So, this was originally going to be a digest post. Because, to be honest, I’m not interested enough in Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon to give it a full one under normal circumstances. But here’s how bad this season is – I couldn’t even find anything notable enough to include in a digest impressions. Hand Shakers was so grisly visually that I just want to forget it as soon as possible. One Room seems to have taken the next logical step in the devolution of “romance” anime, cutting out the male protagonist altogether and just giving us the leering stare. Kobayashi-san may be nothing special, but in the land of the blind…
To the extent that there’s anything interesting about this series, it’s that Kyoto Animation chose to adapt a manga, and one they don’t own at that – which has become an extreme rarity in recent years. The question begged is, why this one? There doesn’t seem to be anything especially brilliant or memorable about it, and it hardly fits with the usual KyoAni template. This premiere wasn’t bad or anything, but it was so eminently forgettable that it seems very odd that KyoAni would choose to break with their usual business model to produce it.
Takamoto Yasuhiro is in the middle of KyoAni’s pack of directors – not the best, not the worst (though he did helm Hyouka, one of its best series). Here’s he’s got the story of a curmudgeonly salarywoman who, on a drunken ramble into the mountains (that’s never a good idea) invites a dragon to live in her apartment. The dragon turns into a hyper-kawaii maid with a big green tail. Hijinks ensue. Why does any of this happen? Because that’s the story – if there’s any more urgent reason of logic to it, I fail to see it. It’s inoffensive enough, which in this parches desert of a season makes it nearly an oasis. But it’s mediocre to the core – including the art and animation, which is about as nondescript as any Kyoto Animation series can be (which is to say, pretty good but nothing special).
People like to refer back to Winter 2013 as a rival to this season for worst in recent memory, but here’s the thing – that season may have been short on good original series but it was loaded with strong sequels and carryovers. If you were following anime in Winter 2013 you could watch Chihayafuru, Hunter X Hunter, Shin Sekai Yori, Minami-ke Tadaima, Bakuman 3, Ginga e Kickoff, Shirokuma Cafe, Zetsuejn no Tempest, Robotics;Notes… Honestly there’s no comparison whatsoever. We’ve seen a further decline in multi-cour anime and what’s more, a lot of the bad shows in Winter 2017 aren’t just bad – they’re truly offensive in how bad they are. “Rakugo” is wonderful, for sure, and there are a few other nice series out there. But this is a sad state anime is in right now, and there’s no hiding that fact. That’s not Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon‘s fault, but it’s still depressing to think this is closer to the best series of the season than the worst.