Thursday, April 6, 2017

Anime Review : Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon




“An excellent, beautifully-made mixture of monster girls and slice of life that encompass something the the genre normally does not”
 
What is Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon?

The story follows Kobayashi, a white-collar worker, who saved a dragon in the mountain. And the dragon repaid her debt by becoming her maid. And thus, the daily life of Kobayashi is starting to change with this dragon in her home.

What do I think about it?

At first, when it was announced, I had myself confused. Now why would Kyoto Animation adapts a monster-girl manga? And since the manga had a tag Yuri embedded on it, I was certainly a bit perplexed. They were bad at adapting Musaigen no Phantom World due to the plethora of fanservices, what about a manga with a full-blown Yuri theme?

Now let me get this straight, I absolutely don’t like watching monster-girl genre, since all of them always contain harem and too many fanservice actions. So, when Kyoto Animation announced this anime, I was thinking, should I watch it? Before finally letting myself watch as I am a loyal Kyoto Animation fan.

It’s about Monster-girls, but the girls [And one dude] in question here are Dragons.

Turns out I was mistaken entirely. My doubts was all for naught.

Kobayashi-san [Let me call the anime that from now] was a very fun ride.
What makes it so special? Turns out that Kyoto Animation just did what they always did best, they mix in the character-development routine and family time as a spice to make Kobayashi-san a perfect hotpot of a Monster girl genre, a true breakthrough indeed.  I verily enjoyed the series from start to finish.

There are 5 Dragons that were involved in the show, all of which are in their human form. They are Tohru, a green dragon capable of casting magic, Kanna Kamui, a blue-eyed white dragon [See what I did there?] who is still growing up, QuetzalCoatl or simply just Lucoa, a serpent-dragon goddess that has a gigantic breast, Fafnir, a cursed purple dragon with a very hostile demeanor, and lastly, Elma. Don’t know what about her though. I’ll get to that later.

From 5 of them, only three actually show their Dragonic form to the viewer, which is Tohru, Kanna, and Fafnir, with Fafnir’s dragon appearance just briefly but enough for us to get what he truly looks like. I think this was the bad thing though. Actually, I was looking forward for the dragonic form of Lucoa and Elma as well, instead we are treated only with a conceptual look of Lucoa and a cartoonish look of Elma’s dragon.

As an added extra, Fafnir's dragon form is disgustingly-cool for me.



Pictured above are Kanna and Fafnir's dragon form, although only Tohru and Kanna's dragon form that would appear more prominently.

But let’s not let that take away the magic. While the dragons that played the most part here are just Tohru and Kanna, with Tohru’s father later added to the mix at the last episode, they are still beautifully animated, a step-up the ladder for them. Earlier, they have animated Ruby Dragon from Amagi Brilliant Park. And while he looks cool, there’s just something off about Ruby. But, when I look at Tohru’s Dragonic Form, there’s nothing wrong about her form, instead, what I see is a marvel. She looks absolutely gorgeous and bad-ass when in her dragon form. 

I guess it was hard animating Tohru alone, so they decided to cut Elma, Lucoa, and Fafnir’s dragonic form to save budget. Can’t blame them though, but I wonder how they will appear should they be given a proper dragonic form.

On animation standpoint, this looks almost certainly like Nichijou that they adapted at 2011, but in my opinion, it doesn’t come close. Nichijou has more charm in their animation and their facial feature. While Kobayashi-san’s animation is not on par with Nichijou, it’s still neat though.

However, it is not the animation that the anime truly thrived from. It is how they play out their story-telling. Basically, there is no story to be told, yet Kyoto Animation weaved their magic here and do what they always did best, characterization.

As the series progressed, we learn how Tohru, Kanna, Lucoa, Fafnir, and Elma would adapt to the human world.  Over time, we get to learn how Fafnir become engrossed in the human world, and how he would be connected with the guy that he is free-loading with, Takiya.

Lucoa, on the other hand, serves just as comedic fanservice, as her boobs would bounce around unrealistically and I noticed that her boobs grew larger and larger as the series progressed. I’ll get to Kanna and Tohru later, but let me talk about Elma. 

Elma’s entrance to the show was very late. Too late in fact, that I was moaning on when she would appear, as design-wise, she was the best. And when she appears, her debut episode is only when she is truly at best. Aside from her debut episode, everytime she appeared, she just randomly fools around and bought food that she knew she would regret later. It’s funny, but since she present no opportunity to be connected with and, as a result, she just became a certain bystander, unlike Fafnir and Lucoa, who made their mark in the show.

We understand how Fafnir slowly but surely became well acquaintedwith Takiya and later remark him as a person who is a hit in his life as a cursed dragon, while allowing Takiya to call him Faf-kun from that moment on. And as for Lucoa, as explained above, she just made her mark by becoming a comic-relief character in this show, with her boobs the main reason why.





Tohru and Kanna here played a very great part on how this series became very succesful. They, along with Kobayashi, are positioned as a family. Tohru is the wife, Kobayashi is the husband, and Kanna here is their child. Everyday, we get to see how they would act as a family, such as winning a Kotatsu and snuggles in it together, eating dinner together, watching TV together and even boarding train together.

On a strong note, I would like to point out that Kanna here is the star of the show.
She is always shown absorbed in her own things, even if the things are either dire or really serious. That’s what I want to call Kanna’s magic. Her antics are very cute, truly comparable with how a kid her age would behave, and there’s just something about her satisfied look that continues to make me pleased everytime I see her. Her curiosity are always piqued at something at any moment and the fact that she almost always ate all the insects and animals that come to her hand is hilarious. She even begged Kobayashi to let her go to a school, and that episode where she and Kobayashi with Tohru gathers equipment for school is something that should never be missed.

There’s also the fact that she views Kobayashi as her mother, as opposed to a father, while viewing Tohru  as her sister instead of a mother, and was moping when Kobayashi couldn’t come to the sports event.  Lastly, everytime she snuggles up to Kobayashi, either thanking her or asking for something, is both endearing and relatable to us when we are still a child and asks for our mother’s affection.


Whatever she does, i always know that i will be looking forward to it.



What about the humans though?

Kobayashi, who is the main character here, acts like a man, and as such, she was positioned as the husband of the family. The fact that she was the one working to pay the bill also plays a part here. Also, she never wears any skirt, or something that a girl would normally wear, and she had a very flat chest. So, is she a girl or a dude? I don’t know. She was the strongest character being portrayed here though, as her situation helped us understand her better, as well as her eventuall affection to Tohru, and Kanna as well.
Takiya is, well, as normal as you can get. He’s just an Otaku who is kind enough to let Fafnir into his house, though an episode focuses on how he and Fafnir would interact with each other in their home and Fafnir would later regard him as a human that he has accepted. And Saikawa, who is Kanna’s friend in the elementary school, is totally in love with Kanna [Ah, so this is where the Yuri is, eh?] and she would react with a strange waves of love-emoticon and a totally red face whenever Kanna is touching with her. Last but not least is Shouta, Lucoa’s master that accidentally summoned her from a summoning circle. He is constantly on the mercy of Lucoa’s breast and always serves as the comedic moment for the series. Aside from that, he doesn’t get much time to establish himself as a character, just like any other character that I do not mention.





The humans, aside from Kobayashi, did okay in the show, whether they are interacting with the dragons or not.

Now, for the comedy part of the show. The comedy that this show always play with is how a dragon would act in a human world, and that is always funny to behold, such as when Tohru munch down or lick Kobayashi’s laundry as her saliva cleanses dirt, and that breast size of D for Dragon always crack me up while pissing off Kobayashi at the same time. However, one true unforgettable moment when I watch this show was when Tohru teleports herself to a Live-airing Magic show, causing confusion to everyone present, as well as Kobayashi. That one is very memorable for me.

Best comedic moment in the show for me.

Continuing from above, there's a trend on the show where a short, sometimes funny segment is sometimes shown, and it is left just like that without any resolution. In my opinion, that's great. It just shows that any jokes can be finished right after it's punchline ended. A daring choice but it certainly paid off.

Oh yeah, they do have one fanservice episode, where everyone dons their swimsuit. Though it is not much of a fanservice. Usually, when in a swimsuit mode, Kyoto Animation tend to go to characterization instead of full-blown fanservice episode, and this is true again for this series. In the beach episode, we instead, get treated with Tohru’s explanation on how her parents would despise her for living in the human world as a human, and she is conflicted with her past and current upbringing.
So far so good, yes? Let me talk about the downside that this episode have.


Fanservice episode is used to tell Tohru's past. This is the staple work of Kyoto Animation.

Aside from Elma’s late introduction, which again was a hard pill to swallow for me, and the lack of proper dragon-form for Lucoa, Fafnir, and Elma that really bothers me are… Well… It’s just a minor thing but, it’s Kobayashi’s rant about maid when she is drunk. In my opinion, it’s really annoying and her voice doesn’t help as well. Also, there’s one factor that they drop late in the series, the wall of text routine. It was jarring to see and was confusing as well. Good choice that you drop it off later. Well, Kyoto Animation had this tendency of dropping something that they know are not going in their way. It was apparent in the Musaigen no Phantom World, where they dropped the fanservice part of the show in the middle to the end.




Above wall of text is the low-key moment for me, while Elma's late appearance hurts her more than it hurts the show.

The voice-acting was great though. I truly, truly enjoyed listening to Kanna and Fafnir’s voice-acting. While Daisuke Ono is as great as he always is, the fairly new Maria Naganawa certainly made her impact in this series. I will look forward to her next work. Of course, if it suits me. Though I was amazed when I heard Tohru’s original Dragon voice. She sounds intimidating while still retaining the aspect that she is Tohru. That does not earn a full mark for me, but I would certainly give it a plus.

The music was good, but certainly could be better. The soundtrack does not fit the scene most of the time, but it does it’s job when it did fit the scene that it wants to be in. The opening song and the ending song is good, but I would certainly love it if Kyoto Animation drops their hobby of using their group of female lead to sing the opening and ending song. This happens a lot of time to the point that I am getting tired. Not just Kyoto Animation though, Doga Kobo does this a lot as well. To be frank, this is what I don’t like from both studio. Can they just hire someone else to sing the ending song? Or just let one girl do the singing? Don’t group them as one. Some might like, but I certainly don’t enjoy it.

Last but not least is the last episode and how the series is wrapped up.

I think the ending was rushed. I truly am. I think it can go for 2 episodes or such, but they instead choose to end it in just one episode, resulting in a rushed final-product that, while it firmly wraps up the series as a whole, you just can’t help but to know that this is rushed. From the conversation, to how the other dragon would act, and how Tohru and her father’s duel, I just see it as being rushed.
Though the ending contains several good parts.

In here, we finally see how Kobayashi would cope with live without Tohru for several days. We see her struggling with just how to make a good coffee, to taking out the trash. That truly signifies her as the husband in this family.




The last episode lets us see how Tohru coping with life without Tohru, having to father a daughter as a single-parent.

Another good part comes from the conversation that occurred between Kobayashi and Tohru’s father. At one point, Kobayashi exclaimed that “Tohru is a great girl!”, to which Tohru’s father would replied with “I know that!”. This left Tohru blushed with Kobayashi’s word and taken aback by her father’s reply. That was, while as simple as it might seem, feels very fulfilling for me. Tohru’s blush from Kobayashi’s word signifies that Tohru loves Kobayashi as a partner, while her father’s reply that left her surprised signifies that she still loves her father as a parent and still respect him, even if he is being very-very selfish. It’s simple, but things like this is what makes anime special for me.


The scene, where Tohru was taken aback by her father’s word and Kobayashi’s, proves to be a special moment for me.

From that, we can learn that Kobayashi-san is trying to avoid the clich├ęd factor that the monster-girl genre tends to have, and that paid off perfectly well. For someone who never watched a monster-girl anime such as me, it’s like a new experience for me that, unfortunately, sets a high bar on how a monster-girl anime should be, while for the regular this will be regarded as a decent show. They added a spice that normally isn’t seen on a normal monster-girl anime, and it worked wonders.

This can certainly be recommended to any monster-girl lover who missed this anime, as well as casual anime fan who loves slice-of-life. I wouldn’t recommend this to the lover of action though, as the drama and characterization moment might throw them off. The lover of the dragon in anime can be recommended to as well.

I was still genuinely taken aback by how good this series has proved itself to me.

The good : Beautiful animation, great characterization, Kanna is the star of the show, easy to follow story, gives off a good family atmosphere from it’s interaction, dragon’s were great when they did appear…

The bad : …Though it is limited to just Tohru and Kanna, Elma’s introduction were pretty late, rushed ending though it i
s still good.

Highlight moment : Everytime Kanna gets her episode. That moment when Tohru was surprised by Kobayashi and her father’s remark.

Final Score : 4 star for me. No more and no less.

Side note : This is the first time i used so many pictures for review though, and was the first time i reviewed a just-completed show, and proved to be fun after finishing reviewing it.

2 comments:

  1. Neat review! How to follow this blog?

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    1. Thanks for replying :3
      To follow, i think you can just press the follow button below my icon. Or you can always check here once a week, i update this blog weekly.

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