One of the most underrated animes EVER. After watching both seasons of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles and full-knowingly getting my heart smashed into a million pieces watching the OVAs, my heart finally had some closure with this heartwarming tale of girl and her wish..
STORY: Like I said before, Kobato is the tale about a girl's wish. The title character Kobato Hanato is such a girl. Obviously not of this world, she is given the task of filling a bottle with "Konpeito" or candies, which represent the hearts of people. Her mentor, a stuffed dog named Iorogi which Kobato pronounces as "Ioryogi" is always by her side to make sure she stays on task...even if it means frying her like a piece of chicken! Kobato is a curious girl, of course, and soon finds herself volunteering at Yomogi Nursery. The story builds itself on that plot as Kobato tries to heal the hearts of people she meets.
But her journey isn't that simple. Cliche CLAMP. However, since Kobato doesn't involve so much heavy fantasy like TRC, and since it IS a shojo, Kobato's drama is delievered with real life situations. Yomogi Nursery for example is suffering from some severe debt problems. The employees who work there work extra jobs in attempt to pay the debt off, but it still isn't enough to even afford new toys for the kids. Plus, there are some persistant (albeit smokin' hot) debt collectors and sharks who frequent the nursery's premise. Making time for other things seems to be one of Kobato's main dramatic sources. Many of the hearts she heals involve characters who are overloaded with work and no time for family.
Though that may sound boring for some, Kobato's pacing is able keep you interested. Because the drama deals with real life problems, it's more relatable to the viewers. Things such as the loss of a favorite tree or finding an abandoned cat can hit hard to home. This is a tearjerker series without the death of a favorite or endearing character (I'm talking to YOU Clannad..). Invest in some tissues as you continue to watch because those tears can sneak up on you. This IS CLAMP though, so the story WILL get darker and more depressing..just letting you know.
ANIMATION: I won't go TOO far in depth about the animation because this IS CLAMP we're talking about. The creators themselves stated that Kobato has a significantly different animation style than most works and they're right. For starters, the characters aren't their usual 20 heads high for a young adult. The hair is especially well animated and unique (have you SEEN Kobato's luscious locks??) and it doesn't have that stereotypical shojo look that usually drives me AWAY from the genre.
As usual, CLAMP succeeds in creating some of the most attractive looking men in anime..shoot, the WOMEN are downright gorgeous too!
SOUND: While the music in Kobato is no short of fantastic, I DO feel it was a bit repetitive. That MAY have been because I watched multiple episodes in single nights, but after awhile, Kobato's song and the children's song lost their emotional magic.
CHARACTERS: Definitely this series' strongest point. While Kobato may have some Mary Sue-ish traits, like her purity and inability to be hated unless you're an a**hole, she delivers this in a way..hm..in a way that..makes it seem like we'd WANT her to be real. Seriously, wouldn't the world be SO much better if we had people like Kobato, going out of their way to returns our umbrellas or offering to sing our children to sleep? She's the kind of person we'd want to be friends with. She is impossible to hate and for all the good reasons.
..and then we have Fujimoto. Kobato's polar opposite colleague at the Nursery. Makes you wonder why he doesn't scare the children with that negative aura around him. As we progress into the series, though, we see that he has a pretty dang good reason to have a pole up his behind. Each episode seems to show Fujimoto working a different sidejob in order to pay off the nursery's debt. On top of that, the guy's studying in college as a law major. Talk about a heavy load (BTW, he does the laundry too).
Among other characters are the people Kobato has to and eventually DOES heal. With TRC being the only CLAMP series I ever watched, I'm guessing that a good number of these characters are from other CLAMP works. Most of these people, while they may be introduced as only important to a single episode, actually reappear and play a significant role in the series as it progresses, such as Fujimoto's friend Domoto who takes a liking to Kobato's positive nature.
OVERALL: Easily the most heartwarming anime series. Not as tissue-depleting as Clannad or Elfen Lied, but enough to make your eyes at least a bit glossy. The characters are charming and attractive, the story keeps your peaked and wondering if Kobato will get her wish, and the animation is soft. On top of that, the opening theme song is one of the most uplifting "good morning" songs you could ever wanna achieve your dreams with. Seriously guys, it's one of the best you'll ever see and will leave you smiling at the end.
Kobato is a magic girl of a different stripe ... call it a candy-stripe. While watching the series, I thought of those young girls wishing to grow up and become nurses. These would be the ‘candy stripers,’ a long-forgotten heritage of the volunteer girls who worked the hospitals until professionalism created the class of orderlies. A noble cause swept aside by a feeling that the medical profession needed something more … professional. Still, a young heart devoted to helping those in time of pain and grief ... that's the spirit of Kobato.
Thanks to CLAMP, we have a delightfully complex story which hinges on one person whose kindness and infectious smile proves that lives can be changed through the influence of that one individual. Kobato comes to our world with a mission, to mend broken hearts. This leads to the conflict of noble mission vs. motivation. Kobato will do well to work her special form of innocent magic to help those hurt in life, but we learn that this is being done to gain a fulfillment of a wish. Still, she has four seasons to fill a bottle with 'confetti,' small candy-shaped tokens of a successful heart-mending. And yet, Kobato is slow in taking up the mission, choosing to become part of the Yomogi Preschool instead of roving the world for these tormented hearts, for reasons that will be constantly unfolding. Oh yes, the special craftiness of CLAMP is this constantly unfolding ... this seems to be a key element in this CLAMP anime which features backstory after backstory revealed through hints and whispers. And the most important backstory comes last of all. Who is this strange girl, Kobato? We know nothing of her, and I was taken aback that Kobato always wore a hat. She looked cute in everything she wore, so the hat went unnoticed. And then, the reason for her wearing the hat is revealed.
As always, characters drive the story, and we learn about each through those very hints and whispers spoken of ago, a story clumsily told because important parts are left unspoken, until all is revealed at the end. First, we have Ioryogi, Kobato's mentor (or, tor-mentor), who is a dog plushie who has been disgruntled in his life (and most likely not always a dog plushie all his life), having been placed under punishment for raising a coup in the Celestial World. He must guide Kobato in her confetti collecting as if this was the key to the removal of his punishment (it is). Given to fits of anger, he cannot understand why Kobato has left off on her mission. She is so close to filling the confetti bottle. Next, Fujimoto is a young man slightly older than Kobato. He grew up an orphan and has been working at Yomogi Preschool. Years ago, Fujimoto was taken in by Yomogi Preschool’s head-mistress' father. Always wishing to be alone, he became adept at the school organ and for years had entertained the children who came to Yomogi. He is cool toward Kobato and her optimism, but Kobato learns to see past the aloofness and see a caring individual who needs a lot of work in that direction. Finally, Sayaka is the teacher at Yomogi and is a warm dedicated person whose only fault is to have inherited a huge debt from her father. She struggles to keep the preschool afloat, and those moments of her anxiety in contemplating the impossibility of paying the debt are riveting. Still, she is encouraged by Kobato's spirit and faces debt-collection and forfeiture bravely, especially considering the chief debt collector being her estranged husband. Co-operating in the confetti-collecting project are various members of the preschool who have their share of young hearts which need that healing touch.
At the climax, Kobato is faced with a decision, to strive to fill the bottle with confetti and fulfill the contract and gain her wish (and recompense for Ioryogi's punishment) or to spend the few months with Fujimoto, with whom she realizes she has fallen in love before returning to the oblivion she had been sequestered. For we learn that Kobato seeks a second chance to life, having lost her first life in an incident that was tragic, and that Ioryogi feels himself responsible for. Striving to win the heart of an insensitive Fujimoto becomes the difficult quest of the springtime, and Kobato meekly accepts her fate in surrendering her transitory soul to the rabbit spirit Ushagi. Fujimoto suddenly realizes he has feelings for Kobato and seeks her out. Ironically, though he finds her too late, the mending of his heart supplies the confetti Kobato needs to fill the bottle ... again, too late. Kobato is taken, along with all memories of Kobato by all connected with her in her one-year stay at Yomogi Preschool.
Love shall conquer, nonetheless. It is the nature of Iyashikei-style anime to have a healing effect. There is little conflict, other than the rough nature of the team of debt collectors who vow to tear down Yomogi Preschool if the debt be not paid. You'd almost expect some "Confetti-Catcher Sakura' to show up to snatch the flask. The rest of that gang show up in episode 20, but no girly threat to the confetti. The only heart-wrenching comes in those years where Kobato came and left without a trace ... save for one moment of recollection comes to Fujimoto when a trace piece of confetti is discovered among his belongings. Then comes the years of growing older knowing that if this love be fated, it shall occur no matter how much time is spent.
Then we will see that the real magic girl is not so magical after all.
Solid animation. Spell-binding music with powerful lyrics. Kobato is an adventure for souls who feel they have lost love.
Hello, again, all.
This time it's a review about Kobato. All-in-all, Kobato is one of those surprising animes you never thought would be as good as it is. Created by Clamp, the same ones who did "Chobits," you can see their animation style throughout the series. For those of you that have seen Chobits, you'll recognize some familar scenery and faces, though one anime has nothing to do with the other. I digest, however. Let's get down to it, shall we?
The story was well thought out and progressive. Sent to Earth to fulfill a task, Kobato is charged with mending the hearts of enough people and collecting enough "kompeto" in her jar to fill it, thereby having her wish granted. Throughout her journey, she is beset by numerous challenges and hardships but smiles throughout them and thinks only of others' happiness. That being said, I don't care how much of a "badass" you think you are, this will have you either crying or on the verge of tears several times over.
As I mentioned previously, the animation style is the same as Chobits. You see Clamp's style throughout the series. There are some things that could have been done better but the animation is, overall, excellent. It's expressive, purposeful and artistic. You see some familiar faces and places since it's easier for them to reuse what they have done already but that's all ancillary stuff.
This is the one catagory where I can find no fault. The music was superb is every respect and fit perfectly. Happy when it needed to be, sad when it needed to be. There was nothing unnecessary. If you have the opportunity to get the soundtrack, I would suggest you do so.
The characters were near-perfect for their roles. For what they were, as far as the story was concerned, each filled his, or her, role as they should have. For instance, the heroine of the story actually acted the way she was supposed to. There was none of that awkward lovey stuff from the main male character and the "big sister" role of the female secondary characters was portrayed well.
My overall score was calculated by adding all the sub-scores and dividing by the number of sub-score catagories (4).
My advice? Watch it. Unless you don't like the genre, in which case I can hardly fault you for not watching it. But you should watch it. ... Are you watching it yet?
My anime reviews are always simple, short and straight-forward and is 100% spoilers-free.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Additional Info: Be ready for some atomic bomb feels to be dropped on your house.
Ending Rating: 90%
Kobato is an excellent mixture of comedy and drama. Make sure you have braced yourself for the feels. It'll show you what helping others truely means and its reward and mix that with some hints of romance aswell (very little, beware). This is worth your time so go! Watch it already!
I reacently finished watching this anime for the second time. The story is very rich with relatable characters and on each episode you can feel empathy for them. This anime shows a lot of emotional strugles that people meet on daily bases and shows us how easy sometimes it is to fix them. I recommend for everybody to watch this 100%, especially those who like emotional animes and animes that have a very happy ending.