Cosplay, Fanservice, And Wholesome Relationships
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, Seinen
- Airing Date : Jan 2022 - Mar 2022
- Producers : CloverWorks
Romantic comedy set between two high schoolers is a concept that has been done thousands of times before. Cosplay, however, is a topic that is rarely talked about in anime. By combining novelty and familiarity, My Dress-Up Darling manages to be one of the most popular anime in the Winter 2022 season. And this is the review of this beloved story.
Gojou Wakana is a shy and awkward high schooler who doesn't really have any friends in school. His dream is to become a Hina Doll craftsman, just like his grandfather. However, despite how much he loves making and looking at Hina Doll, he is always afraid of being mocked for it. So he prefers to distance himself from other people.
Kitagawa Marin is a bright and happy-go-lucky girl who always tries to live his life to the fullest. She is a big-time otaku and loves to cosplay as her favorite character. However, unlike Gojou, she is always open about her hobby and never cares about what other people might think about it.
One faithful day in the school's crafting room, Marin who wants to sew her costume accidentally meets Gojou who wants to fix his doll. Knowing that Gojou can sew clothes for his doll, Marin asks him to create a new costume for her. She is the first person who praises Gojou for his hobby, so he easily agrees to help her out. That is the start of their journey into the colorful world of cosplay, and also the beginning of a very sweet and wholesome relationship between them.
1. Valuable Insight On Cosplay
Rather than simply using cosplay as one of the characteristics of the main heroine, My Dress-Up Darling actually goes deep into the world of cosplay. From participating in a cosplay event, choosing the right material for the costume, and interacting with fellow cosplayers, My Dress-Up Darling presents some truly valuable insight into the cosplay culture in Japan.
Not only that, this anime also showcases some cosplay techniques that might help you out if you wish to start your cosplaying journey. Such as using a specialized holder in order to make a girl's upper body appear more masculine, adjusting the angle of the camera in order to get a result that best represents the character and many more.
2. A Wholesome Story
Whether they are watching anime together in order to better understand the character or visiting the beach after an exam just to cool down and relax, both Gojou and Marin truly enjoy each other's company. To him, she is the first person who actually understands and even admires his hobby and the skill that he has developed along with it. To her, he is the first person who is truly interested in her world and willing to help her pursue her hobby.
They have very different hobbies, and yet those hobbies are precisely the thing that let them meet and have fun together. They truly enjoy spending every second with each other, and without realizing it, a warm and romantic feeling already blooms in their heart. Even for a rom-com standard, this is an incredibly wholesome story.
3. Tasteful Fanservice
Yes, there is a lot of fanservice happening in My Dress-Up Darling. There are also some suggestive or even provocative situations going on, such as the time when Marin is wearing a bikini in Gojou's room while he measures her body size.
But one thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the fact that Marin is not one to shy away from showing her skin if there's a valid reason to do so. After all, she needs to be in her bikini if they want to get an accurate measurement. Other than that, Marin rarely shows her skin outside of the context of cosplaying, because there's no need for her to do so.
That's why even though she can be considered a gyaru, she never shows her cleavage or her abs when in school, unlike the stereotypical gyaru characters in other anime. Every fanservice moment in this anime is tastefully done and has a reason for it to be there, not just because a gust of wind suddenly blows her skirt and shows her panties, like what's been done in other anime.
1. Not A Pure Vanilla Romcom
As mentioned earlier, Marin is someone who always feels comfortable in her own body, and if it's for her costume, then she won't hesitate to show her skin. And she did show a lot of skin in this anime. Not to mention some awkward situations, such as being in the hotel room together with Gojou for a photo session while she is half-naked in her costume, sitting on top of him.
So the only reason why you should skip My Dress-Up Darling is if what you're looking for is a pure, unadulterated wholesome rom-com story. Because that is not what this anime is about. Due to the aforementioned heavy yet tasteful fanservice, it is more accurate to say that this is a wholesome rom-com with some spice and bite to it. That is precisely why it belongs in the “Seinen” category.
My Dress-Up Darling is a fun and wholesome anime with some tastefully done fanservice sprinkled on top. It is a sweet romance, it is an inspiring coming of age story, and it opens up the door into the colorful world of cosplay. If you are still on the fence regarding whether to watch it or not, then you should definitely give it a try. That is unless you want to watch a pure vanilla romcom experience. In that case, there are better alternatives out there.
So have you watched My Dress-Up Darling? If you have, what do you think about it? If you haven't, would you consider picking this up? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.