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Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid

Entry updated 20 December 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese animated tv series (2017-current). Original title Kobayashi-san Chi no Meidoragon. Based on the Manga by Coolkyousinnjya. Kyoto Animation. Directed by Yasuhiro Takemoto. Written by Yuka Yamada. Voice cast includes Kaori Ishihara, Yūki Kuwahara, Maria Naganawa, Yuichi Nakamura, Minami Takahashi and Mutsumi Tamura. 25 24-minute episodes (plus two OVAs and 27 shorts). Colour.

Leaving home to go to work, Computer programmer and maid enthusiast Miss Kobayashi (Tamura) opens her front door to discover an immense dragon (see Supernatural Creatures) outside. With a gleeful "Ta-daaa!" it transforms into a young woman dressed as a maid (albeit one with tail, horns and distinctive eyes): this is Tohru (Kuwahara). The previous evening a very, very drunk Miss Kobayashi had pulled a cursed sword out of Tohru-as-dragon's side and invited her to stay at her apartment; despite her hostility to "foolish, inferior humans", Tohru was smitten. Miss Kobayashi reluctantly allows Tohru to move in: she learns Tohru is capable of bringing about Armageddon (See End of the World), as well as inter-dimensional travel, perception blocking (see Invisibility) and Teleportation; Tohru learns Miss Kobayashi is a martyr to lower back pain.

Shortly after they are joined by Kanna Kamui (Naganawa), a cute exiled dragon child. Miss Kobayashi's life, though not unhappy, had previously settled into a slightly glum, solitary routine; gradually she warms to the dragons and a close family unit coalesces. The show has a thoughtful emotional core that deepens the relationships: Miss Kobayashi admits the change to her life, though disruptive, are an improvement; Tohru acknowledges and accepts that the differing lifespans of humans and dragons means her life with Miss Kobayashi will be – from her perspective – brief. Grown distant from her parents, Miss Kobayashi now reconnects; season one ends with her taking Tohru and Kanna to meet them.

Other dragons appear: Fafnir, whose human form is dour and goth, finds himself moving in with Miss Kobayashi's work friend Makoto Takiya (Nakamura) – a touching relationship develops as he becomes addicted to Videogames (formerly a cave-dwelling dragon guarding his treasure, the Otaku lifestyle is not a great leap for him). The sensible and large-breasted (see Fan Service) Miss Quetzalcoatl, aka Lucoa (Takahashi), is an ex-goddess (see Gods and Demons).

Tohru's Dimension's culture is medieval and Norse Mythology is real (though Tohru states she is not named after Thor, but an author from our world – probably Tolkien). She had been injured by a god-cursed sword and fled to our world to die, Miss Kobayashi's atheism having enabled her to remove the blade unharmed. When Miss Kobayashi and Tohru attend a comics Convention they discover several Monsters: usually disguised as human, here they are able to relax and appear in their normal forms, as everyone assumes they are cosplayers (see Fandom).

This is, for the most part, a very funny (see Humour) and tremendously heart-warming show. Unfortunately, it is occasionally marred by the intrusion of problematic elements: for example, when young Shouta Magatsuchi (Ishihara) tries to summon a demon (see Magic), Lucoa whimsically appears and – attempting to prove she is not, in fact, a demon – repeatedly tries (and fails) to seduce the eleven year old, the joke being that her succubus-like behaviour only reinforces Shouta's suspicions.

Season 2 was delayed by a fire at the studio which killed the director: called Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S, it focused more on character and less on humour – though sadly there were still inappropriate moments – and it ended with Tohru's attempt to arrange their wedding scaring Miss Kobayashi off. [SP]


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