Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – Mid Season Review
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid:
Original Air Dates: January 11th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: Ms. Kobayashi is your average office worker. She lives a boring life, alone, in her small apartment. That is until she saves the life of a female dragon in distress. This dragon, Tohru, has the ability to transform into an adorable human girl (although her tail and horns still show!), and is willing to do anything to pay back Kobayashi for her aid, whether she wants it or not. Kobayashi’s life seems poised to go off the deep end.
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Dragon Maid has been one of the few stand out anime this season, garnering attention amongst a line up that has left many disappointed. Part of this is because the series boasts incredible animation. The quality is superb, designs on point, and the fidelity is impressive even in the odd event action reeves up on screen. But the animation doesn’t take it easy when we’re focused on slice of life. There’s no slouching, no models going off, and plenty of vibrant colors to keep Dragon Maid as one of the best looking shows yet this year.
Linny: Dragon Maid starts off a little pervy, such as Kobayashi stripping Tohru in a drunken state and Tohru repeatedly offering and wishing to put Kobayashi’s used intimates in her mouth to clean them. We even have a rather busty character appear later on, who adds a lot of PG-13 jokes and scenes. However, once the show introduces Kanna, a child like Dragon girl, it switches to a more slice of life and family oriented tone, especially in episodes that feature her heavily. However, if you are super uncomfortable with any lewdness, the show makes it clear that it will always be big part of its comedy and frequently returns to nsfw humour that might make more sensitive viewers uncomfortable.
Tom: Dragon Maid can be very 4-koma esque, as it delivers bit-sized chunks of content between its longer sections. It’s overall very slice of life, focusing on how the dragons take to living in the human world. This focus is on anything from simple day to day misunderstandings, or how they, as Dragons, are adjusting to our way of life. Much of this has a perfectly balanced atmosphere, with the right levels of comedy and emotion to keep thing engaging and exciting. But there are certain elements, as Linny talked about above, that stray into sexual and potentially uncomfortable territory. It’s not as if the show hides this about itself, as Linny pointed out, with episode one featuring several instances of such content. Later episodes take this humor in new, and potentially uncomfortable directions, which could hinder enjoyment for audiences more sensitive to such material. This avenue of humor is easily the show’s biggest fault.
Linny: A lot of the humour isn’t necessarily unique but thanks to its entertaining characters, the show manages to avoid coming off as a flurry of worn out cliches. What is rather adorable and a little unique is the introduction and exploration of a budding bromance between two male characters, the stand off-ish, dark natured dragon, Fafnir and Kobayashi’s human colleague, Takiya that isn’t just cheap fujoshi bait (though I am sure they will enjoy it nonetheless).
Tom: Fafnir and Takiya are but just a handful of additional characters that round out the show’s offerings, from budding bromance, to kindergarten pals, or even wizards and summoned dragons. But the main focus is on Tohru, Kobayashi, and Kanna. Kobayashi herself is a fun, non-sexualized lead. She’s a bit rough, and her drunkard sexual assault persona leaves a lot to be desired, but the show balances with that by keeping her kind and reliable. Tohru was introduced with a more questionable persona, focused on a rather overtly sexual obsession with Kobayashi. But that’s been tuned down, allowing the character’s other traits, her vulnerability, her strength, and her vengeful nature to shine through.
Linny: For fans of cute, Kanna is the undoubted star of the show and if you like precocious child characters such as Renge from Non Non Biyori, Kanna will have you swooning. Her design is adorable and so is her persona. On the other hand, I would also like to bring up Lucoa, the designated ‘sex symbol’ of the show. She’s a potentially troublesome character as her huge breasts and confident/laid back attitude towards sexuality could rub viewers the wrong way. A lot of her sexuality is used for the sake of humour but some of it might end up offending or upsetting certain viewers.
Tom: Considerable changes have been made in this adaptation, namely in the addition of a plethora of new material, as well as adjustments to Kobayashi’s characterization. Much of what has been done seems to be to make the characters more likable, relatable, and to tone down some of the more risque aspects, although they’re still present.
Linny: It wasn’t until Dragon Maid began really focusing and featuring Kanna that I found myself truly won over. It was catering to one of my favourite things about anime, the adorable slice of life vibe. Dragon Maid ultimately is a very mixed bag, having content that could appeal to all sort of audiences but also at the same time , turn away members of that very audience. If you don’t mind/enjoy some off colour and somewhat lewd comedy, and are a huge fan of slice of life snippets, Dragon Maid should end up one of your favourites of the season.
Tom: Dragon Maid started a tad rocky, with comedy and atmosphere that wasn’t quite working. But once the cast rounded up, and Kanna was introduced, the series started to really come together. Outside of some sexual content that more sensitive viewers might want to steer clear of, Dragon Maid has risen as one of the most impressive and enjoyable anime of 2017.