Domestic Girlfriend (Season One)

Domestic Girlfriend Title

Natsuo has been in love with his teacher for quite some time, but she still sees him as a child. With no way of changing her mind, he attends a mixer and ends up having sex with a girl, but it’s fine he’ll never see her again…

Domestic Girlfriend (Season One)

What did you watch?

I’ve been planning on watching Domestic Girlfriend for quite some time but never really got around to it. Then, I was browsing songs by ShiroNeko on Apple Music and came across the opening song – Kawaki Wo Ameku. I loved it and instantly added it to my playlist so I figured I had better watch it too. Then I hurt my back and could do little else but watch TV, I dove in. I didn’t know what to expect, although it appears to be one of those shows that garners a love-or-hate response. Anyhow, let’s get into it and be prepared for spoilers.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 1 Rui Tachibana

What happened?

Natsuo loves his teacher, Hina Tachibana and has done for quite some time. She encourages him with his writing and always seems to be smiling. However, one time he finds her crying and tries to offer some support. She thanks him for his concern but tells him that he wouldn’t understand. It’s grown-up stuff. Disappointed by her response, he attends a mixer with some girls from another school and finds himself talking to a less-than-enthusiastic girl who just seems to want to leave. She asks him if he would like to leave with her. He might be able to help her with something.

She takes him back to her apartment and tells him that no one will be home for ages… so, you know… Natsuo was shocked and didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardise his chances with Hina, but there was no way this would ever get back to her and how often does an opportunity like this arise? Natsuo had sex with her and then left without exchanging phone numbers or anything. It was a crazy situation but it was over now. Well, that was until his father told him that he had been seeing a lady and was planning on remarrying. Natsuo gave him his blessing since it had been ten years since his mother died. Oh, they were moving into a new home together. He also had two new step-sisters… Surprisingly, he had already met both of them…

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 1 Hina and Rui Tachibana

What did you think?

I watched this series while recovering from a herniated disc in my spine and even though I was on a number of painkillers, I can’t attribute that to how this series made me feel. Let’s get this out of the way. I said that it seemed to illicit love or hate responses and I can confirm that I loved it. This is a brutally realistic and complicated love story. On top of that, it hands out life lessons with a nonchalance that is quite refreshing. At no point did it feel preachy or that it wanted you to think about the relationship in a particular way. It didn’t glorify or demonise anything. It’s up to you and that made it stand out more than anything for me. It also hit close to home with Natsuo’s attempts to become a writer which made him instantly relatable to me.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 1 Hina and Rui Tachibana with Natsuo Fuji

What was your favourite moment?

After everything had already spiralled out of control, it amazingly managed to take another turn and it was delightful. Natsuo was visiting his favourite cafe where his friend, Fumiya worked. Fumiya was a great source of perspective and offered some wonderful insights and advice throughout the series. Natsuo was struggling with jealousy after realising that Hina’s boyfriend was a jerk. Why was she with that guy when he would be so much better for her?

Fumiya told him what his problem was and then explained how he felt the same about a number of regulars, listing off a handful of girls and their crummy boyfriends. Then, as they left the cafe, he saw one of them and pointed her out to Natsuo. She was having an affair with a married office worker. She was Hina… Fumiya’s reaction when he realised why Natsuo’s jaw dropped was incredible. He reminded me of Joey in Friends when he realised that Monica and Chandler were having a secret relationship. It was incredible how the story pulled together.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 2 Fumiya and Natsuo Fuji

What was your least favourite moment?

As the series went on, I couldn’t help but see that there was not going to be the happy ending that many a romance story sets out to deliver. There was just no way that Hina and Natsuo could be together long term so I started to prepare myself for the worst. Then, there was the scene in the hotel on the school trip where Hina and Natsuo had sex. It was a good scene, but I couldn’t help but feel the sense of danger hanging over it. Of course, someone took a photo of the hotel while watching the fireworks and spotted them in the window. When Hina was called to the principal’s office, I knew it was about to all come crashing down. Even knowing what was coming, it still hit me hard, especially as Hina cut her ties and left to protect Natsuo without explaining anything. She gave up everything for his future.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12 Hina Tachibana begging to Principal not to disclose her relationship with Natsuo Fuji

Who was your favourite character?

Normally, there’s one character that jumps out at me, but with this series, I loved them all. Even the smaller roles grabbed every chance they had with both hands. I particularly enjoyed Masaki, the cafe owner and former Yakuza, Reiji, the author slash teacher, and Fumiya, the wise. However, I have to side with Natsuo because of his struggles to write his novel. Anyone that has tried to write a novel will probably confirm that it was not an easy task. I felt his pain when he didn’t get nominated for an award when Rui did with her first-ever story. In short, I saw a lot of his struggles in myself so seeing him finally take that step forward was amazing.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12 Natsuo Fuji

Who was your least favourite character?

This one is a lot harder and while it feels wrong to say she was my least favourite character, I have to say that Hina was the one that I connected with the least. I felt like Rui was the obvious choice for Natsuo, but then he wouldn’t have had the pain to finish his novel that took him to the next stage. As with everything, life is always teaching us. Some people can take that lesson and move on. Writers tend to make notes and let that lesson dwell in their minds for far longer than it should. They obsess over small details and nuances. Hina was absolutely necessary to Natuso’s journey and she wasn’t a bad person, although she obviously made a number of poor choices, but then who doesn’t?

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 18 Hina Tachibana

Would you like some more?

I doubt there will be another season, but I understand the manga is considerably longer so if the opportunity arises, I will absolutely be jumping into that avenue. This series popped onto my radar at the perfect time for me. I was suffering and in need of some clarity. Surprisingly, it gave me a lot to think about and I think that will push me in the right direction for my goals. As such, you may have noticed that I am reviewing the series without doing episode reviews. Instead, I shall be posting a number of analytical pieces looking at specific characters and story points in the near future. It’s the change I knew I needed but had struggled to solidify. This series will be a part of my next step so it will always be special to me for that.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12 Natsuo Fuji and Rui Tachibana

What have you learnt?

I loved that this series wasn’t concerned with telling you what was right and what was wrong. It showed you the story and allowed you to make up your own mind. I’m certain that is part of the reason it gets such a mixed response, however, that is also why it has such a devoted community of fans. As always, if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. As Natsuo learned you have to write the story that is within you and let it into the wild.

There will be times when your work is not received as intended and that will feel like a knockback. It’s hard to take criticism and even more so when you see others being successful without the same amount of effort or talent. However, it’s like selling an antique. If you put it in the wrong market, you won’t get much for it because there’s a chance the people who are looking for that thing won’t be there. If you show it to the right people, you will get what you deserve. You just have to find them. So get out there and give it to them. Write the damn book!

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 6 Natsuo Fuji

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