Every now and then, the anime community and the internet in general likes to grab onto a character and not let go. They like to share them on their Twitter timelines, make memes about them, and just, in general, share their love for that character.
The reason that character gets big can be for simple reasons. If a character is cute, female, or otherwise, they’ll generally get popular, but it’s usually not enough for them to invade the internet. It takes a character that connects with people on a certain level or causes some real emotions to swell from them.
Bojji from last season is a pretty good example of a character everyone wanted to rally behind, but a character that fits more what we’ll be talking about is Sayu from Higehiro. The entire internet swarmed to this girl’s side a few months ago, much like the character today, admittedly for a bit of a different reason.
The whole human race online was ready to collectively adopt Sayu and fight anyone who attempted to hurt her. She became best girl of that year then and there. Well, only a few weeks into 2022, I think we might have found our best girl already, at least potentially mine.
Marin from My Dress-Up Darling has also slaughtered the internet in a similar way. Only two episodes have come out, and I can’t stop seeing this girl’s face everywhere. Memes, freaking appreciation posts, other types of posts where people get excited about her. She’s absolutely everywhere, and that’s because she’s really the perfect storm.
People like her visually, and that’s not even always in a creepy way. She has a lot of very expressive faces that make for some of the prettiest moments the series has. She’s a hardcore otaku, which will always garner favor in the community, but above all else, and the biggest reason I like her is she’s just a decent human being, and one I think a lot of people wish they had in their life.
The plot is fairly simple, at least in the way it can be applied to a lot. It’s a fairly versatile plot. Basically, Gojo is an orphan who was raised by his grandfather, who happened to make Hina dolls. Seeing that all his life led to him also loving and learning the craft.
Then one day, his childhood friend calls him gross for playing with girl’s dolls and what self-confidence he had shattered so bad that he hides his hobby from everyone until one day, Marin, our girl of the hour, finds out his secret.
But rather than making fun of him, or laughing, or calling him creepy, or anything you might be able to assume from her appearance and personality, she instead remarks very clearly that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a boy or girl when you like something. And then Gojo falls in love.
Yeah, it’s about a doll maker, cosplay, and a bunch of other stuff, but at its core, Dress-Up Darling is about acceptance. Gojo was hurt in the past just for being himself, which led to him not accepting himself and believing nobody else would either.
Then you have Marin, who while it looks like she’s from a different world, is actually remarkably similar to Gojo. Both of them have “weird” hobbies, Gojo with doll making, and Marin with liking eroges.
It creates this interesting dynamic where Gojo begins to do the same to her that’s been done to him, thinking she’s weird for liking what she likes. But her words snap him out of it. They’re practically the same people. The difference is that Marin is open and accepting of herself, or at least seems to be on the surface, while Gojo’s past has altered his opinion of himself.
They’re two seemingly different people, who really are only separated by the way they think of themselves, showing that why other people will always matter, your opinion of yourself is what changes everything. Marin has friends because she’s herself, not in spite of it, and it took Gojo’s chance meeting with her to realize he can have that too.
While it’s becoming more accepted, anime is still something that’s considered odd by a lot of people even if it’s not related to gender, so perhaps it’s not a surprise that a character that embodies acceptance and is so matter-of-fact about your hobbies would become as popular as Marin has.
It’s heartwarming in a lot of ways. Yeah, Marin gives some fanservice (which I’ve heard dies down a lot now, even if it hasn’t been too bad), but she’s an incredibly wholesome, kind-hearted character despite a lot of potential to the contrary.
And in a world where characters are often looked down on for not being perfect (I’m looking at the Shinji Ikaris and the Shu Oumas out there), it makes me happy that even Gojo, a character built around his weaknesses, is being so well-received.
It brings me back to when I talked about Horimiya. These are two very similar series in a lot of ways. Horimiya was just a romance, without any frills, and was loved because of it. Dress-Up Darling is just a romance as well, the only catch being the character’s hobbies, which really doesn’t change much.
It’s simply just a story of acceptance, where one person just being themself, manages to help someone else be and accept themself. It’s incredibly cute, and I’m happy that we live in a world where these types of series are received well, and it makes me even happier that people love Marin because she really does deserve it. At least, I doubt she’s going anywhere any time soon.
Thank you very much for reading
I’m curious if anyone will dethrone Marin this year.