Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Japanese Title: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon
Length: 13 episodes
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is about a drunk office lady who accidentally invites a dragon to live with her. It isn’t long before other dragons crash in as well.
There are five dragons: main dragon, little dragon, male dragon, rival dragon, and pedo dragon. Main dragon is the titular maid to Miss Kobayashi. Comedy largely comes from her incompetent but earnest attempts at being a useful maid to Kobayashi – and a strange obsession with serving her own dragon tail meat for dinner. This is typical fish out of water humour from a slice of life anime. Little dragon is just there for the cute factor.
Most characters have no point to this story. I know this is slice of life, a genre thin on purpose, yet even so, most of these characters serve little purpose. The worst character in both purpose and personality is pedo dragon. The old dragon whose job is carrying two massive jugs around answers the summons of a little magician boy. Her purpose becomes to molest him at every possible opportunity. They even called him Shouta… So obsessed is Dragon Maid with this “joke” that it will cut away from unrelated scenes to show her sleeping with this child and using him as a grinding pillow. Furthermore, she is completely pointless.
The other surprisingly pointless aspect is the whole dragon bit. Having these characters be dragons doesn’t play much of a factor outside of a shoehorned bit of plot involving the dragon emperor in the final episode. I think of Hinamatsuri with its alien girls. Sure, Hina’s character designs were uninspired but being aliens made a difference. The dragon aspect is just a gimmick.
Not pulling a “she’s actually a thousand years old” on little dragon was Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid’s greatest surprise.
The two main characters are decent fun and I like the colours and animation. Other than that, it’s a run of the mill moe slice of life comedy and those are never great.
Overall Quality – Low
Recommendation: For moe slice of life fans only.
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Japanese Title: Blend S
Length: 12 episodes
If you’ve heard of Blend S it’s because of the meme opening (“Smile! Sweet! Sadistic!”). It’s also the only entertaining part. This isn’t a good anime.
Blend S is a workplace slice of life series – of which there are many – filled with a cast of generic characters. The main girl struggles to find a job because despite being small and cute, her smile looks menacing. Anime, seriously, there are only so many times you can use this trope. Please, something else.
The scenarios are typical and crammed to the brim with gags, which gives the feeling that the writers don’t want you to stop and think about how nothing is happening. I don’t find it funny, so this doesn’t work for me. And the sexualisation is creepy, though not that prevalent.
You ever discover an older anime and wonder how it faded into obscurity, forgotten by everyone after the season ended? Watching Blend S reminds me of that. This anime is so dull in the face of such high energy.
Overall Quality – Very Low
Recommendation: Skip it. A new anime of its kind will be out every season anyway.
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Japanese Title: Ranma ½
Length: 161 episodes
Today we end on a classic of slice of life comedy, an anime from a time when broadcasters wanted 161 episodes from a story that goes nowhere.
Ranma ½ is about a guy called Ranma who turns into a girl when splashed with cold water. Hot water turns him back again. His father arranges for him to marry the daughter from a long running dojo family. Akane plays the main love interest and foil to Ranma.
Episodes of Ranma ½ follow a rather repetitive theme of Ranma fighting someone with martial arts over some misunderstanding or jealousy, a lover spat with Akane, and some gender swapping hijinks. It doesn’t go much of anywhere. The core premise is alright – I have no particular objections there – but episode after episode of mid-level comedy, repetition, and a story that makes one step of progress per twenty episodes is dull. As mentioned earlier, Ranma ½ comes from a time when stations wanted longer anime. They try out a few, find the ones that stick, and play them forever. If you could get the audience interested, you expect their return to your station every week. This anime isn’t meant for the binge viewer. That is true of many older anime. However, many still have reason to watch them today amongst the modern series. Ranma ½ doesn’t hold up.
One final note – avoid the dub. It’s not from a time of quality dubs, but worst of all is the fact that one actress didn’t record using the same equipment. Background noise accompanies her every time she speaks. It’s like teeth against a chalkboard.
Overall Quality – Low
Recommendation: For classic slice of life fans only. At 161 episodes long, Ranma ½ is only for the diehard.