What They Say:
What happens when a drunken promise leads to living with a dragon? That’s Miss Kobayashi’s new reality when Tohru, her new maid-slash-dragon appears in her life! And if one wasn’t enough, in comes Kanna, a little dragon with a big attitude. Soon, Kobayashi has a house full of adorable dragons – one serving tail and the other serving serious moe.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English mix gets a 5.1 bump, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The series is one that’s focused mostly on dialogue and mild antics so it doesn’t have a huge and noticeable design to it but rather one that works in the smaller spaces overall. There’s a good bit of placement throughout with the way dialogue occurs and how many are on screen, and their heights, that gives it a nice fit. The highs and lows of the comedy aspects are nicely handled and there’s some slightly bigger moments toward the end and some fun minor dragon effects as well that give us some nice touches. Mostly it’s just a clean and problem free mix all around and we didn’t have problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The fourteen episodes are spread across two discs with seven on each while most of the extras are on the second. Animated by Kyoto Animation, the show has a really great look that captures the slice of life feeling well with all the background details but also has a lot going into the character animation so that they feel more lived-in and fluid. There’s a lot of really good colors used here with the palette that gives it mildly vibrant pieces but also more of the real world coloring. The encoding grabs all the detail and holds it up well with a clean looking alongside the solid colors. It’s the kind of series that really does make out well in high definition because of all the little aspects of it that shine.
The packaging design for this release brings us a slightly thicker than standard sized Blu-ray case where the o-card replicates the case artwork itself. The front cover is a familiar key visual piece of our four dragons together in human form as they storm through the door with a range of expressions to them. It’s light and works well though it feels just a bit too simple in some ways. The back cover gives over most of its space to a white background with the summary of the premise but we do get a nice column with larger than usual images from the show. The bottom has the standard technical grid that breaks down both formats clearly and accurately. No show related inserts are included but we do get more artwork on the reverse side of the cover with two more pieces of Japanese cover artwork.
The menu design for this release takes the simple approach with static screens that are the same for both discs. This has a nice soft white piece for the background with the image of Tohru along the right that’s shadowed by her dragon form. The logo is kept to the left of her and it works nicely with similar color designs and the cuteness of the logo itself. The navigation strip along the bottom is fairly basic and standard but it works the same color design overall and functions cleanly both as a top-level menu and as a pop-up menu during playback.
This release has some good and fun things included with it. The nature of how it’s laid out has the fourteenth episode as an extra but it’s really just another episode, albeit a cute and fun one. The main extras that we get here are the seven shorts produced for the home video releases, which are chibi bits of silliness that run about two and a half minutes, as well as the clean opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga of the same name by Coolkyoushinja, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is a thirteen episode TV series and OVA that aired during the winter 2017 season. The original work began in 2013 and has seven volumes out as of this writing and is moving right along in the Monthly Action magazine with Seven Seas Entertainment releasing the manga in English. The anime series ended up with Kyoto Animation working the production on it and it shows with great designs, a sense of space and setting, and the kind of small but simple and easy flow to movement that makes it work really well. The show feels lived in even though it’s basically about dragon girls.
The series is largely a slice of life work with smaller stories within each episode that are a lot of fun, though a central through line of a theme is minimal overall with the project. The focus is on Tohru, a dragon that has left the land where she and other dragons reside in order to be a maid for Kobayashi, a programmer/office worker in Tokyo. Kobayashi is a fairly normal character in that she’s got a few interests, she works too much, has a nice little apartment, and is generally happy with things. There’s that sense of potential about her just around the edges with where her life will take her next. What changes is the arrival of Tohru who is following up on a dream and a conversation she had some time ago about not living the life that she’s told she has to have but rather the one that she wants. And while maid may not seem like a dream job to most there’s something about it that as a normal large-sized dragon that she finds appealing about it and embraces it completely once she barges in and becomes Kobayashi’s maid.
Naturally, other dragons show up along the way such as the young Kanna who was booted from the homeland because she’s a prankster and ends up moving in with Kobayashi as well. But we also get Lucoa of the large chest and Elma. A few other elements show up as well, including Tohru’s father toward the end for the “more serious” material where he’s trying to get her back and Kobayashi has to stand up to him. But the fun one that I like is Fafnir, one of the few male characters in the show on a semi-regular basis who is curious about what Tohru is doing and decides to see if he can get past his distrust of humans by living with them. Or, more specifically, a guy named Takiya that basically turns Fafnir into a very quiet and intense gaming fan.
Slice of life comedy are ones that I tend to find a bit difficult to dig into since there’s not a lot to them. This one works better than a lot of others in marathoning it as there are plenty of cute bits and the dynamic for the cast works well. We get a lot of familiar things going on from the staples of summer with the beach and some of the competitive moments between characters, which makes for some silliness – particularly the whole cooking challenge over Kanna’s lunchbox for a field trip. They’re small moments even when it goes big but it largely works to reinforce the relationship between Kobayashi and Tohru. It helps that Tohru gets some time to herself, and is a bit of ditz herself at times, as it makes her exist without Tohru. Her bits at work and some of the casual friends there has me wanting to explore that more but I also liked some of the early bits with her, such as after they move to a new place to handle the new arrivals and she ends up going to her old address without thinking.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is simply a lot of fun. It’s not something that goes big or tries to really do something crazy and even the last story arc within it focusing on her father doesn’t get as close as some other shows do in turning a simple comedy into something serious that it shouldn’t be. What we get here is a nice little slice of life comedy with some really silly moments because of the characters and their quirks. Kobayashi is my favorite among them simply because she’s the most relatable but the group as a whole interacts really well. Funimation’s release is very solid with a great looking presentation of the show and dub while also including a lot of fun extras to drive it all home with. Fans of the show will be very pleased with it and it’s worth checking out if you enjoy this style of comedy.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Something 1-7, Textless Opening & Closing Songs
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: April 24th, 2018
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.