To belong is to feel complete. Either belonging to someone or some place, to have something where you know you belong is to feel joy, true joy. As people, we are always looking to belong somewhere whether it be with friends to laugh with, a home to return to or a family to love. Turns out, dragons do too.
Tohru isn’t just Kobayashi’s maid, its quite apparent from early on. Being stuck in a foreign world with no place to call home and no one to reach out to, Tohru had no sense of belonging. There was no hope for Tohru as she lay in the mountains with a sword impaled in her back, only despair. That was until a young, drunken Japanese women came stumbling across her path to change her life around. She offered Tohru two things no one else had offered her: a place to stay and a helping hand. Though the offer came with the catch of becoming Kobayashi’s personal maid, Tohru was given a new found sense of belonging.
We can tell how impactful this meeting in the mountains had been for Tohru from her enthusiastic re-encounter with a now sober Kobayashi. Ready to take on all of her maidly duties, Tohru is full of pep and cheer as she tries to convince Kobayashi to let her stay with her. Once Kobayashi tries to explain to her that she can’t let her stay because she hadn’t really meant to make such a promise while in a drunken stupor, Tohru’s face instantly gives away the feeling of sadness that rushes over her. Her eyes water and she looks down as she gives her final plea (“It’s absolutely impossible?”) before putting on a fake smile as she tries to bottle her emotions as Kobayashi tells her she just can’t let her stay. Everything from the tone of her voice as she apologizes to the way she walks out lets us know how devastated Tohru had felt in this moment. She finally had a place to belong, even if it was only to repay the kind act Kobayashi had done for her on the mountain. Clearly, Kobayashi could see the disappointment as well since the guilt is too much for her to bear.
It doesn’t take long before Tohru and Kobayashi become closer. Tohru starts to idolize Kobayashi, the person who both saved and gave new meaning to her life, and eventually shows signs of affection. She grows jealous when Kobayashi is out with others, curious as to what Koboyashi’s life is like when she isn’t home and protective over her when she finds out her boss is mistreating her. Tohru’s world starts to fall apart as she dreads the fact that Kobayashi will someday die long before she will. Tohru grows to genuinely love Kobayashi, further strengthening her sense of belonging with her.
Kobayashi starts to become closer to Tohru as well, as she starts to think about Tohru’s feelings and relying on her more. Though it can be hard at times to notice if Kobayashi is opening up to the fact that Tohru is now a part of her life, but it couldn’t be more clear than the final episode with Tohru’s father. Throughout the episode while Tohru is away we can see Koboyashi’s life unravel before her. Later she risks her life to stand in defiance, taking Tohru’s hand and telling her father that she is her maid and her father will not get in between the two.
The theme of finding a sense of belonging doesn’t stop with Tohru and Kobayashi either. Kanna is a child without a home, and she finds a home with Tohru and Kobayashi. Much like Tohru, Kanna is stuck in a strange new world with no where to go and meeting (and living with) Kobayashi completely changes her life. Lost and and alone, Kanna is given both a place to stay and people to look after her, something which seems like would be pretty rare in the world dragons are used to. Kanna finds a new sense of belonging in her new family who love and take care of her unconditionally.
Similarly, Fafnir finds a place where he belongs in this new world. He starts off as a tense, standoffish person who despises everyone he meets, but eventually finds a friend in Kobayashi’s office mate Takiya. Takiya is just as lonely and secluded as Fafnir, with Kobayashi being the only person we ever see him interacting with before all the dragons show up. He lives a lonely life (much like Kobayashi) alone in his apartment, playing games and reading manga by himself. Finding friendship ends up changing both characters lives for the better. Fafnir and Takiya turn out to be quite the pair, ending each others loneliness and growing closer to each other as they live together. Fafnir picks up Takiya’s love for video games, further strengthening their friendship.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid was a delight to watch. Aside from the funny and cute antics of the cast that went on every week, the series also provided an excellent story of characters finding a place to belong. Though the circumstances for the characters meeting may be weird, their connections are genuine and full of emotion. Koboyashi, Tohru and Kanna belong together as much as any other family and each had their lives changed for the better with the inclusion of one another. Kobayashi no longer has to live alone and lonely, Tohru finds a home where she can be free and Kanna is adopted into a loving household. Its a story that warms my heart just thinking about it, and knowing that its all over now makes my week that much worse. Maybe someday we will get another season to watch the delightful life of Miss Kobayashi and her dragon maid.
(Also Kanna, because she has to be the cutest kid I have seen in a long time!)