Congrats, Dragon Maid and Co., you got me to tear up this week. The plot of each segment is simple: Shōta wants to make his dad a Father’s Day present but the homonym of ‘father’ and ‘breast’ in Japanese confuses Lucoa. The following segment shows what happens when Kobayashi catches a cold and Tohru wants to cure her while also confronting the inevitable fragility of humans. Last, Ilulu attempts to return an abandoned doll with Taketo.
The first segment is okay, I just generally find the Shōta x Lucoa segments to be pretty weak because they require me to ignore how much I dislike their fanservice dynamic. It also feels redundant because both Lucoa and Ilulu’s sexy shenanigans are predicated on the same idea of “we don’t understand why our big titties are seen as sexual uwu” ad nauseum. Outside of those scenarios, like Lucoa’s bath scene, are cool with me. It’s the shoving Shōta’s head in her shirt and declaring it “Tit Day” that gets old (a little funny, but mostly old).
The primary conflict in this segment is also kind of thin, but I do like the continual building of Shōta and Takiya’s relationship. When he’s frustrated with his failed magic attempts, Shōta turns to Takiya for advice and he explains it in gaming terms: Shōta needs to think of the spell from the creator’s perspective thus leading him to consider elements he hadn’t before, like air pressure. I hope his dad appreciated the effort.
The next two segments are where the emotions hit and we get to see some vulnerability from both Tohru and Ilulu. Kobayashi is down for the count with a fever and Tohru becomes increasingly worried about her. What worked best about this segment is, although it has a rather small scope and we’ve definitely seen ‘romantic interest gets sick’ done a million times, is the emotional delivery by Yūki Kuwahara. We see both the before and after as Tohru is internally grappling with the idea that Kobayashi could die in her lifetime and that she’s at a loss of what to do. Of course, in the end it is just a cold and Kobayashi gets better, but she’s also sensitive enough to Tohru’s feelings that she still takes the magic pills and credits her for the cure (which just gives her cat-like attributes for a cute follow-up bit).
That segment probably primed me for the waterworks of Ilulu hunting down a doll owner. Her journey around town to return it prompts her to confront her own past where she intentionally left behind a gift given to her by humans after her parents were killed. By returning the doll to owner, Ilulu wants to make good on her own past mistake. She goes further than even Taketo expected but they are eventually able to track down the owner, who is an adult woman. The owner laments that she abandoned the doll under the pressure of her friends and thanks them for bringing it back.
There’s a lot of little hints in the episode that the doll was well cared for, like Kobayashi explaining that the doll was frequently brought in for care. Personally, I got choked up over the whole thing not because I personally still have a security object, but because people I care about do. One of those people would probably be considered “too old” for his item (a pink stuffed dinosaur, approximately the same size as the doll in this) but dang, it would break my heart if he felt like he had to abandon it due to social pressure. We all have certain harmless items that comfort us and I think the idea of abandoning them because we have to be grown-ups kinda sucks. Abandoning everything child-like for the sake of being perceived as ‘mature’ is why so many of us simply don’t want to be adults. But you can be like Kobayashi: a member of her community and workforce and still enjoy wearing a maid costume.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S is currently streaming on