Blu-Ray Review: Domestic Girlfriend – The Complete Collection

Domestic Girlfriend arrives on Blu-Ray in the UK via MVM Entertainment, so we’ve taken a ‘peek’ behind the cover to explore what it has to offer and to share our thoughts on this interestingly titled series.

Synopsis:

Natsuo Fuji has a serious crush on one of his teachers, Hina Tachibana, but since he knows he has zero chance of ever being in a relationship with her, he lets his friends talk him into going to a party where he meets Rui. One thing leads to another and then, well, neither of them is a virgin anymore. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what they expected, but that’s fine. They’re just ships passing in the night and they’ll never have to see each other again, right?

Except when Natsuo’s father announces that he’s getting married again, Natsuo discovers that he’s getting two new step-sisters as well. Now there’s a problem, because one is his teacher, Hina, and the other is Rui. Yep, the family dinners at Natsuo’s house are about to get REALLY awkward!

Our View:

Adapted from the Shonen manga of the same name, and animated by Studio Diomedéa, Domestic Girlfriend is coming-of-age styled drama series that focuses on the exploration of love. Ignoring the title of the show, the 18 BBFC rating, and its questionable cover art, Domestic Girlfriend is a serious-toned storyline that doesn’t shy away from the ‘hot topics’ and while it does have nudity and sexual interactions between characters they are tasteful and respective to the characters being portrayed on screen.  That’s not to say that I enjoyed watching Domestic Girlfriend, far from it in fact; but the way the series realistic presents its story and portrays these characters is worth the praise.

Domestic Girlfriend follows the story of Natsuo Fujii, an average seventeen year old High School Student, who has been infatuated with Hina Tachibana, a teacher at his high school. In order to overcome his obsession for her Natsuo agrees to take part in a group outing with a few high-school friends and in doing so encounters Rui Tachibana, a seemingly shy high-school girl with great grades.

Bored of the outing Rui proposes that she would like to experience the feeling of sex and so, albeit reluctantly, Natsuo agrees and they both engage in a mutual activity. From Rui’s perspective this is purely experimental the understand the joys of sexual intercourse, but for Natsuo he hopes it will overcome his obsession with Hina.

The pacing of this initial episode is pretty fast, but it also helps setup the ‘punch-line’ of the story quietly as upon returning home Natsuo’s father announces that he is re-marrying and his new wife turns out to be the mother to both Rui and Hina who – unbeknownst to Natsuo – are sisters. From here the story evolves into one of confusion and self-restriction.

Naturally Natsuo, Rui and Hina are classed as ‘family’ so past activities between Natsuo and Rui must be kept a secret, additionally Natsuo’s feelings for Hina become even stronger. The result is a slow turning story that only picks-up the pace during its second half when Rui begins to develop feelings for Natsuo. Not knowing what to do with these feelings she turns to support from her big sister, Hina, but even she has her own secrets.

Internal struggles amongst family members aside the storyline within the anime also deviates at times from this focal point to introduces additional characters, such as Momo Kashiwabara who is often considered ‘easy’ by other classmates, as Rui and Natsuo help her overcome her destroyed appearance at school. The ending point of all this chaos, so to speak, is that Natsuo, Rui and Hina all have feelings for each other; with Hina taking the initiative against Natsuo that ultimately changes their lives forever.

A harsh story of love played out in the most unusual circumstances that is portrayed beautifully and to the limit of what would be deemed acceptable without becoming a hentai story. Despite this praise the middle portion of the series, which setups the way for its the ending, felt needlessly dull and boring. In respect you could skip a large chunk of the series and it would still deliver the same type of story.

Extras:

Once again MVM Entertainment are used disc masters authored by Sentai Filmworks in America, as such viewers will find simplistic menu designs with each episode listed individually and a small selection of bonus features on the second Blu-Ray disc.

In this case the only supplementary content is the inclusion of textless opening and ending songs, which are in my opinion one of the highlights of this release due to the really cool openg, and a selection of Sentai Filmwork produced trailers for other anime releases. The trailers themselves include Senryu Girl, After the Rain, Real Girl and The Demon Girl Next Door. Put simply it is another simplistic barebones release; but at the end of the day it does its job.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:18:25 (Disc 1), 1:16:38 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Domestic Girlfriend is a story that highlight how falling in love can not be complicated, but troublesome, especially for Natsuo who finds that his life becomes both complicated and troublesome when the woman he crushes on, Hina, and the girl he had sex with, Rui, come to live with him after their parents get marraied. It’s not your typical romance story, nor is it your typical anime, and it touches upon sensitive and emotional subjects with the utmost respect. This is a romance drama of the mature kind, with mature scenes (such as depiction of intercourse and masturbation), but they are well place and help the story progress.

Although Domestic Girlfriend has a lot of high talking points, such as the interaction between the different characters and how they attempt to hide their true feelings for one another, it also has some low points. These being the relatively slow nature of the story shortly after its opening two or three episodes. The first and second episodes delivery so much information and shock realisations that the momentum can’t keep up, and even some additional characters with subplots, potential of cheating husbands, and other scenarios do very little to distract from the major talking point that is left mostly unattended until the later episodes. Naturally these ‘in between’ episodes do explore Rui, Hina and Natsuo’s relationship; but not to the exact of the episodes at the start and end of the series.

Outside of the series itself we have traditional Sentai Filmwork styled presentation in the form of yellow subtitle text, that is easily readable throughout, and surprising an English Dub that offered a better than anticipated experience. Naturally the Japanese audio track seems the way to go, but the inclusion of an English Dub, with a wide variety of voice talent, is appreciated; especially in a series with intense scenes such as this.

Whether I lost interest at that point in the story, or an issue with pacing, if you can overlook the relatively dull moments then you’ll find a high classed drama that will appeal to fans of romance, love and intensive character development. Personally I found the series a bit of a hit and miss; but I can certainly see the potential it offered and it is a far cry from traditional anime released into the market. If you enjoy romance stories with a stronger sense of realism and drama then Domestic Girlfriend is worth checking out, but if you are looking for fun-filled fan-service and pantie shots then you’d want to look elsewhere as you won’t find it here.

Score: review-stars-3

Domestic Girlfriend – The Complete Collection is available on Blu-Ray via MVM Entertainment within the UK.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: