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Doubletakes: Domestic Girlfriend (Episodes 3 & 4)

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“Caught-in-the-act” Drama

This is the second time we’ve seen the characters of this show take on the guise of other, pretend characters and engage in acting out ridiculous, melodramatic scenes.

Reaction as a fan: I just busted out laughing. Not only does something like this make me commend the voice actors for versatility, but this is hysterical. Entertainment value is high.

Reaction as a writer: This isn’t just humor for the sake of humor. This is calculated on the writers’ part and executed very well. The humor in scenes like this helps propel us through parts of the story’s exposition or plot that might otherwise drag on too long or seem lackluster in comparison to more key scenes. This humor also provides contrast to lighten the mood. DomeKano is a dramatic series, setting up for a lot of tension, difficulty, and heartbreak — but viewers become fatigued when intensity of that level goes on without letting up. These little skit scenes provide a respite in the form of a laugh, which I respect. I hope these little ‘skits’ go on.

Bonus Take — “Pieces of a Bad Puzzle”

Natsuo hears his teacher’s boyfriend is a married man. He doesn’t seem to like the idea that his teacher is part of an affair — REASONABLE, as this makes her a home wrecker, and just as bad as the cheating husband having the affair. But also, Natsuo is jealous of his teacher being involved with another man.

He wishes he himself could be involved with her. So he stupidly, STUPIDLY goes to confront her about the affair, confirms she’s indeed having it, gets emotional, and kisses her without asking. 

His teacher pulls away and slaps him. Then she grabs him back and starts kissing him on her bed, ripping a button off his shirt in her attempts to open it… before changing her mind about half-assaulting him after all, stopping, and kicking him out of her bedroom instead.

Reaction as a fan: FUCK -BOTH- OF YOU — AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY AT ALL. You’re right, Natsuo — this story is falling together like ‘pieces of a bad puzzle,’ but you’re not helping it, are you? Who said you could kiss her like that just because you have a crush on her and can’t control your emotions? Get your head on right! And you — teacher! The hell’s your name? Hina? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING? Slapping him for overstepping the line was good, but then you RUINED IT by sending him total mixed signals when you kissed HIM and took it farther, taking advantage of your student-step-brother, and patronizing him again with the crap you said afterward. I know many of us mature women want to pin hot anime high school boys down onto beds and have our ways with them — bUT LISTEN, THERE’S THIS THING CALLED MATURITY AND RESTRAINT, NEVER MIND REALITY, AND CLEARLY, CLEARLY YOU LACK JUDGMENT ON THOSE FRONTS. You can frame it like you were just trying to prove a point by showing Natsuo you’re too “adult” for him to handle, but like. WOW.

Wow. Please go to hell right now.

Natsuo needs some serious work, but so does Hina, and they are the shittiest most poisonous combination for each other ever. I’m grossed out.

Reaction as a writer: This is nuts. This is definitely a train wreck now. I want to hate both characters so hard… but I can’t — because of their private reactions to what happens after this kissing scene.

Hina falls into a blob on the floor and asks herself guiltily what the hell she’s doing — which suggests that she knows she’s made a mistake… which suggests that she may be redeemable, which suggests that I might be able to forgive her. Natsuo goes back to his room crying out his frustration and shock at being 1) an idiot teenager who needed to be slapped, and 2) manipulated by someone he genuinely loves who he did not ASK to be younger than or patronized by. I just feel so BAD for him.

What does all this mean? It means the writers know what they are doing. They know how to mortify their viewers but still keep them hanging on with the tiniest bit of hope that the characters might learn from their mistakes and become better. I cannot look away from this train wreck just yet, because I’m a nice person and I want to be believe I’ll forgive these hinted-to-be-redeemable characters once they get their acts together. In fact, now I am willing to bet that that’s what this story is about — watching these two gets their acts together.

I sincerely hope so, anyway.

This series is toeing a line between being so god-awful-cringey in terms of what is happening plot-wise and so compelling in how the drama is executed that it’s actually entertaining. It’s leaving me with a gross, unwholesome feeling, but I can’t stop because I want to see it resolved. Somebody please help me.


The Stakeout/“Water Splash”

Natsuo and Rui decide they don’t want Hina to date the cheating husband any more. They team up to stake out Hina on one of her dates with him — for the purpose of learning about the guy and subsequently breaking the couple up.

When they finally meet the cheating husband, neither Natsuo nor Rui are fond of him. Natsuo loses his temper a little, but Rui takes the cake by splashing water on the husband’s face. Afterward, Natsuo and Rui decompress together.

Reaction as a fan: Natsuo and Rui are 100% adorable together both during this stakeout and in the aftermath of the meeting. I’m worried because they’ve begun to come across as really cool siblings. I’m not shipping them as a couple as much any more. I actually think… they’d make cuter and more badass family members. But AUGH, DOES THAT LEAVE NATSUO WITH HOME WRECKER TEACHER WHO’S EVEN STARTED WRECKING -THEIR- HOME, NOW? NO, YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME!

Reaction as a writer: Teacher gets redeemed by the end of this episode — for having an affair, at least. She breaks up with the cheating husband, claiming that her siblings are more important to her. We have been flip-flopped now as expected. (And we will get flip-flopped again.) If at present, Rui seems to have better sibling chemistry with Natsuo, and now Hina-sensei — his love — is free again… I assume this means we can expect things to get spicy with the teacher next.

Then again, it has not gotten past me that there are MORE GIRLS present in the opening theme/animation. I’m skeptical of adding more girls at this point, because I’m not sure we need further train-wreck drama… but this series seems to have a penchant for train wrecks.

I guess if it turns out the show will dive into full-on harem territory, I can deal with it then. (Harem shows — totally not my area, so I might not be able to predict much from the writing end. My harem experience extends to like… two reverse-harem shows and, uh… that’s it. Unless Code Geass counts. Does Geass count?)

Follow Frongi:
DEE CORe Contributor, DEE Kai (会) podcast co-host. Writer. Actor. Cosplayer. Generally found screaming about anime.
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