Book Review: Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid Volume 3

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid Volume 3 cover

I hope that everyone is having a good week, and are getting plans arranged for the coming weekend.

Things have been going fairly well here, as the days I initially planned to take off on a regular basis are finally going to be actual days off this week and I can still do what I like.

Earlier in the month, I had gotten some books from Amazon, so that I could either up on things or try a few titles out.

One by one, I have managed to get through each of those books until only one remained.

Today, I will be reviewing that last title, which is called Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid Volume 3 by Coolkyousinnjya.

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

It is just another ordinary day in the lives of Kobayashi, Tohru, and friends, which has become peaceful, with only rivalries and the usual troubles of everyday life.

However, Kobayashi's life is about to get more troublesome when new dragons show up in the world and one of them causes Tohru's jealousy surface.

I was not very impressed, but I did not all out and out hate it.

Just like the other installments in this series, I did not want to put this book down from any reason the moment that I started reading, though I do have to satisfy the same needs that everyone has to deal with.

While the previous volume started off as just a continuation of everyday life for Tohru and the gang, which is to be expected from a slice of life comedy, what really pulled me in was the fact that the volume starts off with a bit of a mystery.

Now I know that the people that have been following be for a while know that I am a huge fan of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, especially since my Detective Conan posts tend to get a huge draw, but I do not read or watch only those works, otherwise I would not know as much as I do and I would not be able to detect any problems, and this series is not one of those works.

One of the ways to make the reader interested in what is going on is and give them incentive is to create questions in the minds of the reader, though if reader are like of fans of Attack on Titan, they might think that these questions are as deep as asking people what truth is and what is a miracle, when they are not, and this works in many different works of fiction, not just one group and any subgenres.

For example, back in the first volume of Pandora Hearts, something appears to have happened around Oz and the people who captured him said that his sin was his very existence, before we found out that he was sent to the Abyss. This opening gave the reader questions about not only what had happened, but even why his existence was considered sinful and what was going to happen to him, which was a great way to start the series.

Likewise, this volume starts with Tohru and a few of her friends on the ground and Kobayashi, who is still standing wonders how things ended up like this, which is something that I kind of wanted to know too, and gave me a incentive to continue on reading it.

Yes, Pandora Hearts and Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid are not remotely in the same category of fiction, and, by this point, we can say that nothing as horrific happened to Tohru and her friends as what happened at Oz's Coming of Age Ceremony, but it is always nice to have things start out differently from the norm, instead of just the same old thing, as it makes things a little less predictable.

After all, can anyone really say that things would be just enjoyable or attention grabbing if they can already see how things will play out of beginning to end? I sure would not be able to, because that would not let the characters become their own person, as opposed to one dimensional characters.

If Coolkyousinnjya had not changed things up a bit, I would have been very disappointed because this series was able to stand out well enough to be one of the best comedic anime out there, and it would have really lost its luster if the first chapter of this volume had started off like the last two, becoming as boring as the opening scenes of King of the Hill and South Park, after the themes play of course.

However, because Coolkyousinnjya did not start the opening chapter right with either Kobayashi at work or in Kobayashi's apartment, it felt more like a breath of fresh air than just more of the same, though it is still just a series that focuses on the everyday life of Tohru and Kobayashi.

Hopefully, things can stay this enjoyable as the series progresses because this truly has been a series that I could just sit down and read it for relaxation purposes, and nobody want to see a series become terrible after only three books, but there is a reason that people do not generally care for slice of life manga and anime, and I must accept the possibility that this series may become just as boring as typical American sitcoms and generic anime.

I also liked how there were a few things to laugh about in this volume.

While the humorous moments are not that unique to either the series, seeing as it is just more of the usual, or even anime and manga in general, Coolkyousinnjya was still able to execute it well enough that I was able to get in a few chuckles.

As I have mentioned many times before already, this series is a slice of life comedy with the focus leaning more towards the comedy, and if the reader cannot get a good laugh from it, the reader will just stop reading.

Back in the previous volume, there was a bit of a decline in the humorous moments, though not enough to get on my nerves as much as The Garden of Words, Spice & Wolf Volume 17, or the Yu Yu Hakusho movie, and I was wishing that there would be some improvement, so that the greatest of the first volume would be around again.

Fortunately, there was some improvement in the comedy department in this volume, as many of the things that occurred in the anime were just as funny in this volume.

The funniest thing that occurred though was also part of what I found the most interesting thing I found in the volume.

Towards the end of the volume, something happens in the area where Tohru and Kobayashi met and they go out to investigate, and after investigating her own friends, they end up thinking that the latest dragon to take up residence in the world, Elma, was responsible, but she, like Tohru, was going to investigate the matter, realizing that somebody else was responsible, and has it get confirmed by the appearance of yet another dragon.

Even though I did not entirely enjoy this moment in the volume, as I will talk about later, it at least gave me something to laugh about and some reason to go get the next volume, though I cannot get it right now.

In our society, we are quick to judge people and proclaim them to be guilty, such as men being assumed to be guilty in things that happen involving a male and female or thinking people did something because of a matter that was quite insignificant, though people do commit murder for some pretty stupid reasons, and such actions usually make things worse, including huge arguments.

Likewise, when Tohru and Elma confronted each other, their accusations against each other escalated into an argument and the fact that a new dragon showed up just made it funny, as it reminded me of how arguments can end in some very weird ways as well.

If Coolkyousinnjya had not included this moment, I do not think that any of the humor would have been able to stand out, as much of it can be seen in the anime adaptation as well, and I probably would have just considered walking away from the series because it would have felt even more generic than it does.

Fortunately, because he did not do that, it ended up bringing in a little bit of light, and the way that these events also ended the manga makes me kind of want to get the next volume right now, which makes me feel like giving him a nice round of applause.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could stand out as much as the stuff that I talked about.

Because my attention was captured quickly and held throughout much of the book, as it did not start out the same way as the previous volumes, as well as the fact that there were funny moments, which helped the volume end in an interesting way, this book was a fairly decent read.

Although I liked some things about this volume, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, and one thing that can be inferred from what I already mentioned, only one thing really bugged me.

Yet another dragon appears in the world.

Towards the end of the volume, after Elma has been introduced, a dragon makes their appearance known and says that they destroyed the area where Tohru and Kobayashi met, which was protected by a barrier, while showing a menacing expression in the penultimate panel of the 30th chapter.

While I did like seeing these events, as it made me interested enough to read the next volume to find out more about this new dragon and why, which ended up having this volume end on a good note, it did not really impress me too much.

If I had to say why, it is for two reasons.

First, this is slice of life comedy series, yet it ends in a way that is not satisfactory for the kind of work it is.

Books in a slice of life comedy series are supposed to end in a way that the day is over, or, if comedy is not too much of a focus, end with some kind of event that would be expected to occur in a person's life.

This sequence of events, however, makes it feel like this either an action, horror, psychological, or thriller series, instead of a realistic and drastic change.

Yes, it is not unusual for people from Tohru's world to come over in this series, since it has happened in practically every volume, but this is not the way to do it.

What is going on, Coolkyousinnjya? Do you realize that things are not supposed to change this drastically in a work?

Readers are okay with a shift in genre, as it has happened before in manga and anime, with Negima! Magister Negi Magi being a good example, but if the change feels sudden, like it does here, fans of the series are going to walk away.

This is not how to write a slice of life comedy, Coolkyousinnjya, and I thought you knew that.

Up until this exact moment, I was about ready to stop what I was doing and go get the next volume, but the moment that this occurred, I was no longer in the mood.

If Coolkyousinnjya had removed the last too panels at the end of chapter 30, or even just the one with Ilulu's menacing expression, the chapter would have ended well enough for me to consider getting the next volume, but because this is how he ended things, I do not have that rush to get the next volume at all.

This is not what writers or mangaka should be delivering at all, because both rely on the patronage of their fans to be able to afford things, and Coolkyousinnjya should be ashamed for what he did.

Hopefully, things get better in the future, otherwise I do not think that I will continue on with the series.

The second, and biggest reason, that this irritated me was the pattern of how things go in this series.

From the first volume onwards, nothing major happens in the series, as only the crazy stuff caused by the dragons' lack of knowledge about our world, and every dragon that gets introduced in this series, with the exception of Tohru's father, ends up moving into Kobayashi's world and becomes friends.

By seeing this new dragon, I am afraid that the already large, yet entertaining, cast is going to get larger and nothing is going to change too much.

Yes, there are anime and manga out there with huge casts, but the problem with having a lot of characters in a book or show is that they get harder to flesh out and connect with, not mention you get more people becoming butt monkeys and other roles normally found in comedy, whereas as a having a small cast allows the reader or viewer to get to know the characters.

Seriously, Collkyousinnjya! This series has enough characters to make a diverse cast and enjoyable series. We do not any more people coming from Tohru's world, especially when you have a whole town or city to work with. By adding more characters into the mix, things will just go downhill quicker, and I do not think that anybody would appreciate that.

 

After all, I doubt that I am the only one that wants to see characters gets fleshed out, while delivering some good laughs.

Hopefully, this will be the last dragon to move into Kobayashi's world because I am already tiring of these events, much like I am tired of Touma winning using only his right hand in A Certain Magical Index, and I do not want yet another reason to stop following this series.

Unfortunately, I do not see this improving any time soon since the series has six volumes in Japan, according to the series page on Baka-Updates Manga, though I am not too sure I would trust it too much, as it says the anime ended in volume 2, yet this volume covers some more content I remember from the anime adaptation, and this series is still ongoing, unless Coolkyousinnjya or his editor realizes that this series has too many characters, which makes me want to see him leave the stage permanently.

Thankfully, this was only real problem with this volume, so I do not need to continue on this onslaught.

While there was only one issue, the fact the fact that it exists and adds more problems to a series already beginning to feel generic really hurt the quality of both the volume and the series as a whole, by making it seem like things changed too drastically.

Despite the fact that there were a few things to appreciate, the fact that the only real negative outweighed them enough to hurt both the book and series made this a waste of time.

I recommend that everyone avoid this like the plague, because everything is seemingly go downhill now, but the fans of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid might find some enjoyment in it, as long as they forget chapter 30 exists and read only up to chapter 29, even if the next volume will be confusing without reading chapter 30.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or, if you want to see if I am right or not for yourself, buy the reviewed title from either Amazon or The Book Depository, so that I can find either find more worthwhile reads for you guys or give this series more of a chance, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.