Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – Review
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid:
Original Air Dates: January 11th, 2017 – April 5th, 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.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is at its best when it is focused on being a slice of life show, highlighting the many complications and comedy that comes with dragons adjusting and adapting to life in the human realm. While the show does occasionally remind the viewers that the main story line is about the bond growing between Tohru and Kobayashi, those segments always feel random and even shoved in at times. In fact, its final episode loses a lot of its potential emotional impact because they try to fit so much in out of the blue, conjuring characters and drama that hadn’t really been built up or mentioned properly even once before the finale.
Tom: Dragon Maid’s 4-koma style of short vignette stories really lends itself to the often low-key slice of life atmosphere. Periodically the show goes out for some more laugh out loud level comedy and those fleeting instances shine right alongside the slower nature of the series, helping to break up what is otherwise a solid glimpse into Kobayashi’s and Tohru’s daily lives.
Linny: Conservative viewers might take issue with the busty and revealing appearance of Lucoa, one of the supporting cast dragons. There was some discontent over her behaviour towards the young boy who summoned her but since the show plays it up for comedy every time, more laid back audiences shouldn’t take too much issue with it. Another possible point of discomfort is the ‘blissful’ reaction Saikawa, a young girl has to any physical contact she makes with Kanna, the young and adorable star dragon of the series. Saikawa’s reactions are extremely over the top and, in some cases, hint to a response almost sexual and that’s bound to stir up ire with certain viewers.
Tom: Marring Dragon Maid is the periodic instances of sexual humor as Linny noted above. Lucoa brings a kind of sexual comedy that focuses mainly on body gags and awkward reactions. These moments are thankfully fleeting, but mark as the show’s low points and anyone adverse to that humor should be warned.
Linny: Dragon Maid feels a little unbalanced in that it seems to have trouble juggling all its characters alongside its overarching plot line. I’ve already mentioned how the final episode feels very rushed and random so lets focus on how certain side characters feel shoved in, in particular, Ilulu, whose introduction makes it feel like she is going to be a big deal but is quickly relegated into the minutest of roles. Her presence and inclusion almost feels questionable and unnecessary as what she brings to the main plot line could have easily been replaced by a line of dialogue from one of the main cast.
Tom: When focused on that core cast however, is when Dragon Maid really shines. Kobayashi is a fun, rough, non-sexualized female lead that breaks a lot of stereotypes prevalent in anime. Tohru is bubbly, lively and will grow on you over the course of the series. Kanna rounds out the trio as the super star of the series, but I’ll let Linny fawn over her. The cast is bolstered by a tribe of additional characters, but as Linny said their appearances can feel fleeting, underused and perhaps even unnecessary.
Linny: Fafnir, one such supporting character, surprisingly ends up exuding a lot of charm despite his surly persona and minor appearances. His complete and total descent and devotion to becoming a hardcore gamer and his budding bromance with Makoto Takiya prove to be both hilarious and endearing features of the show. Kanna however is the undoubted spot light stealer for anyone who adores cute, child characters as everything from her appearance, to her voice acting and her precocious attitude to the world is irresistible.
Tom: Perhaps elevating Dragon Maid even further is the incredibly fluid and engaging animation. The show is colorful, bright and so well animated that it’s never not a joy to look at. Even when the series is stumbling, either due to sexual humor or a sudden shift to a often unexplored main plot, Dragon Maid always looks at the top of its game.
Linny: Dragon Maid is a cute slice of life, though it struggles to pull off its more serious plot lines with finesse. It’s a rather uncommon take on dragons and human coexisting. This helps to keep it feeling fresh, funny and it’s nice to see a serious/average office worker as its lead character. If you’re a sucker for cute child characters, you NEED to watch this solely for the sake of Kanna Kamui but if you find yourself uninterested even after the second episode, then it might be best to call it a day.
Tom: Dragon Maid is only marred by a ho-hum beginning and some unneeded, but never too offensive, sexual humor. It may not be on my list for top anime of the season, but it’s definitely well worth a glance and shouldn’t be forgotten once we move on from Winter 2017.