Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 14 of
Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid ?
It's always nice to revisit old friends, and that's just what this extra episode of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid feels like: a chance to catch up with our dragon buddies and their attendant humans. Picking up after Tohru gets to meet Miss Kobayashi's parents, she's feeling newly enabled to make her next move on the love of her life – and Valentine's Day offers her the perfect opportunity. Or at least it would if Miss Kobayashi wasn't so darn perceptive; Tohru's grand plans to seduce her are foiled when Miss Kobayashi immediately senses that her dragon maid has put suspicious ingredients into her chocolates. (At least it wasn't her tail this time.) Meanwhile, Saikawa tries desperately to confess via chocolate to Kana in a scene that's the usual combination of cute and just a little too sexual for comfort – not that Kana notices.
As is the norm for this series, the best moments are the more mundane ones. While it's fun to watch Tohru try her hardest to seduce Miss Kobayashi, marvel at Saikawa's ability to interpret all of Kana's gestures as sexy, or even just stare in disbelief at Quetzalcoatl's breasts, all of that ultimately pales in comparison to the delightfully normal ways these characters just interact with each other. Seeing Miss Kobayashi shyly offer Tohru her hand has more impact than her implied masturbation scene, and watching Kana resolutely sniff out all the chocolate that might be lurking in the house is more entertaining than seeing her suck on Saikawa's finger. It's a point in the series' favor that it isn't just the set couples who engage in this sweetly humanizing behavior; it's just as nice to see Takiya buy Shouta the sword keychain he wants but is too embarrassed to ask for (or to accept from his busty “demon”) as it is to see him and Fafnir buy each other fancy swords in their MMO. All of them are quiet affirmations that humans and dragons are both people, and silly things like species difference don't need to get in the way of them truly caring for each other.
Of course, with all of this love and loveliness, poor Elma ends up feeling like the odd dragon out again. Although she does appear in work scenes and the hot springs trip, she doesn't really feel like part of the story. She does get a couple of good moments, such as when she eats all of the baking cocoa or her frenetic ping pong game with Tohru, but on the whole it feels like she was only included because she's part of the theme songs. Given the focus on romance and relationships in this episode, that does make a degree of sense, but it also makes her feel extraneous, even if she doesn't seem to be aware of that.
In terms of substance, there isn't much here – there's no new ground broken in the story or any key moments that would inform a potential second season. But it is a charming return to characters we love and a sweet reminder of what made the show such a success in the first place. Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid conveys the warmth that comes from relationships not solely based on a single flavor of love, but that combine friendship, romance, and family to create a particularly heartwarming (and at times funny) set of relationships. I haven't met the show yet that can beat it in that regard, and this episode reminded me of that quite nicely.
Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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