|Beautiful art and animation, good new character in Ilulu, fleshed out backstories||Questionable handling of secrets, end of the season wasn't overly powerful|
It can be difficult at times to be purely objective when reviewing a show. That is all the more difficult with a show like Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon S. There’s no ignoring that this show being made at all was a huge victory considering the tragedy with KyoAni. That fact certainly played into my overall feeling going into watching this show. But the quality of the show itself was central to why I honestly enjoyed it and gave it the rating I did here.
To begin with I enjoyed the first season of this show quite a bit and the second season managed to do a nice job picking up from where that one left off. Like with any sequel I’ll recommend watching the first season before this one. But there won’t be any detailed spoilers for either season in this review.
The antics of Tohru and the other dragons was just as much fun this time around. The main difference I’d say is that the more serious material came in the early going this time around instead of right at the end like it did in the original. Although that’s not to say nothing interesting happened in the second half of the show. Obviously, the show knows that people have seen the first season. Or at the very least they trust them enough to not waste much of the first episode recapping what had happened. The title more or less covers the key premise anyways. Tohru is a dragon and is Kobayashi’s maid. Everything can start from there.
When it comes to this show the story is fairly episodic for a large amount of the show. The second half especially often fell into a pattern of 2-3 smaller stories focusing on various pairs or small groups within the cast. I didn’t have a problem with that of course. Those kinds of stories can really help develop the characters or dive into backstories. And there was a lot of focus when it came to backstories in this season. Ilulu, Tohru, and Elma especially got a large amount of focus when it came to where they came from and how their lives in their own world had played out. By the end of the second season I’d say we understood the characters quite a bit more than we did when it started.
But my favorite part of the story was honestly the starting episodes. The addition of a new dragon in Ilulu allowed the story to really hit the ground running. A somewhat character forces the cast to react and they can’t just shrug the situation off. Characters have to mature in a hurry to decide how they want to deal with the situation and that included the titular character in Kobayashi. Ilulu was a nice stimulus for Kobayashi and a few members of the cast. Dealing with her and dealing with her overall situation made for some good early episodes. I don’t mind episodes that don’t neatly lead into each other. However, I do appreciate it when a story builds up a specific arc.
The only real downside I had for the story was that it did kind of just end on a less impactful note than it started. There was a good amount of learning about characters and taking stock of the present relationships. But that doesn’t mean I don’t mind an ending that really has a lot of punch to it.
While she isn’t the main character, it only feels right to start this one with Ilulu. This girl was the new character added to the cast and really kicked everything off. She shows up with a pretty intense greeting for the cast and isn’t really interested in playing nice. I wasn’t honestly sure how I’d feel about the character at that point, but she definitely won me over as the show went along. Her story was one that I found touching and her settling into the main cast worked out nicely. Some might not care for her character design, but I thought it was nice overall. She has the right kind of awareness of things that others either don’t or don’t acknowledge.
My biggest problem for Ilulu was that she had a lot less presence in the second half of the show. One she was settled into the story things just kind of moved on. She did get some focus moments even after her initial arc. But she was definitely behind characters like Tohru and Elma in terms of overall presence. If the show does get a third season I’d hope she gets a bit more time to shine.
Kobayashi is the person in the title and she deserves some recognition. I’d say her biggest thing in this season was awareness of what she can do. It’s so easy when thinking about dragons powerful enough to ravage the entire planet that there isn’t much one person can really contribute. And it isn’t as if Kobayashi has super powers. The only super thing she has going for her is excellent programming skills and the ability to handle a pretty serious workload at the company she works for. It was nice seeing her doing what was within her limits and it was nice seeing her acknowledging her situation. Her relationship with Tohru especially needed some introspection and I’m glad to see it got that.
Tohru is the other big force in this show and absolutely was a blast this season. A lot more about Tohru is learned this season, but it doesn’t change how we see her as a character. She’s slowly growing as a person and becoming increasingly independent. It’s a good thing to see even if that fact might create mixed feelings from those closest to her. The girl remains a bundle of energy and her romantic interest in Kobayashi doesn’t lessen in this second season. Tohru has more to deal with this season, but her continued growth isn’t hindered by the events of season 2.
There are a ton of regularly appearing and prominent characters beyond just these three. Kanna remained an absolutely lovable character who gets some moments to shine this season. Although I wouldn’t say Kanna develops too far beyond where she starts the season at. Saikawa remained amusing to be sure. I did feel bad for her at times though when it came to secrets being kept. Shouta remains a character in an awkward situation with Lucoa. But I think his character actually grows quite a bit beyond where he was in season 1. At the very least I feel like he’s got a better grasp on things and isn’t just getting overwhelmed the whole time. Takiya gets to step up a couple times this season and seems pretty comfortable with his dragon associations. Fafnir doesn’t get a lot to do this season, but he doesn’t change much either.
The one character among all these other individuals that stood out was Elma. Her situation was the most fully explored and I had a much better understanding of her by season’s end. Honestly, I also got a better grasp of how powerful she is as well. That was something left a bit more stated than proven in the first season. This time around she really got to deal with some issues weighing on her and became a more functional member of human society XD. She wasn’t always a major factor in what was going on this season, but she definitely owned a few episodes.
This show can honestly be beautiful at times. KyoAni has always done amazing work in that sense and I’m happy to say that remains true in this one. While I didn’t get blown away by the gorgeous eyes as much this time around, the show really ramped up the animation quality when it counted. It honestly had battle sequences that put to shame a few action series from the Summer 2021 roster of shows. That isn’t to say the show didn’t look good in everyday scenes. But it definitely knew how to take things to another level when required. The character designs remained consistent and beautiful. And I don’t think anyone could say this show looked bad. One of the better-looking shows of 2021.
I still can’t say the opening sequence of this season was great. It definitely was unique in the musical choice and the presentation. It is instantly memorable and that’s not a bad thing. But it just never quite grabbed me the way other OPs of 2021 did. This isn’t a show that has a lot of mindblowing musical choices. It does know how to play up the emotional and action scenes well enough. I would just say that it was pretty middle of the road on this side of things. It was good, just not anything incredibly special.
This was the show of 2021 that I most wanted to be good. The reasons outside of the show itself dictated that feeling. What I’m most happy about though is that the show was extremely enjoyable just on its own merits. It looked good, had nice character moments, and never had an episode I thought was terrible or bad. There were some things that I wanted to see for certain characters that never happened. It seemed like there was room to let certain characters learn things that seemed fitting considering their role in the story. But that was mostly a minor gripe compared to the bigger picture.
Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon S is a show where the majority of the story is happening on everyday Earth. Just…with dragons walking around in human form. They aren’t going on a wild adventure to another world. At most the show gives us peeks at that other world and lets us learn about adventures that have happened there. So, if a person wants to see more of that kind of show, then they won’t really get that. What Maid Dragon S does do nicely is give some occasional big action sequences, character exploration, and slowing things down enough to discuss some good questions. Definitely a B+ show in my book.
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