Anime Spotlight: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is based on a manga written by Coolkyoushinja. It was directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto and was produced by Kyoto Animation. The 13 episodes of the anime series aired on Japanese television from January 11-April 6, 2017. An OVA episode was released on September 20, 2017. As of this writing, Crunchyroll holds the North American license for the Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid anime.

Kobayashi is a computer programmer who works in an office. One night, after getting drunk, she wanders into the mountains and runs into a dragon who has a divine sword thrust into it. Kobayashi pulls the sword out, and the two talk for a bit. In her drunken state, Kobayashi talks about her fascination with maids, and invites the dragon over to her place. The next morning, she’s surprised to see a dragon at her apartment. The dragon turns into a girl with a dragon tail and horns and wears a maid outfit. The dragon introduces herself as Tohru, and she ends up becoming Kobayashi’s maid. Early on, part of the humor comes from Tohru trying to understand how to be a maid and how to behave in the human world.

But it turns out Tohru isn’t the only dragon who comes into our world and tries to look human. Next to arrive is Kanna, a friend of Tohru’s who was exiled from their world because of all the pranks she pulled on other dragons. Kanna ends up living with Kobayashi and Tohru. Since Kanna looks like a young child in her human form, she goes to school and meets Riko Saikawa. Riko develops a crush on Kanna, and this is one of the running gags of the series.

Lucoa is a friend of Tohru’s, and is a dragon that lost her divine status centuries ago after getting drunk and causing a scandal with her younger sister. She ends up living with Shouta, a fifth grade boy who comes from a family of mages. She interrupted his summoning spell to prevent him from summoning a dangerous demon. Unfortunately, with her large breasts in her human form, along with the fact that she becomes overly affectionate with the young boy, Shouta sees her as a succubus. Her running gag is that she gets dragged away by a staff member from a public place for being dressed inappropriately.

Fafnir is a male dragon who has a strong disgust of humans. He has a cold demeanor and a distasteful mentality. Fafnir ends up living with Kobayashi’s friend from work, Takiya, and becomes obsessed with video games and popular culture.

Elma is the last dragon to appear in the series at a little over the halfway point. She belongs to a dragon faction that is rivals with Tohru’s family. After getting stuck in the human world, she ends up working in the same office as Kobayashi. Her running gag is that she loves food. She can also be indecisive. Of the dragons to appear in the anime, she never seemed to serve much of a real purpose. But considering that the manga was still ongoing when the anime was in production, it’s possible that Elma has a more important role to play in the manga in events that take place after the anime ended.

When I watched the first episode of the series, I admit that I wasn’t entirely sure of what I had gotten myself into. But by the end of the second episode, I found that I was enjoying the series. While there is fanservice involved, it’s not constantly in your face, and it doesn’t distract from the story. The characters themselves are quite endearing, and they make you want to keep watching the series.

I was a little disappointed by the final episode, though. It felt like it should have been building up to something bigger, where it would span two episodes. Instead, it felt like the final confrontation was rushed. When it comes to the OVA, I was glad to see that in an early scene, it acknowledged something that was taking place right at the end of the final episode of the television series. It felt as if it was part of the continuity of the series, instead of feeling like it was a random story that was written just to be able to have an OVA.

A second season has been greenlit for Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, but sadly, we won’t get to see the vision Yasuhiro Takemoto would have had for another season. His passing in the Kyoto Animation fire guarantees that there will be noticeable differences in a second season, since there’s no way another director would be able to exactly mimic Takemoto’s style and talent. I would definitely be interested in watching another season of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, but it will likely be a bittersweet viewing experience at such a point that it is produced and
released on Japanese television.

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