“Tohru and Kobayashi’s Impactful Meeting (We’re Raising the Bar on Ourselves)”
While Tohru prepares a special omurice for dinner, Kobayashi daydreams about the day she first met Tohru. Later, Tohru tells Kobayashi about a human bandit she had met while in the dragon world, who influenced her to choose her own freedom and become a maid.
Since the beginning of the season, viewers have been teased with snippets of how Tohru and Kobayashi met. The details emerge, in this episode, through a dream Kobayashi has while dozing on her commute home. The vision depicts a sloshed Kobayashi missing her stop and somehow ending up in the mountains where Tohru lives. Seemingly unfazed by Tohru’s appearance, or questioning how a dragon can communicate with her, Kobayashi first requests a hug.
When the idea of sharing a warm embrace is shot down, Kobayashi notices a sword protruding from the dragon’s side. Despite Tohru’s warnings, her unlikely human hero removes the sword. As Tohru attempts to process this strange behavior, Kobayashi kicks the weirdness up another level by demanding they have a drink together.
After several drinks, the tone shifts to a more serious mood. Kobayashi begins pondering why it is she is all alone. This leads to Tohru admitting that she is also alone. It is through this conversation that the pair silently establish how they could benefit from one another’s company. The whole scene is every bit as heartwarming (and humorous) as viewers have come to anticipate from this series.
Although the finale is slated for next week, writers chose to introduce a new character in this episode. When Kobayashi asks Tohru to reveal more about her prior interactions with humans, she describes having once met a carefree nomadic girl. It didn’t escape notice that this spirited human is meant to reflect Tohru’s current situation with Kobayashi. In case it wasn’t entirely clear this human is meant to mirror Tohru, her aspiration in life just so happens to be becoming a maid.
The lesson behind the interaction between the human and dragon is that freedom begins with choice. Given the option between being a thief and a maid, she would choose to take on the role of a servant. While her position as a thief allows her the freedom to do whatever she pleases, whenever she pleases, it appears the human girl, with no other options available, was forced into this lifestyle. If she were to become a maid, she explains, then at least she would be choosing to be subservient, rather than being forced to be.
In the end, Tohru’s stance on human beings co-mingling with other world creatures was impacted by the positive interactions she had with a wandering human and her beloved Kobayashi!
– This episode finally provided more detail about Kobayashi and Tohru’s first meeting.
– It seems Kobayashi is finally ready to meet the parent(s)… good luck!
– Unsure if the addition of a new character, even for just this episode, was necessary for the point being made. Perhaps it was, but not fully sold on it.
Since the first episode, this series has always focused heavily on its Slice of Life elements over any sort of overarching narrative. The early episodes raised questions as to how or why Tohru came to be in Kobayashi’s world, but as the show began to find its groove such questions were put aside in favor of the heartwarming moments amongst the nascent family.
This is why the story of Tohru’s first meeting with Kobayashi was revealed through a dream rather than a conscious reminiscence on her part. Doing it this way feels like it’s more for the viewers’ benefit than the characters, as even Kobayashi doesn’t seem to remember what it was about when it’s time to get off the train. Viewers who were curious, however, get a reasonable enough explanation as to what would possess a dragon to turn herself into a maid.
The second flashback reveals a bit more into Tohru’s mindset leading up to that moment, dispelling any notion that her sudden turn seemed forced. Kobayashi unwittingly gave Tohru everything she was looking for. A companion for both friendship and love, and a way for her to choose her fate going forward. I’m not sure what more, if anything, we’ll learn about this bandit in the final episode, but her role in the story was clear in its result of helping Tohru grasp her loneliness.
In being around humans, that’s something that all the dragons seem to have discovered in one form or another. Fafnir broke away from his gaming long enough to put out a towel and clean clothes for Takiya when he saw it was raining. Lucoa playfully takes part in Shouta’s cleansing ritual, amusingly remarking that he missed her when he comes looking for her later. Elma, the only one without a human partner, still remarks that she’s “blended into this world” as she studies a programming book over coffee.
It’s a sentiment that we’ve seen time and again from these characters through the course of this season, but the teaser for the finale threatens to turn things on their head. It will be interesting to see what Dragon Maid does with this next episode, as the Slice of Life-like notion of meeting what’s probably Tohru’s father could be offset by a destructive showdown between powerful dragons.
– Tohru’s backstory wasn’t the most cohesive fit, but it was an enlightening answer to a nagging question nonetheless.
– Did someone hear my complaints and cover Lucoa up, delivering her sweetest portrayal yet? This show is meta sometimes.
– Nothing much to say here.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party