OP2: 「愛のシュプリーム！」 (Ai no Supreme) by fhána
「新たなるドラゴン、イルル！（またよろしくお願いします）」 (Arata Naru Doragon, Iruru! (Mata Yoroshiku Onegai Shimasu))
“New Dragon, Ilulu! (Please Be Nice to Her Again)”
No.1 Maid in Town
If you watched the first season, you know what kind of ride you’re going to be in for, so there’s no real need for me to explain much. That came out four years ago. Time certainly flies by quickly! But now, Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon returns for a second season, equal parts fanciful and charming while being comfortable enough to go at its own pace. We kick off with a new maid cafe opening up near Kobayashi’s (Tamura Mutsumi) residence. Their claims of having the best maids provoke Tohru (Kuwahara Yuuki) to indignantly storm over and issue a challenge for the title of ‘best maid’ – only the manager adores her maid attire so much she gets hired on the spot.
So how does Tohru go about proving she is truly the best maid in the local vicinity? Well, she doesn’t. Because she gets sent to the kitchen for two reasons – she’s terrible at customer service because she will never call anyone who isn’t Kobayashi ‘Master’. And her cooking is genuinely amazing, thanks to her purple curse, which actually makes food taste extremely delicious in spite of how ominous it looks. In the end, Tohru decides she can only be Kobayashi’s maid and turns down a long-term offer to work at the fafe. However she teaches the maids her curse of deliciousness – which helps make the cafe wildly successful, even if the process can seem extremely dubious.
I know what many of you are thinking. If people already thought that Lucoa was ridiculous, Iruru (Mineuchi Tomomi) has some of the most unrealistic proportions in all of anime – exacerbated by the fact her boobs are quite literally magical fire bags to store her dragon’s breath. In substantive terms, I really like the philosophical dimension she brings to the conversation. Whereas before, we have generally taken the coexistence between humans and dragons for granted, partially because it’s hard to see derpy and quirky individuals be so threatening to human society, it turns out a radical faction of dragons exist who are intent on bringing about destruction.
She does raise a good point. Could it be that the harmony between Kobayashi and Tohru is merely a reflection the current status quo, where in actuality their relationship is doomed based on stark differences that fundamentally cannot be bridged? I feel inclined to disagree. It’s clear Iruru has some kind of traumatic past and baggage which makes her cynical and distrusting towards humans. If she’s had the positive experiences that Kobayashi, Kanna, Lucoa and Fafnir have had, I definitely think Iruru would change her mind.
I guess that’s what this season is going to be about – Irurus’s journey to realising that while the human race has some despicable characters, some humans are absolutely worth co-existing with. And as we know from a season’s worth of content, Kobayashi is most certainly one of these wonderful humans. Even though she was powerless to directly intervene in Tohru’s battle against Iruru, she did everything and convinced Elma to further involve herself – creating an opening that allowed Tohru to release her limiters and end the battle in one go after taking a hefty beating, unafraid of accidentally destroying the city thanks to Elma’s protective magic.
I just wonder how Tohru is going to react when she discovers Kobayashi has suddenly grown a penis. I don’t think it fundamentally changes Kobayashi as a person. However, temporary or permanent, it may very well introduce a romantic and sexual bend to their interactions – which I hope will be adequately explored rather than played off for laughs.
You might have been like me. Nervous about how KyoAni would mark their first return to the screens, following the arson attack on their main studio which claimed 36 lives. Perhaps you feared for the worst, believing that the scars of the tragedy would be apparent, since there was a considerable loss of talented personnel. Or maybe you always had faith they would remain as strong as ever – I was certainly in this camp because this studio and its very people have greatly influenced my life for the better throughout my teenage years. Because it’s abundantly clear the survivors live on with a vengeance, determined to see through the spirit of KyoAni’s values and carry the legacy of their fallen comrades. From director to director, friend to friend, Takemoto Yasuhiro would definitely have been proud of how Ishihara Tatsuya has taken care of his passion project.
I must draw attention to the diversity of animation styles throughout the episode, which make it more than clear that KyoAni haven’t lost any of their magical touch. First off, the cheery and comfy soundtracks immediately lift my mood. And we have to talk about the aesthetics too. From colourfully energetic mannerisms to pouty chibis to cataclysmic dragon fights to intricate emotional expressions, this episode just about had it all. They can do it all and haven’t diminished in the slightest, firing off on all cylinders across the board with their animation cycles being as excellent and fluid as ever. I look forwards to seeing if they can maintain this level throughout the season, and though cautious optimism feels like the best policy for avoiding disappointment, I must confess it fills me with great joy to see them remaining so strong and full of conviction in the face of adversity.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!
ED2: 「めいど・うぃず・どらごんず︎❤︎」 (Maid with Dragons❤︎) by スーパーちょろゴンず (Super Chorogonzu)