Kobayashi used to live a pretty simple life: go to work as a programmer, go out for drinks with co-workers, go home to her empty apartment: rinse and repeat. Then, one night during an outing, she makes a drunken promise to an immensely powerful dragon known as Tohru – she can live with her!
After that moment, her life becomes much more…complicated. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid chronicles the adventures of Kobayashi and her dragon-friends in this humorous and heartwarming series.
This Winter 2017 series has gathered so much attention and fan-love that one would assume it’s been out for much longer than just a year. Currently sitting at #157 on MyAnimeList, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a well-loved series, and now I can see why.
Admittedly I missed out on the series during its initial run, and while its reputation preceded it, I just found myself getting around to it after Funimation kindly sent over the blu-ray release along with their recent batch of review copies.
First and foremost, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid embraces its identity as a comedy series. Tohru’s ridiculous antics combined with Kobayashi’s incredulous responses make for some quality comedy in the early episodes, and as more characters are expertly introduced, it only gets more entertaining.
I’m a fan of the quirky and over-the-top comedy. Going back to series like Azumanga Daioh, this slice of life plus comedy approach is an effective one, though too often it’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming too ridiculous. In my opinion, Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto! is a great example of this. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid has its fair share of ridiculous scenarios, but its willingness to take a step back and sprinkle in a healthy dose of drama and character development helps to keep the series grounded.
The animation style is whimsical, with distinct character design. While much of the comedy is drawn from Tohru and her friends misunderstandings of the human world, there are some great physical gags throughout the series. Perhaps the biggest tease is seeing the dragons fight one another: their playful clashes are incredibly smooth, featuring stunning movements and execution of magic spells. It really makes me want a full-fledged series of Tohru, Kanna, Fafnir and the others battling threats against humanity!
The characters, besides being visually distinct, complement one another very well in the slowly expanding, if dysfunctional, family that emerges throughout the series. All of the dragons have their own eccentricities, but Kobayashi’s ability to reign them in and recognize their unique strengths really adds to the familial bond. In an early episode, Kobayashi and Tohru take the young Kanna on a trip to shop for school supplies, and after expressing some sticker shock at the cost of Kanna’s supplies, Kobayashi notices Kanna putting back a key-chain that she wanted. As the episode comes to a close, Kobayashi surprises her with it as a gift, congratulating the centuries-old dragon on her first day at school. While the entire episode was thoroughly heartwarming, this scene is just one example of how Kobayashi and the other dragons construct a unique and loving unit.
Now, I mentioned that there are a number of archetypes covered within Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and this includes the “overly endowed friend” – Quetzalcoatl. Scenes involving her and some of the other dragons do veer quite heavily into fan-service territory, but for seasoned anime fans, it will largely be seen as par for the course. The only reason I mention it is because the series also has fantastic potential to serve as a gateway series for the uninitiated. The inclusion of too much fan-service can often dissuade newcomers, which is why I thought I would point it out. Then again, newcomers to anime should become familiar with the concept of fan-service sooner rather than later…
Overall, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a fantastic addition for most anime fans. A terrific blend of comedy, slice of (supernatural) life, and even some well-executed dramatic moments, it’s a well-rounded series that’s sure to entertain!
Despite the fandom of the series, there wasn’t too much put into the box set beyond Funimation’s standard packaging and delivery. There are a couple bonus segments, and not much else.
As usual, the box art is reversible, and has a fun alternate image with Kanna & Tohru. Aesthetically, I’ll also say that the disc design is pretty cool as well.
You can find the blu-ray release here!
Note: Funimation provided us with a review copy of this release in exchange for our honest review.
Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid
- A comedy series that exercises impressive restraint and exhibits balance
- Able to execute dramatic moments and arcs with ease
- Great pacing/structure
- Blu-ray set is thin on extras
- Fan-service can get a bit heavy-handed at times