Aaron's Review: Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid
 

I originally didn’t want to watch this show because, well, it looked like a dozen other cliché romantic comedy anime I’ve seen. So after watching it I can say that…it’s one of the better ones.  

Guys, Gals, & Non-Binary Pals, this is Aaron’s Review of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.

!Background!

Okay, so the premise is that a computer programmer, Kobayashi, gets drunk one night and invites a dragon, Tohru (in human form), to live with her as a maid after removing a sword from her back.

…anime is weird.

Anyway, the series just follows their day to day lives as Tohru gets accustomed to the human world’s rules as well as Kobayashi dealing with more dragons showing up in her town. They’re not there to cause trouble. Just, see why Tohru left and inevitably, find a reason to stay in the human world.

!Story!

Okay, first things first. Tohru is in love with Kobayashi. That is not hinted at or ambiguous. She flat out says, “I love you sexually” in episode 1. So obviously, this show is about the two main characters developing a romantic relationship? Ha-Ha-Ha! Nope!

In the Japanese version of the show, Kobayashi’s sexuality is left ambiguous. At no point do they hook up and Kobayashi, while not rejecting Tohru full out, shows absolutely no interest in a romantic relationship. They grow close and rely on one another, but Kobayashi does not end up with Tohru.

In the English dub by Funimation, Kobayashi utters the words, and I quote, ‘I’m not into girls’.

I prefer the dub version since I cannot f*cking stand ‘will they, won’t they’ relationships. I’d rather you just flat out say, ‘it’s not going to happen’ instead of queer baiting.

This by no means the two are bad characters. In actuality, they’re the best things about the show.

!Characters! 

Kobayashi is always laid back and seemingly chill. As someone who deals with computers, she often stays calm and analyzes situations before even forming an action. This is both a positive and a negative for the show. I’ll get to the negative in just a moment. Her humor in the dub is often a snarky comment due to this.

Tohru is the polar opposite. Brash and arrogant, Tohru is quick to jump the gun and has low self-restraint. There’s a running joke that Tohru’s dragon saliva can remove stains in clothes (because anime is weird), so she tries to clean Kobayashi’s clothes by licking them. Kobayashi finds this creepy, and tells her not to do it. Tohru continues to do so cause she wants to f*ck Kobayashi along with sniffing them.

Of course, Tohru does learn restraint and humility in the series as the two get closer. But again, the humor is watching a woman, sniff another woman’s clothes and misunderstand the purpose what we know as everyday objects. I salute the voice actresses in both the original Japanese (Yūki Kuwahara) and English Dub (Sarah Wiedenheft) for pulling this off because there was no way this was going to be easy.

Along with Tohru, there are the other dragons.

Kanna: a little kid who was exiled but doesn’t act like a trouble maker and is incredibly compliant so…yeah. Figure that one out. She becomes Kobayashi’s adoptive daughter in the series and while the initial interaction is VERY rushed, I did enjoy watching the emotionless doll character find things to emote over with her laid back mommy.

Fafnir: A gothic person with very little patience for things that may seem unimportant. As he moves in with one of Kobayashi’s coworkers, Makoto, the two bond over video games (not romantically however, which is bullsh*t to me).

There’s two more, but I don’t care about them because they’re boring due to not getting a lot screen time (Elma) and only existing for fan service and pedophilia jokes (Lucoa).

!The Show! 

Let’s get back to the thing I said about Kobayashi staying calm being a negative. Now, the first few times Tohru or one of the dragons does something stupid/reckless with their magic powers to which Kobayashi reacts with ‘I guess this is happening’, is funny. However, by episode 8, and Elma breaks in destroying her apartment, Kobayashi’s reaction is still, ‘I guess this is happening’. Lady, you’re allowed a few ‘bitch, I kill you’ moments.

This is problem the series as a whole to me. The set ups for certain jokes were great, but the punchlines fell short. An early one is Kanna and Tohru playing while using their magic powers creating something very reminiscent of over the top action anime fight scenes. They ask Kobayashi if she wants to join which she obviously declines explaining humans can’t do stuff like toss fireballs. Tohru and Kanna state, “Yes they can. We saw them doing it on T.V.” Kobayashi burst their bubble, and the two become sad because of it.

On paper, this is hilarious.  

I didn’t laugh, because the dialogue is all at the same tone and pace.

The two worst for me are Lucoa existing as a character (I’m serious), and Kanna’s relationship with her classmate Riko Saikawa. Okay, that’s not entirely true. Riko has a crush on Kanna and the two start out on the wrong foot, but eventually become best friends having slumber parties by the end of the show. It’s sweet and innocent (with the exception of one scene in episode 6 that can fu*king burn in hell) and I thought it was cute. What isn’t cute is how Saikawa freaks out when Kanna makes even the slightest physical contact with her. I understand flustered since she’s a grade school child, but she flat out screeches in joy and it’s more unsettling than cute.

!Summary!

There isn’t much more I can add to this. I like the bright art style and the animation as well as the design of the characters and outfits. The characters are good (except for Lucoa and Shota who’re both pointless) and while I didn’t laugh much, I did get invested in the characters dilemmas and relationships. It’s a dud in a few places, but I’m glad I saw it. Even if the last episode is absolute garbage.

Grade: C

Final Word: I never thought a romantic comedy that didn’t make me laugh, would still be good.

What’s Your Opinion?