How would you rate episode 13 of
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid ?
This episode’s subtitle is particularly fitting – it’s the end of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid before we knew it. Even though that’s kind of tragic, the series does manage to maintain its quality to the end, giving us a finale that nicely pulls together all the show’s strengths to give us its final message – that life is better when you share it with someone else.
We’ve heard a fair amount about Kobayashi’s parents throughout the course of the series. Even if we haven’t met them, we’ve been able to gather that she hasn’t felt particularly motivated to go back and visit, although she doesn’t appear to have had a difficult childhood. That’s been slowly changing as she’s lived with Tohru and Kanna, but as the old saying goes, sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. That’s the theme of this episode, with Tohru vanishing on a shopping trip and Kobayashi left to fend for herself.
Of course, Tohru doesn’t just disappear – her irate father comes to fetch her. He’s had enough of his daughter breaking the rules by cohabitating with a human, interfering where she shouldn’t according to his draconic interpretation of the law. Tohru’s reluctant to leave, but Daddy Dearest doesn’t give her much choice, and no matter how old we get, a piece of us will always turn into a child when faced with an upset parent. Kanna quickly figures out what’s happened, and when she tells Kobayashi, her foster mother tries her best not to look like she’s all that bothered by it. In fact, she never actually says anything about being upset – we only know that life has become drearier from her actions: waking Kanna up too late, dropping hot liquid, and bringing home combini bentos for dinner every night. Her coworkers notice that she seems more detached than she was before, but Kobayashi herself is reluctant to actually say anything – perhaps if she doesn’t say it out loud, it won’t be true. Instead, we see her distress in the increasingly slovenly state of her apartment and the glances she keeps shooting towards the entryway. Kobayashi is somewhat lost without her dragon and wants her to come home.
Tohru’s desire to return is also a given, but even though she does manage to make her escape, standing up to her father isn’t something she can do on her own. It’s Kobayashi who ultimately makes Tohru’s dad understand that his daughter has a life in the human world. Kobayashi’s avowal that she cares about Tohru is what truly makes it possible for her to stay – and Tohru’s presence allows Kobayashi to summon the courage to visit her parents with her new dragon family in tow. It’s fitting that the final line of the series is Kobayashi’s announcement of “I’m home.” It’s the sentiment that ultimately wraps everything up – home is where your family is, whether it’s a biological family or the one you created with dragons from a parallel realm. For Kobayashi, it may turn out to be both.
Whether or not you read Kobayashi’s decision to introduce Tohru and Kanna to her parents as romantic or not, it certainly is satisfying. Kobayashi telling Tohru’s father to back off is the true admission of her fondness for the dragon, and whether it’s a romantic, platonic, or familial love doesn’t matter in the end. It’s a happy ending with the possibility of more stories to come. So while it’s sad to bid farewell to this series, we can do so with the hope that we may get to see them again, because their stories are clearly far from done.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.