Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is one of my all time favorite shows. It’s visuals are so soft to look at, the characters are all loveable, and, of course, it’s one of the most heartwarming shows I’ve seen in my life.
For a show like that to get a sequel meant a lot to me. So despite the fact that I never really watch airing shows as they come out, it was extremely hard to be patient here. And of course, I watched the first episode immediately as it came out on TV. My excitement level was really so high that I continued to tell Jun over and over that I would be utterly disappointed if this show was anything but a 10. And based on the first episode, I can say that it was able to perfectly match my expectations.
To sum up the episode, it was divided into two parts. The first part consists of Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid that I loved, and the second part consists of a new dragon to start the season. To begin, the first part was about Tohru getting a job at a maid cafe — pretty much a classic Kobayashi comedy episode. And this was the perfect half to get the audience back into the show. It introduced us back to the characters, Kobayashi and the Dragons, and put us into a new setting — a maid cafe. As you may expect from Tohru going to a maid cafe, there are a lot of crazy moments that come out of it.
One of my favorite things I saw here was how we still had the signature comedic actions of the characters sliding into the frame along with the colored background flourishing in the background. It comes out a lot with the maids that work in the cafe and with Tohru as she talks to Kobayashi. They really emphasize each dialogue of the characters and the atmosphere that they are supposed to create.
And I think this highlights one of the things that Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid does so well — the emphasis of different moods of characters. I think most people will agree when I say that the biggest appeal of the show comes down to the characters. And this comes down to the fact that each and every character is so expressive. One way that the show does this, other than having characters that are just so expressive themselves, is through cinematography that uses the character designs perfectly. One of the reasons why I think the character designs in Koabayshi’s Dragon Maid are so great is because of how the round, almost deformed shape of the faces give so much for the animators to play with. In other words they make it really easy to show exaggerated expressions. Through this, the camera in Kobayashi makes this stand out a lot more by using a lot of close ups and different backgrounds. Naturally because the expressions are in the center of the screen while filling out the whole frame, the expressions stick to the audience’s mind very strongly.
This was pretty much everywhere in the first season regardless of whichever director was in charge of the episode and we see it continue in the second seasons quite a lot.
Just story wise, it was hilarious watching Tohru go to a maid cafe and end up being super popular there with her co-workers. Not because of her maid skills, as expected, but because of her cooking. The fact that everyone tried to stop Tohru leaving at the end was hilarious and even more hilarious seeing Tohru teach them the secret spell to make the food tasty. I think just throughout all the comedic timing where cuts happen were pretty much perfect. The small cuts where one of the waitresses are casting the “turn delicious spell” to Kanna or when we get to see Kobayashi’s glare with a bunch of lines around her for a brief moment continue to stop the show from dragging while giving us quick laughs in between. Of course, Kanna was cute in every of her appearances like usual. Basically the whole episode was perfectly set up to deliver all the great parts about Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
After this came the new part about the new season — Iruru the new dragon. A lot of different shows do this when they are starting a new season to give something fresh to the audience. Naturally, new characters with new settings and personalities give a lot of gateway for more interesting arcs to come. But with Iruru’s introduction, I had slightly mixed feelings. To start off with basic personal complaints, I’m not a big fan of Iruru’s design. Kobayashi’s manga artist, Cool-kyou Shinja, has this thing where the characters either have really really large breasts or no breasts at all. The latter isn’t a problem but the former is kind of to a point where it becomes a little uncomfortable to look at. This was the case with Lucoa and it’s the same with Iruru here.
But more importantly, the bigger problem with her came from the way that she was introduced. The story followed Iruru getting bored of the human world and attacking Tohru. We then see Kobayashi and Iruru on a subway as Kobayashi is going home from work. Here, we see Iruru gripe about how she can’t be trusting humans and how humans and dragons can’t co-exist because they are so different. While normally this wouldn’t be that big of a problem, it feels a little dragged out here because of how frequently it feels like it’s been done in this show. Throughout the first season, we continued to hear from Tohru about how other humans are lowly species that can’t be trusted, from Kanna about how humans would try to trick her when she was first introduced, from Elma about how Tohru shouldn’t be living in the human world, or from Fafnir who was questing Tohru about how she will be able to blend with humans when they were searching for his home. I understand that the big theme of this show is about how despite all the differences everyone can co-exist if they start to understand each other. But because of this repertoire that seemed to happen in almost every episode the last season, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed that Iruru was introduced the exact same way.
But despite my complaint, I’m very happy with how the show is going so far and this introduction isn’t even that big of a deal. Like all cliches, interesting and unique events that support it can make it great. Seeing Iruru pretty much push it to larger extremes than any of the other dragons that we’ve seen so far, or with the magic she presumably casted on Kobayashi at the end of the episode, I can definitely see Iruru being a great addition to the chemistry that exists between the characters.
Other than that, I think the episode was really great. The animation during the fight between Iruru and Tohru really made me feel like Kyoani is really back and watching Kobayashi convenience Elma with a bunch of sweets was one of the highlights of the episode. Oh and of course, I can’t forget how much I laughed when iruru was trying to seduce Kobayashi thinking she was a guy. It was great to see that all the lovable characters and the unique and fun artstyle were all back.
I’ll make a more lengthy, more technical review when the second season finishes but that’s kind of a short overview about how I felt about the first episode. The point is, Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is great.