My Dress-Up Darling episode 1 is finally here! The most anticipated romantic comedy of the season just premiered and it is quite an endearing watch! I really think CloverWorks brought their A-game with all the pretty art and fluid animation! The characters are so refreshing and fun to see. To be honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. You see, the first episode introduces the two charismatic protagonists in a way that’s so likable and not at all the “oh-here-we-go-again” kind of rom-com vibe. The show uses the common “shy-boy-meets-cheerful-girl” trope except that here, the writing compels you to actually see the quirkiness of their personalities and energies towards their interests. It is something that I (and many others) can strongly relate to. I mean, the rush of joy from doing something you love? Getting to share that piece of you with someone? This specific part about My Dress-Up Darling is what stuck out for me. Not to fangirl about it, but now I’m just a bubble of happy emotions for this show. It may be well on its way to becoming a favorite this season!
First off, we get to meet our main guy — Wakana Gojo. My Dress-Up Darling episode 1 covers mostly everything from his point of view. He’s a sweet and handsome young man who is passionate about crafting Hina Dolls. (Sidenote trivia: Hina Dolls are traditional Japanese dolls! Historically, they were used as toys but have eventually become intended for display. The famous festival for it is called Hinamatsuri.) Sadly, a girl called him weird for it, and ever since then, he’s kept his love for Hina dolls a secret.
“I can only make the clothes, you mean. There’s so much I can’t do.”
Gojo’s also a timid person and he’s so shy about his interest that he self-sabotages his chances of making friends at school. He’s so convinced that he’s weird — that the things he likes are so different from his classmates. Oh, how he wishes to be in a world where he’s accepted. Everything changes, however, when he talks to the popular girl, Marin Kitagawa.
Boy Meets Girl from Another World
“I’ve got the straps, so I’m obviously a fan. Like, don’t diss on the stuff people enjoy, you know?”
To be exact, Boy meets Girl after she falls and hits her head on his desk. Not exactly the ideal introduction, but hey that part was a weird and fun surprise! Afterward, the spotlight turns to the glamorous Marin — hair, beauty, style — she’s got it all. In addition, she stands by what she believes in and will speak her mind about it. She’s expressive (and serious) about her interests, even if her friends don’t get it. That’s right, she’s totally opposite from Gojo! So when they spend cleaning duty together, Marin warmheartedly tells Gojo not to be a doormat for other people. “Doesn’t it feel wrong to do things that bother you? I mean, you shouldn’t do that if you respect yourself. You owe it to yourself to say what you’re feeling.”
Sharing a World Together
What happens when two equally weird but perfect people find each other? Pure magic. Fate pulled them for a third meeting, and of course in true rom-com fashion, it’s another awkward moment. Marin finds Gojo sewing, then he dashes to save his doll, talks to the said doll, and then nervous silence as he remembers that Marin is still there. Except that here, the story doesn’t tease on Gojo. Marin completely ignores it all and instead admires Gojo’s doll and sewing skills. From that moment on, she also shares her secret and tells Gojo her love and passion for cosplay. But uhh.. she’s not so good at sewing. I adore how the technical terms make it such a nerdy moment for Gojo, but Marin’s upset expression that follows is just the cutest.
“I want to dress like the characters in manga or anime or video games! Cosplay lets you show how much you adore your faves with everything you’ve got…. the ultimate expression of love!”
Personally, the best part about My Dress-Up Darling episode 1 is this exact scene. It was a simple and authentic moment. Marin’s speech and dance were so heartfelt, and their dynamic together is just so wholesome. All of a sudden, now that there are two of them together, you can tell that something has shifted. Maybe it’s the courage they inspired from each other, or maybe it’s something like a weight off their chest? What’s positive is that in this small world they now share together, they both support and affirm each other’s “weird” interests — regardless of what others may think. Magic, right?
A Well-Rounded Start
All in all, My Dress-Up Darling episode 1 made for a strong first episode! It was enjoyable, interesting, had good pacing, and laid down a good amount of groundwork for the story. The music, art, and animation (including the playful ones) were all so pleasantly nice. Subtle things like Gojo’s family altar, Marin’s nails, and even the way the sun shines made up for a thoughtful experience. Moreover, the realistic writing and characterizations are so interesting, unique, and well-done. I also enjoyed the opening and ending songs. I’m excited to see how Gojo and Marin’s relationship will grow from here on out.
Lastly, the highlight around the “love for your interests” theme was my personal favorite. Surely, the coming episodes will shine more light and love for cosplay and sewing. I’m already imagining how fun it’ll be to watch, especially for the cosplayer viewers out there! You know, not only does this show inspire the craft, but it also inspires the idea of fulfilling the things you want to do — whether a hobby or a passion.
Did you enjoy My Dress-Up Darling episode 1? Don’t forget to vote for the anime in our weekly polls! The next episode will air on Saturday, January 15, at 24:00 JST. The English subtitled versions will also be available later on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Bilibili in select regions.
Images via Bilibili