Wakana Gojo likes dolls. He’s an apprentice doll maker who is learning the art of crafting ceremonial Hina dolls from his grandfather. He’s not great at making the actual dolls quite yet, but Gojo has mastered making their intricate, ornamental clothing. He loves what he does, but his passion doesn’t leave much time or room for friends or other hobbies until a very different kind of doll enters his life. My Dress-Up Darling is available from Square Enix, both digitally and physically. But is it worth reading? Let’s find out in our My Dress-Up Darling volume 1 review.
A high schooler and apprentice doll maker. Despite looking like a college senior, he’s only fifteen years old.
A gyaru (gal) who is very popular in school and secretly loves to cosplay.
Gojo lives a solitary life. He doesn’t particularly talk to anyone or have any friends and has zero experience with girls. When Marin accidentally bumps into him and talks to him for the first time, Gojo is so flustered that he doesn’t know how to react.
They live in separate worlds, and Gojo figures it will stay that way until their paths cross in an unlikely place: the school sowing machine room. Gojo is there to make clothing for a Hina doll since the antique sowing machine he has at home has broken. Marin is there to sow a cosplay costume. They’re in the same room for very different reasons., but can they find a connection?
My Dress-Up Darling volume 1 spoilers
As it turns out, Marin is a terrible seamstress. Marin puts on her homemade cosplay costume. Gojo, who has been using a sewing machine since kindergarten, is horrified by what he sees. He is socially awkward and has no filter, so he quickly begins listing the many things that are wrong with the costume. When Gojo realizes that he’s hurting Marin’s feelings, and immediately falls on his face, begging for forgiveness.
Luckily, Marin is pretty thick-skinned and comes up with an idea. Since Gojo is so skilled at crafting doll clothing, he can help her with her cosplay. He resists at first since he has never made clothes for an actual person before. But soon relents when he sees that Marin is just as passionate about cosplay as he is about Hina dolls.
A little later, the two find themselves in Gojo’s room, where he takes detailed measurements of Marin while she’s in a swimsuit. According to Marin’s cosplay how-to book, this is the best way to get the accurate measurements you need for a good costume. This scene takes up a big chunk of the book. As Gojo, who has zero experience with girls and is growing more flustered by the minute. He slowly struggles to overcome his bashfulness and get the job done.
The rest of the volume is spent picking out materials, a wig, and other components of the costume. Through it all, Gojo and Marin become more friendly, but there’s no romantic spark just yet.
The art is very good. The star of the show is Marin, and it’s evident that the artist enjoys drawing her. There are so many well-drawn and interesting images of her that I had trouble picking out the few to include in this review. All the different locations (many of which are based on real places) are nicely rendered as well.
My only issue is Gojo. I don’t care what the author says; he does not look like a fifteen-year-old boy. I posted the adjacent picture to my Twitter account and asked people to guess his age. Everyone responded with 20-24. Manga can be weird with depicting age, but this is the oldest-looking teenager I’ve ever seen.
Is my Dress-Up Darling volume 1 worth reading?
Oh yes. It’s a great setup with fun characters. It’s also a bit surprising, especially when it comes to Marin. Typically, a super-popular girl like her would be portrayed as an unapproachable ice princess in most manga, but she is neither. She is just a genuinely nice and confident person who is passionate about cosplay. Marin and Gojo are both highly likeable characters, and watching them form a friendship, and possibly more will make this series well worth reading.
If you enjoyed our My Dress-Up Darling volume 1 review, why not check out our other romance reviews. Have you read My Dress-Up Darling? Why not leave a comment below!