Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru

Title:Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru
My Dress-Up Darling
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - CloverWorks
Traumatized by a childhood incident with a friend who took exception to his love of traditional dolls, doll-artisan hopeful Wakana Gojō passes his days as a loner, finding solace in the home ec room at his high school. To Wakana, people like beautiful Marin Kitagawa, a trendy girl who's always surrounded by a throng of friends, is practically an alien from another world. But when cheerful Marin--never one to be shy--spots Wakana sewing away one day after school, she barges in with the aim of roping her quiet classmante into her secret hobby: cosplay.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

TV anime that premiered on January 8, 2022.
Animated by Cloverworks.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 8 9 6 8 9 Ggultra2764 [series:4420#1552]
My Dress-Up Darling is a romantic comedy focused on a introverted high school student named Wakana Gojo with an interest in crafting Hina dolls and is distant from other teens his age due to fearing he will be teased for his interests. A popular and attractive girl in Gojo's class named Marin Kitagawa takes notice of Gojo's proficiency in sewing and asks if he could help her create a cosplay for an adult visual novel game character she is interested in, revealing herself to be an otaku. Marin's acceptance of his interests and his interest in the idea of crafting a human-sized costume motivates Gojo to help her with her request.

My Dress-Up Darling offers a unique direction for an anime series in that it focuses on two characters being accepted for interests that many were typically associate with specific genders, mainly Marin's interest in otaku fandom largely regarded as a male-aimed hobby and Gojo's interests in sewing and Hina dolls being regarded as a female-aimed hobby. Both are shown to naturally be passionate about their interests and are open-minded enough to support their personal interests, with Marin thinking there's no shame in being open about her interests in gaming and anime. This is actually quite believable to depict as in real life, one's personal hobbies are not always be reflective of traditional gender perceptions and having its lead characters be accepting of the other's personal interests shows that encouraging and accepting one's hobbies helps to foster more positive relationships for those who enjoy them.

As far as the cosplay element to the series goes, My Dress-Up Darling is also unique in the fact that it focuses on the work and challenges that go into preparing a costume. The series shows a number of elements that Gojo has to factor in for the work he does on costumes that include understanding elements to the character Marin wants to cosplay, gathering materials, factoring in the bodily proportions of the person's costume, and making sure the cosplayer faithfully depicts the personality of the characters as he takes photos. While I've seen a few anime that dabble into cosplay, said titles don't go into the great amount of detail that goes into preparing the costumes for the hobby as My Dress-Up Darling does.

In addition, Gojo and Marin make for a rather entertaining couple to see in their interactions with each other throughout the series. Their different personalities with Marin's outgoing and lively personality compared to Gojo's reserved and earnest character lead to a fair share of amusing and touching situations, these also contributing to character development with Gojo as he becomes more comfortable interacting with others outside his family and Marin gradually becoming romantically interested in Gojo. The series also bucks some of the common tropes found within romantic comedy titles in that with both our leads being hormone-driven teens usually getting in some compromising situations due to their cosplay work, Gojo isn't actively lusting for Marin as he attempts to keep himself under control around her and Marin doesn't verbally or physically lash out at Gojo when they get in said situations.

If there's one area of the series that may not be everyone's cup of tea, it would likely be the fair amount of ecchi content the series offers. While not too heavy on said content, My Dress-Up Darling still has a fair number of scenes where it shows off how attractive Marin is in some lingering camera shots and a number of scenes where she is in varying states of undress. This also occurs with a few female characters introduced around the middle of the series whom Gojo assists with preparing and modeling cosplay. Also as mentioned, it has some scenes where Marin and Gojo get into some compromising situations that make them visibly flustered and Marin usually getting joy out of teasing Gojo in showing off how attractive she is. If you are prudish about this type of content being shown within an anime series, you're likely not going to enjoy much of this series.

In short, I must admit that My Dress-Up Darling made for quite the entertaining romantic comedy with Gojo and Marin's growing relationship, as well as the good amount of focus it provides on the hobby of cosplay and the uniqueness of its story direction with exploring hobbies. Anyone into romantic comedies and/or elements of otaku fandom like cosplay are likely to get a good deal of entertainment out of this series.

Last updated Saturday, March 26 2022. Created Saturday, March 26 2022.
Rent Stretch [series:4420#628]
(All episodes watched):

This was a show which got off to a fairly slow start for me but accelerated afterwards. While episode one seemed interesting, and I planned to watch episode two, it wasn't as good as I had been hoping. Maybe the problem was that it wasn't very funny. The bit where Gojo somehow tosses the doll's head he carries with him into the air after bumping his leg made me roll my eyes. And Kitagawa somehow goes flying through the air in a classroom, high above the floor, bangs her head against the edge of a desk--and shrugs it off? Not likely. If this was supposed to be mainly drama rather than comedy, the drama was just getting underway. I felt we hadn't really gotten to know either of the main characters all that well either. He's a loner due to his unusual hobby/trade, she's popular and outgoing (and into cosplay)--but otherwise they basically remained strangers. The one thing which most struck me about episode one was that other than Gojo's infatuation (is it really serious enough to call it that?) not all that much surprised me. Maybe the basic premise wasn't convincing enough--would getting yelled at by another child be enough to traumatize someone indefinitely? Would it, and a strange line of work, really render someone incapable of making friends? I didn't know, because just how far Gojo's addiction to Hina dolls extends has not been made clear.

In episode two I think I realized why neither comedy nor drama seemed to be taking off in episode one: because fanservice might just be what this show is relying on to attract viewers. There's a lengthy scene in which while alone with Gojo, Kitagawa shamelessly strips to a skimpy bikini so that he can take her measurements. At least there was a touch of humor rather than her just being objectified as is often the case in other fanservice-heavy anime. And we do learn a little about her, namely how much modesty she has.

Episode three was markedly better. Though there was more fanservice, it seemed that after they went shopping together for the raw materials for the costume we knew Gojo and Kitagawa a good deal better and could understand them better as well. I think it would have been better if this had been done in episode one, but it didn't turn out to be a major problem. I also got a serious laugh from the scene where bystanders overhear them talking about Kitagawa's favorite anime.

Of course the main question is whether the two will fall in love. The first hint that this is being taken seriously by either of them comes at the end of episode five when something Gojo says offhand makes the thought occur to Kitagawa that maybe he has feelings for her. Gojo sort of regrets that once the costume is complete he and Kitagawa will presumably separate, since he feels completely out of his league when it comes to associating with her at school. The cosplay event they attended was sort of interesting but not as much as I had hoped. I didn't really learn anything new and Gojo's costume didn't get as much attention and praise as his hard work had suggested it would. I was a bit surprised in episode six at which of the two is the first to realize that he/she is becoming attracted to the other. I thought the scene where Gojo walks in on a new girl who is washing her clothes was rather cheap and tawdry, but I guess the makers of this show were afraid that the story alone might not attract enough viewers. In the end I think they need not have worried, and only wound up damaging their own product. It turns out that this girl has seen the costume he made and wants to commission him to make one for herself, which made sense and was intriguing. This girl's sister is a skilled if somewhat insecure photographer and we learn a little about how quality cosplay photography is done. The new cosplayer may be becoming attracted to Gojo as well, which would create a conflct. This show manages to remain intriguing and fun despite the cheap mistakes it sometimes makes.

At the beginning I was sure that Kitagawa, coming from the popular and stylish high school elite, would initially look down on a guy like Gojo, but no, that never happened. She is actually open-minded rather than stuck-up. Well, if that wasn't going to happen perhaps her friends would become suspicious of him and put him down; but that didn't happen either. Whatever major, mental health-level insecurity Gojo was feeling at the start pretty much evaporates and probably could have been omitted from the plot altogether. We have definitely learned a good deal about how cosplaying is done, like how full-breasted girls can pose as men or how a person's eyes can be altered with tape to more closely resemble a character. This info was interesting and I appreciated it.

The two find themselves in a suggestive situation in episode 11, in which many teenage couples would have just torn off their clothes and gone at it. But this is an anime, after all. Still, him developing a boner was probably the most scandalous a teenage love scene has gotten in my memory. When the credits began to roll in the final episode the story seemed distinctly incomplete and I wondered if there was in fact an episode 13 somewhere. But there is a bit of the episode that plays after the credits, and that wrapped things up in a pleasing manner. Another season could easily be tacked on (Gojo and Kitagawa's romance is still in an early stage), or the story could end satisfactorily here. I hope the former is the case; while it wasn't perfect, this show was entertaining and a little touching as well.

Last updated Thursday, March 31 2022. Created Thursday, January 13 2022.

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