Human Identity: Elma Joui
Member of: The Harmony/Order Faction
Realm: The Other World
Featured In: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (2017)
Voiced By: Yūki Takada (Japanese); Rachel Glass (English)
It took a while but at long last I have concluded as to which of the dragons featured in the manga/anime series Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid I consider my personal favorite. It was no easy thing too considering the bemusement, and oftentimes utter hilarity, most of the cast generates in me. In the end, it came down to which dragon I would personally want to actually meet and, perhaps, befriend and upon realizing this did not actually shorten the list in any conceivable way went with the tried and true method of ye olde dart board.
A member of the Harmony Faction of Dragons and self-proclaimed rival of Tohru’s, Elma is unique among the dragons in Dragon Maid in that she does not live off the hospitality of humans. Instead, she lives entirely on her own and actually works at the same company as Kobayashi, even calling her senpai in thanks for Kobayashi teaching her how to do her office job.
Not good enough to be wanted/needed during the busier holiday season but hey, gold start for effort at least. This leads me to one of the more amusing, and frankly adorable, quirks that Elma has. While she is undoubtedly self-sufficient enough to not only find an apartment and place of employ entirely on her own, Elma can and has been childishly naïve at times too.
Her office job for example. While she managed to dress for the role and land a successful interview, which in Japan is no small task, she had absolutely no idea how to do the job she applied for. No joke, she didn’t even know what a computer was let alone how to turn one on. Heck, it was shown a few episodes later that Elma was under the impression that stage plays were still performed on stone stages like in Ancient Greece and Rome.
She is also somewhat naïve when it comes to fighting Tohru. Not to say that she lacks the same level of power of Tohru as, together, the two of them wiped out several islands during one of their fights and Tohru herself stated that Elma is the stronger of the two in sheer physical might. Rather, it’s that Elma can be tricked rather easily into forfeiting, losing, or outright canceling any such fight, oftentimes by way of appealing to her one weakness.
More specifically, deliciously sweet foods like cream breads, candies, Christmas cakes, and even fruit flavored toothpaste for kids. Her sweet-tooth is her biggest and most exploitable weakness and has caused her no end of frustration.
Aside from some of the cast, primarily Tohru and even young Kanna who readily, and easily, buys her off with promises of food, Elma has trapped herself on more than one occasion when she’s caught between good food deals and/or a wide array of choices to pick from. She is, hands down, the worst person to stand behind in line at a local ice cream shop as she can, and will, spend more than ample time trying to decide on what flavors to choose though, if presented with the opportunity, will choose all of them at once.
Heck, Elma was even outright banned from an all-you-can-eat buffet because she devoured over a hundred servings all in a single sitting.
As to her power, Elma is admitted as being Tohru’s better in strenth and that their styles of magic differ from one another though this is likely as a result of her being a member of the Harmony faction. Elma’s magical talents lies in more protective spells and even magical charms, which she admits are a thousand times better than a human made one.
Strangely enough, Elma also appears to be one of the few dragons that utilizes a weapon in human form, hers being a trident that appears to be made of the same stuff as her curled horn and may also be the tip of her tail made into a weapon. I say maybe because her tail seems to go back and forth from having a pronged tip to having a large flipper. As Tohru explained once, a dragon’s clothes in human form are actually their scales and thus have no need to be washed and treated like actual clothing. Doesn’t quite explain how they’re able to disrobe said “scales” and what-not but eh, magic.
Overall, Elma is one of my favorite characters, and easily now part of my top three favorite dragons, because she is what I’ve always imagined how a more harmonious dragon would act upon being introduced into our modern world. She can be scarily smart when the situation calls for it and childishly naïve at the same time. Oftentimes she’ll go into a situation expecting things to turn out either in the straight and honorable fashion, particularly in her “duels” with Tohru, or with the belief that ages-old traditions and methods are still in place.
Whether or not the situation works in her favor or against her, Elma does her absolute best to try and solve it on her own but is not so prideful that she will initially reject any help offered to her, even from a “lowly” human. Yet, the one aspect of Elma that I find to be the most endearing aspect of her character is the one that is most often used for comedic effect, that being her affection for food. Specifically the fact that Elma has both a sweet-tooth and a weakness for flavorful foodstuffs and drinks. While I can’t claim to have read, or watched, every variation of draconic creatures in fiction, I can say that Elma is, thus far, one of two dragons that I know of that has this distinctive adoration for quality foods.
In most depictions, a dragon’s appetite is quite ravenous but severely limited in its scope and overall application. Oftentimes, it is used as a means of further impressing a dragon’s danger to the human populace either because of its choice of diet, commonly human virgins in most western tales, or the sheer abundance of what they eat. So you can imagine my delight at seeing a dragon like Elma whose weakness for food is simply for the flavors rather than the food itself