My Dress-Up Darling
Episode 3

by MrAJCosplay/Cartoon Cipher,

How would you rate episode 3 of
My Dress-Up Darling ?
Community score: 4.4

Wow, I was not expecting so many divisive opinions on the previous episode of My Dress-Up Darling. While I understand some people's reservations about the show's fanservice given how regularly and poorly it's integrated in anime, I can't say that I share those sentiments personally. A lot of that comes down to the context in which the fanservice plays out. While Gojo and Kitagawa can be considered a bit typical in their characterization, their motivations and passions are fully drawn out. If anything, episode 3 furthers the relatability. Yes, I say all this fully acknowledging the fact that the episode literally starts with Gojo having a wet dream, beating one out, and then feeling incredibly embarrassed to even face another girl school. Is it a little bit crass? Yes, it is. Is it 100% in-character? Also yes.

These two characters are on completely opposite sides of the social spectrum, living most of their lives from a specific place of comfort but now forced to adapt to entirely different social contexts. There's a lot of healthy communication in this episode, and a lot of it is delivered in a surprisingly playful way without coming off as one-sided or mean-spirited. Gojo has never really connected with another girl before because he's been terrified of the thought that no one would be interested in his hobbies. However, he finds himself captivated by Kitagawa's forwardness, and surprisingly, he doesn't come off as lacking any sense of agency. I really liked that Gojo communicated his worries frankly and that Kitagawa didn't dismiss them; she just didn't really think it was that big a deal because she's confident in the way she presents herself. Who cares if people think that they're dating? They know what they like and what they want to do, so it doesn't really matter what other people think.

That being said, I will call a little bit of foul on the fact that Kitagawa seems to be showing a bit more social awareness this episode when previously she never once seemed to acknowledge how uncomfortable she was making Gojo with her forwardness. I kind of chalk that up to the fact that this could be one of the first times she's connected with somebody in such a way and therefore let her excitement get the better of her. As they begin to interact more, it makes sense that she would slowly dial things back (especially in a more public setting) and more or less let Gojo take the lead when they go out shopping. I also like how the end of the episode shows she's not nearly as intuitive or insightful as she might think she is about her hobby as well as about people. I hope that as the show goes on, Gojo will start to come out of his shell a bit more and Kitagawa will be a bit more conscious of the impact her actions have on others. Let's temper that passion with a bit of perspective.

So yes, I did like the show for its banter and social interactions. Even the bits of naughty teasing felt more cute than sexual in nature, to the point where I am very hesitant to even call it fanservice at all. But what also helped elevate this episode for me as a cosplayer is the amount of care and detail that went into the actual hobby. Everything from breaking down the individual parts of a costume, to finding the most efficient ways to acquire each part, to even something as subtle as appreciating the different shades of wig color spoke to me on a spiritual level. It also makes me incredibly jealous; I wish there were more stores like the ones seen in the episode here in the west, because you can appreciate the finer details of fabrics with colors when you look at them in person as opposed to doing the majority of your shopping online. But that aside, the show is slowly turning out to be a great summation of the cosplay experience. Similar to how you need both passion and intuitiveness to craft some impressive costumes, I look forward to the show fine-tuning its balance between passion and attentiveness with its two main characters moving forward.


My Dress-Up Darling is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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