Touru's father, the Dragon Emperor of Demise, takes Touru home. She and Kobayashi later confront him about Touru's choice to stay in Kobayashi's world. Season Finale.
Episode 13 - "Emperor of Demise Arrives! (It Was The Final Episode Before We Knew It)"
This episode was so focused, it didn't have any of the yellow interstitial transitions.
The plot was straightforward. Big Bad Daddy comes and takes Touru away. Kobayashi and Kanna muddle through without her, but not for very long until Touru escapes back to them. Big Daddy comes to take her away again, setting up a violent confrontation. Kobayashi breaks up the fight and they live happily ever after.
Of course, the themes of family, understanding and respect play a part.
Look how sad and gray the world was without Touru: even the eye catch is affected and changes as if it were a puddle getting splashed by raindrops.
This episode also had a lot of mirrored scenes with the first episode. The Demise Emperor came flying in over a gray cityscape matching what Touru did, except he sported a gray mane and scared a bunch of cats instead of noticing some cute cosplay maids.
Touru even redid knocking on Kobayashi's door when she ran away from her world.
All of this served to remind us of the cautions the dragons gave us about falling in love with humans and then going mad when they died all too quickly compared to a dragon's lifespan.
The show did a good job of throwing in some short scenes of Touru's self-doubt during the course of the season. For the last episode, they threw in a dragon-sized scene so Touru would be vulnerable to her father's timely intrusion and abduction.
Especially well done was including Kanna's flower language of the Shepherd's Purse: "I'll offer everything to you." Keeping the little bunch alive, but slowly dying until Touru's return, which matched the state of Kanna's and Kobayashi's living conditions was nice imagery as well.
I have no doubt that Kanna and Kobayashi would have figured out a new live-work balance, as we saw Kobayashi figure out the rice cooker, but it always would have been one of those bittersweet almost-everything endings the Japanese like so much in their dramas. This show is not a drama! Comedies end in weddings, or the figurative equivalent. Oh, like meeting the in-laws, or meeting Kobayashi's parents. Just like that, happy ending.
Most of the season had been spent showing the dragons getting used to everyday life among the humans. This show is also good at not recycling anything unless there's a reason for it. With the stern father flying into the city, the audience already felt a sense of unease that this lazy routine day off was going to be different in a bad way. But until Touru's moment of self-doubt and her abrupt discussion with her father, we could enjoy those usual moments of Kanna learning to eat Japanese style, Touru being her energetic self and Kobayashi still being perceptive enough to notice that Touru wasn't really worrying about the Sun coming out.
Kanna, for once, didn't eat something she was curious about.
I liked Touru's response to Kobayashi's praise of her coffee preparation to match her moods: "It's not because I'm a dragon, it's because I'm me!" This sentiment was going to be the very argument Kobayashi used to break through the Demise Emperor's fatherly concern about Touru's life among people.
Life Without Touru.
I was not surprised at how calmly Kobayashi took Touru's disappearance. She had lived alone for a long time and had not relied on anyone else for a long time either. It looked like she fell back to her old way of doing things which was to keep things to herself. The difference this time, was she had Kanna to take care of.
It looked very much like the circumstances of someone suddenly becoming a single parent. Juggling schedules, learning food prep, figuring out trash day. Kobayashi didn't have much time to stew in depression. She didn't even have time to hang up her clothes. She and Kanna were treading water. It was saddest to see the effect on Kanna.
I noticed that Kanna learned how to disappear her horns and tails without Touru's help.
I noticed that Kanna learned how to disappear her horns and tails without Touru's help.
The bittersweet moment for me was when Kanna and Kobayashi figured out the rice cooker. It was a nice thing to show that they could learn to live without Touru, but it was sad too because they might have to accept that these little moments of triumph meant they could get used to life without Touru. Even with a short amount of time measured by the slowly wilting Shepherd's Purse picked on the day of her disappearance, that still felt too long.
I wonder why Lucoa, Fafnir or Elma didn't come to see how Kanna was doing. They were all so deferential to the Emperor in his relationship with Touru. Did that have to apply to Kanna and Kobayashi as well? Or did they know that Touru would be back soon enough?
Respect and Compromise.
I think the fight was over when Kobayashi said that Touru was a good girl and the Emperor said, "I know that." That was the little germ of agreement and understanding that made such a great and terrible dragon stop fighting his daughter when a mere human cried out, "Wait, wait, wait!"
Kobayashi's perceptiveness picked out that the Emperor was only worried about Touru's broken heart when the human she loved died. The hints of different species looking at time differently because of their lifespans had been there from the beginning of the show and it was the number one concern for the Emperor.
All his other reasons, dragons on a prohibited world, dragons and humans can't understand each other, a dragon can't live a peaceful quiet life, were justifications for a concerned father to drag his daughter home to avoid getting hurt in an inevitably short amount of time. Kobayashi's admonition to have faith that his daughter's belief that her relationship with a human would last a long time was what convinced him to let her try. The Emperor already knew that humans could be mercurial in their feelings, making even the chance at a still relatively short lifelong relationship very slim. Kobayashi also convinced him that Touru would get that chance.
The way the Emperor talked about dragons defending order found on this world confused me a little. I thought he was with the Chaos faction and that Elma was with the Order faction. If he was concerned about Touru being on this world, wouldn't he be worried about other Order faction dragons invading to oppose the Chaos faction already here? Maybe there was a quirk in the translation that didn't come across. The gist was that this world is special and dragons of any kind shouldn't be here. I didn't see him dragging Lucoa, Fafnir, Elma and Kanna back, though. That fit with Kobayashi's argument that his main concern was for Touru's chance at a broken heart.
I must say, the Emperor's human form spell is much more interesting than Touru's. His cape closes together like a dragon's mouth. Very artistic. Touru is still young and has a ways to go in being a good dragon, it appears.
The Emperor was basically Fafnir on steroids. If Fafnir could learn to live among humans, even if it's just saying "hmmph" all the time, the Emperor could learn not to finger beam people for a small interjection.
Kanna Eats Stuff.
Well, all that heavy stuff is out of the way, so let's enjoy the real purpose of this show: Kanna eating things!
I said earlier, I was very surprised she didn't eat that flower that Riko picked, but it had a narrative purpose. But the real deal was Kanna eating that huge bite of rice. What a good girl! Handling the rice cooker and putting together her microwaveable side dishes.
Kanna eating chocolate and candy is good too.
You Can Go Home Again.
The other dragons continued to live their quiet lives alongside humans too. That Emperor guy worries too much.
The epilogue still had some time left for Riko to freak out about Kanna and for the dragons to learn how train tickets work.
It's not a wedding, but Kobayashi thought it was time to see her parents again and have them meet her new strange but loveable family.
And they lived happily ever after. The End.
That was quite a sentimental and emotional resolution. I'm going to miss this show!
Just watch this show already!
Oh, you want some more justification? Okay.
The quirky premise of dragons taking humanoid forms to live peacefully among urban people immediately places the story in the slice-of-life comedy genre. Make them cute dragons with big boobs or just cute, period, and we have fanservice and fua-fua-moe-moe genres covered too. That's fine, as far as it goes, but this show also added a deep sentimental emotional heart, with its own leitmotif too. You knew were going to feel that hitch in your chest, that knot in your throat, that dust in your eye and that throb in you sinus whenever that music came on.
The main theme was family. No matter how it formed, the bonds became real. And there were a lot of side themes to attach to this strange extended family of dragons and their companions. We had adoption, assimilation of immigrants, understanding cultural differences. Within the family, we had making time for children, the importance of small gifts with big meanings, small gestures to foster bonds, and letting each other know you're paying attention and you care.
On that last point, the scene that will stick with me for this show is when Kanna went to her first day of school and Kobayashi got her the little bag strap she felt she had to return to the store. That moment turned this anime into art. It became something much more than an otaku mashup of sexy dragons in maid cosplay playing videogames.
Watch this show for the story of how a family comes to love each other.
Oh, one last thing: we never got a deeper reason for why Touru wants Kobayashi to eat her tail! Here's hoping the second season answers this very important mystery!