Domestic Girlfriend is a lot like doing a line of cocaine. It hits, chapter after chapter it leaves something within you that longs to be filled. And then, after that last page, it leaves that hole empty, never quite giving you the satisfaction that is longed for. So with that feeling, I decided to go out on the hunt, the target, anything that will take me back to those page-turning days. That is when I discovered writer Sasuga, Kei had a manga that predated the as before mentioned Domestic Girlfriend, GE Good Ending.
Though as for anyone who has read the two series, they are quite different. Where Domestic Girlfriend thrives is the suspense it builds as Natsuo tries to figure out his feelings between the two sisters. Natsuo alone is interesting, conflicting, and generally a good guy. This allows the narrative of him jumping between Rui and Hina without the reader hating him. GE, however, is a different take on romance stories in general. Penning a more melodramatic vibe, GE following MC Utsumi, Seiji. An overall normal guy that has no real interesting qualities to speak of.
Now Seiji has had eyes on the tennis club captain and one year his senior, Iketani, Shou since the start of his high school career. One day while spying on the beaming overly optimistic Shou, Seiji is caught and confronted by another tennis beauty Kurokawa, Yuki. Calling him out for being a peeping tom, Seiji quickly addresses her concern stating that he was only watching cause he is sweet on Shou. Which is still being a peeping tom but whatever. Interested in watching a love bloom, Yuki decides that she is going to help Seiji out by offering him some advice.
Naturally, that goes nowhere because this is Manga, and mains like Seiji need A LOT more than some words of support. Getting caught by Yuki once again peeping in on the practice. Yuki decides to throw the old boy straight into the fire, shoving him from behind a bush stating to Shou and the rest of the club that he a new member. Shou, being happy go lucky girl that she is becomes ecstatic and quickly aids the (extremely) unathletic Seiji get up to speed.
What follows is a slow take of Yuki helping Seiji get with Shou, Yuki, and Seiji becoming closer every chapter while Shou, dealing with relationship issues herself comes to terms with who it is she truly loves. GE strongest yet most annoying point is how much the three of them miss each other. How they ignore their feelings, get quick to judge, and get jealous of each other’s past. Compounded with Seiji being a super uninteresting character who has no real ambition to do anything with his life to makes the 150 odd chapters a slow burn. And even though it was penned by the same author of Domestic Girlfriend, and granted that comes out sometimes, it doesn’t have the same rhythm nor does it convey how painful the situation may be emotionally like its counterpart.
Outside of my general dislike of Seiji, another weak spot of this story is how generally boring the two heroines are. Yuki is without a doubt the most interesting, clearly having something traumatic in her past haunt her as she and Seiji grow closer. But the sheer amount of time it takes for those two to get to where they can confront it is frustratingly long, creating a world that when she accepts her own feelings and confronts her past is the peak of their relationship. It doesn’t help that Shou is literally the same, using Seiji to confront the past that still haunts her.
Shou generally speaking also gets done pretty dirty in the end, or so I thought. In short strangely where GE’s biggest weak points are parts where I thought Domestic Girlfriend did well. Yuki and Seiji run into relationship issues they seem to ignore it, both of them content with letting it build until it is unbearable. Whereas Rui (Hina) and Natuso, granted do ignore their issues from time to time, at least TRY to figure it out, even if the way they go about it is immature and silly (which I think is kinda nice)
This is a long-winded way to say GE is not Domestic Girlfriend and I’m sad about it. But it is something, it has cute moments, nice art, and wholehearted feelings. GE is packed full of slow-building mellow drama and it does it pretty well honestly.
The two stories that I have read by Sasuga, Kei, have, even with the things I dislike about both of them have opened a part of my heart that I wasn’t expecting. I admire her ability to create relationships and use the emotions in-between them to create at times heart-wrenching stories. And GE is no expectation, I’m glad I read it, but I cannot give it a number because of the bias I had going into it.
In short, want a lot of slow melodrama, like the art style of Domestic Girlfriend, then give GE Good Ending a read, hopefully, it will fill in you what it failed to in me.
Thanks for the read!