I wrote about Kobayashi and the Dragon Maid earlier this year. There, I did a spread about the entire series, showing off how you can use tarot cards to analyze elements of a narrative. That’s a good technique! You should do that! But here let’s do a reading for a character, as per normal.
I was surprised I liked this show as much as I did. I have watched a lot — a lot — of shows that, good or bad, are basically excused to give fans a selection of cute females to choose from. Totally without any genre-savvy, I fell in love with Tenchi Muyo back in high school. First the Sci-Fi Channel showed the first film, and then Cartoon Network showed the series, one after another.
We’re not here to talk about those, though. Maybe in another post. Just know that I have watched a lot of shows like this one. I always consider shows like this as “magical girlfriend” shows, which I think rose to popularity back in the day with Ah! My Goddess.
Basically, I thought Kobayashi had good intent behind the closet full of different girl archetypes. It uses the “dark and painful past” trope without beating the audience to death with it; it explores some of what it would mean for dragons to just hang out in our world; and it builds up a nice narrative about coming to terms with human social nature without people suddenly being assholes or changing character midway through (looking at you, Fuuka).
So the reading!
Let’s use our nice, familiar past/present/future spread for this one. Too bad I sold that deck with all the dragons in it. Let’s use the Alchemical Tarot. We used it last time and it worked out pretty well for us. I guess I should say: we’ll read Tohru this time.
This is pretty good. In the past we get the four of swords. This card indicates a rest from battle. The swords are present, but not an immediate danger. The figure sits, maybe even sleeping, with a wall to their back. That’s exactly what we saw with Tohru. She came into the human world to escape the constant fighting in her home. She wanted to rest. In fact, this card often depicts a sepulchre, and Tohru did believe she might die when she made her way here. So we see that her first impulse really is, as she says, to simply make a peaceful life.
In the present we got the Queen of Coins. She signifies bounty, mostly material. The coins involve the five senses and, often, money or holdings. So the cards indicate, so far, a movement from fear to bounty — famine to feast. That’s certainly true in the case of the show. Discounting the end, pretty much everything is positive. All the “growing pains” are to be expected, and Kobayashi usually understands when something goes slightly awry. The end is where things get dicy, but even then Tohru stays on “this material plane” (eventually).
The future brought us the four of vessels (cups, more often). How did that elephant get up on those vessels? How will it get down? Is it happy up there, or sad? How can you tell, with elephants? The future will bring Tohru a lot of emotions. They will be powerful and upraised — that is, they will be outside the common ken. That makes sense, for a dragon living as a human. However, we can’t know, for sure, if the emotions will be positive or negative. The elephant is a mystery, balancing up there. That also seems appropriate, as she has strengthening relationships with her new friends but also the threat of discontent, and possibly attack, from home. The card shows a dangerous balancing act: if Tohru pulls it off, the reward will be substantial, but if she fails she’ll damage more than herself. We saw that in the short time she was gone.