My Dress-Up Darling
by MrAJCosplay/Cartoon Cipher,
How would you rate episode 1 of
My Dress-Up Darling ?
Community score: 4.5
How would you rate episode 2 of
My Dress-Up Darling ?
Community score: 4.4
As someone who has been cosplaying for about a decade, I was enthralled at the idea of a romantic comedy between an overly eccentric cosplay girl and her cute crafting boyfriend. I have known so many different cosplay couples that work together in order to bring to life some incredible creations in the cosplaying field, and while some shows definitely have cosplay in them, it's often included as a way of just highlighting otaku culture in general; very rarely is cosplay the focal point of an entire show.
My Dress-Up Darling is filled with elements that you'll find in other typical romantic comedies, and while you could boil this down to just another show revolving around a very forward girl and an overly shy boy that's too afraid to touch her, I think the show excels at so many little things that help elevate its core premise that even these familiar elements feel extremely engaging. The character designs are certainly gorgeous, but it's the subtle character animation that makes everyone feel like they're brimming with life. Kitagawa specifically has such a wide range of body movements both subtle and exaggerated. Your enjoyment of the show will largely depend on how much you like her very forward personality, but I think the first episode did a good job of establishing exactly where that intensity comes from. Many cosplayers are by and large passionate anime fans. I'd like to think that most cosplayers are people just looking for another outlet to show off that passion. At least that's why I do it, which is why I found the character very relatable despite the fact that I'm much closer to Gojo in terms of personality.
Speaking of Gojo, I like him a lot as a contrast to Kitagawa. This show seems to be leaning into the idea that anime is popular enough that a relatively fashionable and attractive girl doesn't need to hide her interest in it like we've seen in so many other shows. So it was kind of interesting seeing the author find a very unconventional hobby for him to be passionate about so that the two would find some kind of common ground regarding their interests. I must say, the scene where Kitagawa explained the eroge to him felt believable and like a full-on attack on my very soul.
Obviously Gojo does get overshadowed a lot by Kitagawa, but I think that's part of the point given his more passive personality and I was surprised at how wholesome and funny I found his reactions. A lot of that comes down to the camerawork which often displays things from his perspective. It's through his eyes that we are appreciating a lot of this very detailed character animation and I was a little bit worried considering how…horny the show is. Granted we're not seeing a panty shot every five seconds, but the show almost feels proud in how open it is in appreciating Kitagawa – I think I noticed the framing catering to maybe 5 different fetishes in these two episodes alone. This could be a turn-off for some viewers, but I personally don't mind it considering the fact that there does seem to be an actual purpose behind the fanservice. Gojo is an awkward shy boy who clearly has not talked to a lot of people and he's doing his best to be respectful. It's just that Kitagawa is so forward towards him that it becomes exceedingly difficult. So while the shots are definitely meant to be titillating, there is a surprisingly subtle wholesomeness behind them that I appreciate even though I also acknowledge that others might not want to be so regularly exposed to that. It also helps that Kitagawa doesn't really seem to care that she's being looked at and is confident in how she presents herself.
My biggest worry at this point is that Gojo will only act as a stand-in for the show to get away with doing stuff like this when I think there's a lot of character growth and comedic potential in him especially since he is our perspective character. I am also worried that the anime won't be able to keep up all this great character animation the whole way through, but if it can maintain that spark and strong character dynamic all the way till the end, then us slice-of-life fans might be in for something really great!
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