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The Hidden Depths of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid


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John Thacker



Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:10 am Reply with quote
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The “melting pot” theory describes how people from different cultures come together and blend into a single society. The issue with this theory is that it suggests one must relinquish their roots to fit in. Furthermore, integration is not as simple as picking up on colloquialisms and attire—outward appearances will still remain. Taking this into account, the “salad bowl” theory takes on a more nuanced approach, stating that while society contains people of varying backgrounds, their cultures should remain intact—you can still taste every distinct part of the salad accordingly.


Nope, the "melting pot" theory implies that things from the immigrants' parent culture affects and is absorbed by the new society, which both changes and adapts in turn as the immigrants change and adapt. Immigrants do indeed become different from the culture that they left behind, both because of divergent evolution in part of the culture they brought with them (compare Italian-American food and language to that in Italy, even among districts and areas that are a very high percentage Italian-American, just as much as Chinese-American) and because of absorbing things from the new culture. But it's a two way street, as their roots change the new country's culture as well. Topically, that is why Irish went from being un-American to St. Patrick's Day being celebrated by nearly everyone. The ridiculously long menu at the Cheesecake Factory is an example of how things like edamame, sushi, tacos, Vietnamese summer rolls, nachos, crab cakes, wontons, are all part of American culture. Now, the problem with the "melting pot" analogy is that it does imply a greater degree of homogeneity that is accurate (though one could argue that the progressive aspect of the verb implies that melting is always an ongoing process, and that new elements are constantly added which have not yet homogenized), but it's a bizarre reading of the analogy to fail to see that it implies that all the added elements themselves influence the resulting mixture.

The "salad bowl" theory is a far less nuanced and inaccurate approach that implies that immigrants don't mix with and affect the parent culture, but rather than people remain like their parent cultures but are side by side. Luckily that's untrue, and we all benefit from many distinct influences and backgrounds that have influenced our shared culture even at the same time as the exact mix and proportions of influence on different people are different. The "salad bowl" remains a terrible metaphor because the ingredients of a salad are not transformed by contact with one another nor by cooking. For all that a "melting pot" analogy is not perfect, a "salad bowl" analogy is much less accurate and completely fails to describe reality of immigrants. It does better (but not perfectly) describe the experience of non-immigrants, tourists or others who do not intend to make a society their permanent home.

Perhaps the most accurate analogy would be something closer to a stew, where flavors do mix at the same time that it is far from homogeneous.


Last edited by John Thacker on Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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Vaisaga



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:24 am Reply with quote
In school we knew it as the melting pot vs the Cultural Mosaic.

Anyways, I object to saying Kobayashi and Tohru are a lesbian couple. While it's clear that Kobayashi has warmed up to Tohru, there's no indication she has any intention of reciprocating Tohru's advances. And it's more meaningful that way. A family doesn't have to have a romantic relationship at its center. A show doesn't have to have a canonical lesbian couple to be socially valuable. That Kobayashi is still willing to accept Tohru into her family despite their incompatible sexualities just makes their bond all the stronger, I think.
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ultimatehaki



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:05 pm Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:

Anyways, I object to saying Kobayashi and Tohru are a lesbian couple. While it's clear that Kobayashi has warmed up to Tohru, there's no indication she has any intention of reciprocating Tohru's advances. And it's more meaningful that way. A family doesn't have to have a romantic relationship at its center. A show doesn't have to have a canonical lesbian couple to be socially valuable. That Kobayashi is still willing to accept Tohru into her family despite their incompatible sexualities just makes their bond all the stronger, I think.


^Yea, so far they're roomates at best even with Tohru's one sided love as the reviewer mentioned.
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Wtv



Joined: 02 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:09 pm Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
In school we knew it as the melting pot vs the Cultural Mosaic.

Anyways, I object to saying Kobayashi and Tohru are a lesbian couple. While it's clear that Kobayashi has warmed up to Tohru, there's no indication she has any intention of reciprocating Tohru's advances. And it's more meaningful that way. A family doesn't have to have a romantic relationship at its center. A show doesn't have to have a canonical lesbian couple to be socially valuable. That Kobayashi is still willing to accept Tohru into her family despite their incompatible sexualities just makes their bond all the stronger, I think.


If we consider the manga (and the Anime is pretty faithful to it) it's harder to see Kobayashi as something else than a lesbian in denial, though. Or maybe not even in denial, but someone looking for a celibate life.
Since it's a gag manga, the probability of character development in that aspect is minimum, but it's hard to see her as straight.
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DigitalScratch



Joined: 06 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:11 pm Reply with quote
[quote="Wtv"]
Vaisaga wrote:
Or maybe not even in denial, but someone looking for a celibate life.
Since it's a gag manga, the probability of character development in that aspect is minimum, but it's hard to see her as straight.


I actually view Kobayashi more as this. It's not that she isn't attracted to females, it's that she isn't interested in pursuing romantic relationships in general. So while there is a chance that she may return Tohru's feelings in the future, right now she just wants to be single and she's happy like that.
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njprogfan



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:12 pm Reply with quote
My love for this anime centers around Kanna, my now favorite small child anime character, (and I didn't think any would take the place of Akira from A Lull in the Sea). Any scene with her and Kobayashi are pure gold!
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:29 pm Reply with quote
ultimatehaki wrote:
Vaisaga wrote:

Anyways, I object to saying Kobayashi and Tohru are a lesbian couple. While it's clear that Kobayashi has warmed up to Tohru, there's no indication she has any intention of reciprocating Tohru's advances. And it's more meaningful that way. A family doesn't have to have a romantic relationship at its center. A show doesn't have to have a canonical lesbian couple to be socially valuable. That Kobayashi is still willing to accept Tohru into her family despite their incompatible sexualities just makes their bond all the stronger, I think.


^Yea, so far they're roomates at best even with Tohru's one sided love as the reviewer mentioned.


If I remember right, Kanna explicitly calls Tohru an older sister, and also heavily implies that she sees Kobayashi as a parent. Making the set up:
Kobayashi=mother Tohru=Big Sister

So yeah, I don't really think they are canonically lesbian. It's a show about coming together as a family, and there doesn't really seem to be anything romantic outside of Tohru's infatuation with Kobayashi. But hey, that's a reading that anyone is more than welcome to have if they want. I would just put it under head canon.
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Wtv



Joined: 02 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:46 pm Reply with quote
relyat08 wrote:

If I remember right, Kanna explicitly calls Tohru an older sister, and also heavily implies that she sees Kobayashi as a parent. Making the set up:
Kobayashi=mother Tohru=Big Sister

So yeah, I don't really think they are canonically lesbian. It's a show about coming together as a family, and there doesn't really seem to be anything romantic outside of Tohru's infatuation with Kobayashi. But hey, that's a reading that anyone is more than welcome to have if they want. I would just put it under head canon.


That scene is a filler though. But KyoAni is pushing the family format more than the Manga. In the manga Tohru is way more aggressive in her advances, too. I just disagree that the Anime is about two women of different sexualities living together, because seeing Kobayashi as straight is also a big headcanon. I also disagree that it's more beautiful like that for reasons, but I won't go further on this subject.

Fact is, Kobayashi is pretty much like those harem protagonist that keep pushing the girls away for personal reasons.
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relyat08



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:31 pm Reply with quote
I don't think Kobayashi is straight. I just don't think she has any sexual-romantic interest in Tohru or anyone, for that matter. Her sexuality is just pretty much up in the air to me. She's cool being single. I don't think that really changes anything about the show either. It's just whatever. I do personally like the familial dynamic that the show has set up though.
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TenCentFang



Joined: 28 Feb 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:26 pm Reply with quote
I think it'd be inarguable they're meant to be a couple if they were straight. Dragon Maid goes to a pretty big effort to portray lesbianism for a couple that isn't supposed to be lesbians. Looking at it through the gal pal lens feels disingenuous and even a bit defensive.

Kobayashi strongly reads as asexual though, gay or otherwise.
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Vaisaga



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:53 pm Reply with quote
Wtv wrote:
If we consider the manga (and the Anime is pretty faithful to it) it's harder to see Kobayashi as something else than a lesbian in denial, though.


Really? Because from what I've read of the manga, spoiler[Kobayashi only ever showed any sexual interest in Tohru when Kobayashi got turned into a guy and had typical male responses to things.]

Wtv wrote:
I just disagree that the Anime is about two women of different sexualities living together, because seeing Kobayashi as straight is also a big headcanon. I also disagree that it's more beautiful like that for reasons, but I won't go further on this subject.


Never claimed she was straight. Could be asexual like some people have suggested.

Hell, now that I think of it it's actually wrong to call Tohru a homosexual. It's not like she's shown any interest towards women in general. Just Kobayashi, and Kobayashi just happens to be female. She's Kobayashi-sexual.

I didn't say it was more beautiful. I said more meaningful. If they don't hook up then it's saying family doesn't have to be built around a sexual relationship, but if they do hook up it'd be saying that family is only valid if it revolves around a couple.

Let me use another example. So there's this light novel series, I won't name names, that focuses on a young man who takes in a group of girls. As you'd imagine, the series is all about them coming together as a family and such. Despite the guy having an older love interest, the series ends with him marrying the eldest of the girls. Why? So that they'd be a 'real' family. So all that stuff before was them being a 'fake' family? And it only became real when he hooked up with one of them? As you can imagine this didn't go over very well with the fans.

So all's I'm saying is that the Kobayashi family is fine as is. It doesn't need to be centered around a romantic relationship to make it legitimate.

If you'd like to see them hook up, more power to ya. I've just seen too many fans act like something is only worthwhile if it has canon lesbians. Like, Sound! Euphonium only had value if Reina and Kumiko were gay, and if they weren't then them just being friends means nothing. I wouldn't want to see this show get the same treatment.
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meiam



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:52 pm Reply with quote
Personally I think homosexual people falling in love with straight people (or the opposite, straight for homo) is incredibly underutilized topic in anime story. Most yaoi/yuri show seems to happen in alternate reality where everyone is gay or bi and the topic of mismatch sexuality is never discussed despite it being one of the very few story element that can only be explored in show about homosexual people (i.e. most yaoi/yuri show are essentially just straight romance with one of the character being gender flipped and don't actually use there setting). So I like the interpretation that Kobayashi is straight or asexual a lot more.
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Wtv



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:33 pm Reply with quote
I do see the value of a platonic familiar relationship. But if you're doing it, you should use a straight couple that's saturated already, and one less won't be missed. When you do it with a same-sex couple, you're just being coward and playing safe.

Unrequited love isn't even rare in actual yuri stories. In fact, I think it has way too much of it. But since there's still a lot of actual romance in yuri mangas, I don't care that much. But in anime, gay people falling in love with straight people is way more common. You know what is missing in anime? Actual mutual same-sex couples.
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Punch Drunk Marc



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:38 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:
Personally I think homosexual people falling in love with straight people (or the opposite, straight for homo) is incredibly underutilized topic in anime story. Most yaoi/yuri show seems to happen in alternate reality where everyone is gay or bi and the topic of mismatch sexuality is never discussed despite it being one of the very few story element that can only be explored in show about homosexual people (i.e. most yaoi/yuri show are essentially just straight romance with one of the character being gender flipped and don't actually use there setting). So I like the interpretation that Kobayashi is straight or asexual a lot more.


I like that interpretation as well. It seems like a lot of people think that when one character claims they are in love with another character of the same sex that that first character automatically has to be gay.

If they aren't people claim "erasure" or they are "in denial" about it.
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:41 pm Reply with quote
Well it has been clear that Kobayashi is quite into maids, you can see the pictures in her home, that she almost seems her most sexual (or compassionate) when she is thinking of them. Maybe it really is the deal that there should not be a need to put a label on it. I do really see Kobayashi and Tohru as a couple, but so far it really has not been a sexual relationship, it is more than just friends. And that is kind of fine, a couple does not need to be banging, together they are a family, they work despite how it is "not normal", and really that should be okay. Social expectations of a "normal family" really can be the messed up thing. Who is normal? But even if society turns against certain types of people because they are seen as dangerous like dragons, if they are not hurting anyone they can be accepted.
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