Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S
by Lynzee Loveridge,
How would you rate episode 4 of
Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S ?
This week's episode covers a few central ideas but mostly amounts to pure sugar entertainment. The sincerity that is usually coupled with Dragon Maid's vignettes was less evident, and the one attempt during the show's thin acknowledge work culture is a missed opportunity, but I was still entertained by Tohru and company's shenanigans. I always welcome more screen time for Elma and Fafnir, and both got opportunities to steal the scene.
Elma plays a central part in the first two segments, although the first is certainly the weakest. Kobayashi discovers that Elma is able to author amazing code, a talent that has been overlooked at work while she's saddled with traditional secretary-style work, like serving tea. A one-off comment praising Kobayashi as a "pillar" at work causes a misunderstanding by Elma who attempts to 'defeat' Kobayashi by completing more work tasks. The joke set-up is...not great. It's a case where having to overexplain the joke set-up leaves takes all of the wind out of the humor to start with and the competition between Kobayashi and Elma lacks any real visual interest either.
Elma gets done explaining that she was worried Kobayashi was setting herself up to be "sacrificed," a natural set-up to remark on office culture in Japan but that's squandered, too. Kobayashi basically trivializes Elma for worrying about her workload at all. I doubt that the interaction is supposed to be considered commentary as a whole, but it felt tone deaf. The two meet Takiya drinks after, ending out the segment with Kobayashi griping about Elma's figure (ugh) and Takiya having weird opinions about glasses. Listen, Elma is one of my favs but this segment just didn't land.
The second one is definitely better. Tohru's casual outfit was a nice change of pace. Yes, it was obvious that Tohru would end up someway, somehow confronting "creepy" Fafnir, but I'm firmly in the camp that he needs his own show. I'm not going to complain about more Fafnir content. Tohru begins patrolling around her neighborhood and runs into Elma, who joins her. The two get into a light debate about "spirit of the rules" vs "the law as written" with Elma traumatizing some kindergarten jaywalkers. There's a mix-up with some delinquents followed by Tohru (and KyoAni) showing off the dragon's fighting prowess. It's fine, but this is definitely the highlight:
The third segment is a romp around the amusement park. It was cute.
I'm not trying to be dismissive, but there just wasn't much going on emotionally nor was there a throughline in the narrative to point to this week. This episode is another cute excursion with dragon girls, perhaps better animated than most with great background art work but it doesn't make for a very engaging write-up. I smiled the whole time, which is nice enough on its own, I guess.
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