Mythical creatures learn to adapt to modern life in the comedy manga and anime Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
Let’s start with the title. Yes, there is a dragon. She is a maid. She lives with a woman named Kobayashi. The dragon is cute, if a bit ditzy and overenthusiastic.
Already, things are beginning to sound a little ridiculous. But that’s OK, because Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is nothing if not silly and fun.
It starts when a dragon shows up at Kobayashi’s front door. It seems that Kobayashi had gone hiking recently. While out in the woods, she encountered a dragon.
Kobayashi was drunk at the time, so she didn’t panic as you might expect. In fact, after she returns home, she doesn’t even remember that any of this happened. That makes the dragon’s sudden appearance at Kobayashi’s home even more startling.
Kobayashi helps the dragon, named Tohru. Tohru appreciates the help so much that she agrees to become Kobayashi’s maid.
Note: Kobayashi’s first name is never mentioned in the manga or in the anime. It looks awkward to always write “Kobayashi this, Kobayashi that,” but that’s how it goes. Many of the characters are female, so using “she” is a problem as well. Sorry.
Before we continue, it should be noted that when we first meet Tohru, she looks like what we would expect a giant dragon to look like. She’s a hefty monster-sized creature; closer to Smaug or even Godzilla than Dragon Ball’s snaky Shenron.
The magic remains turned on whenever mythic creatures are visible throughout the series. It also allows Kobayashi to ride on Tohru’s back, although the flight isn’t all that comfortable.
In any case, a giant dragon is too large to be an effective maid (or even fit in an apartment), so Tohru transforms into a more human-looking form. Tohru as a maid still has her dragon horns and a tail, and she can display her wings sometimes. Her eyes are also dragon eyes.
When Tohru is out and about and visible in public in her dragon maid’s outfit, people either assume that she’s some sort of cosplayer or ignore it.
Tohru and Kobayashi
Tohru’s relationship with Kobayashi is an interesting one. Tohru wants to be a good maid, and she tries hard. She is actually pretty good at it, and she can use her dragon powers to help.
But she fails to meet Kobayashi’s expectations. Kobayashi is an otaku, and she has an otaku’s expectations of the ideal maid.
It’s fun to watch a puny, insignificant human boss and an all-powerful dragon around. But Kobayashi is easy going, and Tohru is eager to please.
Tohru’s tail is a running gag. It seems that dragon tails grow back, and Tohru insists on attempting to feed Kobayashi dragon tail meat. But Kobayashi finds the idea to be weird, and the tail doesn’t look appetizing to her.
Kanna, Fafnir, Lucoa, Elma, and others
Kobayashi soon meets other dragons, some of whom are living with other humans.
Kanna Kamui is a young dragon (young by dragon standards) who ends up living with Kobayashi and Tohru. She’s the cutest thing in the whole series. Her typical human outfit is very pink and frilly. She has lavender hair tied up in pigtails.
Kanna is a child, and she acts like a somewhat emotionless little girl. She is stoic, but she can get quite angry. She goes to school.
Fafnir is a dark and moody dragon. His human form dresses like a butler. He lives with Makoto Takiya.
Takiya teaches Fafnir about otaku stuff, such as manga and video games. The two make a good combination. Fafnir is antisocial and reclusive, and that fits in well with Takiya’s indoor hobbies.
Whatever you call them, Lucoa’s ample breasts are a major part of her character (and not just physically). She is embarrassing to Shouta (sometimes also spelled Shota) Magatsuchi, the little boy that she lives with. Shouta has also said that he thinks Lucoa might be a demon, rather than a dragon.
In public places, she often has to be dragged away by authority figures because of her cleavage or her inappropriate outfit.
Elma Joui is a rival to Tohru. She belongs to a different dragon faction than Tohru. (Tohru is a Chaos Dragon, while Elma is a dragon of Order or Harmony.)
Elma is a sea serpent in her dragon form. As a human, she often wears a business outfit with a tie and sweater. She works at Kobayashi’s office.
Elma tries to get Tohru to return to the dragon realm.
Much of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid has to do with the various dragons learning to live in the human world. There are jokes about otaku and a visit to an anime convention.
But there is also a plot about how Tohru ended up in the human world.
It seems that Tohru’s father is Damocles, the Emperor of Demise. Damocles hates humans. He taught his daughter that humans are inferior and evil.
Of course, Tohru has since learned about human beings and no longer feels this way.
After Tohru moves in with Kobayashi, Damocles wants Tohru to return to the dragon world. In the final episode of season 1, this conflict ends with a compromise of sorts. Tohru is able to remain with Kobayashi in the human world.
The “announcement” consisted of a Japanese-language advertisement, which was apparently attached to volume eight of the Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid manga.
However, that announcement was made several months before the deadly arson attack on Kyoto Animation in July of 2019.
Since then, there has been very little news about a second season, or how the fire and deaths might have affected Kyoto Animation’s ability to produce season 2 of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
However, other Kyoto Animation events and productions were delayed, either by the arson or by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
In January of 2020, it was reported that season 2 was in production. The unofficial blog report mentioned the arson attack, and speculated that season 2 might debut at “the end of 2020 or early 2021.”
As of April of 2020, no official announcement has been made.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid began as a manga in May of 2013. The manga covers the same basic story as the anime. But it continues on beyond where the anime left off. It includes stories that were not made into anime episodes.
The manga was followed by a spin-off, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Kanna’s Daily Life. This spin-off started in December of 2016. It features the young dragon Kanna and her human friends at elementary school.
Chapters include “Time For New Year’s Shrine Visit,” “Time For The Doll Festival,” “Time For Errands,” “Time For Board Games,” “Time for Maids” and “Tanabata Time.”
Many of these stories are seasonal and feature typical Japanese cultural events and holidays.
A third spin-off started in August of 2017. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Elma’s Office Lady Diary focuses on Elma.
Another spin-off started publication in January of 2019. Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Lucoa is my xx features Lucoa and Shouta.
According to Anime News Network, this manga is “slightly lewd.” Since the spin-off manga features large amounts of Lucoa, that’s probably to be expected.
Chapter titles include “Me and Rabbits,” “Shouta and Pool Opening,” and “Shouta and Cookies.”
Season one of the anime came out in 2017, after Kanna’s Daily Life, but before Elma’s Office Lady Diary.