Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, season two! Welcome back Kyoani. Here’s some notes on episode one.
(As a reminder, these notes are a combination of translation issues, things I thought might go unnoticed without certain cultural context, and info on certain Japanese words/phrases for language learners. Feel free to just skim past any that don’t seem like they’re up your alley!)
The magazine spread here lists six points on why you should visit (though all we can see are the section headers). For the curious, the points are:
- the maid uniforms
- the fashionable interior design
- the omurice (more on this later)
- the booths, great for hanging out/relaxing/etc. (reminiscent in my opinion of Japan’s family restaurants, which have a reputation of being a place you can just order something light/cheap, like unlimited refill fountain soft drinks, and hang out for a few hours)
- the menu
- “cream soda,” aka ice cream floats (ice cream in soda) made with, typically, the green “melon soda” we see in the image. You don’t see melon soda too often outside Japan, but it’s a staple at most establishments you’d expect to sell soda. It doesn’t taste like melons, but it’s worth a try if you see it (and like soda).
The last section header there is for a comment from the café staff.
The magazine here seems to be a local one (titled tentatively Oboro Town, as the place they live is Oborozuka), with the other text indicating it’s a spring edition introducing stuff about the area, including (obviously) something on maids. If you live in Japan, there are decent odds your local municipality will have a monthly magazine or newspaper-like thing along these lines with local business spotlights, news, lifestyle tips, etc. (checking my last one, it had a feature about how to avoid heat stroke this summer).
“False claims” here is 誇大広告 kodai koukoku, lit. exaggerated advertising, is Japan’s equivalent of false advertising (i.e. it’s against the law).
The “without” in “without me,” is 差し置いて sashi-oite, which works as an adverb for doing something while ignoring something (an existing plan, a person who should have gone first or been consulted, etc.). “Without me” is basically correct, though imo the original skews a little more toward “how dare they claim to have the best maids—I’m the best maid!” versus “how dare they claim to have the best maids when they don’t have me, the best maid!”. (the latter maybe feels like it runs a little counter to the shock factor of the later “and now I work there” joke?)
Hence Kobayashi’s “yeah false advertising sure is bad, too bad you’re doing it right now.”
Kobayashi’s line here is まさにもえもえ!? masa ni moe moe!?, a classic pun on 萌え moe (the nerd term coming from “to bud/sprout”) versus 燃え moe (“burn”); the 萌え萌え maidragon is 燃えinating the countryside. As comes up later in the episode, “moe moe kyun” is the stereotypical example of a maid café “spell” line.
(Kyun being a phenomime—like an onomatopoeia for things that don’t actually make sounds―for your heart “squeezing” when seeing something cute or when someone does something romantic for you, etc.)
This is いや絶対にやめろよ, which I’d argue is more of an absolute than “you’d better not do that,” though italicizing it to “you’d better not do that” to give it a hint of a threat might’ve worked okay (at least for those of us with a parent who spoke like that!).
Also, this bit is especially painful when thinking about the Kyoani arson incident… Though props to them for being able to make jokes about it now.
The OP has various references to previous Kyoani stuff here and there, for anyone who wants to go compare.
The unusual credit of “Series Director” here is listed as being filled by Takemoto Yasuhiro—the director of the first season, and one of the people who died in the arson. Now I’m gonna cry every episode…
The director for this season is Ishihara Tatsuya, who directed Haruhi and Nichijo, among other Kyoani titles.
“Evil den” is 伏魔殿 fukumaden, a term originating from an old Chinese novel you may have heard of. As the characters of the name suggest, it refers to a mansion hiding demon(s), and is used colloquially as a place/area that may or may not look fine on the outside, but is dangerous and the source of some evil/trouble. Apparently it’s also how they translated Pandæmonium, the capital city of Hell, in the Japanese edition of Paradise Lost.
“Maid café” kind of feels like it needs no explanation these days, but generally refers to a variety of café style restaurants where the wait staff is primarily women in maid outfits (other variations, like the butler café, where the wait staff is primarily men in butler outfits, also exist). Stereotypically they’ll have a mild role-play aspect, where the customer is the head of the house returning home (rather than a rando visiting a restaurant), though that’s not necessarily a requirement. They also have a variety of… other services, that will be touched on later in the episode.
This line is 頼もう tanomou, and it’s the stereotypical line someone says when they’re a martial artist storming uninvited into another fighting style’s dojo to challenge them; if they beat the representative the dojo throws at them, they get to take or break the dojo’s nameplate. Dojos weren’t allowed to operate without a nameplate, so this meant they needed to pay out the nose for a new one, or close. It was typically a pretty embarrassing thing, so often you’d get a lot of the dojo’s students leaving (and likely joining the stormer’s instead) as well. This practice is called 道場破り doujou-yaburi, lit. dojo-breaking, though a lot of people think it’s a lot more popular in fiction than it was in real life.
So Tohru is coming to drive this impudent, false-advertising den of maids out of business, or so she thinks.
Maybe not-so-fun fact: A lot of Japan’s convenience store and fast food staff are “housewives” with part-time jobs. Part of the reason for this is that the tax code gives the “primary” earner in a family a significant tax deduction for a spouse, but the deduction disappears if the spouse makes over a certain annual sum. This incentivizes spouses* to get a job that won’t pay too much/have too many hours, as the family actually loses some money over that threshold (ironically it kind of works how people who don’t know what marginal tax rates are think all tax brackets work). (*Even those whose children are old enough to not need constant supervision, who might otherwise enter/return to the workforce in a more full-time way.)
Setting aside the social issues: D’aww they’re a married couple.
Reminder that Kobayashi has very serious opinions about maids. (And also has “dead fish eyes” as a defining feature thanks to stress/long hours at work.)
As Kobayashi says, moe isn’t as common as it used to be, though you still see it used on social media etc. Most commonly I think it’s used as the verb (e.g. you see a fanart of a favorite character being cute and it gives you some feels: “Moeru…”) or in something like “gap moe,” the moe felt when someone betrays your expectations in a good, cute way (a stereotypical example being when a rough-and-tumble delinquent type adopts a stray kitten).
More recently in this sphere, though not “new” exactly, is adjective 尊い toutoi (noun 尊み toutomi), which is kind of like “precious” plus almost-religious worshipful undertones. Whereas moe is something you feel as the observer, toutoi describes the person/character being observed. A spinoff is 尊死 toutoshi, a pun on how 尊し is another (archaic) way of writing the same adjective, that combines 尊 with the character for death, to mean ~”so precious I died.”
Side note: she says バイト baito here, referring to it as a part time job and implying this would have been while she was in high school or college. Young Kobayashi…
The calendar on the wall here is an event schedule. Maid cafés may hold special events, which can be things like birthdays, other holiday celebrations, or themed days with different uniforms (e.g. yukata).
The chalkboard lists the maids’ schedules for the month, so customers can plan their visits around who they want to see.
The corkboard has pictures of the maids and presumably their work names.
This is more for the Japanese learners, but:
The line here is 大活躍じゃん, daikatsuyaku being a stronger form of katsuyaku, one of those words that is often mildly annoying to translate due to how broad it is. In a lot of ways it’s just “being active” within some sort of field, but with strong connotations of being really successful+impactful and, often, in a way that’s worthy of praise, going above and beyond. “Doing a great job” sums it up reasonably well here, though you might argue it’s missing a bit of the “impactful” part (since she’s still the staff rookie but has already been given the kitchen).
The じゃん jan is short for じゃない janai (casual form of ではない), which taken literally is a negation of whatever comes before it (e.g. “she isn’t doing a good job”). However, it has three other main uses colloquially: asking confirmation (“isn’t she doing a good job?”), adding emphasis (“wow she’s doing a great job!”), and reminding/pointing something out (“hey, she’s doing a great job”).
Anyway personally I’d say “splendid job” is a bit too formal sounding for how Kobayashi generally speaks, including here, but it’s a minor thing.
Here we see one of the maids doing one of the “special services” previously mentioned. The “standard” thing is to have the server cast a “spell” on the meal to make it taste better, and often the customer is encouraged to do it as well. Some places that are more focused on the special services gimmick will also have song/dance routines, allow photos to be taken with maids, etc.
Quick mention that here’s an example of じゃん used in the “pointing out” sense.
The 食ぃレビ is a parody of 食べログ (Tabelog)… which makes the 5 star rating insanely impressive, because almost no restaurants hit 4 stars there; it’s normal to give a perfectly good experience a 3-star rating.
As a reminder from last season, Tohru spent a bunch of time perfecting her omurice specifically, so it makes sense it’s getting all this praise. Omurice, of course, being a Japanese comfort food that consists primarily of an omelette over rice that has been fried with chicken, onion, and ketchup. Often then topped with more ketchup, sometimes drizzled into a picture or a message.
The part of the episode title in parentheses, またよろしくお願いします mata yoroshiku onegai shimasu, is I think less talking about the new dragon (“her”), but rather a direct message from the creators to the viewers; a “hey we’re back again! please watch, and hope you enjoy!” kind of thing.
よろしくお願いします is one of those all-purpose phrases for interacting with people politely. Joining a new group? Sending an email? Asking someone to do something? Giving a morning greeting? Politely hoping people will watch your anime? It’s used for all these and much, much more (even when the literal meaning of the words might feel out of place).
The yellow lines here are mayo 🙂
Who doesn’t love some egg-and-mayo toast for breakfast?
(For reference, most mayo in Japan tastes rather different than the kind you’re likely to see in e.g. the US; it’s thicker and tangier, often primarily made with egg yolks—and no egg whites—and apple vinegar.)
Side note, but the mudslide bit here is a little unfortunate timing-wise, as there were some big mudslides in Japan (and somewhat globally it seems?) due to heavy rain recently that caused a whole lot of damage.
The Japanese phrase here for “clean up (one’s) own mess” is 自分のケツを自分で拭け, which quite literally is “wipe your own ass.” It’s used in a wider variety of situations that you might expect given the apparent vulgarity though, so it’s not too surprising to see it toned down a bit in the English here.
The specific variety of chocolate cake being referred to here is ガトーショコラ gatou shokora, a Japanese loan-word version French’s gâteau au chocolat. In theory it just means “chocolate cake,” but in practice it’s a very thick, moist type of chocolate cake made with a lot more chocolate and eggs than usual, and very little flour (you can use powdered almond etc. instead even).
If you’ve watched other anime, you may have noticed the head pat thing. Maybe it’s also a thing where you live, but for many of us it’s not really! It’s primarily a gesture of praise and affection from parent (or other trusted adult/older sibling) to child, that in some intimate cases is done between adults—so here we’re seeing a big moment of intimacy (well, you probably could tell that part anyway) between Kobayashi and Tohru.
The sign here is for “Café Restaurant: The Dragon’s Nest.”
Her choice of wording here (break/壊す) seems relevant! We’ll see if that bears out.
This whole scene is a reference to a common phone scam in Japan, オレオレ詐欺 ore ore sagi or the “It’s me it’s me” scam. The idea is to cold call people and hurriedly introduce yourself as just “me,” and that you’re in a lot of trouble and need some money immediately (e.g. you lost an envelope of cash at work—envelopes full of cash being more common in Japan than you might think). Generally the hope is to get an old person who is a grandparent, as that generation tends to have money and is more likely to think “oh no I must save my grandchild!” and fall for the scam.
Typically the scammer will ask to have money wired directly to another bank account, which is a basic function of Japanese banks and a super common way of moving money around (you can do it yourself from ATMs). It’s a big enough social problem that every time you go to wire money from an ATM, there is a screen that asks you to make sure you’re not getting scammed.
I’m not sure it comes across in the English here, but the punch line here is that she doesn’t call it out (or perhaps even recognize it) as a scam, but she still says effectively “rip,” indicating she has zero intention of sending the money they’re asking for.
If trying to translate the joke, I might put something like “Well, good luck with that.”
(The dance+flute thing is probably a snake charmer joke, since she’s the “feathered snake” etc.)
The last train of the night tends to be around midnight in most Japanese cities, including Koshigaya (which is in Saitama but is part of the greater Tokyo metropolitan area), which Oborozuka is based on. Just a reminder that Kobayashi still works those crazy long hours.
The core question here is なんで…暮らせる nande kuraseru, which in this case I would say is more of a “how” can you live with a dragon, than a “why.” The verb here is conjugated into the potential form, so it’s like a “why are you able to live with” versus “why are you living with.” Kobayashi’s answer and Ilulu’s followup question seem to support that idea as well.
A lot of Japanese roads will have “stop signs” for cars printed on the roads themselves directly, as seen here. It’s some pretty clever framing for the shot visually, as “Stop” is probably exactly what Kobayashi wants her to do right now.
This verb is 甘える amaeru, which is a bit of a complicated meaning. It’s like “taking advantage” of someone or acting spoiled, but not in a bad way necessarily; for example as a parent, you want your child to do this some, because you want them to rely on you. It’s a thing in other relationships as well, from romantic ones to work ones (like senpai-kouhai); if you’re very close with someone, you don’t want them to try to do everything by themselves.
There’s not a great single direct translation, but in some cases, for example, the phrase “I’ll take you up on that” in English is often used in a similar way (e.g. when offering to pay for someone’s meal). (the Japanese in that case likely being some variant on お言葉に甘えて)
A subset of that meaning is more of a purely physical one. When your cat comes up and climbs up on your lap and rubs it’s head on you, it’s amaeru-ing. Same with a young child that climbs up on a parent’s lap or asks to be held, or a romantic partner who comes home from a tiring day at work and wants a hug first thing. Or, as is the implication here, getting someone to let you have your way with them in a more sexual sense.
Anyway my point is laying all that out is to say that she’s not really saying “don’t you want to be loved?”. I’d argue that runs counter to Ilulu’s point/thought that Kobayashi’s relationship with Tohru is strictly lust-driven, and her desire to prove that point by seducing Kobayashi. That is, if Kobayashi responded with “yes I want to be loved,” that does nothing for Ilulu’s argument. For this specific instance something like “you want to have some fun, don’t you?” would probably be more appropriate.
Like most of the location names in this show, Tatsunokuchi (瀧ノ口) is a dragon pun. Technically the 瀧 character isn’t dragon, but “dragon plus water” (waterfall), but the idea is clear. This one means then “mouth of the dragon.”
The train ad here is… actually for the train line itself! Sort of. A lot of train lines run ad campaigns encouraging people to go on local trips to some of the more interesting places located on that line, which is what this ad is in reference to. It says basically “[Take an] Enjoyable Trip with the Train.”
The ad behind Kobayashi here is for a drink to cure stomach related issues like heartburn etc. As you might expect, people with lots of stress and unpaid overtime hours tend to have stomach trouble! So these sorts of products get a lot of advertising. I don’t think they’re generally classified as medical products though, so I don’t know how actually effective they are…
This translation makes some sense as a reader, but in the second image it’s actually そんな人間に納得させたいことでもあるの？, meaning the question Kobayashi is asking is more like “What are you trying to convince me, who you consider a puny human, of? [Why would you bother trying to convince me of anything?]” So, the convincer and convincee have been swapped. This explains why Ilulu’s next line is “correct your understanding!” (意識を改めろ, or change/update how you think), as that’s what she wants to convince Kobayashi to do.
Of course, since we can assume from Ilulu’s flashback etc. that deep down she really does want to be convinced, it’s easy to skim over this as making sense, but Kobayashi doesn’t necessarily have that context (though as the conversation continues we see she’s kind of sensed it), and would probably realize poking Ilulu’s sore spot like that, by immediately laying bare Ilulu’s unconscious desire, would be a bad idea even if she did.
(Japanese grammar mini-lesson: For those wondering if this is correct because it’s に instead of を: に vs を here is basically a question of indirect/direct objects; the subject remains Ilulu. You can say “IluluがKobayashiを納得させたい / Ilulu wants to convince Kobayashi” and “IluluがKobayashiにthe fact humans & dragons can’t coexistを納得させたい / Ilulu wants to convince Kobayashi of the fact humans & dragons can’t coexist,” but if you want Ilulu to be the one being convinced in this structure, the verb would’ve had to be the passive 納得させられる.)
The ending theme めいど・うぃず・どらごんず♡ (made/maid with dragons[‘] (heart)) is shown as being sung by the the “Super Choro-gons,” referencing the choro-gon term also used in season one.
The word イケメン ikemen originated mostly as “a (certain type of) good-looking guy,” but has since expanded to include personality-based usages as well (to borrow an English meme, you could maybe call it having hot person energy? People who act in ways that make people fall for them naturally), and is not-uncommonly used to refer to people in both senses without regard to gender, at least in terms of “characters.”
(Hence the “in many ways” here.)
腐った kusatta is rotten, but it can also (far less commonly) mean things like “feel bad” or “lose (a bet etc.).” I think here it’s just a funny way of putting something like “this week’s loser.”
It’s also a reference to season one episode ten, where Magical Girl Kanna tries to find the “rotten” people to cleanse the world of them (in a play).
まじやばい was also touched on in an episode last season! Specifically ep 4. Here, it’s basically saying “oh, you’s screwed.”
A lot of Japanese fortunes of this type will have a “here’s something you can do to make your bad luck less bad.” In this case it’s “stay home, eat something tasty, then sleep,” hence Kobayashi’s jab that oh come on, you just want an excuse to do that yourself.