My Dress-Up Darling Is Your Lie in April With More Fan Service & Fewer Tears

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for My Dress-Up Darling Episode 1, "Someone Who Loves in the Exact Opposite World as Me," now streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll.

My Dress-Up Darling is a cuddly seinen anime series starring Gojo Wakana, a high school boy who nurses a secret passion for making traditional Japanese dolls, and his flamboyant and popular classmate Kitagawa Marin, who loves all things cosplay. They share a passion for fashion and fabrics, but at first, they live in vastly different worlds, hence the first episode's title.

However, the timid and awkward Wakana has nothing to fear from Marin. In fact, Marin becomes Wakana's first real high school friend in the debut episode, and they bond over their shared passion for clothes, which promises to benefit them both greatly. This relationship may remind fans of the hit drama series Your Lie in April.

The Healing Effect Of Friendship In My Dress-Up Darling & Your Lie In April

The first episode of My Dress-Up Darling establishes the series' main themes, relationships and central premise on several different levels, from Wakana and Marin's newfound friendship to their teacher/student-type relationship when it comes to fashion design and working with fabric. Gojo Wakana is handy with doll clothes and knows a lot about tailoring, and in the debut episode, he sharply but constructively criticizes Marin's shoddy attempt at cosplaying an anime character. Impressed, Marin recruits Wakana to become her personal tailor and fashion consultant, which lays the foundation for their new relationship -- which could potentially blossom into a romance later on.

In return, Marin becomes Wakana's first friend, which should go a long way toward boosting his self-esteem and confidence in his trade. Wakana may be holding himself back by keeping his "shameful" hobby secret and comparing himself unfairly to his experienced dollmaker grandfather, but with Marin around, he may soon cheer up and gain some stability in his life. He is already serious about his hobby, but Marin's positive and cheerful presence should empower him to take the next step and challenge himself to reach new heights as a maker of doll clothes. He may also gain new insights by designing clothes for full-sized people like Marin.

In many ways, this new relationship echoes the short-lived but emotionally charged friendship between Arima Kosei and Miyazono Kaori in Your Lie in April, where Kaori uplifted Kosei and helped him revive his passion for the piano during their time together. This changed Kosei's young life, and it all started by having two people from different worlds and worldviews crossing paths.

Another Take On Your Lie In April

My Dress Up Darling winter 2022 anime

In overall plot terms, My Dress-Up Darling follows the same beats as Your Lie in April, and these two shows even have some aesthetic similarities, such as the gloomy dark-haired boy and the cheerful blonde girl who befriends him. In both shows, the main characters bond over their shared passion, which helps bridge the gap between their separate worldviews and self-image. However, while Your Lie in April tells this story with classical music and heartbreak, My Dress-Up Darling tells the story with more straightforward optimism.

So far, My Dress-Up Darling has more limited stakes and drama than Your Lie in April, with no hint that either main character will fall ill or worse, and Wakana's personal baggage isn't as serious as Arima Kosei's. This makes for a lighter and more fun viewing experience, and fans of comedy or feel-good anime will probably prefer My Dress-Up Darling over Your Lie in April. Anime as a whole is famed for its heavy drama and heartbreak, but in the chilly Winter 2022 anime season, many fans will likely gravitate toward something lighter and watch a series about a boy embracing his passion without having to shed tears later.

My Dress-Up Darling has Your Lie in April's uplifting central storyline without the baggage, and with drama out of the way, fans can dive more deeply into the world of cosplay and fashion design, which is what brought Wakana and Marin together to begin with. This time, the characters' shared hobby takes center stage, which is sure to delight cosplay enthusiasts of all stripes.

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