Every year on Valentine’s Day I like to sit down and discuss an anime relationship that is interesting to me. Whether it was their chemistry, their passion or just what was presented in the text, a good anime couple is always worth thinking about. This year I knew that I would be talking about these two, and I’m eager to get into it. So after the cut, let’s take a dive into the relationship between My Dress Up Darling’s Gojo Wakana and Marin Kitagawa.
For those who read my previous character dive on Marin, you’ll know that one of the reasons I (and hopefully other people) loved her, was that she was authentic. While absolutely an ‘anime character’, Marin’s personality, her passion and her attitude came off as truly authentic and real. It wasn’t played up, or over-exaggerated (as far as anime goes). She wasn’t a woman laden down with daddy issues, a dark alter life, or a chip on her shoulder. She was just a cute girl who wanted to dress up as her favorite characters. Yes, she was an absolute bomb-shell, but that personality is what endeared her to so many characters.
That was also the case for her nascent relationship with Gojo, which is filled with both respect, honestly, and authenticity. Now of course, this is an anime, and there is always a suspension of disbelief, but too often I find myself wondering if the characters in the show would honestly get together if the plot wasn’t forcing it. Of course, a story pushing two people characters is how these stories get told, but there are times when it does feel that a certain pairing or ship is being rammed through because of the author’s intention, not the natural chemistry between the characters. As someone who has watched many harem anime in his time, we see this all the time as, (especially in lower quality shows) the anime bends over backwards to get the girls to be obsessed with a single guy, even if it doesn’t really work.
Gojo and Marin don’t have that, and Dress-Up Darling puts in the time and effort to show you that yes, these two and their attraction is genuine. Gojo of course is initially shocked that he has found someone ‘above his station’ and is intimidated by her forwardness and attractiveness, but this soon fades away as he experiences her passion and desire to be the best cosplayer she can be. Instead of a ditzy and superficial gal girl, she is hard-working, loyal, and most of all completely confident in herself. Gojo in turn respects her boundaries, never puts her in a situation she might be uncomfortable with and, most importantly, doesn’t use his position as her tailor to put the moves on her, or assume that he has a blanket pass to touch what he shouldn’t.
And it is because of all those things that Marin finds herself crushing hard on Gojo. Instead of chasing after some pretty boy who is full of himself, Marin is drawn to Gojo because of his work ethic and respect for her craft. He doesn’t view her hobby as some simple interest, or some nerdy shit, but gives it the highest possible respect and seriousness. His ability to bring her fantasies to life, how dedicated he is to that craft and his desire to work himself to the bone is what makes Marin weak in the knees, and makes most of the show being about Marin falling in love with him, instead of the other way around. That alone is a refreshing change of pace for a show like this, where too often it is the guy yearning for the girl who represents everything he wants. Marin sees Gojo as a man comfortable with himself, truly invested in his craft and dedicated to making sure she can live her cosplay dreams. I can’t speak to the minds of women of course, but I’m sure that would cause any girl to swoon just a little.
My Dress-Up Darling is and probably never will be a show that goes in depth into the relationships between the two characters. That’s not the objective of the show, but what it does do is show an anime relationship that is built off mutual respect and authenticity. Marin Kitagawa and Gojo Wakana have something that is becoming rarer in the anime industry, a genuine and real reason to be attracted to each other and a level of comfortability and realness that is just so cute. Even a year later I still find myself smiling when I think about these two and hoping that the manga series gives them a true happy ending. I’m sure it will, and if you are in the market for a relationship that treats both its characters well, you can’t go wrong with this one.
At least that’s what I think.
4 thoughts on “My Dress Up Darling’s Gojo Wakana and Marin Kitagawa: An Authentic Attraction, a Mutual Respect”
Okay, now I actually want to watch this show – which I must admit I previously kind of shrugged off. I’m not much of a romance person, anti-romance if anything, but I do really enjoy watching a relationship that seems REAL and that develops and becomes strong in the way a real relationship works when it works. I love the idea of writing about an interesting relationship for Valentines Day. I might have to steal it…
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I would say that don’t expect an in-depth realistic relationship, but more of two people who are attracted to each other and where that attraction comes from their value, not the size of their tits.
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These two are easily among my favorite couples ever. I remember feeling nothing short of giddy when I saw these two building each other up in so many ways, instead of tearing each other down.
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