Plot: "The cheery Kobato Hanato is on a mission to heal people’s damaged hearts and gather the resulting “konpeito”; she must collect one hundred of these candy-shaped trophies in order for her deepest wish to be granted: to go to a certain place. Along the way, she’s accompanied by an ever-disgruntled, talking stuffed animal of a guardian named Ioryogi who scores her efforts, attempts to keep her on-track, and reminds her of the rules governing her task: she only has one year to fulfill her goal and she must not, under any circumstance, fall in love with someone whose heart she heals."
Story: I'm on a roll today, after Kaichou wa Maid-sama I had to make a review about this one as well since it was probably one of the best Fall 2009 anime I encountered. It surprizes me a little bit to see such a simple and fabulous anime like Kobato being so underrated. Nevertheless, this is not an issue since I am here to make justice towards this show. Kobato is the title of this show and also the name of the main heroine. Hanato Kobato a cheerful, energetic girl has to fulfill her mission in order for her wish to be granted. She wants to travel to different persons around the world but to do so she must first heal the broken hearts of certain people and afterwards to gather them in her bottle. Her wish will be granted once the bottle is filled with the broken hearts of people. He companion, Ioryogi is there to guide her but his reasons are also connected with her wish. He can only return to his true form once Kobato manages to complete her mission. Kobato has to face certain issues, such as adapting and cohabitating with the local residents of the city without being in the center of atention. Hard thing to do since her behaviour always attracts the atention of people however because of this issue she gets to meet the people that she has to help in healing their hearts. Her first encounter is Fujimoto Kyoukazu, a college student, which on the surface seems a tough person but deep down he cares about others and about the ones he holds dear. Kobato starts to approach him once she decides to help Sayaka Okiura in runing the kindergarten where Kyoukazu helps as well. At first, Kyoukazu rejects the idea of having Kobato helping there since they did not know anything about her, except for her name. Even though she did not seem like the type of person to do any harm, she did not exceed in many things other than her optimistic view towards the world and people and her only talent, singing. Her songs which come deep from her heart managed to impress Kyoukazu which never opened his heart towards any people other than Sayaka. Because of her clumsy nature Kobato is always helped by Kyoukazu sometimes behind her back, sometimes in front of Kobato without her realizing. This anime has the famous Clannad type of setting. Most of the characters have a dark side in themselves that they either hide or expose it but keeps people away from them just to conceal their past. Kobato slowly starts to approach the people in need of help and sometimes with just mere words or simple gifts she manages to erase the doubt in their hearts and to make them have a different view aboujt the things they face. Be it kids, high-school students or grown up adults she does her best in approaching them and healing their hearts. However in a lake you don't find only water, but hard rocks as well and Kyoukazu is one of them. Because of the traumas he experienced during his childhood he became an anti-social person, a person that would not listen to the advice of other people except Sayaka. Kyoukazu will prove to be the bigest obstacle Kobato encounters in her quest, but...i wonder, a romance in this situation, could that possible? You'll never know if you don't watch the show.
Animation and Sound: Speaking about animation, we talk about a famous studio here, that is Madhouse (Nana, Black Lagoon, Claymore, etc) a studio that is mostly known for shows that provide eye-candy animation but does not really approach a theme such as this one presented in Kobato. A slow-paced romance is definitely something new for the producers. Despite the fact that Kobato was not a show with a huge financial support, the producers did a great job in portraying the character designs and the background as well. Though not very sophisticated, both designs managed to fit in the mood of the show. Sound wise, this show shows its true colors. Intended for a shoujo audience, the soundtracks were not really pleasent for the ears of a hardcore metalhead like me. However what impressed me was the soundtrack played when Kobato was singing. The voice at least was very heart-warming. The voice actors were well chosen as well. The voice of Kana Hanazawa (Kobato) never stops impressing me and the voices of Tomoki Maeno (Kiyokazu) and Tetsu Inada (Ioryogi) are also quite amazing.
Characters: Probably the highest point of this show stands in the character development. This show at the beginning embraced the episodic type of plot, meaning that Kobato simply met one character after another, most of them disappearing completely after that certain episode. Once the story finally settled, the relationship between Kobato and the other main characters (Kiyokazu, Sayaka) starts to develop. The comic couple, Kobato - Ioryogi stood as a sort of refresher and it always managed to draw a smile on my face everytime they were arguing (which happened quite often). The only regret I had was that somehow I wanted to know more details about Kobato's past, which was barely revealed at the end of the show.
Overall: The most underrated show of the Fall 2009 season. I am quite surprised to see this since it's quite hard nowadays for a show to make you so addicted that you can't take you eyes off of your screen. It would be absurd to claim that Kobato is a masterpiece, since the plot is so overused, however the way this show was presented was unique in its own way. Shoujo fanatics should definitely watch this one. Clannad fans might enjoy this one too but don't expact the type of serious drama Clannad had. All in all I think that this show deserves alot more prases from people and probably more attention.
~Enjoy and Cya Around~