As a fan of the Yuri or Shoujo-Ai genre I’m always glad to see new anime with such traits becoming popular. It’s an unfortunate fact that people associate yuri or yaoi with hardcore gay sex, but its series like Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid which help assert the fact that not everything in this genre must feature women or men squishing their intimate parts together.
The premise of the anime seems absurd, but it works. Despite the main characters being dragons, I found myself nodding along when they expressed their own nuggets of wisdom – almost everything in this show sans the fantasy elements is oddly relatable.
And also. Dragon. Maids. Nuff’ said.
After a night of getting drunk and not remembering what happened, our main character Kobayashi exits her apartment only to come face to face with a green dragon, who then promptly transforms into a maid.
As far as first episodes go, it was a pretty epic beginning, the anime going for the shock factor and mixing it with a good dose of humour.
The dragon, who introduces herself as Tohru, soon starts living at Kobayashi’s house in exchange for being a maid.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is episodic, and we mostly get to see how Tohru acclimates herself to human society, whilst pining after Kobayashi. As the anime goes on, we are introduced to various other characters like the adorable dragon that is Kanna, Fafnir the cursed dragon, an ex-goddess who is referred to as Lucoa, and Elma, Tohru’s self-proclaimed rival due to them being of opposite natures.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is an anime that one would describe as a ‘comfort anime’ where its sole purpose is getting the viewer to relax. This is reflected in the anime’s laidback demeanour, complete with heart-warming and comedic moments peppered throughout.
Most of the story is set in modern day Japan, but there are several episodes dedicated to exploring Tohru’s backstory and the world she came from. It’s interesting to receive hints of a fantasy world just a portal away, and it contributes to the overall world building in the anime.
There isn’t any overarching story other than the dragons’ eventual return to their own world. Instead, the anime shows us their everyday lives through Tohru and the other dragon’s point of view.
The situations the characters find themselves dealing are not that different to the ones we find ourselves in. There were times I found myself relating to the nuggets of wisdom dished out by the characters, and it’s eerie how Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid hits the nail on the head in regards to society’s problems in general.
It’s kind of ironic that comedies can make fun of or point out hard facts, and though we know what they’re saying is true, we can’t help convince ourselves that it’s not to be taken seriously, because hey – it’s just a show.
It gets depressing the more you think about it, but proves this anime isn’t mindless dribble. It leaves you with things to think about. It engages the audience in some way, going beyond what a normal slice of life series would do.
Kobayashi and Tohru have great chemistry with each other. Kobayashi is level headed and logical which contrasts with Tohru’s aggressive and more emotional driven behaviour, and its fun to see how they try to get to know each other better. Their relationship inches forward with each new discovery, and in the process, they also learn more about themselves.
I really enjoyed how Kobayashi took most of Tohru’s antics in stride, including some of Tohru’s more affectionate and romantic actions towards her. The anime doesn’t explicitly state that they are a couple but it’s pretty darn clear if you know how to read subtext, and it was nice to see a yuri (or perhaps shoujo ai would be more fitting) series not overly serious or dramatic, while still being realistic.
Kobayashi, Tohru, and Kanna get the most development, with Lucoa and Elma getting the least. Considering the anime only has 13 episodes, I’m glad they decided to focus on those three because I think it wouldn’t have turned out as good.
I found Kobayashi to be the most relatable of the cast which isn’t surprising, with her being a human and all. She’s not perfect and has flaws – which she is aware of – but she tries her best to be a good person, something she demonstrates through her actions.
Although she isn’t big on showing affection to the people or dragons she cares about, she does try to do so from time to time, knowing her habit of keeping a distance might be wrongly interpreted.
Tohru can come off as airheaded but is proven to be anything but. Other than having superior physical abilities and grasp of magic, she acclimates to the human world easily. She’s charismatic, friendly, and add in her keenness to learn about humans, Tohru is nothing but interesting. Her antics are usually the source of humour, and are of a light-hearted and cute variety.
Overall, the characters in Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid are the most likable bunch I have ever come across and I wouldn’t dare imagine the anime without them.
Despite it being a slice of life series, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid has moments where they showcase amazing fight scenes. Those were visually arresting, and coupled with some decent fight choreography, it rivals other action anime I’ve seen.
It’s clear they didn’t cut any corners. Though there were scenes where the animation looked poor, those are sparse and don’t affect the overall quality of the anime. Even casual scenes such as Tohru and Kobayashi going shopping are well animated, with detailed backgrounds that really make the area they live in feel like a living, breathing town.
Overall, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid was a treat, both visually and story wise. It’s definitely one of the best comfort anime out there and news of a second season couldn’t have sounded any sweeter. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what the new season has in store.