Domestic Girlfriend

Well boys, we finally did it; 100 different anime series watched. Of course, there are caveats that come with that; I haven’t watched every single series I’ve seen in its entirety and have no plans of finishing certain ones, some of the stuff I’ve watched includes extremely short shows/movies like Plastic nee-san and Tailenders, etc. Essentially, the general rule I’ve tried to stick to while building up my viewing history is that each individual series would count as its own entry—movies and spin-offs within that series included—and I have to watch at least one season of each (for movies and such, I have to watch the whole thing). I’m not a big movie guy, so the vast majority of what I’ve seen is normal anime shows; in fact, there are a few movies I’ve technically seen that I don’t even have recorded on my list, since I was watching them very passively and remember almost nothing about them (among those include Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Akira). But enough of that—you came here for Domestic Girlfriend, right? Assuming you’re familiar with even the basic premise of Domestic Girlfriend (with the Japanese title of Domestic na Kanojo), you probably don’t need me to tell you that it’s bad. Anyone could guess that much just by looking at the title, for god’s sake; but for the sake of getting something out of the time I spent putting myself through it, I’m going to regale you with the tale of my suffering anyway—there certainly is something to be said about using my 100th anime milestone as an excuse to explore this sort-of extreme. Let’s immediately abandon any and all pretenses here; normally when I shit-talk something, I try to see things from different perspectives and make mention of the show’s good points. Not this time; Domestic Girlfriend isn’t just a bad show, it’s a fucking abomination unto God, and may he have mercy on the souls of its fucking brainchildren because I certainly won’t. The fact that of all the many great stories out there begging to be adapted, this one was somehow chosen is fucking appalling, not to mention insulting. I don’t usually talk much about authors of shows, good or bad, but Sasuga Kei has singlehandedly managed to write something so utterly terrible that it’s actually impressive, doubly so when you consider the fact Kei is a woman. Yes, you heard me right; the mastermind behind this fucking incestuous, fanservice-laden disaster of a borderline hentai is a girl, apparently. Honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised; Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey were both written by women, after all—clearly all people are equally capable of inflicting pain upon the morbidly curious, regardless of gender. And in the same vein, clearly all people are equally capable of having extremely fucked-up sexual fantasies, regardless of gender. That’s what this is—an utterly shameless, self-congratulatory piece of trash written for the sake of helping the author to justify their own disgusting fetishes, an utterly irresponsible and even dangerous narrative threatening to fool the delusional or the impressionable into believing what it depicts is right. Before I continue, I want to say something. I respect my peers as equals. I’ve always been the sort-of person who gives those around him the benefit of the doubt. So of course I understand that I hardly need to lecture anyone willing to listen regarding the morality of incest; this review is more for the sake of my own sanity than anything else. That said, everything about this show is wrong. Every last line of dialogue and every last story beat is overshadowed by unbelievably dark undertones; the protagonist is not only in love with his half-sisters, one of whom is his fucking teacher 7 years older than him, he’s also a two-timing piece of human garbage with an inflated ego who believes that he is and knows best for them, forcing them into doing what he wants, never learning from even a single one of his many, many mistakes and instead constantly rushing to make excuses for his behavior to each of the two sisters he’s manipulating. Nobody in this fucking show ever learns a god-damn thing about why what they’re doing is wrong, because the author doesn’t see it that way; in their mind, this is what love is. Everybody in this show is portrayed as being a completely soulless husk devoid of humanity. Calling them characters would be a gross misrepresentation of the truth. In reality, they’re one-dimensional tools constructed for the purpose of being symbols—the male protagonist loves his teacher for no other reason than the very fact that he loves his teacher, and she loves him for equally stupid reasons. Love is depicted in this narrative as being an all-powerful and irrational thing leading the show’s cast down a rabbit hole of inevitability, implying that at every turn they did what was right by doing what their hearts told them. What a fucking joke. Doing things in the name of “love” doesn’t change a god-damn thing! You know what trying to sexually assault your siblings while they sleep makes you in real life, regardless of the reason? A waste of oxygen. Yet here in Domestic Girlfriend, everything is okay as long as it was done with “pure” intentions; incest, cheating, and sleeping with your teacher are all perfectly fine as long as they were done in the service of “true love”. In fact, the protagonist himself essentially states that those very things are nothing more than taboos and social constructs which shouldn’t be allowed to stop their relationship, flat-out objecting to his sister’s desire to break up and instead gas lighting her into believing that her viewpoint is childish. Every victory he claims is achieved through emotional manipulation, and the worst part is he doesn’t even seem to realize himself that he’s doing it. He seems to see himself as an intellectual gentleman and a tortured artist living in a world that isn’t quite ready to handle his profundity, truly believing at every turn that he’s doing the right thing. In the end though, the road to fucking hell is paved with good intentions. What the main character of this show does is nothing short of evil, taking the form of gross negligence and complete disregard for the wellbeing or freedom of others to choose—the world itself revolves around him and his need to be with his sister, heedless of all consequences, and because of that anything threatening to get in his way of taking control over her life must be wrong. In a way, when she finally does leave at the end, it feels like a small victory, as though her intention all along had been to get away from her obsessive piece-of-shit boyfriend and try to actually live her fucking life. Honestly, her presence within the narrative doesn’t even make sense. Why the fuck is an adult—a 23 year-old teacher pursuing a legitimate career—living in the same house as her parents and her little sister? I feel like I’ve barely even talked about the little sister because her own terrible plot-line is overshadowed by that of the older one, and essentially becomes a way to push the primary romance between male protagonist and older sister forward indirectly (not to mention a source of melodrama, something this show has in spades). And why in the name of God almighty is it seen as being tragic when she moves out to live on her own, like she should have been doing in the first fucking place?! *sigh*. I could go on and on for hours about all this shit, but the point is clear; everything that happens in this show, whether it’s related to the main plotline or not, constantly has a fucking shadow looming over it. It’s downright uneasy, and badly hidden by the way in which it’s brought forward, music and tone designed to make you believe it’s supposed to be profound and romantic, filled with enlightening social commentary. Aspects of the main character are used to represent the author herself—the story is disgustingly self-congratulatory and would feel more like a self-insert if not for the main character being a guy. I, for one, would be afraid to peer into what I assume would be the deeply disturbed mind of Sasuga Kei. How can anyone write a narrative like this with such a serious tone, expecting it to be taken seriously? How can its events be twisted so thoroughly into being depicted as sorrowful and bittersweet, then used to promote the idea that the author themselves is pouring their very soul onto its pages? If these were the contents of Sasuga Kei’s soul, then she should be ashamed of herself. I don’t often get particularly upset with much of anything, but this is a special occasion. The level of complete and utter actual degeneracy on display here is almost unbelievable to behold, it’s like a case study of not only what not to do when writing a story of your own, but of what kind of person you should strive never to become. And you know, we’re not perfect. Everybody is inherently flawed, me and you included. But this sort of thing is what people look to in order to comfort themselves with the knowledge that at least they aren’t that far gone. Even disregarding this show’s nature, it has some of the most flat dialogue and terrible writing I have ever witnessed in my 21 years of life, at least by a so-called professional author. It’s so bad I found myself comparing it to ONISION’S books, a bar so low I never imagined the comparison would need to be made. Yet despite that, the comparison is surprisingly accurate here, particularly in regards to my heavy critique of the author herself and how her nature bleeds badly into the narrative. Everything is so contrived, so obvious and easy to see coming. Any and all surprises here are negative ones, every “character” is fucking awful and completely forgettable, it’s the kind-of story begging the question “why was this made and why is it currently in front of me”. There is no greater sin mankind has committed than taking this dumpster fire and bringing it before hundreds of thousands of morbidly curious eyes. How many other stories that actually deserve to be seen by a large audience were ignored unjustly for the sake of bringing this pile of steaming garbage to the big screen, all in the name of profit? Actually, forget what I said earlier—mankind’s actual greatest sin is forcing talented people to work on making this into an animation. Sure, the art and animation itself is subpar; there are tons of weirdly drawn scenes and fucked up camera angles. But I hardly blame the animators themselves for that—if I had to work on something like this, I wouldn’t bother to put the extra effort in, either. And it’s not just animators—composers, voice actors, sound engineers and tons of other talented people had to waste significant chunks of their lives making this shit a reality. Everything about it makes their lack of enthusiasm obvious; voice actors sound like they don’t care, music sounds like it was downloaded from, and animation looks like it was cobbled together with the bare minimum effort. It is utterly soulless and devoid of emotion or passion, an example of the absolute worst that the anime industry has to offer when its talent is misused for the sake of telling a story that should have never been written in the first place. Christ, what else about this show sucks ass that I haven’t touched on? I already mentioned the music is bad, but the opening and ending songs and videos are fucking lame too and I found myself consistently skipping them. The ending is a shitty cliffhanger but in all honesty I was so done with the show at that point I felt nothing besides relief that it was finally over. In general, the whole thing reeks of immaturity—every aspect of its design is made to be intentionally “adult”, kind-of like how Rent-a-Girlfriend thought making us watch its male protagonist jerk-off was supposed to be “adult”. The show’s direction is as bad as its writing, constantly showing us pointless scenes with no purpose and focusing primarily on delivering fanservice. I could probably go on, but I’m getting to the point where thinking about this shit is making me feel deflated. I’m not sure I ever fully explained the premise, so let me enlighten you just in case you haven’t been following along well enough to understand. Basically, male protagonist’s father remarries, MC finds out that his new step-sisters are the teacher he’s in love with and a classmate he’s had sex with, and the show chronicles their romantic escapades. Even describing what happens in the show in such a lighthearted manner makes me want to fucking gag. By the way, if you’re curious why I’m not using names for any of the characters, it’s because I can’t remember even a single one. Towards the end, I was getting to the point where the whole show felt like background noise and I could only bring myself to focus during important sections of dialogue—that is, “important” within the context of the show itself, not important on any sort of grander scale. About the only thing nice I can say is that the tire animation of some random scene was pretty decent, nice job on that tire animators. The world would be a better place if this show and its original source material didn’t exist, watching 5 hours of this made me feel like I wanted to die, or that I’d become a misanthrope incapable of forgiving humanity for its existence. There is more emotional depth and literary worth in the song Small Dick from FilthyFrank’s album Pink Season, and that’s not even a joke—Pink Season as a whole has clever lyrics. Never watch this unless you either hate yourself, or you want to see what the darkest depths of Sasuga Kei’s soul must look like.

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