I happened to catch an episode of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and found it to be charming as all hell. The characters were cute, the story was as sweet as it was funny, the opening theme was super catchy, and the quality of the animation (strongly reminiscent of another favorite anime, I Can’t Understand My Husband) was especially alluring. Having finished the show, I was hungry for more and tracked down a copy of the manga, released locally in 2016 by Seven Seas Entertainment.
At its heart, Miss Kobayashi is a fish out of water story involving shape shifting dragons. The titular Miss Kobayashi is a software engineer who spends her days hard at work and unwinds with Makoto Takiya, her coworker, fellow closet otaku, and friendly drinking partner. Walking home one night in a drunken stupor, Kobayashi takes a shortcut through the woods and happens upon a dragon with a massive sword stuck in its hide. She removes the weapon and chats with the giant creature, eventually inviting it home with her. The dragon’s human form is that a young, beautiful woman named Tohru and she dedicates her life to Kobayashi’s service.
Though dedicated, Tohru has a lot to learn about human culture. Her frequent missteps create a comedy of errors as she adjusts to the decidedly non-magical life of ordinary people. Although Kobayashi learns to love Tohru’s company, she is mildly inconvenienced by the dragon’s way of doing things, such as using her own saliva to clean Kobayashi’s unmentionables, cut off her own tail and serve it as food, and use her almighty powers to sun dry her master’s laundry. Miss Kobayashi isn’t without her own quirks, however. Whenever she gets drunk, her love for maids passes through her filter and causes her to geek out on maid culture. This inevitably leads to Kobayashi criticizing Tohru’s outfit and stripping her bare.
It doesn’t take long for Miss Kobayashi to collect new friends. Tohru’s presence brings other dragons to pop by for a visit. Kanna, a diminutive dragon, stops by Kobayashi’s apartment to discourage any relationship with Tohru, whom she is close friends with. She eventually forms a familial bond with Miss Kobayashi and helps Tohru around the house. Early on in her tenure as a maid, Tohru calls upon the assistance of other dragons to help her out. One of them is Fafnir, a reclusive and grimdark dragon whose human form resembles that of a morose butler. Fafnir, scary as he is, is my favorite character because of his love for video games and manga. As much as he hates humans, he can’t turn away an opportunity to play video games with Makoto. The other Dragon, who has become a bit of a breakout star, is Quetzalcoatl. Lucoa for shor, she is the motherly sort and her large breasts (her defining characterstic) makes her fanservice (and rule 34, lets be honest) material. Lucoa does present herself as something more than a walking pair of boobs. Having turned her back on the other dragons, she enjoys a peaceful life among humans–though she doesn’t fully grasp the culture which explains why she shows up wearing tight and short clothing, as if she were the older woman trying to fit in with the younger set. Her clothing aside and shapely figure aside, Lucoa displays a genuine fondness for Miss Kobayashi for making Tohru happy.
I like the artwork of the manga well enough and coolkyousinnjya is skillful at drawing cute characters. This is one department where seeing the anime first ruined me on the source material. I love the clean lines and animation of movement in the television series, which gives them so much character and personality. And I love how Kobayashi calls out Tohru’s name whenever she gets drunk. The only thing I don’t like in the manga is the title cover. The way Tohru’s legs stick out from under her dress doesn’t look natural no matter how hard I try to accept it. Every time I do, I feel pain in my calves and ankles.
Niggling complaints aside, I had a great time reading Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. It’s fun and full of humor and, for those interested, the fanservice is kept largely in check. The manga largely sells itself on the cuteness of its title character and the unique relationship she has with her hard working, hard drinking master.
Title: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Vol. 1
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
Release Date: 10/18/2016
Purchased Or Received For Review? Purchased
Where to buy: Amazon, Rightstuf