Neomo takes a look at the dragon family that captured our hearts.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid turned out to be a major success story both in Japan and the West. We love the believable relationship Kobayashi and Tohru develop in time. We all know Kanna’s rain dance. We made memes on Lucoa being thicc. If Little Witch Academia didn’t happen, this would be my show of the year.

Most of us know the backstory but in case you don’t: after the bored and listless salary worker Kobayashi (we are never told her first name) gets lost in the forest after a drunken night out, she encounters a wounded dragon. When she pulls out the sword stuck in her, the dragon, Tohru, decides to repay her by moving in and becoming her housemaid. Feeling guilty for turning her away after performing such a good deed, Kobayashi accepts Tohru into her apartment. As she has left a rather messy life, Kobayashi grows to welcome the fact that someone is around the place who is happy to cook and clean and so on. It is when the young dragon Kanna Kamui arrives at her doorstep when Kobayashi’s life takes a turn for the better. After pulling too many pranks in her own world, she has been made homeless, and feeling the same sense of generosity that she gave to Tohru, Kobayashi decides to let her stay too. Having lived alone in her small apartment for so long, having two people to rely on, and to be relied on, comes as a bit of a shock, almost as if she has had to grow up into a adult in a matter of days. Instead, it’s responsibility she grows to embrace and enjoy. In time more characters arrive in the show (both human and dragon) and make regular appearances…in effect creating an extended family.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid

The show gave us a lot of running gags and plenty of harmless sex jokes, but also turned very sweet and tender at times. When the dragon family had time to ponder and reflect, Kobayashi would slowly come out of her shell and say how much Tohru means to her, and how both she and Kanna have changed her life for the better. She began as a very bored and emotionless salary worker, working for a web development company. After the initial shock of two dragons arriving on her doorstep, Kobayashi learns the joys of acceptance. As more dragons arrive in her life (Lucoa, Fafnir and Elma), Kobayashi finds more people she can call friends and allies, and while she still retains a bit of her past emotionless self, she finds that having a dragon maid to rely on and a dragon daughter to be a mother figure for isn’t so bad after all.

The finale shows us how much Kobayashi is willing to be with Tohru for the long run when she decides to introduce her to her parents (after Tohru’s own father arrives and expresses his disapproval of their relationship). Kobayashi never refers to Tohru as her girlfriend, but it is heavily implied that she wants to have a close relationship with her and wouldn’t mind growing old with her. Sometimes you don’t need to say it…besides Kyoto Animation have always been very good at hinting at homosexual relationships in their shows.

Their adaptation of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, originally a manga, succeeds in its short story method while retaining an ongoing story of Kobayashi’s household developing and growing. All of the characters are likeable, its unique animation reflects a lot of what the manga itself was like (although truth be told, the mangaka Coolkyoushinja chose a more striking artstyle for their characters), its accordion-based soundtrack creeps up on you and matches both the comedy moments and the tender moments, and it has given cosplayers someone to look up to in the form of both Tohru and Lucoa. I mean, I see them at UK cons all the time now…

In the Winter season, the show took over Anitwitter alongside Kemono Friends and Konosuba season 2. The public didn’t care about any questionable content the show had; I distinctly remember when, in the final week of July, Crunchyroll decided to partner with Twitch to marathon entire shows that they had licensed, with Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid being one of them…and the Twitch audience had their own view on Kanna the loli dragon:

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is both a very funny and very touching show. As Kyoto Animation brings more openly gay characters to their shows as time goes by, this stands out in presenting that a loving family unit has no boundaries. Some have criticised how the show decided to present Kanna and Riko’s relationship as a potentially sexual one, and Lucoa’s own advances towards the young boy she lives with. My defense of this is that it’s all relatively harmless, and not meant to be taken seriously in any way whatsoever.

It would be wonderful to see a second series of this, but the finale has given us enough to see that Kobayashi, Tohru and Kanna can carry on as a close family unit and grow old together, and Kobayashi herself is capable of letting her true feelings be known, instead of hiding in her past emotionless shell.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is available on Crunchyroll, and was dubbed in English by Funimation. The manga has been translated by Seven Seas Entertainment; volume 6 is scheduled for May 2018.

12 Days of Anime is a series of posts from bloggers regarding the best, worst, or in between anime moments of 2017. Here’s the initial article from Appropriant inviting bloggers to take part.