Anime Review – Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – A Dragonificent Time

*I hate myself for these titles sometime, I really do.* Anyway, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a Slice of Life Comedy anime that follows the life of salary-woman Miss Kobayashi, whose life gets unexpectedly weird when she encounters a real life Dragon named Tohru. Through machinations beyond her actions, she soon finds her life filling with strange individuals and naturally hijinks ensue. The anime gained traction for being the origin of the infamous Don’t Lewd the Dragon Loli meme that circulated for a while. But is it anything beyond a meme spawn? Yes! In fact it’s one of the best anime of the last year according to many and I tend to agree.

Story (Spoilers)

Much like Super Sonico the Animation this show doesn’t really have a major narrative, though it does have character introductions throughout so it has more structure. While Super Sonico introduced all it’s major characters in the first episode, you could effectively watch every episode out of order and not lose much from it, but with this show there is a build up to a finale and a slight skeleton of a story. As mentioned before, the plot focuses on Kobayashi and her life with a collection of magical Dragons, one of which is madly obsessed with making her happy. Each episode has a primary plotline and the episode is based on that. This ranges from a trip to the beach to a school athletics competition. With the exception of the final episode, there’s no real urgency or seriousness in the story, with the climax serving as a conclusion to the relationships built up throughout this series. Speaking of relationships, that’s what the story primarily focuses on, showing interactions between the characters and how they develop from these meetings. If I was to say my favorite episode it would be episode 9, where the gang attend a sport competition. This episode is great because it displays almost all the characters interacting with one another and showing the relationships side by side. Other episodes I recommend are episodes 4 and 10. So overall, the story is very enjoyable and the plotlines all lead to funny and believable interactions.

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Characters

  • Kobayashi – The main character of the show, Kobayashi is a very likable person for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons is her relatability, she’s an overworked salary worker and often doesn’t have much time for herself. This is something many people can in fact identify with, and is also reflective of the issue in Japan of their work ethic affecting many different aspects of their lives like relationships and having children. Kobayashi’s deadpan exterior is also quite a funny one, with her lax nature and willingness to allow others to suffer for their own choices is quite funny. Her interactions with Tohru is one that is full of humor, particularly when Tohru tries to display her love for Kobayashi and it’s often unrewarded or met with minimal praise. Overall, Kobayashi is a really fun protagonist with nothing particularly special about her other than a secretly caring heart and a lax nature that is fun to watch. Not to mention she shows sizable growth throughout the series, becoming more accepting and caring of others and really grows as a person.
  • Tohru – The secondary protagonist, Tohru is a hyperactive, can-do spirit having Dragon whose out to make Kobayashi love her. Tohru is also a really fun character and is likable in her wide eyed innocence and oblivious nature. Her extreme ways of dealing with everyday problems, like blasting fire at pigeons or throwing a ball with the force of a cannon is a good source of physical comedy and the way she slowly grows to understand the world around her shows development. Not to mention her love for Kobayashi is also a really lovable relationship and the way it progresses from a blind infatuation to genuine compassion is great to watch develop. She’s just a great character, funny, likable and a caring (albeit psychotic) soul.
  • Kanna – Ah yes, the Dragon Loli. There’s a reason Kanna is so popular, she’s just so cute. As the token ‘moe’ character of the show, Kanna acts as a source of cute factor for the show but does show shades of character that go beyond just being ‘kawaii’. At the start of the show she is doubtful of Tohru’s now developed love for humans and is genuinely upset when Thru refuses to return home. The way she wants to immerse herself in the human world is also really sweet, and her relationship with her friend Riko. Quick note, Riko’s interactions with Kanna are the funniest part of the show and are a treat to watch.
  • Lucoa – The obligatory source of Fanservice in the show, Lucoa is in fact my favourite character (not for those reasons thought I swear). The reason I like her the most is because of her relationship with her human Shouta. Not only is it funny to see him constantly avoid her for fear she’s a demon, but the way she blindly supports him and ultimately makes embarassing situations is funny. Not to mention the combination of her ‘mature’ appearance and ditzy nature is a funny combination. She isn’t oblivious to human life like the other dragons, but is oblivious to social decency, another trait that leads to humerous events. Overall, the combination of her hilarious interactions with Shouta and her blissfully caring personality makes for a really funny character.
  • Elma – The last of the main dragon’s to be introduced, Elma is probably the weakest as a result. Since we’d already had plenty of time to get used to the other characters, her late entrance means we don’t have enough time to appreciate her character as much. Her debut episode even makes note of this in the title saying “She’s Finally Appearing, Huh?” That said, her personality is pretty funny, constantly swinging between her desire to defeat Tohru and trying to adjust to human life. Her main source of humour is the way she pines for many different foods, a trope seen my many anime characters not from earth and while it is quite funny is wears thin fast.
  • Additional Characters – For additional characters I decided to bunch the remaining characters together since they don’t have as many moments as the others. Fafnir is a deadpan and lawful evil dragon who is pretty funny especially when he develops a love for magical girls and anime despite keeping the evil persona. His roommate Makoto is also a nice guy, but he’s not really that interesting and only serves as a friend for Kobayashi and even then we see her interact more with the dragon’s  than him. Finally Shouta, I think he’s a fine character but I just wish his relationship with Lucoa actually progressed. by that I mean I wish he’d show some level of care about her, I know he does grow to accept her but I just wish there’d been a scene where he admitted he thinks of her as a friend as opposed to always pushing her away.

So overall, this is a fine cast, and unlike Super Sonico the Animations cast, for as nice as that was, this cast shows sizeable growth and develop their interactions with each other.

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Presentation

This is where the anime really excels for me. It’s excelled in everything, but for me the presentation is it’s real strength.

  • Animation – This is easily the best part, the animation I stunning. It has very mellowed colours, a lot of pastels on display here. The backgrounds are also very good, looking like scruffy painted pieces that really do lend themselves to the art style and make the smooth;y drawn characters stand out against them. Speaking of the characters, there’s barely a frame where they’re drawn wrong, each frame is beautifully drawn and each character’s movement is distinct both in walking and just general quirks in their body. The expressions are great, with both the real expressions and the really exaggerated ones all working well. What’s left to say other than, top notch animation!
  • Voice Acting – The voices in this show are all distinct and all of them ooze personality. Kobayashi’s voice is very funny in how it remains constantly monotone and Tohru’s energy really shines in her voice. Kanna seems almost deadpan, but her voice peaks at certain moments to show cracks in her passive persona, a nice touch in my opinion. Everyone has some really nice voices, I can’t really elaborate on all of them or else we’d be there forever. Great voice acting.
  • Music – I don’t pay much to the background music in this anime, but when it does pick up it has a few nice melodies to hum to. The opening and ending OPs are the best though. The opening is energetic but methodical in its composer and offers tome really interesting visual imagery in the opening animation. The ending is very whimsical and sweet, the chibified end cards are really sweet and we even got to see this style in the OVA mini specials released later which was a treat to watch.

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Grades

  • Story: 4/5 – The miniature stories within each episode are fun to watch and all have unique premises that are all pretty memorable.
  • Characters: 4/5 – Great characters, each one is so distinct and has their own unique charm. They also show growth throughout the show and their interactions with one another are the highlight of the shows main moments.
  • Animation: 5/5 – This animation if gorgeous, it’s beautifully stylised and every frame is stunningly crafted to perfection. I just love this animation so much, my eyes are in love!!! *ahem* Moving on…
  • Voice Acting: 4/5 – I like the voices a lot in this show, they lend a lot to their characters and really enhance the chemistry between the characters.
  • Music: 3/5 – The background music isn’t something worth analysing, but the opening end ending songs are super fun and offer some unique animation.

 

  • Final Grade: 4/5 – Overall, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a delightfully silly anime with some neat comedy, great Slice of life elements and a colourful cast complimented by fabulous animation. Defiantly would recommend this one to those who haven’t seen it.

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