We’ve finally reached the end of My Dress-Up Darling’s anime run, and while we wait for a hopeful second season to come from the show, I want to celebrate the other half of the will-they-won’t-they equation. Wakana Gojo might have started out as an awkward hina doll nerd when the show began, but… well, he’s still an awkward hina doll nerd at the end, but now he’s got a friend to share his journey with. We already discussed his other half before, so it is only fair that we share the love.
For this week’s Hump Day Husbando feature, we’ll be getting to know the tall and loveable Wakana Gojo, in all his nerdy, awkward glory.
Who is Wakana Gojo?
A big part of My Dress-Up Darling’s appeal has come from its unapologetically wholesome message about never being ashamed of what you love. Wakana Gojo lives in a constant state of fear at the start of the anime, afraid that he’ll be ostracised if his love for crafting hina dolls were to become public knowledge. And for good reason; his unnamed childhood friend was particularly harsh when she found out about his affection for the traditional art.
The result is a young man who is overly shy and painfully lonely until he runs into the ball of chaotic joy that is Marin Kitagawa. The anime, which covers the first five volumes of the ongoing manga, shows how Gojo comes out of his shell almost frustratingly slowly, but still manages to become more of his own person than he had been at the start of the show. The strength of his character comes through, and we finally get a proper introduction to who he really is by around episode three.
Why we love him
The character we finally get to meet is the real Wakana Gojo, free from the many layers of insecurity that burden him. He begins making cosplay outfits for Marin and others, finds a new love of anime and manga, and learns new skills like photography along the way. In fact, we don’t see him work on his beloved hina dolls as much after the first episode because he is so busy with these new parts of his life.
A funny thing happens, though; instead of getting worse at painting the dolls’ faces due to a lack of practice, his grandfather notes that Wakana has gotten better. His strokes are more relaxed and fluid, like a tension has been released from his body. The implication is that finding joy in his life outside of simply making the dolls has helped him become a better artist. Learning new skills has been an asset rather than a hindrance to him.
Why you’ll love him
It takes a proper husbando to pair off with everyone’s favourite waifu from this season, and Wakana Gojo is the perfect person to do it. He can’t compete with Marin’s energy, but he also doesn’t try to. He is allowed to simply grow and change at his own pace, and it is the person that starts to emerge that captures her heart.
My Dress-Up Darling doesn’t rely on some of the usual tricks of the romance genre to create tension. There is no love triangle or cosplay rival that attempts to create tension artificially. Every conflict comes from these two young people trying to figure out their feelings and navigate the awkwardness that goes from making the jump from friendship to love.
Wakana Gojo doesn’t entirely come out of his shell during the season, but he opens up enough to see a future where he isn’t alone. This step helps him grow into one of the best boys anime has seen in several seasons.
The first season of My Dress-Up Darling can be streamed through Crunchyroll, while the first four volumes of the manga are available through Amazon. Now we just have to wait patiently for the fifth volume to hit the West in a few weeks.
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