Gojou is a 15-year-old high school boy with a deep interest in a specific type of traditional doll made by his family for generations. His grandfather is his guardian and a professional doll maker; thus, he has grown up with an immense passion for creating and designing these dolls. Because of this, he severely lacks social skills, being a high schooler with no friends. One day after school, an incredibly gorgeous and popular girl in his class, Marin, is there and volunteers herself to help him clean up the classroom.
She has always been passionate about anime and wanted to try cosplay, but lacks the skills needed to make her own costumes. She befriends Gojou and asks him to help her build her own costume based on her favorite character from a NSFW series. She wanders in on him working on a doll with his sewing machine and is interested in his work. Gojou, having no idea how to interact with her like a human, freaks out at first but eventually, they become friends and support one another’s interests.
On the surface, this is an adorable plot with a great idea and message, but I wasn’t much of a fan. I don’t mind fanservice in my media, but this felt like too much for the amount of content. There are pages and pages of gratuitous art of Marin’s body, and she’s supposed to be a fifteen-year-old girl. If this had been a manga with adult characters, or even college-aged characters, I think I would have had such an issue with it since it’s clearly stated that it’s a mature series, but it just squicked me out enough to not want to keep reading. It’s not any more explicit than other mature manga I’ve read, but the sexualization of a child kept me from really enjoying it. Since this is a manga series marketed at adults, it makes it even weirder to me. God bless every manga teenager who has no self-awareness because otherwise we’d never have any manga content. None of these teenagers act like teenagers, but it’s a manga, so who cares? A cute premise and a fine read if you’re okay with upskirt art.
Title: My Dress Up Darling
Author: Shinichi Fukuda
Three Descriptors: Humorous, Slice of Life, Fanservice