Winter 2017 First Impressions: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – Episode 01 Review

Miss Kobayashi, a hard-working career-woman living in the city, has an admirer.  Not just any admirer, but a dragon who became so obsessed with her after their first drunken meeting that she comes to the city to become Kobayashi’s maid.  Tohru, the dragon, is enthusiastic but inexperienced and her desire to be by Kobayashi’s side could end up with the whole apartment building burning down around them.  How will their relationship progress?

maidragon

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is the second “monster girl” show this season, and in my opinion it doesn’t hit the same high notes that Interviews With Monster Girls reaches.  Although I enjoyed it, the jokes didn’t all work for me and the ones that did weren’t funny enough to actually make me laugh aloud.

Unsurprisingly, since it is a KyoAni show, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid looks good.  The animation is polished and the character designs have all been adapted well for the screen.  I appreciate the way that different visual techniques were used to sell some of the gags, like restricted colour palettes, silhouettes, etc.  However, I do feel that this anime was missing the rich visual style that many other KyoAni shows exhibit which makes them so beautiful to look at.  This could be because  they adapt a lot of light novels, whereas this is based off a manga so they’ve been asked to stick to the existing style as much as possible.

The characters so far have been likeable.  Kobayashi is refreshingly unlike the typical feminine ideal you so often see in anime; she has an important technical job, she isn’t dressed to appeal to the male gaze, and her voice acting sounds low and natural in a way that does a lot to convey her character.  She also loves to drink and constantly has a bad back which makes her pretty damn relatable to me at least.  Tohru’s also great – although she’s not a great maid, the jokes aren’t based around her being incompetent, she just doesn’t understand the human world and has her own way of doing things.  Her feelings for Kobayashi are also compelling and Tohru is refreshingly upfront about how she’s attracted to her sexually, so I hope that this element will be treated respectfully.  The two of them also play off each other really well in both humorous and serious scenes which is nice to see.

There is some fanservice in Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, but most of it didn’t bother me especially since it wasn’t as egregious as what I saw in Hand Shakers earlier in the season.  However, I really didn’t appreciate the joke where Kobayashi was drunk and stripped and yelled at Tohru in public in front of her male co-worker.  It was pretty unnecessary and was a sour point in an otherwise pleasantly entertaining episode.  I really hope that there won’t be anything else like that in later episodes because it could really put a damper on my enjoyment of the show.

Although this episode didn’t wow me, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid has established itself to be a fairly chill slice of life comedy with good production values.  Provided it doesn’t go down the skeevy fanservice route too many more times I can see myself watching the whole season of this and would recommend you check it out if you’re looking for another comedy to watch.

7/10

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