「郷に入りては郷に従え（合わせるって大変です」 (Awaserutte Taihen Desu)
“When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do (It’s Hard to Match Others)”
There wasn’t really a unifying theme to tie together this episode. But if I had to chose one, it would be wider commentaries on society. Work culture, hooliganism in the streets and family at theme parks.
Elma: The Office Role Model
Even if Elma can be exuberant, she seems like a fantastic colleague to have in the work place – one who pulls her weight and takes accountability for her work. Her sudden competitiveness against Kobayashi was not provoked out of a simple sense of competition. Rather, it was done for Kobayashi’s sake owing to a misunderstanding in terminologies – with pillar denoting someone integral to an organisation in Earth dialect, whereas it’s used to describe a human sacrifice in dorogon vocabulary. Elma’s sentiments were definitely touching, and while she can be a stickler for the rules, we can see that her heart is in the right place.
However, Elma is quite clearly a superhuman dorogon. I do think it would be feasible for a human to grind out like that. Japan already has an issue with overwork to the point people die from it. Heck, it’s often the premise in a couple of modern isekais. I think it was important for Kobayashi to emphasise that she should chill out. While work is important, because it’s how we make a livelihood that can sustain ourselves upon becoming adults, there’s a time and a place to relax too.
Tohru and the Neighborhood Watch
The thugs chose the wrong day to swagger around the neighborhood. My read on Tohru’s personality is that she wouldn’t particularly care if they rudely ‘tch’d’ at her and moved on. Perhaps if they ‘tch’d’ Kobayashi, that would be a different matter. But Tohru herself? She’s fairly easy-going unless directly confronted. And what did those hooligans do? Directly confront her.
If only we mortals had whimsical dorogons who could police the hooliganism out of society. Locally speaking I think it’s a great idea. I would personally like to see more collective community vigilancy when it comes to addressing social issues. The police in the UK have consistently suffered cuts and like other public sectors have been underfunded. There’s definitely more that the government can do. But I would love to see more community involvement across the board. Not to mention a sense of community and togetherness can be pivotal in preventing individuals from committing crimes against one another.
Kanna and the Theme Park
After seeing an advertisement on TV, Kanna begs Kobayashi to take her to a theme park. I’m not particularly interested in talking about Saikawa, so I will choose to skip past that. So in spite of her initial reservations, Kobayashi actually finds out that theme parks are quite fun, again, a point demonstrating that her biological family are garbage. Where it’s typical for some of those children to inadvertently continue perpetuating that cycle, since it’s what they grew up knowing, Kobayashi breaks that cycle in the course of her care for Tohru, Kanna and Iruru. I can appreciate that Kobayashi cares enough to ensure that the people she cares about feel loved, valued and get to enjoy experiences that perhaps she didn’t get to enjoy when younger.
Of course, it could be argued that Kobayashi only really enjoyed the theme park because they happened to have an excellent Victorian maid cafe. Which well, you don’t tend to see at theme parks. At least I’ve never seen one at any of the theme parks I have ever been to! However, even if we subtracted the cafe, I would say that Tohru went out of her way to guarantee that Kobayashi had an excellent time – taking her around exhibits such as the mirror maze, carousel, Ferris wheel, etc.
I’m not sure she’d make a great ‘partner’ for Kobayashi in the romantic sense, since for me, that premise suggests they should be on equal terms. And to put it bluntly, Tohru is a massive simp. However, in terms of being non-romantic partners, I honestly perceive them to be a fantastic fit. Tohru’s energy and impulsiveness draw Kobayashi out of her shell. And Kobayashi’s level-headedness keeps Tohru grounded. Most importantly, they deeply deeply care about each other. Which is what you’d want most out of a partner – be it romantic or non-romantic.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to talk about. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!