My Dress-Up Darling
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Cloverwork’s latest anime is a fun romantic comedy about a boy who has an unusual hobby of making traditional dolls and someone who couldn’t be more different from him – a popular girl in his class at school. A chance meeting however means the two end up finding out about each other’s pastimes, and the girl, Marin begs him to help her with her own passion – cosplay.
I was fully expecting this show to be quite fanservicey given the premise and some of the promo images that have been released but the first episode was actually quite wholesome. Wakana and Marin’s hobbies are generally seen as passions that bring the two characters joy, even they’re not generally considered as culturally acceptable activities. The backlash from this is mulled over, as our protagonist Wakana begins the episode friendless after having received negative reactions to his love of doll making at a young age. Now at high school he isolates himself from others and passively agrees to do what others ask of him so as not to make a fuss. Enter Marin, a headstrong popular girl who knows her own mind – she definitely brought the heart to the show, having her own strong views and disagreeing with how Wakana has been treated. The two don’t seem like they could be easy friends but Marin’s open and friendly nature makes her extremely likable. Her love of cosplay is later lampshaded a little for comedic purposes but initially the two share enough similarities for their shared love of a hobby that a common theme connects the two.
Animation-wise, My Dress-Up Darling, is pretty much what we have come to expect from CloverWorks in it’s early run of shows – gorgeous colourful animation. Of the characters, we’ve only really been introduced to Marin and Wakana so far, with Marin being the most immediately likable. Wakana comes across as rather bland so far but hopefully through the course of the series he will grow to be less shy and not let people just walk all over him. Whilst there was some inevitable fanservice scenes, this was played more for comedy and fake outs then anything too on the nose, and generally this first episode stayed more on the fun, wholesome side. The opening and endings too are very bouncy and cute, with the ending in particular featuring an outer space theme which perfectly showcases Marin and Wakan’s opposing views of how they handle the world around them.
The first episode actually started in quite an introspective way with the comedy taking more of back seat and the series looks to follow more of a relaxed slice of life narrative which suits the tone of the show. Overall, this was a very strong start to this series and definitely one I’ll be checking out more of as the first episode was definitely a step above many other traditional rom-com shows out there.
My Dress-Up Darling Episode 1
Avery strong start to this series and definitely one I'll be checking out more of as the first episode was definitely a step above many other traditional rom-com shows out there.