Domestic Girlfriend – The Right Kind of “Trashy”

Y’all Know I Love School Days, Right?

Well if you didn’t, you certainly do now. That’s why when the Winter 2019 season had a show called, Domestic Girlfriend, I would have to watch it. Took awhile for me to get to, but here I am. Today I’ll be exploring what sets this apart from the sea of trash that masquerades as something similar.

First, a quick catch up for folks who may not know what Domestic Girlfriend is all about. A high school student, Natsuo, who is going through a lot. He recently lost his virginity to a girl whom he will likely never see again, but that’s ok, he’s got the hots for teacher. What more, his dad is planning to remarry too. However, things take a turn for the weird when it is discovered that both the girl he slept with, and his teacher, are the daughters of the woman set to remarry his father. This can only go one way…

Image result for domestic girlfriend
Alternatively, here’s all you need to know in one convenient screen cap!

Obviously this scenario is a bit absurd but this is a necessary element for enjoying the anime. The secret to making a show like Domestic Girlfriend succeed for me lies in this foundation. Things need to be rooted in the probable, which is true of both this and the aforementioned School Days, but take an increasingly escalating route that boarders on the fantastical.

Now this isn’t to say that the events of either show couldn’t happen, but they typically don’t. This is an important distinction because another key element is a level of frustration with how the characters act. Having the twists and turns that you may see in a daytime soap opera with characters making poor choices, that still fit the narrative, are all you really need to get a show like this to catch my attention.

To keep it though, you need to have solid writing and presentation, which Domestic Girlfriend has in spades. It isn’t animated with a lot of flash, but it doesn’t need to be. Instead it puts weight on its character writing and music, excelling at both.

Seriously, just listen to this OP. “Kawaki wo Ameku” by Minami does a great job getting you hype for the episode to come and may be among my contenders for best of the year. I just had to mention it, because not doing so would be criminal.

Fun fact, Crunchyroll actually had the OP subbed, which is a rare sight

When it comes to writing, the pacing is great. For a show that moves rather quickly, it managed to show great restraint and control. Really, the plot develops quickly, but the actual events unfold rather slowly. The obvious direction for the story to go, yeah, that takes over 3 episodes to even start thinking about. It’s a huge positive for Domestic Girlfriend that cannot be understated.

Furthermore, I’m not one to really enjoy sexual fanservice in shows. I get why other people might dig that sort of thing, but it just isn’t my jam. To my surprise, there isn’t that much at all, and when there is, it is almost all plot relevant.

The final element necessary for a show of this nature to succeed is consequence. I’m not talking like a slap when a girl finds out the MC is cheating on her, no, I’m talking real consequences. In School Days, this comes in the form of a particularly infamous scene, but what Domestic Girlfriend does is more grounded.

It’s almost the perfect storm of elements, but there are a few things that held this anime back from being that coveted “10/10”. When it comes to consequence, I actually felt like characters kind of got off easy with one thing in particular, though for the sake of the narrative I can accept it. Really though, it has to do with one side character in particular.

I can’t remember his name, and MAL drops the ball yet again by not having all the characters and cast listed, but he’s the male teacher that Natsuo gets involved with. He’s actually a decent guy who helps Natsuo peruse his dream of becoming a novelist, but his introduction is flat TERRIBLE.

He says something to the effect that he shall be Natsuo’s “master”, and it was creepy. Then there is a scene where he asks his students to kiss in front of him (which does make sense to the show’s credit, but this goes back to impressions). Finally, he’s friends with this other guy who you aren’t meant to like because he comes off like a slime as well. Again, this teacher ends up being fine, but that first impression really soured him as a character entirely.

Image result for domestic girlfriend
Ah yes, this teacher knows what his students REALLY want…

This is a real shame because the rest of the cast is fairly solid. Everybody fills their role in all the ways you expect, but are occasionally allowed to break from that and deliver a curve ball or two. Nothing spectacular, except maybe the ex-Yakuza, Kobayashi.

Doubling back to that comment I made about Natsuo wanting to be a novelist. That actually reminded me a lot of A Sister’s All You Need. Surprisingly, perhaps, is the fact that these shows share a fair bit in common despite how different their plots are. I can’t really put it into words, but I have the feeling if you liked one, you’ll like the other. Domestic Girlfriend is the better show, but the other was actually pretty good as well.

I don’t have a ton more to say when it comes to this anime. It was a great time that was fun to watch over the course of two sittings with Mr. and Mrs. K (my married friends). We all agreed that this couldn’t touch School Days in terms of entertainment, but the fact that it got close was a pleasant surprise. The final verdict, we’d happily watch more.


What shows have you liked that you normally wouldn’t? Did Domestic Girlfriend keep you glued to your seat? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments! If you would like to support my writing, please utilize my donation button below. Thank you for reading and have a great day!

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26 thoughts on “Domestic Girlfriend – The Right Kind of “Trashy”

        1. Ah, I see. I thought it was pretty tame all things considered, but if you weren’t ready for it I could totally see that. For us, we were always reacting to the stuff, usually going “NOOOOOOO!” and the like lol.

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  1. Sigh! It is just my opinion but A “Sister’s All You Need” is ten times the anime “Domestic” is. The boy just seems stupid and his ladylove Teacher comes off as stupid PLUS ubernarcissistic. The plot coincidences at the beginning are just too preposterous for me to swallow. In fact, I blogged about both of them.

    With a little more smoldering and a bit less fire, a few more IQ points and a lot fewer stupid coincidences, this could have been a really good show. It isn’t horrible or without entertaining moments but I won’t be finishing it. MAL gave it a 7.18 but I would have put in the 6.9s.

    Good quality anime involving forbidden student-teacher relationships might be found in Kuzu no Honkai and Kotonoha no Niwa. You may want to run away from Kodomo no Jikan as fast as you can. It isn’t bad but it is *frightening* if you are a grade school teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure why, but your comment went to the spam folder. Just giving you the heads up since it may be doing so on other blogs outside of mine, you might want to let folks know.

      Wait, how far did you actually get? As I mention in the article proper, I think the ridiculous setup is what makes the show work. It’s removed from “our” reality while still portraying everything else fairly realistically. That’s an important part of the enjoyment, from my personal perspective as I note, but I believe for several other folks as well, even if they wouldn’t necessarily peg that as something that is required themselves right away.

      Also I don’t get your point about the MAL score? The 7.18 vs 6.9 is basically no difference and MAL is not an end-all-be-all authority at all. You say the show needs to be smarter and have less coincidence, but I didn’t find it had any “woah crazy happenstance there” moments outside of the opening bit (and maybe the other teacher guy, but it is really unimportant so…). When it came to the writing, it was also fine. I guess I just don’t get your point since you are giving examples.

      I haven’t gotten to the anime you’ve listed as “better” versions of this so I can’t really comment. They are all on my list of stuff to get around to though. I believe Scum’s Wish will be at least on par with this, but I can’t really say. I certainly look forward to it. You did remind me about Kodomo no Jikan though, that’s been on my list of really controversial things to check out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The difference between 6.9 and 7.18 is like “almost good but on the cringy side” and “kind of good if I let the details slide”.

        It isn’t the boy’s age or the student-teacher relationship. Put another year on him and it would be college. Swap the genders and it would be freshman woman pursues handsome young professor. That’s a standard plotline.

        The almost stolen kiss was not good behavior but still trivial. People who called it rape-ish are being hyperbolic. I want to hear the same people go ballistic about an adult female teacher teasing a student and younger step brother with her nudity and then later collapsing drunk on a sofa in front of him. Hell of a role model there, Sis.

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        1. Thanks for taking the time to respond Fred. I have a better idea of what you mean now when it comes to the score. A number on its own really isn’t helpful, so I appreciate the clarification.

          As to point two… yes, and? I don’t really see what you are getting at. Nothing I’ve said, or you said previously, is connected to this so I just don’t understand. I don’t see an issue with this plotline on a basic level if that’s what you are getting at?

          As to your last point, I also don’t understand the purpose of this comment. Previously your chief complaint was about coincidence and this has nothing to do with that at all. The attempted stolen kiss isn’t really trivial in the context of the larger narrative, but on a day-to-day basis, sure.

          When it comes to people crying rape, I never even brought that up or took issue with the scene? I am struggling to see the connection to what I wrote in the article, your first comment, and what I followed up with.

          The eldest sister is not a well put together person, I totally agree. However, this is explored within the show later on. You have stated you didn’t finish the show though, and didn’t tell me how far you got, so I don’t know if you made it that far in the series.

          In a way, she receives some redemption and is humanized. It’s like I said, the show took care to tell a serious story and thought through how things would impact each other. Outside of a few missteps and underplaying the gravity of one very particular (spoiler heavy) situation, it felt grounded.

          I hope that makes more sense or offered more insight into what my post is getting at. There seems to be some fundamental misunderstanding, but I don’t quite know where it stemmed from. Hopefully, I addressed it here.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Just random blather on my part. Should have made it clear it was external to your post. A lot of SJWs went ballistic over that attempt to steal a kiss and I just wanted to make it clear that:

            a) The problematic nature of the relationship doesn’t bother me.
            b) The stolen kiss attempt doesn’t bother me.
            c) One more year and none of this matters.
            d) it isn’t a “bad” anime. I just stopped watching when I screamed “You idiot!” at the screen a couple times.

            Maybe now I will watch the rest of it since you say it becomes more serious. (Some reviewers describe it as “lurid”. That even makes it more likely I’ll watch it.)

            As a fun intellectual exercise, flip the gender of the two main characters but keep the script the same. How would that change the various reactions to the story?

            OTOH, the dark-haired Rui is a fantastic character. I could fall for her.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh, ok, I understand now. If you do watch more I’d be very interested in your thoughts. Please let me know if/when you do. I’d respond more but on mobile for the next couple days.

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  2. I loved the OP to this one and I enjoyed the melodrama of it each week but it isn’t my usual kind of story and ultimately none of the characters have stuck with me once it finished. I still haven’t actually written my final review of it and at this point I’ll probably have to concede that I may not get around to a final review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still think it says something that you finished it since it isn’t something you usually would watch. That’s part of my line of questioning for the reader. It’s just an interesting observation I think.

      Anyway, I don’t review all the things I watch/read/do, it just gets to be too much if you try that. So I get it.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not gonna watch the show, but I admit I will be waiting for the doujins of this show. I mean, honestly, story’s gonna be pretty much the same but there’s full penetration.

    Then it sorta ends.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t get me wrong, this looks like some entertaining shenanigans, and I probably WILL enjoy watching it ironically. I mean, Eromanga and How Not To Summon a Demonlord were unequivocally trash ecchi, but the depths they went made it so entertaining.

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          1. Sorry, I meant ironic for me. I know you watched it with full intent of what its trying to be, and that’s great! Just that personally, I can’t take such a melodramatic premise seriously unless the show REALLY subverts my expectations.

            It’s nice to have a show reviewed on the merits of what its trying to do, but personally, it seems to be a show that’s self-aware of its trashy premise to a degree, but doesn’t embrace that in the same way other shows do. And sure, it doesn’t claim to be ecchi, but I drew the comparison to other ecchi shows because sexuality plays a huge aspect to the show, despite the fact that it doesn’t appear often. I mean, in that regard, it’s still pretty realistic. You can go long stretches of no sexuality, but the moment it is reintroduced, it’s gonna mean something AND it’s gonna be fanservice.

            Personally though, with premises like these, I would rather it pick a direction and stick with it. Having a serious melodrama then pepper it with characters aware of how ridiculous said melodrama is while STILL going through it is funny, but can get grating for when it relies on that self-awareness to skirt any criticisms of the actual melodrama.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I mean I get what you are saying, but all I can say is you’d have to watch it for yourself. The “melodrama” you refer to is something I’ve seen in reality, so there is a level of realism and weight attached to the scenario.

              Where it enters fantasy land is purely in the premise and how a few things are handled, such as a fairly significant moment at the end where certain consequences are downplayed in service of the story (i.e. no legal or real societal consequences).

              On the point of fanservice, there is an important distinction between “in service of the narrative” and “In service of the viewer”. To that end, I think there are maybe 2 scenes where the latter is true, whereas the rest of the show is strictly there for the sake of the story itself. This could be its own article, so at best, this is a surface level explanation.

              Anyway, I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment so thoroughly on this. It’s nice to see somebody engage so much with something like this 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I appreciate the discussion.

                As for the service, I don’t believe they’re mutually exclusive. “Plot” in service of the actual plot is a common trope in anime, and I don’t mind that too much. It’s still fanservice imo, just fanservice that also drives the story forward.

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                1. I don’t think I’m explaining it very well in a comment. Maybe I will need to write an article about it? I’m talking about plot that services the story vs the viewer. “Plot” is exactly not that. It’s true that they are not always mutually exclusive, the distinction exists and is an important one to make, especially given that fanservice is not always of a sexual nature either.

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                  1. Don’t worry, I get what you’re getting at. “Plot” has been used to further a storyline, and in tandem, also panders to the viewer. Fanservice, I am also aware comes about in a variety of ways other than sex appeal
                    , but being anime, it’s usually sex appeal.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Yes, but what I’m trying to communicate is that I think that noting the difference between that and what I’m suggesting is important. I think we are largely on the same page now though.

                      Thanks for keeping with this. I am trying really hard to explain myself clearly. Today I am having a hard time with my thoughts.

                      Liked by 1 person

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