Book Review: Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid Volume 2

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid Volume 2 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week, and are not letting the monotony make things seem too dull.

Things seem to be going fairly well, as things seem to be back on track now and I can still do things that I enjoy.

This week, I have been going through the books that I got towards the beginning of August one at a time, and I am now down to the final titles in that group.

Today, I will be reviewing another one of those titles, which is called Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid Volume 2 by Coolkyousinnjya.

As I have given a series synopsis in the previous post, I will not go over it again.

Tohru and her friends are getting used to life in the modern world, and Kobayashi has gotten used to her crazy, yet peaceful and ordinary life, as they do things like visiting the beach and Comiket.

However, when Tohru's father shows up on Kobayashi's doorstep, Kobayashi's life may change yet again and she must act quickly before she loses what she enjoyed.

After how impressive the first volume was, I thought that I had hit upon a gold mine, but from my time of reading a ton of books and manga and watching anime, I knew that things would not always remain as good as they were.

And after reading this, I can say that I kind of liked it.

Just like the previous volume, I did not want to put this book down once I opened it up and started reading, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as everyone else.

While the first volume of a series needs to establish the kind of world and work that the series will be, which makes it easier to figure out what should be expected from a work, the volumes and chapters after those needs to make it easy for the reader to get back into that world, which, like making the reader interested in the series to begin with, varies depending on what kind of work is being presented and how the last installment ended. This could range from slowly bringing the reader back into things, which is what is expected from series like Spice & Wolf and The Ancient Magus Bride, which will be getting an anime adaptation in October, according to a post by ShadowHaken on Anitay, to just continuing on like normal.

In the case of this series, which has already been established to be a slice of life comedy and no overall story, which is not always as a huge issue with anime and manga as it is with prose or movies from Hollywood, the way to help the reader immerse themselves is to just continue on with the daily lives of the characters, much like the American sitcoms that I have grown to dislike.

Some people might be thinking that I am being a bit lenient here, because I have expressed numerous times that I tend to prefer anime and manga over prose and the shows and movies created where I live and have bagged on them quite a bit, but the big difference between a slice of life comedy in anime and manga and an American sitcom is that I do not even need a laugh track to feel like laughing and the lives of the characters seem interesting and relaxing, whereas American sitcoms are just mundane and boring, though I will admit that there are some exceptions to this observation of mine.

Fortunately, Coolkyousinnjya seemed to have remembered that quite well when he wrote the chapters contained in volume, and made things feel like just another day in the life of Kobayashi and Tohru, and it makes me feel like giving him a good round of applause for remaining consistent.

If he did not deliver in this aspect, I would have been disappointed because this series felt like a series where I could just take a break from having to do what I usually do and enjoy myself, and by not continuing with the every day lives of the characters, that feeling of being able to relax and get a few decent laughs would just be gone, but because he succeeded, it just feels like he did a good job.

I also liked how I was able to get a few laughs out this volume.

Even though the comedic moments are not that unique to anime and manga in general, or, at this point, even the series, and were not quite as funny as what was found in the first volume, Coolkyousinnjya still executed things well enough that they truly seemed funny.

Seeing as this series is a comedy series, since I have already noted numerous times that this is a slice of comedy series, fans of this kind of work expect to get in a good laugh, regardless of whether it is that of slapstick, which is considered the lowest form of comedy by grammar teachers and quite prevalent in anime and manga, or satire, which is considered the highest level of comedy by grammar teachers, and if they do not get that urge to laugh, they will not be interested in continuing on with the series or checking the the writer's or mangaka's other works.

Luckily, this aspect of the series has not gone by the wayside and many of the scenes that I found funny in the anime were just as funny, and some of the things that I do not particularly remember were as well.

The funniest moment of this volume though was when Tohru and Kanna were watching television, they were amazed by the presentation of ESP and other things to the point where they to learn them or cause trouble for other humans, yet Kobayashi reminds them that they can do things that humans can't, which does not stop Tohru's jealousy.

This was hilarious because it reminds me of what a lot of humans are like in real life.

In our society, we each have something that we are good at, whether that be writing, video creation, sports, or any other hobby out there, but when we see something that we cannot do, such as how Kobayashi was amazed by how Tohru could just casually talk to anybody on the street, when she could not, we tend to become a little jealous and try to do it, but end up failing ourselves and become frustrated.

Likewise, Tohru wanted to be able to bend spoons and such, like the people on television, but could not do it, and because of her frustration, she says it is important for her to learn ESP because does not want to lose to humans.

If Coolkyousinnjya did not include something like this in the volume, I would have felt rather disappointed because the humor would not have been able to stand out as much as it did and it would have just come off as just average for the series.

Thankfully, he did not let the comedy slip down to Detective Conan's level of staleness yet, and it makes me feel like giving him a bit of applause, though not as much as I did for him being able to pull me right back into the series.

Hopefully, things can improve a bit more in future volumes, so that I would have reason to continue on with this series that I remembered finding funny when I saw the anime, otherwise I would have to drop it for not delivering what I expect.

The thing that I liked the most about this volume though was how the characters were fleshed out a bit more.

While this is still technically the beginning of the series and that means that we should be learning more about the characters that the reader will be following until the end, I cannot really think of too many comedy series where characters are fleshed out beyond what they are like in the first chapter or two, or, in the case of a show, first episode or two.

Yes, there are series where characters grow, in spite of the fact that comedic things happen, but some of them, such as Barakamon, do seem to have comedy as its prime focus, whereas this series is primarily focused on making the audience feel like laughing.

In this series, because the focus is more on the comedy aspect than the slice of life aspect, I was just expecting the gags to continue without end, which might have led to a downward spiral relatively quickly in my eyes.

However, during the beach trip, Kobayashi talks to Tohru about family, and asking her if she had a family, which sends her into a deep thought and remembers something that was drilled into her, before resuming their conversation in the ocean.

This conversation between Kobayashi and Tohru showed that they had both come quite a long way together and helps us learn more about these characters than what had already been established, which was only enough to place them into the stereotypical roles of a comedy, such as the straight man or voice of reason and everyone else.

One of the biggest problems in comedy in American entertainment, and many anime and manga titles, is that the characters hardly ever develop and grow over the course of the series, which means they remain the same and do not learn anything, and while it can kind of be realistic, seeing as we continually make the same mistakes over and over, regardless of whether it was the same manner as the last time or not, this lack of change is what ultimately leads to things becoming stale, other than the overuse of jokes themselves, and the audience will just move on to something else.

On the other hand, when the characters keep getting fleshed out and grow over the course of the series, there are likely going more opportunities for more comedic moments and the characters would not come across as one dimensional as the characters found in religious texts.

For a series that has slice of life as one of its main focuses, like this one, though the comedy seems to be in the spotlight more, characters that do not have any depth to them or feel like they have been fleshed become much boring much quicker than a comedy that has characters that do not change, and the people that actually do like slice of life series will drop it because it lack the realism that they expect to find.

Seeing how Coolkyousinnjya realized this much and fleshed out the characters, he remembered that this was supposed series was supposed to be both a slice of life and a comedy, hence my reason for calling it a slice of life comedy, and it makes me wanted to give him some major applause, because it adds depth to a series that I did not think would have any, in spite of article being published online talk about how deep it is, and makes me want to read both the last volume that I purchased and the next volume, which was just released by Seven Seas today, according to the product page on Amazon.

If Coolkyousinnjya can keep this up, this series might just be able to surpass Baka & Test and D-Frag! on my list of my favorites to the point where I could say that this series is just as good as Barakamon, and that is something that many fans of the series would like to see.

Then again, as I have said many times before, it is hard to consistently turn out gold and Coolkyousinnjya is only human, just like the rest of us, so he could very likely go downhill from here and make the series worse.

Still, Coolkyousinnjya does deserve quite a bit of praise for being able to do this much, because many mangaka and anime studio forget about either the comedy or the slice of life aspects, whereas he remembered them.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could not be added in to what I already talked about.

Because my attention was captured quickly and held throughout much of the volume, due to the fact that things did not change drastically from the previous installment, there was still quite a bit to laugh about, and the characters got fleshed out a bit more, as expected from a series which can be considered a slice of life and gives it a bit more depth, this was a fairly decent book.

Although I liked the book, there are some issues.

However, aside from issues too minor to talk about, such as typos, and things that can be inferred from what I already said, nothing really bothered me too much.

As a result, I will have to say that there is nothing worth mentioning.

Considering that there was quite a bit to like, especially how the characters are getting fleshed out, this was definitely worth reading.

I recommend this to fans of Coolkyousinnjya and Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, as they will enjoy this the most.

As for everyone else, it might be worth giving a try, but it can only be truly appreciated after reading the first volume.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buy either the fourth volume from the link provided earlier or the reviewed title from either Amazon or The Book Depository, so that I can keep up with this series and possibly find more worthwhile reads for you guys, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.