Is My Dress-Up Darling an Ecchi, Romance, or Harem Anime?

Is My Dress-Up Darling an Ecchi, Romance, or Harem Anime?

The story of My Dress-Up Darling follows Wakana Gojo, a high school student who dreams of becoming a hina doll maker, and Marin Kitagawa, a cosplay-loving gyaru. The series has officially been categorized as a slice of life romantic comedy, but due to its suggestive content, people are wondering whether My Dress-Up Darling could be categorized as an ecchi or even harem series.

My Dress-Up Darling certainly does fall under the slice of life and romantic comedy genres. Despite its mildly suggestive content, the focus of the story is the real-life romantic relationship between Gojo and Marin and the comedy that arises from it, not anything else. There are some mild ecchi elements present throughout the story, but there is no basis for a harem classification.

In the rest of this article, we are going to dissect My Dress-Up Darling and its genre. We are going to discuss each of the three potential genres and explain why My Dress-Up Darling is or is not an ecchi, romance, or harem anime series. Our goal is to give a proper explanation about the anime so that you can definitely know how it is supposed to be classified.

Why can My Dress-Up Darling be classified as an ecchi anime?

Ecchi is a Japanese word meaning “indecent”, “lewd” or even more often “perverse”. In Japan, the term is also used with a sexual connotation which can mean “sexually inappropriate”, “sex”, “erotic” or “pornographic”. In the West, the word ecchi is used to define a genre of Japanese manga and cartoons with a sexual connotation.

My Dress-Up Darling is a story that focuses on a handsome young girl that likes to cosplay and a dollmaker that dresses her up. Okay, this is a very rough summary, but you’ll find that it is very correct. Marin’s background as well as her open personality are what confused people as to the possible genre of My Dress-Up Darling. The content of the show itself is not explicit so Marin is the main reason why people think that My Dress-Up Darling could be an ecchi work.

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And while we cannot deny that there is suggestive content within the series and that it is certainly more explicit than, for example, Naruto, the ecchi genre has its own set of rules and My Dress-Up Darling doesn’t really fit within that genre. If you look at some proper examples of ecchi works, like Highschool DxD or High School of the Dead, you’ll see that My Dress-Up Darling cannot really be in the same category, as the former two are much more explicit in their depiction of sexually-related content (not as hentai works, but you get the point).

The suggestive nature of some aspects of My Dress-Up Darling and Marin’s personality is more in line with the traditional sexual implications seen in shonen anime (for example, a lot of scenes from Dragon Ball, Mayuri’s overly weird way of “fixing” Nemu from Bleach, etc.) than true ecchi works. Sure, there is a basis to classify My Dress-Up Darling as an ecchi anime, but we don’t think that it can actually be done.

Why can My Dress-Up Darling be classified as a romance anime?

A romantic comedy, or sentimental comedy, in the cinema is a love film that has a happy ending, namely the union of the two potential lovers, although at the beginning of the story apparently prohibitive obstacles keep them apart. It can be social background, character, opinions, ethnic origin, nationality, etc. The story alternates between humorous scenes and more moving moments.

We intentionally provided you with the definition of a romantic comedy rather than just romance as a genre, because My Dress-Up Darling is classified as a romantic comedy rather than just romance. And that is correct. Both romance works and romantic comedies are genres that are well-known among Western viewers so anyone who actually watches My Dress-Up Darling will easily be able to understand why this is a romantic comedy.

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There is absolutely no doubt that My Dress-Up Darling can be classified as a romantic comedy. We have a romance between the primary characters and a series of funny situations that arise between them over the course of the narrative. The romance is also the focus of the whole show, which builds on the relationship between Gojo and Marin.

Ultimately, this classification is the best and most precise one when My Dress-Up Darling is concerned. It clearly reflects not just the overall narrative of the story, but also the general idea that Shinichi Fukuda wanted to present. My Dress-Up Darling is a romantic comedy with slice of life elements (although the former is, technically, a subgenre of the latter) and that is, without a doubt, the best and most precise classification you can give to this series.

Why can My Dress-Up Darling be classified as a harem anime?

Harem is a term used in anime and manga to refer to a subgenre characterized by a man who is surrounded by many women. In many cases, these types of series are adaptations of dating simulation games or designed to attract similar audiences, especially seinen genre publications. It is called reverse harem when it is the woman who in manga/anime is surrounded by many men.

It describes the situation in which a male protagonist of ‘generic’ qualities lives with several beautiful girls who over the course of the story show varying degrees of affection towards him.

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Harem is a very specific genre and there is really no basis to think that My Dress-Up Darling could be classified as a harem work. Sure, Marin is really not the only woman in Gojo’s life (which you’ll know if you’ve read the manga) and the protagonist is surrounded by several beautiful female characters, but that isn’t really the focus. A love triangle, for example, is hardly a reason to classify a work as being harem, right?

My Dress-Up Darling doesn’t really have any qualities of traditional harem works, nor is it sexually explicit. The fact that the work is heavily focused on the romantic relationship between two characters – Gojo and Marin – suggests that My Dress-Up Darling is not, in fact, a harem work. We do understand how someone might think that, but if you know the traditional rules of the harem genre, you’ll realize quickly that there is no firm basis to classify My Dress-Up Darling as a harem work.

The bottom line

Now that we have analyzed each potential genre, we can give our final rendition of the issue. My Dress-Up Darling is not overly complex in its genre classification – the plot is quite straightforward and however you look at it, it is clear how it should be classified. This is a seinen series, which means that it does have more adult-oriented topics and content, but this is nothing out of the ordinary. Some shonen series are more explicit with their content than My Dress-Up Darling.

As we have said above, My Dress-Up Darling is classified as a slice of life and romantic comedy anime. The slice of life genre is much more frequent in the seinen category, so this one shouldn’t be overly surprising. Seeing how the anime does, really, depict real-life situations, characters, and relationships, there is absolutely no doubt that this classification is absolutely correct.

As for the romance genre, there shouldn’t be any doubt here as well. The focus of the story is the relationship between Gojo and Marin. The focus is not on the sexual or any other aspect of that relationship, but on the emotions and the relationship as a whole, from its beginning throughout its evolution. This is why we are firm in our stance that My Dress-Up Darling is primarily a romance anime, and not an ecchi or harem anime (especially not the latter).

The funny situations that arise from their “adventures” are the reason why the show can be classified as a romantic comedy and we are firm in our stance that these two classifications are correct. The fact that My Dress-Up Darling is a seinen anime allows for more suggestive content than in a shonen series, but this is within the boundaries of these genres and doesn’t alter the primary classification.