I’m not sure if there is a name for this type of story yet, but I’ve seen it a few times now. It’s a comedy where they take mythical and legendary creatures, put them into a modern-day domestic setting, and just follow the exaggerated everyday happenings. What would that be? A monster sitcom?
Whatever it’s called, that’s what the anime Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is.
As the title suggests, it follows Tohru, a dragon who, taking human form, becomes a maid for a woman named Kobayashi. They apparently met a previous evening in the countryside surrounding Tokyo, where the human found the grievously injured dragon and helped her, even offering her a place to stay if she worked as a maid. Unfortunately, Kobayashi was so freaking plastered that not only does she hardly remember it, she thought it was a dream. So, having a maid with a dragon’s tail show up on her doorstep catches her a little off guard. She initially refuses, partially out of surprise, and partially because Tohru, knowing nothing of humans, knows nothing of maids. The immediate inconvenience of having to support Tohru as well as herself puts Kobayashi in an awkward place. However, her kind heart prevails and she gives Tohru a proper chance to get things right.
And so Tohru becomes the titular dragon maid for Kobayashi.
That’s how the show starts, and there isn’t really so much to spoil about the rest of it. Letting Tohru into her life brings Kobayashi and her friends into contact with other dragons as well, and hilarity results as the two species and their cultures interact. There are a number of cute, adorable moments, and some tender ones as well. There’s not much tension to be found anywhere in the series, really. This just isn’t that kind of show. Pretty much everything is meant to make us laugh, and what little conflict there is, is resolved quickly and peacefully. It’s just everyday life, with the addition of dragons.
That lack of tension worked against it a little, though. Sure, I was in the mood to laugh, but it starts to feel a little long, even with only thirteen episodes, without anything new or riveting to demand your continued attention, ya know?
For the most part, I did find the show usually funny and sometimes even interesting, the latter occurring as we got glimpses into the culture of a dragons and, through them, gained an occasional insight into human culture as well. I also enjoyed seeing Kobayashi’s subtle transformation into a stronger, happier person, now that she had let someone into her life.
There is one thing I disliked, though, and it’s a running theme with these “monster sitcoms,” as I am dubbing them until corrected. For some reason, they just can’t seem to stay away from more “mature” material. I’ll elaborate on instances in other anime as I eventually review them, but this one alone had more than enough of such.
Tohru, for instance, was a bit too interested in Kobayashi, in a way that definitely gave off a sexual vibe. And, for some reason, kept trying to get Kobayashi to eat her tail meat, with animated hearts floating around her face at every attempt. There was also a grade-school kid, in third grade if I recall rightly, whose interest in her dragon classmate was like she was constantly being shot with Cupid’s bow, also with definite sexual overtones, which just felt too absurd and inappropriate. And there was the obligatory female with an impossibly huge bust always showing off and, on top of that, smothering a fifth-grade boy with them. I know in Japan the boy would just barely be jailbait, from a legal perspective, but any way you look at it, it’s a bit freaky and unsettling.
Most disconcerting of all is how all of this is just there, right alongside humor that is otherwise perfectly domestic. Who was the target audience for this, anyway?
So, if you prefer to avoid “humor” like that, then Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is probably not for you. If that’s not such a big deal to you, then you might enjoy it after all. Personally, I felt it took something away from the show, and it doesn’t bring that much to the table in the first place.
Rating: maybe 7 stars out of 10.
Grade: I’ll give it a C-Plus.