Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S
Tohru continues her life as the maid in the Kobayashi household, which is still full of discoveries as more facets of this strange thing called humanity reveals itself to the young dragon lady. In addition to Tohru herself, Kobayashi also knows a small handful of other dragons who somehow found themselves in her home world, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for more.... right?
The first season of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid was a big success in so many ways. It was an almost surpremely funny comedy act centered around otaku culture and fantasy elements with a diverse cast of weirdos trying their best to soak it all in. The best parts were definitely the way the dragons -- human forms or not -- approached this very different culture and mindset, with curiosity and their very own way of looking at things. And in turn, we learn about this odd world of hers from the many conversations between the residents of team Other World, be that Tohru, Fafnir, Lucoa or Elma. We also learn a bit more how the two worlds are connected when we meet Tohru's father again, not to mention Souta's father, who turns out to be a bigshot mage.
And then there's Ilulu. When I watched the first season, I hadn't really thought much of the manga, but I ended up giving it a shot after the first TV series was, for all intents and purposes, a huge success. It isn't really explained much, but one of the running jokes of the Dragon Maid franchise is how all the dragon girls come with extremely busty human forms. (Kanna aside, though she's a child anyway.) In some ways, Ilulu looks like she's somewhere between Kanna and Tohru age-wise, but her character design created at least a little bit of controversy because, well....
....yeah, that's her. On the topic of human forms, the special OAV for the first season pointed out that Dragons don't really choose what they look like when impersonating a human, at least insofar as -- I presume -- what their faces look like, or which hair color they get. When Kobayashi once again complained that Dragons seems to be curiously blessed in the chest department, Tohru even mentioned that Ilulu was actually straining herself just to get them down to the size you see above here. And while Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid isn't exactly wall-to-wall boob jokes, it's not entirely unfair to expect things to escalate now that the boobiest of dragons have arrived. There's no need to worry, though, because her short stint as a potential antagonist is quickly settled, and her later appearances are surprisingly sweet at times, particularly in the way they tie into her past. This only doubles down when she gets a job at a local confectory/toy store and meets the owner's grandson whom she loves to tease from time to time, yes, but she also does seem genuinely fond of him.
And what about the others? The first season had a habit of relying on some pretty one-note jokes about a few of their characters, Elma first and foremost. In the original Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, she had one simple interest in total: eatables. Food, desserts, snacks -- if you could eat it, she'd be all about it. It was cute enough as an aside, but it also made things difficult for the viewers to get into her. It actually makes me chuckle that I wrote "For her sake, I can only hope a second season will be greenlighted", because here we are. And will this second season give you more about her character than the first season did? Oh, did they ever?! In fact, I'm rather impressed with how much they managed to fit in about Elma while at the same time not leaving anyone else out. Elma's gluttony isn't just a trope; it ties right in with how she used to be kind of a goddess stand-in for a group of humans, and not only that, but she actually had a rather surprising backstory with Tohru.
And of course, Fafnir continues to be an odd buddy for our main male character, Takiya. In a weird way, the two of them being completely unashamed otaku has done wonders in humanizing the gloomy cursemeister who, out of all the dragons, cares the least about blending in with the human populace he now frequents. Which is fun, because judging by the things he says in his conversations with others, he probably understands how to do so the best. We do also learn a bit more about Lucoa, but that's one of the downsides the show doesn't seem to want to let go of. I do like that she still plays the peacekeeper among the girls, in her own roundabout way, and her character type is one I usually like in other shows too. But one of the things I thought the first season could do without was how she interacted with Shouta, the young magician boy. Which is to say she would be a good mentor for young people in general, including Shouta here.... if she could just refrain from sexually harrassing the poor boy.
On a more.... "potentially" upsetting note is the anime deciding to go with the "Ilulu gives Kobayashi a penis" storyline. It was probably unavoidable, since it was one of the stepping stones for Ilulu going from "potential antagonist" to "weirdly boobular housemate" in the Kobayashi household, but it's one part of the manga that I felt made little to no sense. If you'll pardon the digression, there is already enough jokes about Kobayashi being "mistaken" for a man due, at least partially, to her lack of curves. In that respect, Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S does play its card right because Kobayashi herself could have been a somewhat feminine man by her willowy look, and the show actually does go into a really well made segment where she gets to lament a bit to her friends about how she actually wanted to wear something cute, but worried endlessly over how it wouldn't look good on her. But, now that we're back to the original point I wanted to make; the penis thing is an entirely different beast altogether, mostly because it doesn't really change what Kobayashi looks like. Just that she suddenly becomes almost painfully aware how cute Tohru is and how awkward skinship gets now that... well, now that she has a penis. And that's just... not how this works.
On the whole, though, that's small potatoes on the big ol' potato field of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S. The show simply took all the good parts from season 1 and then addressed some of the complaints, mostly regarding support characters, to an almost scary degree. Kanna and Saikawa even get more moments to throw down some as they explore their neighborhood, which, of course, is going to depend on how you feel about the latter. Then again, Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S is still about how ("OHEEEEE's" aside) Kanna brings out the best in her.... most of the time. More than ever, the Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid feels so much more complete when it comes to the characters and the bond between them.
The animation is still pretty much top level. I have sometimes said how hard it is to judge animation work when you have a quiet slice-of-life shows, but there is just something about this show and how it conveys motion, whether that be the dragon girls having a bit of a roughhousing moment or whenever Tohru is doing something mundane, like making and pouring up a cup of coffee. There is literally nothing about this show I can point to for being subpar. Two years and some months ago, Kyoto Animation's studio headquarters was the target of an arson attack, which claimed the lives of 36 people working at the company. One of those people were Yasuhiro Takemoto, the director of the first season, and with Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S being the first major production from the studio after said fire, he was posthumously credited as the director alongside season 2 director Tatsuya Ishihara. Whether in spirit or just on its own, Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S is the best kind of sequel.
In the shadow of a tragedy and a first step onwards, Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S is easily 'S for Super' in every way. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: ome of Tohru's behavior is definitely very sexual in nature, and the same can be said on account of Lucoa and now also Ilulu. It's nothing too outrageous, although Lucoa's attempts at coming on to a young boy is.... a bit uncomfortable.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S © 2021 Kyoto Animation.
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