Rising Sun: Miss Kobayashi – Niche, but Funny

Noah Meyer

Hello again, and it’s time for another Rising Sun. And today’s show, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, is being distributed in an interesting way.

I’ll mention it now before beginning the actual review. On September 8th last year, licensors Funimation Productions and Crunchyroll announced a special partnership that would expand the catalogs of both companies. For many shows, such as Dragon Maid, this involved sharing the license. Crunchyroll streams the original Japanese versions of the shows, while Funimation streams English dubs of said shows before hopefully releasing them on home video.

As for Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, the series is adapted from a comedy manga written by Coolyouskinja, a webcomic artist famous for I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying!

The titular character, Miss Kobayashi, is a software engineer who had way too much to drink last night, so she’s not quite sure why there’s a dragon in front of her apartment or why said dragon transformed into a girl in a maid uniform. As it turns out, Miss Kobayashi (while drunk) invited the dragon, named Tohru, to live with her as a live-in maid. At first, she’s reluctant to honor a arrangement she made while drunk, but after Tohru gives her a ride to work, she changes her mind. Of course, it’s worth noting it’s definitely something Miss Kobayashi would say.

This leads into one of the strong points of the storytelling. The series is a comedy, so it mines the idea of a dragon as a live-in maid for all it’s worth, with Kobayashi being forced to explain maid-hood to Tohru in an entertaining sequence which culminates in Tohru cooking her own tail for dinner, and then regenerating it (which is something certain lizards can do). Another favorite gag is Miss Kobayashi ranting about being more into the Victorian-style maid than the French-style maids that Tohru’s design is based on. Another personal favorite thing about the series that it’s not afraid to introduce new characters that don’t mess with the formula, and they’re all entertaining to watch. A personal favorite is Fafnir, who Miss Kobayashi describes as Smaug-like, which is his fatal shortcoming when it comes to playing what appears to be Dark Souls. I kid you not, his first line was “Kill them. Kill all who try to steal your treasure. Kill all who are suspect. Curse them to death. Curse their generations to come.” It’s kinda hard not to love the comedic potential of someone like Fafnir. What annoys me though, is that the episode titles are only displayed halfway through the episode, rather than at the start.

I think maybe I was subconsciously looking for an excuse to praise Kyoto Animation, who once again demonstrate that they have the best non-Ghibli animators in all Japan. While it’s mostly nothing special, there is plenty of movement where it’s necessary and some parts are quite entertaining because of the animation quality. It’s not Nichijou, which I’ll review later, but it’s still excellently animated. I can’t really say the same about the music, which is not memorable, but it does the job. But when it comes to audio, nothing deserves more praise than the fact that Funimation went and began producing a top-notch “broadcast dub” for the series while it’s still running in Japan.

If you’re looking for a good time with a strange concept, I can’t not recommend Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, available dubbed on FunimationNOW and subbed on Crunchyroll.