If you checked the "to-watch" lists of people going into the winter season of anime, Ms Kobayashi's Dragon maid was nowhere to be seen, or only on the list of fans of Kyoto Animation.
But once the series actually started, it quickly became thé fan favorite of the season. How and why? Let's find out and review this one!
V Reviews - Ms Kobayashi's Dragon Maid
(Cool-)Kyou Shinja is a seinen mangaka who specializes in yon-koma manga (the four-panel gag style). Ever since 2011, he started making yon-koma manga for the series "I can't understand what my husband is saying" (Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken). And since that moment, he's been starting up several more series in a similar style, like Ms Komori can't decline (Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!) and Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid.
And since he's not busy enough yet, he also has a few other series he makes or writes the story for on an (ir)regular basis. This includes: Chichi chichi, Dioti manual, Fukumaden, Mononoke Sharing, Ojojojo, Paranoia Cage and Peach boy Riverside. And that's not even mentioning his one-shots or the series that are already finished. Kyou really is a busy bee.
In the case of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid (or Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon in Japanese), this yon-koma manga started being published in 2013 in Futabasha's Monthly Action magazine with five volumes released (sixth one slated for this summer). And since the end of last year, there's also a spin-off focused on the daily life of Kanna (aptly named "Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Kanna's Everyday Life").
Miss Kobayashi is an average adult female IT-er (the rare breed) who lives by herself in a small apartment and spends most of her time either working, drinking with her colleague or just doing Otaku stuff.
But one night, during a drunken stupor, she incidentally comes across a (female) dragon named Tohru. She saves the dragon's life and then bond together.
But the next morning, Kobayashi wakes up in her bed with a bit of a hangover until somebody ring at the door. It's that same dragon staring her right in the eyes.
But she quickly transforms into her human form (with tail and horns still attached) and in a maid outfit. Ms Kobayashi obviously doesn't really remember why the dragon is there, until Tohru reminds her. She wanted to repay Ms Kobayashi for saving her and Ms Kobayashi suggested (in her drunken stupor) that Tohru should become her maid.
Now Ms Kobayashi has to train her dragon in order to become an actual maid, because she's not leaving, whether Ms Kobayashi likes it or not. And training is necessary. Because while the end result is always good, the used methods of her cleaning clothes or the living room is quite "unorthodox" to say the least.
And next to that, more and more dragons are following Tohru to the main human's world and start involving themselves with Tohru and Ms. Kobayashi. This includes the cute young dragon Kanna, the dark and bruiting Fafnir, the busty mysterious Quetzalcoatl (abbreviated as Lucoa, with silent u) and later also the ditsy naive Elma. Ms Kobayashi has to manage her personal life (and that of others) to integrate this influx of dragons, while still being able to do her job.
|Ms Kobayashi: Titular character whose first name is still unknown (maybe in a possible season 2?). She's a 20-something female IT'er who acts and even looks like a guy at times. She likes to drink from time to time and is a full-blown otaku. But under her cold exterior, she is really a nice person on the inside.|
|Tohru: A female dragon of the Chaos order, who fled her home and dominant father and ended up on earth. After her encounter with Ms Kobayashi she slowly starts to integrate as a "human" on our planet, although she may have trouble adapting to the "lame" standards humans have (like not flying or breathing fire, or fast running, or super strength, or...)|
|Kanna: Ravioli, Ravioli, don't mess with the Dragon Loli (or one of the more NSFW variants if you like). Kanna is the cute young dragon who was attached to Tohru and followed her to the human world. She quickly ends up living with Ms Kobayashi as well and quickly was able to steal all of our hearts. She's just so damn' adorable.|
|Makoto Takiya: Colleague of Ms Kobayashi who Tohru sees as a "love rival" of her, but is more of a "best friend" type of guy. The two of them work together, drink together and are both full-blown otakus.|
There's other dragons who end up showing (Fafnir, Quetzalcoatl and Elma) as well as a few more human characters. But talking too much about them is going to spoil a few things of the story. So ssshhtt...
This anime is done by Kyoto Animation. And making anime of cute girls has been their forte since their very start. This anime is no different and is really well animated. And not just cute scenes, there are also a few action scenes with splendid animation Sakuga fans can enjoy.
The general OST is quite nice, but it's the OP and ED that steal the show here. Similarly to the show, the songs are cute. But next to that, they're also big ear worms. You're going to have a hard time getting those songs out of your head. Especially Fhána's Blue Sky Rhapsody (the OP) So yes, you can blame me for the full song being stuck in your head for the rest of the week...
Why did it work so well?
Dragons, obviously!... I mean, come on: DRAGONS! Dragons are cool! Everybody loves dragons!
Oh, also the story of two (kind of) lonely people (Ms Kobayashi and Tohru) getting together on a whim; and while being so very different from each other, they really grow fond of each other. While it did start as a one-sided crush from Tohru's side, Ms Kobayashi slowly opened up her heart to the spectacle that is Tohru.
And we cannot forget about the Dragon Loli (Kanna). She's just so cute. It's like no matter what she does, she ends up capturing the heart of everybody watching her (both in the anime as in real life). Whether it's her eating random things, dancing in the rain, recharging or just sleeping. Every scene with her somehow has a chance of becoming a meme by itself.
It's a nitpick more than anything. I personally didn't enjoy episode 10 all that much. The story wasn't all that great and some of the running gags were starting to grow old. If anything, it showed me that the concept of DragonMaid is limited without it going full Shonen action (which is not going to happen). I see there being room for one sequel at most, before it will become repetitive or run into staple filler sections.
Overall enjoyment and recommendation
This has been the surprise hit of the season. When first announced, I quickly dismissed it as another Kyo-Ani cute girls anime with little substance. But when the first few episodes aired and everybody was starting to hype it up, I quickly joined the hype. It's REALLY good!
In fact, this is the best NEW anime of the winter season (not counting sequels here).
So definitely check it out.
I'm giving this a 9/10. It's a definite recommendation for everybody.
Until next time, V out.