Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid
Episode 10

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid ?

If there are two things I consistently don't like, it's Christmas episodes and Hans Christian Andersen's “The Little Match Girl.” Trust Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid to make me enjoy both.

As you might have guessed, this week's episode takes place over Christmas, and when Tohru sees that her friend the butcher has injured his leg, she agrees to take over the Christmas show at the local assisted living facility. She assembles her dragon and small human friends to figure out what they're going to do, and after a few interactive ideas, Riko suggests that they put on a version of “The Little Match Girl,” that heartwarming story where a child freezes to death in full sight of a crowded street, because somehow it's become a Christmas story. Naturally, the gang isn't content to let the story stand on its own, and before too long, they're performing a story where the Match Girl (Kanna) meets an old hat seller from Japanese folklore (Souta) before a dread wizard (Fafnir) appears and turns them into magical girls. Before he can make them fight to the death, an under-dressed fairy (Lucoa) chases him off, and the kids end up in 47 Ronin, where Elma is trying to defeat Tohru for the sake of her master – all narrated by Riko. While all this is going on, Kobayashi and Makoto stand in horrified silence with the audience – but the elders eat it right up, especially Lucoa's entrance, when they all start bobbing their heads along with her boobs.

Less strong is Kanna's anticipation of Santa's arrival, but I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely don't get Christmas stuff, so the anticipation humor is kind of lost on me. The storyline does still have some fun touches, like the dragons building a fireplace with a side-venting chimney, and Kobayashi trying to sneak the gift into Kanna's room while the little dragon is having a bout of Christmas-inspired insomnia.

What's particularly nice about this episode is the way it builds on the last one – having attended the sports festival as a parent, Kobayashi is now much more enthusiastic about being Kanna's maternal figure. When she hears about the play and Kanna's lead role, she immediately says that she'll be there to watch. The lengths she goes to in order to sneak Kanna's present into her stocking also speak of her commitment to the little girl, and the fact that she lets the installation of the fireplace and chimney slide (along with the neon signs proclaiming that a good girl lives there) is indicative of how she's embraced her new family life.

Likewise, the scene toward the end where Tohru is cleaning up after their celebratory party while Kobayashi snoozes on the floor (and wakes up) shows a level of comfort with each other that's really charming. The air of family that they share is growing with each episode, visibly lowering Kobayashi's stress level. From the harried woman of the first episode who doesn't even remember inviting a dragon to live with her, she has become a calm and content individual who enjoys going to her “daughter's” events and just spending time with Tohru. One of the charms of this series has been watching this process happen, enjoying the quiet happiness of these characters simply being together, and this is one of the sweetest and most understated depictions of it.

It also helps that Lucoa isn't smothering poor Shouta with her bounty this week. We leave all of the vaguely uncomfortable moments for Riko playing reindeer to Kanna at the end. She definitely has some mature ideas for such a little girl, doesn't she? They grow up so fast…

Rating: B+

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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