If you’re interested in an episode-by-episode breakdown of My Dress-Up Darling, check out our season 1 recap here!
My Dress-Up Darling, also known as Sono bisque doll no koi wo suru, has sparked discussions within the anime community regarding its portrayal of characters and underlying messages. One aspect that has bothered and delighted many is the character of Marin, whom some view as problematic.
Critics argue that Marin sets an unrealistic standard for women, as she seems to exist solely as a tool for the main character’s development, displaying undying loyalty and an attractive appearance without any personal struggles or self-consciousness of her own. This depiction can perpetuate problematic expectations and contribute to an unhealthy standard for women. Obviously, women in the real world do not exist simply to aid the men on their journey of self-discovery, but many misogynists will cite Marin as a “Good Woman” or “Wife Material” — one that has no issues of her own, is attractive, and serves the main character.
However, beyond this concern lies a surface level feel-good message in My Dress-Up Darling. The story explores themes of acceptance and embracing one’s interests, emphasizing the importance of not letting those passions consume one’s entire life. Characters, except for Marin, grapple with shame and self-consciousness surrounding their hobbies, providing relatable experiences for viewers. The series encourages the audience to embrace their individual interests while maintaining a healthy balance.
Gojou especially has a mini arc where in order to improve his hina dollmaking skills, he must stop focusing solely on the dolls and experience more things in life. By broadening his horizons, he can improve himself internally, and by proxy, improve his skills and achieve his goals. He notes in the season finale that he’s never been to a festival before, and going with Marin is just another new thing he’s doing.
It is worth noting that My Dress-Up Darling has been categorized within the “Waifu Bait” genre, alongside series like Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro and Uzaki-Chan wants to Hang Out. While the series does incorporate certain aspects associated with “Waifu Bait,” it distinguishes itself by offering a more substantial and positive message. Unlike other series that solely focus on character attractiveness, My Dress-Up Darling delves deeper (albeit, only a bit deeper) into the theme of self-acceptance and personal growth, showcasing a more meaningful narrative experience.
TLDR, there are worse offenders of Waifu Bait than My Dress-Up Darling.
In conclusion, My Dress-Up Darling presents a semi-nuanced perspective on self-acceptance and embracing one’s interests. While concerns have been raised regarding the portrayal of female characters, the series manages to begin to burst through the boundaries of typical “Waifu Bait” and deliver a deeper narrative experience with its underlying positive message.
For more reviews, check out our other articles here on LAN!