For a guy claiming to have been a nerd just a year or two prior, Natsuo sure is getting a lot of action. The opening scenes of Domestic Girlfriend are of him and a beautiful girl, Rui, dressing after having a sexual encounter. Later, he kisses an older woman—the woman of his dreams, in fact. And in episode five, another beautiful girl, Momo, falls for him and is the one leading their relationship quickly to the bedroom.
Of course, something is off about each of these relationships, even the newest one, which is by far more normal than the other two. Momo’s number of sexual partners is twice her age, and because she’s engaged with so many boys, the guys treat her like meat and the girls like trash. How very typical (and accurate).
Even our nice guy, Natsuo, isn’t quite nice to her. Well, he is after first, but eventually decides to use Momo to try to get over Hina, the one woman he wants to be with. And since Momo is doing all the leading, and everything is consensual, isn’t that okay? It’s fine for Natsuo to use her if she’s giving herself over to being used, right?
One thing I’ve liked about Domestic Girlfriend, which walks that very risky line of being trash and wanting to be taken seriously as a show (or more accurately hops on either side over and over and over), is its lead. Natsuo is genuinely likeable. In the moment just before he goes “too far” with Momo, he sees scars on her wrists and stops. Basically, Natsuo comes to his senses—Momo is a human, and one who’s hurting, and he needs to treat her as more than an object.
But what if Natsuo didn’t see the scars on her wrists, indicating a possible suicide attempt? What if he didn’t see them, and the two proceed to have sex—would he have been wrong to do so?
I certainly have my thoughts—I’ve let some leak above, having to do with how we consider people and the way we treat them, but I want to hear yours. What do you think? Would he have been wrong to continue down that path? And why do you think that way?
In a society where talk is so focused right now on harassment, assault, and consent, I think it’s a fascinating question to consider. But it’s also one that if considered now, might affect us when we’re put into such a situation, one where decisions are made quickly but consequences that are deep and lasting.