The Affair Begins
Natsuo and Hina have begun a legitimate affair. Natsuo has Hina’s house key. Sex is on the horizon, but for now, just lots of making out and hiding their relationship from everyone at school and home.
Reaction as a fan: BOTH OF YOU SUCK. THIS IS A BAD DECISION, AND YOU SUCK. Am I supposed to be happy for you as a fan, Natsuo? Gleeful that you look so cute and happy getting what you want? I AM NOT, AND I DO NOT. BOTH OF YOU EXTREMELY SUCK! I am going to see this series through to the end specifically hoping that Rui gets to kick your asses for doing this behind her back and making her the victim of all your bullshit.
Reaction as a writer: The big question I have for myself now is, do I trust these writers to tell a good story in the end still, or not? Do I trust them to address this ill-advised mess and its consequences, or not? This will either end up a tale about gratuitous excess and a boy living out his fantasy of getting to bang his teacher… or it will teach us that such actions have consequences that aren’t worth it in the long run.
I would like to think the latter will end up true. It’s not as if the writing hasn’t touched upon the consequences already to some degree, right? (Comparing their taboo relationship to suicide, for example.) That means the writers are at least aware that the relationship they’ve created isn’t right. Also, anime tends to be extremely good at delivering bittersweet life lessons. Therefore, I’d like to have more faith than skepticism moving into these final episodes… but I’m still feeling rocky, because I don’t know this genre very well. I don’t know the typical expectation when it comes to the ending of a harem show. For all I know, maybe it IS only about getting to live out twisted fantasies.
I’m annoyed. But again, I will now watch to the end to see what happens to Rui. That is my only reason — so props on the writing getting me invested in a character’s fate, if nothing else.
Rui catches Natsuo in the middle of a lie and discovers that he’s been spending alone time with Hina. She’s upset enough to slap him.
Reaction as a fan: THAT’S RIGHT, YOU SLAP HIM, RUI.
Reaction as a writer: I’m antsy, because I guessed this was coming. Obviously Natsuo’s secret was going to get found out, or there would be no point in the writers writing a secret in the first place. That’s how fiction works, the end. And obviously Rui was going to be hurt by this. If she weren’t, there’d be no conflict to move the story forward… and nothing for Natsuo to have to fix.
I want to see more so I know how Natsuo is going to get himself out of this. How he does will make or break the story for me.
Bonus Take — Self-Insert Novel
We finally find out the details regarding the novel Natsuo has written. It’s a story about a boy who falls in love with his female teacher, but the teacher has a boyfriend.
Reaction as a fan: GEE, SOUND FAMILIAR? Damn it, Natsuo, the novelist part of you was about the only part of you I truly respected, probably because I am also a novelist, but then you go do the stereotypical, awkward thing that is writing “fiction” about your stupid self? GET OUT; I DON’T WANT TO LOOK AT YOU ANY MORE.
Reaction as a writer: I hate the stereotype that novelists always insert themselves into their fiction, writing their own direct fantasies and including their own wish fulfillment. I probably hate it so much because I have personally known a few writers in my life who do this — AND IT’S AWKWARD, and also, I don’t appreciate thinly veiled self-insertion at the expense of a story’s overall integrity plot- or character-wise. (This take is hotter than usual, oops.) I am not thrilled that Domestic Girlfriend has decided to perpetuate this stereotype about novelists. You can’t see me, but I’m flipping this show the finger so damn hard.