My Dress-Up Darling was one of the better new anime series of 2022, and Marin Kitagawa is a big part of the reason for it.
Let’s take a look at Kitagawa, who she is, and why she makes such a great romantic comedy protagonist.
Note: Because this article discusses a romantic comedy series, there will be a marked spoiler near the end of the plot summary section.
Who is Marin Kitagawa?
Marin Kitagawa is one of the two main romantic leads for the anime series My Dress-Up Darling.
A lot of romantic comedy and harem anime series will feature a tsundere heroine — Rumiko Takahashi specializes in them, and shows ranging from Toradora to Fullmetal Panic featured them.
Kitagawa is refreshing for avoiding this fun, but admittedly overused theme. She’s not cold, aloof, angry, or moody. Most of the time, she’s cheerful, bubbly, outgoing and upbeat.
Despite being only a teenage high school student, she can also be surprisingly mature at times. But, she’s also bold, carefree, and uninhibited. This will add to the romantic comedy later on.
At the beginning of the series, Marin Kitagawa has a goal, and she’s prepared to fight for it. As an otaku girl, she wants to be a cosplayer. She just doesn’t know how to go about it. Left to her own devices, she fails at making a cosplay outfit even when she has detailed instructions.
This apparent lack of skill is what motivates her to find somebody who does have cosplay knowledge — Wakana Gojo. Her drive to succeed as a cosplayer pushes My Dress-Up Darling forward.
My Dress-Up Darling Plot Summary
My Dress-Up Darling started out as a manga by Shinichi Fukuda in 2018. The first season of the anime started in January 2022.
The first season is only 12 episodes, but it covers a lot of ground. Wannabe cosplayer Kitagawa meets the easily-embarrassed teen Wakana Gojo. Gojo is the heir to a traditional Japanese doll-making family. Although he’s really good at the family trade, nobody at school understands him.
Kitagawa thinks that Gojo might be a good person to ask about her cosplay problem. And he is, although he soon realizes that live subjects are different from hina dolls.
After some embarrassing and comedic moments, Gojo finishes the outfit, and Kitagawa wears it to a cosplay event. Before long, the two meet other cosplayers, including Sajuna Inui (a.k.a. “Juju”) and her sister Shinju Inui.
By the end of the first season, Kitagawa and Gojo finally figure out that they have feelings for each other. It certainly takes them long enough, and the audience should figure it out long before they do.
Even an accidental visit to a love hotel only leads to an almost kiss. It finally takes a summer festival to get her to confess (and even then it’s obvious that he doesn’t actually hear her).
Incidentally, most fans would normally assume that the anime’s title refers to the cosplayer Kitagawa. She gets “dressed up” a lot. But, with a Japanese name which translates as “That Bisque Doll Falls in Love,” it could also refer to how Kitagawa encourages dollmaker Gojo to do more with his talents. The “doll” could be Gojo.
Who is Marin Kitagawa’s Love Interest?
From the beginning of the series, it’s pretty obvious that Wakana Gojo is set up to be Marin Kitagawa’s love interest.
Gojo is the opposite of Kitagawa in many ways. While she is outgoing, he is shy and modest. This leads to some awkward moments where he has to measure her to make her outfits. (He’s embarrassed by it; she isn’t.) He’s also more cautious and detail-oriented than she is.
Of course, in any romantic comedy, this apparent “opposites attract” formula makes for a winning combination. It also leads to a lot of comedic moments.
Marin Kitagawa Figures & Merch
Naturally, a pretty, “gyaru” girl who dresses up in cosplay outfits will be the subject of a lot of figurines and other merchandise.
ZenPlus has Marin Kitagawa merchandise. If you want to cosplay as a cosplayer, you can buy a Kitagawa wig and Kitagawa’s schoolgirl outfit. Of course, these items do come from Japan, and Japanese sizes tend to run small.
You can also find My Dress-Up Doll manga, acrylic stands, keychains, and other merch at ZenPlus.
In addition, Crunchyroll Store has this Marin Kitagawa swimsuit figurine. And Aniplex recently had this schoolgirl Marin Kitagawa available to pre-order.
I hope you enjoyed this quick look at Marin Kitagawa. If this article inspired you to watch the series, you can find our guide to the 5 Best Places to Watch My Dress-Up Darling Online HERE.
If you’ve already watched the series, you’ll be glad to know that the creators announced in September 2022 that there will be another season of My Dress-Up Darling. So there will be more cosplay outfits in the future, and more opportunities for Kitagawa and Gojo to develop their relationship.