’s done. At the end of the day, Hina isn’t an antagonist, just a person who made a very fatal error and regrets it. The only thing I really wonder if how she can redeem herself from there. Surely, she didn’t expect an apology to mend the widening gap between her and Natso, right?
Good Lord, I feel so bad about the parents. I mean, it’s not their fault their children had to become siblings in an anime. They’re just trying to be happy. That Domestic Girlfriend actually addresses how they interpret and feel about what’s going on though is impressive. It would’ve been so easy to make their marriage a throwaway device to set up the plot but instead they feel like actual people. I can’t blame them for assuming Natsuo (and later Rui) ran away in protest of their marriage. That seems like the most natural hunch to make. I’m glad that Natsuo also learned the consequences of his actions. This fiasco may be between him and his sisters but the ones who’d really suffer are his father and stepmother. I doubt he’ll actually be transparent with his father about what’s going — that would most certainly destroy the marriage — but I hope that he might still follow through on this on some capacity.
As for Rui, it’s needless to say that she dealt with Natsuo’s little stunt the best out of anyone in the house though she has a funny way of going about it anyway. I just find it so odd and amusing that she searched for Natsuo not to drag him back home but to instead find a place for herself to crash at as she too is fed up with Hina’s affair. I got nothing. That’s just priceless. And I won’t lie, the chemistry between Rui and Natsuo has really grown on me. They genuinely come across friends, maybe even family and their banter is just great. I was cracking up a lot when they were trying to figure out who’s older and much to Rui’s chagrin, she is technically the younger sister.
I am curious as to what exact plan they concocted to convince Hina to break up her boyfriend though I’m wondering more where the relationship chart will go from here on out. Natsuo is with Rui in wanting the affair to end but I have to wonder if he told her exactly what happened between him and Hina. Might Natsuo be in on this plan partially because he still wants to date Hina? Maybe he’s trying to let it go after what happened this episode but you never know, especially if Hina ultimately does recirprocate those feelings. And what about Rui? I really love their platonic chemistry but for all I know, Rui might start to genuinely fall for Natsuo. The ideal route would be to just have everyone be normal siblings but that would be too easy and there’s no way Domestic Girlfriend would go in that direction. I say this but given the show’s current track record, I almost can’t help but hope that maybe it could pull that off just fine as well.
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