This could be the sweetest, most ridiculous anime ever made! The name says it all. It’s about a dragon who becomes a maid for Miss Kobayashi! It’s cute, heartfelt, silly, borderline ecchi at times, and so much fun!

S2 has just passed as I update this, and I begin to wonder if there will be a S3! I see no reason for there not to be! I do hope we haven’t seen the last of these fun characters. It stuck me just a moment ago that I really had just seen the last episode of the S2, and I got really sad at that realization. Let’s raise a glass with Kobayashi therefore to our hopes for a third season!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Characters

Rating: 8

It’s about dragons! And one of them becomes a maid! And they all live with different people! They all get jobs! One of them goes to school!

As Saitama says: chotto matte.

What the hell?

Yep, there’s dragons. They all can take human form, imagine that. They retain some of their dragon characteristics. Most of them keep their horns and tails unless they’re out and about in public, where they suddenly can hide them. But to a dragon, they all keep their reptilian eyes. It’s so much fun!

The dragon characters are headlined of course by Tohru. Sweet and silly and plump and pretty, she wants nothing more from her life now than to serve as Miss Kobayashi’s live-in maid. It confuses even Kobayashi how we get from the chance meeting in the forest to maid status. But so what? It’s hilarious! Tohru adores Kobayashi. She probably doesn’t know what “yuri” is, but that aside. It’s so much fun watching her love on Kobayashi, as she learns to live a new life as a human in a new world. Cutesy maid outfit and orange eyes, she exudes love and life and fun and feeling.

I should note that Tohru almost became even sweeter in S2. But the number one reason I thought that is because of how I noted her voice more than in S1. Her tone is exuberant whether she’s raging at Elma or doting on Kobayashi. Even her vocalizations that aren’t words are really notable and sweet. It always feels very real too, not put-on or forced. When Tohru says “Okaerinasai!” when Kobayshi comes through the front door, not only does she say it with the same exuberance that she’s said it since S1, but you can feel her love through it almost. I remember it now and it brings a fond tear to my eye. Her voice is so merry and sweet. And I must therefore mention Yuuki Kuwahara, Tohru’s VA. When S1 first came out, Kuwahara-san hadn’t done many roles, and none very prominent. And while she still hasn’t done a whole lot of major roles since then, she’s certainly gotten more experience, and it definitely shows. Not that she’s bad in S1–quite the contrary. Both her consistency and her experience show through for Tohru now. She does a really, really good job.

Kobayashi is the object of Tohru’s fantasies. Poor Kobayashi. She lives a droll single lifestyle that she’s more or less come to accept, working her days away as a programmer and drinking away her evenings. It’s through that drinking that she meets Tohru. Drunk Kobayashi is just a wee bit crazy. Hence, upon missing her stop on the train one night, in her drunken state, she wanders out into a forested area and meets the wounded dragon Tohru. She converses with her and coaxes her to drink with her right then and there, and soon after invites Tohru to come live at her apartment. She’s so drunk she barely knows what’s happening, and indeed when she wakes up in the morning and doesn’t remember anything, and Tohru is standing in front of her apartment in dragon form, she’s dumbfounded. So much laughs!

Elma’s eyes are a dream.

Drunk Kobayashi has one key defining aspect: she’s a maid fanatic! She idealizes maids in her drunken mind and is very serious about what she expects from them. I do not know why or how one becomes this way, but Miss Kobayashi has become obsessive about maids. Even not drunk she has opinions about it. But when she is drunk, she will give you her unvarnished views on all things meido! Hence through the windings of their drunken discourse Tohru decides that night to work as a maid for Kobayashi, and we’re off and running.

One thing Kobayashi did not anticipate was motherhood. Wait, she didn’t anticipate having a dragon as a maid either. So why not have a dragon as a kid? The kawaii-est of the kawaii, Kanna-chan invades Kobayashi and Tohru’s life very early in S1, and from there on captures the heart of every living thing that’s ever watched this show. Her muffled loli tone and limited vocabulary combined with her cute appearance and childish love of cute things make her so adorable. She’s probably the most recognized little girl character in the last decade for sure, and perhaps beyond that even. Yes, she basically ends up being Kobayashi’s little girl. While she can completely take care of herself–she is a dragon of many years after all–she undertakes the life a human little girl with complete commitment. She plays games, watches anime, goes to school, eats sweets, and makes friends. She goes to school just because she wants to. I seriously doubt she needs it! She’s so sweet. The characters in this show are all a lot of fun, but I think this show is what it is only because of Kanna. She takes it to a whole new level of fun and cuteness!

The other dragons are far from central to the show but are fun and unique in their own ways. Lucoa is…well, more mature than the rest I’ll say, in one way at least. Elma is fun if a little bit overshadowed in the show. It’s funny how she goes to work at the same place as Kobayashi, while obviously knowing nothing about what to do. She’s always eating. So weird. Then the only male dragon character (not counting the brief appearance of Tohru’s father) is Fafnir. Very disinterested and tsundere, it’s funny how he takes to Takiya and to gaming. Most of his dialogue is grunting in feigned disinterest. S2 or course brought us the now infamous Ilulu–yeah, we all thought the same thing. We thought it was bad with Lucoa! No matter what kind of anime fan you are, her defining feature was about as in-your-face as it could be without us straying over in to the realm of the thing that shall not be mentioned. She added a bit more seriousness to the show despite this however, something S2 has a bit more of overall (see Story section below). But she’s a nice addition in S2.

Overall there’s not ever much to any of the characters. But there doesn’t have to be. It’s dragons living in the our world as people and getting along with everyone. What more could you want?

Artwork

Rating: 8

I love the artwork in this show. It’s definitely not chibi-style, but the faces are all round like that. Sometimes when I watch this show I muse about what the characters would look like with more traditional faces. And it just makes me laugh. Because nothing needs to change about the way these characters look. They are exactly as the should be!

In Tohru’s round face are two beautiful orange eyes. If you thought it would look weird having reptilian eyes in a chibi face, you’d be wrong in this case! She’s so remarkably memorable, anybody who knows anything about anime knows Tohru from Kobayashi on sight. Yellow golden hair, lively pink cheeks, mouth constantly in motion, and her super fun maid outfit round out this adorable character.

Kanna sports all pink and purple and white. The cutest blue eyes adorn her round little head, with white hair with a hint of pink framing her childish face. I’m never really sure what all components make up her outfit, but there’s lots of frills and balls and all manner of cute stuff. Everything about her is as cute as cute can be. This design and execution deserves awards.

I mentioned the dragon characters keep their reptilian eyes. To varying degrees, their pupils are more slits than circles. I absolutely love this touch. It’s not so eye-catching as to be distracting, but when you look at the human forms of the dragon characters, somewhere in your mind this affects you, and you recognize that it’s the case. Like, someone will point it out to you and you’ll say “Oh yeah, I guess that is the case!” as you realize you kind of already knew this.

Chotto freaking matte.

This is the most obvious with Tohru, but it became a bit more apparent in S2 actually. For one thing, fans of Elma will find themselves drowning in the happy oblivion of her beautiful blue eyes, and we got to see a lot more of her in S2. But also, interesting we actually got a handful of really good looks at Lucoa’s eyes. Just like I said about the realization about their pupils, I found myself consciously realizing Lucoa’s eyes are different colors! I totally hadn’t consciously noticed this before, but her right eye is verdantly green and her left is purple with a yellow center. They’re totally gorgeous and I could not believe I hadn’t recognized this before. But at the moment I came to this realization about her eyes, I almost simultaneously realized why I hadn’t noted this before. Lucoa is most often drawn either with both eyes squeezed closed in her matronly smile or with just one of her eyes open. Even when both eyes are open she usually has them only half open, giving her a lazy, sleepy look. But those are the reasons I hadn’t noticed, and I realized all of that in a flash during S2.

All the female dragons have one thing in common with their design. They all have little bits of bright coloring at the tips of their hair. Tohru’s is orange, Kanna’s is pink, Elma has reddish-purple, Ilulu has pink trailing into purple, and Lucoa has rainbow coloring. It’s most notable on Luoca and Kanna, but I really like Elma’s look. Black hair with the color at the tips and the most beautiful blue eyes in the middle of it all. As I’d hoped, we got to see a bit more of her in S2, and it was very pleasing to the eyes. These nice color combos remind me of sweets or ice cream, cake icing. It’s all very pretty.

Poor Kobayashi. She’s so droll and plain on the exterior. I love her design. She really is supposed to be unremarkable, but I can’t think of a more memorable unremarkable character. All the faces she has to pull with all her ins and outs with Tohru are hilarious. They’ve got her wearing a white dress shirt and tie most of the time, and you honestly could mistake her for a guy if you weren’t careful. Some of the characters do make that mistake, and it makes for some awkward moments of laughter!

Everything is bright and cute and lively. I would never call this art ordinary, but I will hesitantly describe it as somewhat typical of this kind of zany comedic anime. Not a lot of sharp edges anywhere, almost zero shadowing, and nearly every scene takes place in ample lighting. If I had to say something artsy about this artwork, I would say that this is just another great example of how anime can portray something very human in a fantastical way that bears minimal resemblance to human form. Yet we can experience very human feelings with these characters. The art in this series does a great job with this once again.

Story

Rating: 7

There really isn’t much to the story! It’s clever, but there’s not much to it. I already told how Kobayashi and Tohru get together. After that there isn’t anything to it other than a light theme regarding Tohru living here in a new world, separated from her previous life. A little weird bit about life-span misalignment creeps into the show at one point. Obviously Tohru is very old, yet by human standards she’s a young lady, and so she will live many, many more years. Kobayashi of course is human, with human lifespan. It’s kind of sad when they bring this up, but thankfully it doesn’t last long. We agree with Tohru and Kobayashi that we simply want these two to go on living together while they can, living in the moment.

S2 felt a bit weightier as far as story goes. So much so that I felt more than once like the show was tipping towards becoming something different; a little too series maybe! Two good examples are the extra backstory we got on Tohru’s past life and her subsequent reason for ending up in our world, and also the intensification of the relationship between Tohru and Kobayashi. The former felt like it was inevitable. Eventually this story was going to shed some more light on Tohru’s former life, so the weightiness of that at least wasn’t unexpected. The thing between Tohru and Kobayashi was a little weird. Sure, in S1 Tohru talks about making a baby or some such craziness with Kobayashi (I think that’s S1), but in S2 not only has a mild romantic tension bloomed up between them, but the show ends with Tohru trying to marry Kobayashi! I actually like how this was handled, because it emphasized, in a humorous way familiar to this show, that Kobayashi wants things to remain as they are. This ending both addressed the increased level of seriousness in regards to their relationship and also returned things to the lighthearted, humorous state we’re familiar with in this show. Part of the effectiveness of this show is how peacefully nice it is, despite its sometimes bizarrely mature humor and all. I was happy to see that aspect emphasized in end of S2.

But other than that, this show is completely episodic. They encounter different scenarios in their daily life together, and it spawns comedic or heartfelt moments throughout it all. It’s hardly worth mentioning, but this is the appropriate way to handle this kind of show. It’s all about the characters and showing them off, both through art and acting and dialogue and development. The story should just lend itself to that purpose without making a nuisance of itself in the process. And it does that very well.

Overall: 8

You know something I love so much it hurts? The ending song for S2 where all the VAs are singing. That is worth living your life just to hear. There’s nothing great about the song itself, but it’s tuneful. But once you realize it’s the VAs singing, then you get that seriously fuzzy feeling only this show can give you. It’s just another really fun, really sweet thing about this show.

This show is tons of fun, and is light and easy to watch. If you’re busy watching Berserk or Tokyo Ghoul or Your Lie in April and you just need a break, this is a great choice to pull out and spend a couple of episodes with Kobayashi and Tohru. It’s not so zany that your sides will hurt, but it is always lighthearted. It will prod your emotions gently, usually to laugh or occasionally cry, just enough to make it heartfelt without getting you physically or emotionally over-involved with it.

Go get you some dragon you guys. You won’t regret it!

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