“Second Dragon, Kanna! (We’re Totally Spoiling Here)”
How do you top a humorous, adorable dragon? By introducing a second, even more loli dragon of course. In this episode, Kobayashi takes Torhu shopping for the first time. Afterwards, the pair encounter a surprise visitor. Only, it’s no surprise whatsoever (hence the title).
Given the harsh criticism I had with the premiere, I will admit Dragon Maid stepped up this week with both animation and plot. To begin with, the episode shifted between following a storyline and brief sketch scenes. For a light, comedic series, this creative decision works well. The only fault I had with this was the unimaginative way the scenes transitioned from one to the other. For those who didn’t watch the episode, the cut screen background was an eye catching yellow with a row of primary shapes appearing along the middle (yawn). Most anime make an effort to at least include a still shot of something relevant to the series.
While the transitions may have been lacking, the rest of the animation was carefully detailed (well done Kyoto Animation!) The scene with Tohru and Kanna (her ‘mini me’ dragon friend) play fighting in the field was extremely fluid, making the movements easy to follow. Adding to this, the bright bursts of orangish-red fire, against the darker purplish-blue backgrounds is visually captivating.
Another selling point for me this episode was the addition of Kanna. Her cherub face, pompom tail, and pint-size tantrums leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. I also appreciate that Kanna’s dragon form is distinctly different from Torhu’s. Though Kanna’s ability to plug her tail into an electrical outlet to ‘recharge’ herself makes absolutely no sense, it’s an endearing addition to her character. While I can’t yet say her presence will add much to the overall narrative, she is a welcome level of adorable for this series!
On a complete side note, I can totally relate to Kobayashi’s love of naps and lazy dress attire.
– Added level of adorable in Kanna’s character
– Visually interesting to watch.
– Tohru’s quick acclimation into human society isn’t something that is fully explained.
– Still unsure if this series is heading towards any real goal.
The somewhat random progression of last week’s episode becomes a little more cohesive this time as Kobayashi decides to take Tohru shopping. The outing takes the time to point out that the department store gives Tohru anxiety because it looks like a Crusader’s castle. This, along with the flashbacks and Tohru’s offhanded remark that Kobayashi shouldn’t “join God’s side” in the first episode is slowly painting the picture of just what happened to the dragon before she came to Kobayashi’s door. Her sensitivity around the topic ensures that we’re not going to get to it for a while, though.
The trip also shows a softening in Kobayashi’s attitude, starting with the willingness to spend time with Tohru (albeit for errands) and ending with a display of genuine concern for her new companion. Subduing a purse thief in the shopping district gain Tohru a sudden wave of attention, and the momentary fear in both her and Kobayashi’s eyes over the prospect of the crowd turning on her says a lot. Their walk home afterwards shows that Kobayashi is perhaps even more relieved than Tohru is that no harm befell her.
Kanna’s character expresses her youth and naivety in both appearance and dialogue, though she is aware enough to accuse Kobayashi of “seducing Tohru with her body.” The way that Kobayashi handles the conflict in contrast shows her own maturity in being able to mollify the younger dragon and understand her needs (compared to when she turned Tohru away last week). Kanna’s introduction brings up some discussion about the existence of other dragons in the realm, and also draws a little out of Tohru as to why she “disappeared” in the first place.
Story points aside, the animation took a big step up this week with some playful exercise between Tohru and Kanna. Kyoto Animation has never slouched where this is concerned, and deliver some exciting visuals that fill Kobayashi with a few moments of terror. The contrasting calm of the events immediately after, however, seems to symbolize the relationship that is forming between the trio. There are significant problems with dragons trying to adjust to the human world, but they are capable of gentle serenity as well.
– Kobayashi’s interactions are getting better and provide some warmth to her character
– Some really impressive KyoAni action sequences
– Kanna’s addition makes it seem like they are a little family
– Frequent “sketch” moments separated by an unimaginative transition effect
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party