Natsuo has a crush on Hina. As she's a teacher and he's just a student, the relationship hasn't progressed beyond friendliness. Natsuo attends a mixer with friends where me meets an aloof girl named Rui. While she seems uninterested in him, they break off with the group and end up sleeping together. The two part ways unlikely to meet again as she was only interested in losing her virginity. Soon after Natsuo's dad announces he will re-marry. Meeting the family takes an odd turn when he recognizes the woman's two daughters: Rui and Hina.
Now with them all living under the same roof, things get very weird. Natsuo and Rui keep emotionally distant, although Rui may not be as disinterested as she suggests. Harder still Natsuo finds it hard to suppress his feelings towards Hina, and despite the problems it will cause, Hina may be swayed to reciprocate them.
I was sceptical at first, but over time Domestic Girlfriend won me over. The weird setup keeps it unpredictable enough to avoid the anime formula autopilot feeling. Domestic Girlfriend also doesn't focus on a single story, with sub plots that are mostly decent.
In the main love triangle, Natsuo struggles to interact with Rui due to their history and mixed signals - which is expected since she's one of those no emotion types. Natsuo is still interested in Hina, although she's having an affair with a married man. Things progress with this story in the backdrop, while Natsuo gets involved with other girls to varying degrees. Romance aside, he becomes interested in writing. I liked this part of the story, as both Natsuo and Rui join a writing club. He struggles, while she has a natural gift for it despite her half hearted effort. When adding in the weird romance situation it's good stuff. In the last few episodes the story finally comes into focus with the love triangle, and that's where the big problem happens.
While Domestic Girlfriend has sub plots, it builds the bigger story leading up to.. a cliffhanger? I'm like "oh hell nah". Some shows accomplish enough to justify watching or end in a place that's acceptable. Domestic Girlfriend is like a bridge half finished going nowhere, making it worthless. I found character's actions questionable (maybe okay for Natsuo, clouded judgement from teenage boy hormones and all that), but otherwise think most of them were okay. Combined with the story so far seems like it could do well but is invalidated where it ends up. Might be worth watching if they ever make more episodes.
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reviewed by archen in 2020