Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid dragon is a series I’ve heard a lot about but never watched. The anime came out two years ago based off of a manga by the same writer who brought us Komori-san wa Kotowarenai. The adaptation was handled by Kyoto animation who brought us K-on, Nichijou, Hyouka & Koe no Katachi. So, a wide array of quality there. Let’s see how this one holds up.
Kobayashi lives alone, doesn’t have many friends to speak of and doesn’t seem to much care for her job. One day, her world opens up when she’s about to leave her flat, only to find a dragon staring at her. The dragon takes on a humanoid form, thanks Kobayashi for coming to her rescue and says she’s taking her up on her offer to live with her as a maid. This confuses Kobayashi as she was very drunk and doesn’t recall any of that. Don’t you wish that the worst thing you’d do in a drunken haze is invite a beautiful girl who adores you into your home? Instead of, say, committing arson. Just hypothetically. Shenanigans ensue as her association with Tooru brings a bunch of strange figures into her life.
The biggest problem with the series is that some of the running gags get old quite quickly. Most notably, the stuff with Quetzalcoatl. Two of her big jokes are that she dresses inappropriately skimpily and her buxom figure creates an awkward situation for young Shouta, the fifth grade boy who thinks she’s a demon as well as his familiar. The first of those might work once or twice, but gets old quickly. The second is always going to be at least a bit uncomfortable and creepy since he’s a pre-pubescent boy and she’s a grown ass woman. At least she doesn’t go as far as the paedophile college student in Kanamemo.
There are a lot of good aspects to the series as well. Most of the running gags are good about shifting enough to stay entertaining. The whole narrative theme of finding family and letting your chosen family enrich your life is surprisingly well handled. The ending sequence is legitimately excellent. The series is also good about addressing things like the difference in life spans between humans & dragons and using that for some tension in the narrative.
As a whole, the characters are enjoyable. Fafnir living the life of a NEET while staying with a fellow nerd leads to some good situations especially when you add in his general disdain of humans. Saikawa and her obvious crush on Kanna that she has no idea how to handle leads to some good moments. Especially with Kanna being a bit more open to showing her affection. The best dynamics are among the whole “Kobayashi family” With Kobayashi and Tooru possessing a strong bond that can be framed in ways that are funny, adorable and heart warming. The pair of them acting as parents to Kanna works really well too.
Even the generally weaker characters like Elma & Quetzalcoatl aka Lucoa get their moments. Elma works well when it comes to her more antagonistic dynamic with Tooru. Similarly, Lucoa is at her best when she’s acting as more of a caring older sister type to Tooru and not creeping on a child.
*Insert obvious complaint about excessive fan-service here* To be fair, the fan-service isn’t generally that bad. Most of the characters dress in pretty covering ways. The exception being Lucoa. The series also does have a beach episode because of course it does but at least it has some strong jokes. Aside from that, the character design is pretty good. The dragon elements that get kept by the characters in human form are interesting. The dragon forms, when we actually get to see them, are really well drawn. The visual gags also work well.
Kyoto really cast the series well. Naganawa Maria, Kuwahara Yuuki, Tamura Mutsumi, Takada Yuuki, Katou Emiri, Ono Daisuke & Takahashi Minami all do great jobs with their performances. Itou Masumi’s soundtrack is well composed and suits the series well.
There is a lot. In addition to Kobayashi & Tooru basically being a couple with an adopted child, especially as the series progresses and they get closer, there’s also all of the stuff betwixt Saikawa & Kanna. Tooru also tries to bring up the time Lucoa got drunk and cavorted with her sister on a few occasions only to have Lucoa get really embarrassed and stop her. Which is accurate to the mythology, to be fair.
Areas of Improvement:
- Age up Shouta. Having two girls at roughly the same level of development with crushes on one another is cute enough. Having two grown women starting a relationship is also well and good. Having a grown woman act seductively towards a young boy is creepy.
- Have Lucoa be unintentionally sexual. If Shouta were older and Lucoa was getting him going purely by accident, that would be a lot funnier than what we actually get.
- Work a bit more with switching up the character interactions. I’m thinking of those segments in Yuru Yuri where they put a couple characters who don’t interact much together and use it to expand on those characters and throw in some unique gags for them. This series could benefit from doing something similar. Fafnir, for example, mostly interacts with Tooru and Takiya or with the others as part of a group. It might be interesting to see a segment with just him and Kobayashi.
I can honestly say that there were more things I enjoyed about this series than there were things I disliked and I did generally enjoy my time watching the series. If not for those issues surrounding Lucoa and Shouta I would go so far as to call this a great comedy, maybe even excellent. As is, I’ll give it a 7/10. If you’re looking for a really yuririffic comedic slice of life series, you’ll probably enjoy this one.