You know, I’m five episodes in Domestic Girlfriend. I really should stop feeling stumped with this show but it really does keep surprising and impressing me. Going into this episode, I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel about Momo (Haruka Yoshimura) at first. The idea that she impulsively dates and has sex with many guys made me really wary, afraid that this is all that defines her character which would feel demeaning to me. That and look, we got the non-blood related wincest baggage already. Like Natsuo really needs more love interests to drag him in. But I’ll be darned, Momo really did make a much stronger first impression on me than I expected.
The key aspect of her character is contrasts, both within her own personality but also how she plays off of other characters. All those stuffed animal plushies she makes and decorates her bag with is as creepy as the extras make it out to be but in a way, that kind of childish display really offsets the fact that she indulges in a lot of sexual flings with various boys. Even Haruka Yoshimura’s voice aims to create the same effect, making the character sound a lot younger than you would expect for someone with her personality. The contrasts further extend to how Momo interacts with other characters. Set against Rui, Momo is clearly more social and more approachable. Like Rui, she speaks her mind but without the bluntness that Rui struggles with. Against Natsuo, her motivated personality and desire to do what she wants to avoid feeling regrets really makes Natsuo’s current struggles more apparent. We get why he doesn’t want to pursue Hina or even Rui but against Momo who enjoys the spur of the moment, he really does appear indecisive and spiritless.
Though I’m sure Rui and Momo are going to be rivals, the inception of their friendship is fun to watch. The whole plot of a classmate putting the rumor mill aside to get to know someone trope is a common trope but it works well within Rui’s character. I’ll admit that the part where Momo draws a stuffed Rui charm is bizarre and creepy but I kind of get her reasoning. Assuming Rui is the first one to befriend her in eons, that kind of affinity ought to mean a lot.
I really did think Natsuo and Momo were going to have intercourse when they have date later in the episode. To be frank, I initially assumed that was Momo’s purpose as a character — someone whom Natsuo tries to have sex so that he can finally move on from his feelings towards his stepsisters only to then realize that he is still attracted in them. In fact, that ends up being why Natsuo takes up on Momo’s offer in the first place. But surprisingly, they actually don’t get to real sex. Kissing and stripping but when Natsuo learns of Momo’s history of self-harm and loneliness, he really begins to look at the situation differently. Suddenly, Momo’s constant flings don’t seem so impulsive or shallow anymore. It’s all actually a means for her to cope with and escape from her life troubles caused by her parents. Instead of going through with the sex, Natsuo ends up giving Momo what she truly wants and needs: companionship. The scene where he cooks her a meal is simply really sweet and it’s smart that he decides to just be friends with Momo, allowing for a more naturally developing relationship.
Could Natsuo and Momo hook up in the future? It could happen though if it did, it’d probably be temporary considering that Domestic Girlfriend has stepsisters at the forefront of its narrative. It has certainly been pushing Natsuo and Rui’s relationship as of late, this episode particularly giving some sexually tinted scenes. Give Natsuo credit, he still feels awkward when Rui takes of her clothes despite having already seen her naked. The fact that they are family really is affecting his perception of her. If anything, it’s actually the bit where Natsuo has to give a sick Rui a suppository that really pushed it for me. Admittedly, it actually doesn’t indulge in many fanservice shots but you just know that the fact the only medicine available in the house are suppositories was a very deliberate writing choice.
There is one interesting tidbit where Rui admits to Natsuo that she wouldn’t be too pleased with he started dating Momo. That honestly makes compete sense. Even if she doesn’t feel anything romantic towards Natuo (for now…), it’s reasonable for her to still feel a little uneasy imaging her first time going out with another girl.
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