“Kanna Goes to School! (Not That She Needs To)”
Noticing Kanna staring longingly at passing students, Kobayashi and Tohru make arrangements for her to attend school, which includes buying supplies. On her first day of class, Kanna manages to make some friends, including classmate Riko Saikawa. Later, Riko impulsively challenges some park-hogging delinquents to a game of dodgeball. After Tohru and the other dragons wipe the floor with them, they decide to go against each other in a no-holds-barred battle.
Following the same vein as prior episodes, this week is another adorable mix of narrative and sketch scenes. The main arc follows Kanna as she begins attending school. Did the title give it away? This includes shopping for school supplies with Torhu and Kobayashi, meeting new friends, and an epic game of dodgeball.
What resonated most with me about this episode was the introduction of Kanna’s classmate, Saikawa. With an attitude much larger than her pint sized frame, this young diva has a tendency to speak senselessly, lacking any sort of filter to first process her words. She introduces herself to Kanna by challenging her to an arm wrestling match to prove herself superior.
Saikawa also lets slip that Kanna is so utterly adorable that it ‘ticks her off.’ This leads to Kanna manipulating the situation by crying, resulting in Saikawa offering her candy and friendship. I can relate to this on so many levels. Even when I try to be rude, the moment someone shows even a hint of heartache, I cave.
Dragon Maid has a created a recipe that perfectly mixes humor and sentimental moments. As this series ekes towards the mid-season point, there is still one character from the OP that has yet to make an appearance. How the writers will handle introducing a new character this far in and setting the stage for a significant conclusion to the series remains to be seen. As I’ve stated in my past reviews for Dragon’s Maid, I’m not expecting much in way of actual content, so I imagine I will not be disappointed. Instead, I will continue to enjoy this series as a light-hearted anime, perfect for decompressing at the end of a particularly stressful day.
– Perfect mix of humor and touching moments.
– Each episode is similar enough so viewers know what to expect going in.
– Still waiting to be introduced to another supporting character.
– The backstory for the entire cast is still relatively vague.
Dragon Maid continues its Slice of Life vein with the tried and true ‘starting at a new school’ theme, as Kobayashi’s efforts in helping the young dragon prepare for her first day of class is reminiscent of the experiences that so many families share when shopping for their children. Everything is rather charming and cute, but in watching it unfold one might wonder if Dragon Maid is losing touch with what makes it unique.
Firmly settled in their life together, Kanna and Tohru act almost indistinguishably from a family you might see in any other family sitcom, with Kobayashi’s gender being the only mix up in her role as the straight faced breadwinner (and the fact that the other two are dragons, but we’ll get there). The series does at least cleverly play on Tohru’s confident yet ultimately broken understanding of the purpose behind various school supplies. Where the series gets back on thematic track is a quiet moment while shopping for uniforms when Kobayashi remarks on how important it is not to stand out, as people fear things that are different. This hits at the core of the otherwise comedic show and reminds viewers that the dragons aren’t completely safe around humanity.
In every other sense, the episode takes full advantage of what Kanna brings to this show. Her innate curiosity is matched perfectly with her muted excitement over the new things she’s experiencing. The momentary somber moment gives way to her trying out all her new things and even falling asleep with her backpack (for a little while). She even puts to ease the fear of being different when she proves to be popular among the other children, even managing to convince Tohru that living among humans may be worthwhile.
If there was any fear that the dragons were being underutilized though, the second half of the episode crushes it. The impromptu dodgeball challenge gives both the dragons and Kyoto Animation’s artists a chance to stretch their figurative wings. Unsatisfied after trouncing the older boys who refused Kanna and Saikawa the playground the day before, the dragons go all out against one another in a display similar to the roughhousing in ep. 2 (though not as destructive). It’s a generally mindless bit of fun, but is in keeping with the dragons’ nature which leaves Kobayashi terrified nonetheless. As is generally the tone of this show, all is well afterward as Lucoa magically fixes the trauma to the playground and onlookers alike, and Tohru and Fafnir play in a more ‘Kobayashi appropriate’ manner.
Overall, Dragon Maid might have maintained its charm this week through sheer force of Kanna, but the series stays true to the theme it set up earlier. If the rest of the series manages to retain this level of entertainment, I’ll not be disappointed.
– If you thought Kanna couldn’t get cuter, think again
– Small asides about dragons’ place among humanity keep the show’s twist relevant
– Lucoa comedy is exactly what I expected.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party