Original Run: July 8, 2021 - September 23, 2021 Number of Episodess: 12 Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Slice of Life Based on the Series Created By: Cool-kyou Shinja
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S. Reader discretion is advised.***
Living with dragons is not the easiest thing to do. But like everything else, after enough time, it becomes second nature.
Although it once seemed like an unlikely pairing, the human Kobayashi and the dragon Tohru (voiced respectively by Mutsumi Tamura and Yuuki Kuwahara) are now family. And it would appear as though peace has finally come into their lives.
Or, at least, that is until the latest batch of supernatural beings come to investigate this friendship between human and dragon. Up next is the immensely powerful and nightmarishly dangerous, Ilulu (voiced by Tomomi Mineuchi).
Without question, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S (Miss Kobayashi S) was one of my most anticipated series of 2021. Not only was this the long-awaited follow-up to 2017’s Miss Kobayashi 1, but it was also the first full-length series from Kyoto Animation Studios since the deadly 2019 arson attack.
Along with producing some of the most iconic, well-received, and beautifully animated shows of the entire anime medium – The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Clannad, and Violet Evergarden – Kyoto Animation is one of the few – VERY few – anime studios that gives its employees actual salaries rather than health-destroying freelance work. Throughout its history, Kyoto Animation has rarely produced more than three full-length series a year – preferring to focus its attention on quality over quantity.
So, yes, I was extremely excited to watch Miss Kobayashi S, regardless if the series ended up being good or bad. No matter what, it would be – and was – nice to see Kyoto Animation’s name attached to a new anime.
With all that said, I would not call Miss Kobayashi S good. No, I would say this was a glorious return to prominence.
In a typical slice-of-life story, the animation shouldn’t be awful, but it doesn’t need to employ try-hard mode either. Well, try telling that to Miss Kobayashi S.
Since this show’s most prominent characters were all-powerful dragons that were well-adapted to magic and sometimes forgot to practice restraint, there were plenty of opportunities for spectacle. And when this series decided to go big, it went above and beyond. Miss Kobayashi S is easily one of the most breathtakingly beautiful slice-of-life anime to release in the last five years (as of October 2021).
But even when there weren’t epic supernatural battles, this show found ways to flex its visual muscles. Most notably, everyone’s eyes, especially those of the dragons, were gorgeous; they were like shining jewels.
Given this level of detail, it was a tad surreal when Miss Kobayashi S’s visuals were no less stunning even when this series was at its most hilarious.
This show was masterful with its reactionary humor. Although Miss Kobayashi S was well-written and had fantastic delivery, the characters’ facial expressions and body movements got the most laughs out of me.
Naturally, I apply this sentiment to everyone in this show. Still, the character I found to be the most entertaining was Kanna Kamui (voiced by Maria Naganawa) – again. She is just so freaking cute, and this series was not above playing that up as much as it could. Whenever Miss Kobayashi S had segments solely dedicated to Kanna, the pacing never skipped a beat.
In fact, the same was true for everyone in this show.
Although the main focus of Miss Kobayashi S was the titular Kobayashi and Tohru, all the dragons and their respective circles received plenty of screentime. Each was as interesting as the last. Over the course of this show, we got a thorough look at the pairings of:
- Tohru and Elma (voiced by Yuuki Takada)
- Kanna and Riko Saikawa (voiced by Emiri Katou)
- Quetzalcoatl and Shouta Magatsuchi (voiced respectively by Minami Takahashi and Kaori Ishihara)
- Fafnir and Makoto Takiya (voiced respectively by Daisuke Ono and Yuuichi Nakamura)
- And specifically for Miss Kobayashi S, Ilulu and Taketo Aida (voiced by Hiro Shimono)
What I’m getting at is, there was never a point when this show was ever off. Something was always happening in Miss Kobayashi S.
As such, I should warn you, this series – though a slapstick, slice-of-life comedy at its core – was not afraid to give a little heart. And believe me, few anime studios elicit emotions better than Kyoto Animation.
I won’t go so far as to say this show made me cry, but several scenes hit way harder than you’ll most likely be ready for. I know that was the case for me.
But be it hilarious shenanigans or tearful recollections, Miss Kobayashi S was all I could have hoped for from a sequel. I like to think more can come from this franchise. However, if this turns out to be the end, then it finished on the highest of notes.
This section will consist of a personal nitpick. Fundamentally, what I am about to talk about did nothing to detract from Miss Kobayashi S’s enjoyment factor. On the contrary, this series seemed fully aware of what it was doing. On several occasions, this show openly acknowledged how ridiculous it was.
Nevertheless, Ilulu’s character design, and, by extension, this series’s entire fan service element, was extremely in-your-face.
To be fair, I have seen shows with characters whose entire personality was that of the big-boobed one; they didn’t have anything beyond that. Ilulu had far more depth, and thus, she fit the criteria I use to determine what is non-distracting fan service: i.e., if you were to take the sex appeal away, is there something left?
For Ilulu, the answer to that question is a resounding yes.
Actually, it is Quetzalcoatl who struggles to meet that criterion more than anyone. However, for some reason (I can’t imagine why), Ilulu stands out.
As for anything else I can say against this show, well, I’m drawing a bit of a blank. If you feel there was something Miss Kobayashi S failed to do, please let me know in the comments below.
Apart from that, Kyoto Animation did not need to try as hard as it did with this show. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the effort, but this series was merely a slice-of-life anime. Yeah, it was an excellent slice-of-life anime, but no one in their right mind would have expected this level of quality to come out of a show like this. And even if this were the standard, I can think of no other studio that would have been as gung-ho as this one was.
Except this is what Kyoto Animation does, and I am so glad to see them back in action. Miss Kobayashi S was a solid idea in the hands of people who knew what to do with it.
Sometimes a show fails to live up to your expectations. This was not one of those cases.
As the latest project from a legendary studio, this series could not have been more fun. Boasting a world-class visual style and a slew of memorable characters, this show was impossible to put down from beginning to end.
Here’s hoping for more great things out of this franchise.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S has earned a massive recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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