I first talked about Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid in this month’s Girls Love Roundup post, in hopes that it would gain some attention from fans of the genre who might not have heard about the series yet. I had read the manga prior to watching the anime’s first episode, but knowing Kyoto Animation they could have easily changed things around a lot from the source material. As such, I went in with fingers crossed that the anime adaptation would be just as fun and charming as the original manga and I was not left disappointed.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid tells the story of Miss Kobayashi, an office lady who does coding for a company and have a love for maids and drinking. One morning she’s greeted by a life-size living dragon who asks to live with Kobayashi as her maid from there on. This dragon is Tohru, a powerful monster who fell in love with Kobayashi after an evening they spent together during one of Kobayashi’s drunken adventures in the mountains. She doesn’t know a thing about human society, but is willing to try to fit in to stay by Kobayashi’s side.
It’s a goofy premise and the series knows to not take itself too seriously, with each character’s personality being turned up to eleven at essentially all times. The first episode mainly focuses on Kobayashi, Tohru and a co-worker at Kobayashi’s office. This co-worker is Takiya Makoto, one of the few male characters in the series. Tohru hates his guts from the outset just because she views him as a potential rival for Kobayashi’s love, which is not actually the case but further shows just how serious Tohru is about Kobayashi.
In fact, the series wants you to understand from the start that this is not some small pretend crush that Tohru has. Both the anime and manga makes sure to state in the very first episode and chapter, that Tohru’s love for Kobayashi is real in the form sexual attraction. There’s no room for subtext to Tohru, she just loves Kobayashi and she refuses to let that be misunderstood. Which naturally means I’ve been seeing comments online insisting that Tohru didn’t actually mean it “like that” today, because even when a series literally states sexual attraction between two girls, people refuse to put away the gal pal card.
The visuals of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid perfectly match the charm of the series, with a lot of small details in the animation being rather impressive. Tohru’s tail, for example, has been given full attention, constantly swaying about or stiffening up to match her human parts. The backgrounds have a really nice water-colour feel to them at times, which helps the light-hearted fantasy comedy feel even more at home. Surprisingly, the series manages to change tones rather well for Tohru’s flashbacks, which are rather grim and serious. It could have easily been an awkward contrast that felt out-of-place, but it just works really well.
I normally try to leave comments on voice acting until a series has ended, but I need to compliment Tamura Mutsumi and Kuwahara Yuuki as Kobayashi and Tohru respectively. They work so well off each other, delivering each line with great timing and performance that I think they’re already my favourite VAs of the season. I’m very glad to see Kuwahara-san get a larger role like this especially, as I loved her performance as Hokuto in last year’s Scorching Ping Pong Girls and her performance as Tohru really shows off her range well.
I loved the first episode of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and I can’t wait to watch more of it over the next three months. I have a feeling this will be one of those severely underrated and underwatched anime series that I’ll be yelling at people to watch for a long time coming, but hopefully sharing the word early will help a little.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is licensed by Funimation and is currently being streamed on Crunchyroll.
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