“Sports Festival! (There’s No Twist Or Anything)”
It’s Kanna’s sports festival, but when Kobayashi is too busy at work to come Kanna becomes sad. Kobayashi wonders why Kanna insists, since she isn’t even her parent, but Tohru explains that Kanna views Kobayashi as a mother. As the day of the sports festival arrives, Kobayashi must decide what is more significant in her life — work or ‘family.’
With the school sports festival coming up, Kanna learns that parents and families are invited to come watch the festivities. Intrigued by this, she assumes that Kobayashi and Tohru will both come to cheer her on. When Kobayashi explains she has far too much work to do, Kanna’s gut reaction is to sulk.
At first Kobayashi reasons that her own parents were always far too busy with work to attend her sports festivals. Aside from that, Tohru will be there to support Kanna, so why is it important she come too? Through Torhu, a rather baffled Kobayashi begins to understand that Kanna views her in the role of a mother (and Tohru as an older sister).
As this realization unfolds, viewers witness some touching moments of growth from Kobayashi and Kanna. Kobayashi discovers just how significant her presence in Kanna’s life is and just how much her life has changed overall. Similarly, Kanna realizes how hard Kobayashi works to provide a stable life for them all and so she selflessly tells Kobayashi that she doesn’t have to attend her sports festival. It’s such a touching scene involving Kanna fighting back tears and in the bravest, most humble display ever, whispering that it’s okay if she [Kobayashi] can’t make it.
Tohru also reveals that Kanna’s family adhered to a traditional parenting style, allowing Kanna to have free reign over her actions; so that she will grow to be self sufficient. In a likely attempt to seek attention, Kanna begins to act out, leading to her parents banishing her from their world. It seems she craves structure and the close knit family that Kobayashi has unconsciously provided. In the end, she just longs to be a child.
For all the heartwarming, emotional scenes, there is still an abundant amount of humor. My favorite scene this episode is a scavenger hunt involving Shouta’s class. One of the clues is to find something “world class,” to present to the judges. The pint size amateur wizard chooses to offer up his dragon, Lucoa, and all her ample assets for judging… and it works!
In the end, Dragon’s Maid is all about unlikely friendships and how these characters are learning (and growing) thanks to one another.
– Adorable moments between Kanna and Kobayashi! (Also growth of their characters… blah blah)
– Lucoa, and her bosom, is starting to finally pay off for Shouta.
– I am starting to miss Fafnir!
Just as Kanna withdrawal starts to set in, Dragon Maid doles out a fix that has plenty of heartwarming scenes from her. Going back to the basic formula that gives the series most of its charm, this episode features what the show does best by focusing on the relationship between Tohru, Kanna, and Kobayashi.
As is transitioning from life as a single to one where she is doted on constantly by a dragon isn’t enough, Kobayashi is faced with the reality that she is ostensibly a parent to Kanna as well. The young dragon, through attending school, learns many of the human customs that children take part in. Like any human child that gets excited about something, Kanna is devastated when Kobayashi bluntly tells her that she can’t attend the sports festival due to work.
Kobayashi’s initial approach is heavily influenced by how she herself grew up – a common occurrence in parenting. Because she didn’t really do sports, and her parents never really attended sports festivals, she doesn’t understand Kanna’s insistence. Kanna is in the exact same situation, but her understanding that this is something children are supposed to experience makes her want it nonetheless. Like a lot of things this series does, these scenes illustrate very human emotions through otherwise unconventional characters.
The fact that Kobayashi works extra hard to be able to take off work the day of the festival is no surprise. She is no stranger to putting in the effort when it’s needed, but the key takeaway here is that she determines that need herself based on a family concern rather than a deadline forced on her by her superiors. Takiya’s short commentary on her attitude is effective enough in showing how Kobayashi accepts this new role of ‘mother’ and the responsibility that comes along with it.
The festival itself is fun to watch, and even adds a little in the way of character moments for the supporting cast. Saikawa’s lust for Kanna plays out as usual, but we also connect with her genuine struggle not to let the class down when she fumbles the baton. Shouta realizes that as long as he’s stuck with Lucoa, he might as well take advantage of her ‘qualities.’ It does nothing for her character (arguably nothing will at this point), but maybe Shouta is warming up to her a little.
Kanna predictably wins the baton relay, but not by relying on her dragon strength. For her, the event was enjoyable because she was together with everyone. It’s a lesson that Kobayashi learns as well when she reflects on the day and what brought her there. Indeed, the family dynamic is cemented in the viewers’ and characters’ minds. The next episode looks to provide another opportunity for the ‘extended family’ to find root as well, but we’ll see how much sticks after the hi-jinks.
– Leave it to Kanna to make a sulking kid seem adorable. The heavy focus on an already lovable character is welcome nonetheless
– Small issues, like making time for family, continue to be expressed in meaningful ways.
– I can related to Elma’s indecisiveness more than anyone realizes, but given how much she’s featured in the OP/ED and the fact that her debut episode was just last week, is this all the character has to offer?
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party