- Genre :Slice of Life, Comedy, Romance, Fanservice
- Episodes: 1 (OVA)
- Studio: Kyoto Animation
The dragons are celebrating their first Valentine’s day by discovering the simple joys of being encouraged to eat candy from strangers, being allowed to proudly confess to the objects of their desires and simply living in a world that takes a day to honor love in all its forms. And how do you cap off such a sweet celebration? By bathing together of course! Preferably somewhere far away from home. In a world of wonders, love potions and dragons, the quiet moments with someone you really care about are truly magical!
I decided to kick off the month of love (I am a pretty indiscriminate celebrator!, every month has a theme. January was the month of OMG it’s so cold can’t it be spring already!) with a holiday centric return to one of my favorite shows. I love Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. I’ve made (it’s not really a pun but I pretend it is) no secret of it, but I’m hardly blind to its faults. There is a lot to criticize about this show.
Personally, this is a series I’ve always enjoyed in spite of its shortcomings. I sectioned off and put aside certain elements of it to be able to appreciate the rest. I always admired the kindhearted and gentle approach the narrative has to the cast, neither glorifying nor maligning anyone, simply cheering on their strengths and playfully teasing their faults. I also really resonated with Kobayashi herself. As an audience surrogate, I found her to be one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever come across in anime.
My review of the series was one of the very first reviews I wrote and I still remember the unexpected excitement I felt when I was drafting it. In it I said that at its best, this show will remind you that happiness is fragile and you have to protect it, at its worst – small boys get attacked by ginormous boobs…It’s a sentiment I stand by after all these months. I’m not claiming any particular novelty here, I’m pretty sure every single review out there has echoed the thought in one way or another, which is what makes this OVA so frustrating.
In its defense, although Crunchyroll only recently added the title to its library, it was made to roughly the same time as the show and the general public had not yet voiced its opinions. This is probably at least part of the reason why Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid episode 14, represents the worst the series has to offer.
I’m not saying it’s awful. The art and voice acting are still just as delightful as they had always been. A minute into the OVA and I was grinning from ear to ear as I took in the familiar adorably rounded designs, the cheerfully saturated yet soft colours, the easy casual voice acting that carried the intimacy of a group of close friends happily banting with each other. And of course, who can forget Fafnir and his different colored outline to really drive home just how peerless he is. Fafnir rocks!
Sadly however, the storyline seemed rather heavy on everything I try to ignore about the series. The awkward and unwarranted fanservice. The absolutely cringe worthy sexualization of children (thankfully still very light handed and not predatory, but too much for me) and the exaggeration of one note characteristics turning the cast into caricatures for the most part.
You should also know that this OVA is obviously meant as an extra to the series, relying heavily on nostalgia. I cannot imagine anyone enjoying it as a stand-alone product. Really this is nothing more than a filler episode and not one of the good ones.
The actual narrative is basically split in two, the first half of the episode follows separate characters as they receive or give out valentines chocolates and blush a lot while the second half is a surprisingly tame onsen episode. If they had gotten rid of the exaggerated fanservice and replaced it with just a touch of character building, this could in fact have been a relatively pleasant watch.
This said, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the few things that the OVA did well. Of course Takiya and Fafnir are as delightful as ever, both in their friendship and in relation to the others around them. I always enjoy seeing Fafnir interact with those around him. He is particularly bad in his Tsundere role and no one can believe for a second that he doesn’t care for the people around him. It’s adorable. Good guy Takiya is just as sweet and his unusually frequent appearances in the OVA were consistently heartwarming and sweet.
But mostly, the more openly romantic treatment of Tohru and Kobayashi’s interaction was downright charming. I have always loved these two together. Tohru’s hopeless yet somehow prideful infatuation with Kobayashi has always been endearing and the determination she shows to make her feelings known have me rooting for her every time. As for Kobayashi, with her calm and hesitant manner slowly melting away as she gets more comfortable with the situation. I desperately want to go have a beer and a chat with her. I think we could be best friends.
The few alone scenes of these two together were by far the best part of the OVA. In fact, they should have cut out everything except those scenes and Takiya and Fafnir. That would have been an exquisite shot!
The Full title of the OVA is “Valentine’s Day, Followed By Hot Springs! (Please Don’t Expect Much)”. I guess I can’t be mad, they warned me not to get my hopes up. You shouldn’t either. Unless you were a huge fan of the series, you can sleep well at night skipping this and knowing you haven’t missed out. Even if you were, I would hardly call it a must watch. If one of you wants to recut it a the short I described above though – I think we could get an Oscar!
Favorite character: Fafnir still rocks!
What this OVA taught me: Drugging people into loving you is wrong (pfiou – glad we cleared that up!)
Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.
Suggested drink: a Dragon Kiss (right right!!!!!)
- Every time you hear a double entendre – take a sip
- Every time anyone says the word “chocolate”– take a sip
- Every time we see food – have a snack
- if Tohru is cooking – put it down
- Every time anyone blushes – take a sip
- Every time things…bounce – get some water
- Every time anyone blushes – take a sip
- Every time there’s a dragon motif – take a sip
- Every time you think someone should call child services – take a stiff drink