Initially, when the trailer for Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid first surfaced on Tumblr, the common consensus was that it was fanservicey garbage, an embodiment of the “anime was a mistake” sentiment. The trailer itself focuses on bouncing boobies and completely neglects to mention that this is a lesbian anime. When I first saw it, I was guilty of the whole judging a book by its cover, and because there’s a lot of bad anime out there, I just assumed it was going to be one of them. It wasn’t until after the show had actually come out and people began posting screencaps and gifs of scenes that depicted a show the trailer hadn’t been selling that I gave it a second chance and realized it was a lot more than I thought it was. The humour was a lot better than a run of the mill fanservice anime, and the characters were fleshed out and interesting.
The first episode opens like the trailer with a dragon flying through the sky and scoping out the whole city, before she sees an apartment complex and lands. We cut to Miss Kobayashi, who has just awoken from a hangover and is preparing for work at the office. When she opens the door, there’s a massive dragon standing in front of it and is terrified, before Tohru transforms into her human form and lands on the balcony. She greets Miss Kobayashi, who is like “uhhhh, come in?” Because, I mean, she’s a dragon. Tohru recounts how they met in the mountains, and reminds Miss Kobayashi that she had offered to let her stay with her, which she doesn’t remember, because she was blackout drunk at the time.
Not even five minutes into the episode, Tohru has started gushing about how cute miss Kobayashi is nonstop, and then asks her to allow her to become her maid, because while they were drinking in the forest, Miss Kobayashi mentioned how she had a real thing for maids. Miss Kobayashi says she has to decline because she doesn’t remember any of this and has no intention of hiring anyone, but Tohru insists she doesn’t need to be paid and that she just wants to be useful to her, and begins showing off how she can be helpful with her dragon powers, like killing her enemies or blowing things up. Miss Kobayashi blows her off, regretting she can’t keep her drunk promise, and it isn’t until she’s seeing Tohru out the door that she notices the time and that she’s late for work, and she’s also noticed how upset Tohru is and is visibly guilty. Her shift starts in fifteen minutes and she panics, grabbing Tohru’s hand, and cries “can you fly??”
Miss Kobayashi is a good example of a tsundere, keeping her feelings close to her chest, but Tohru is enthusiastic and excitable and her gay meter for Miss Kobayashi is at a constant 110% without end; making the way that Miss Kobayashi and Tohru express emotions a powerful dichotomy. Tohru is quick to become jealous and yearns for Miss Kobayashi’s affections, she is overwhelmingly gay and pure. For example, Tohru continuously attempts to get Miss Kobayashi to eat her tail. She’s cooked it a dozen different ways (it always grows back), she slips an aphrodisiac into some Valentines chocolate for her, and when Miss Kobayashi is sick, Tohru eagerly takes care of her, wiping her forehead and feeding her and caring for her. She cooks and cleans enthusiastically and often comments how much she likes Miss Kobayashi’s smell. She’s unambiguously and passionately in love with her.
Miss Kobayashi carries a cold facade with her that makes her seem distant and unapproachable most of the time, but she has a soft side that, while not as explosive as Tohru’s, is no less profound. Gentle reminders, such as asking if Tohru wants to hold hands, or if she wants to sleep with her, or raising a small dragon that’s definitely their daughter together. If there’s any doubt that Miss Kobayashi cares for Tohru, that’s definitely expelled with Tohru’s father attempts to take Tohru back and nearly kills Miss Kobayashi in the process of trying to scare her off, and when Tohru is filled with despair, Miss Kobayashi grabs her by the hand and drags her back anyway, asserting that she can’t be without her maid.
The show itself is far superior to the narrative the original trailer portrayed. Raising itself above the common “anime is a mistake” type anime littering the new anime titles that come out every year. While Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid certainly does have its problems and issues, its lesbian narrative is not one of them. The show is fun, and bouncy, and really, really gay, like, oh my god, calm down, please, for five seconds, but no, it doesn’t, not literally ever, because actually it’s really great how unrelentingly gay it is at all times. The gay just doesn’t stop at Tohru and Miss Kobayashi, and also extends to other characters in the show, from the two tiny lesbians, to the two gay otakus. Dragon Maid is really really gay, and not in the overly sexualized way either, in the cutesy, fun, and sometimes sexual but certainly not just fanservice way. If you love lesbians and dragons then Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid will not disappoint you.
This #MVPride guest post was contributed by Marceline Vallevand. Thanks Marceline!
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