This one is kind of hard to explain without spoilers but I will avoid the major revelations as much as possible. Essentially we are following Kobato who has limited memories but has arrived in the town with Ioryogi (who looks like a stuffed toy) and she has a mission. Essentially she has to fill a jar with shiny things and she does this by healing the hearts of those around her. Later we learn there is a time limit as to how long she can take to fill it the jar. Meanwhile, Kobato gets a job at a childcare/kindergarten and slowly grows closer to the children and the others working there. This anime also got a spot on my Top 5 Christmas Focussed Episodes list.
This anime is all about sweetness and light and breaking your heart so if that isn’t appealing you should probably move on. While there is a supernatural element at play this anime all boils down to human emotions and experiencing them and learning from them. While most episodes fall into the Kobato finds someone who has a problem and by the end she’s solved said problem and left them smiling, the ongoing story of Kobato’s quest to have an unnamed wish fulfilled is never forgotten as Ioryogi steadily works to keep both Kobato and the audience on track with what the real story is supposed to be.
And that’s probably how Kobato gets away with being so ridiculously sweet early on. There isn’t much happening in the story in the first half. She gets a job, she meets people, she says naive things, she sings a lot, and she occasionally manages to help out in situations. If that was all there was to this story, some people would still enjoy it as a nice slice of life. But between Ioryogi and Fujimoto we realise not everything in this anime is sweetness and light.
Ioryogi knows a lot more about what is going on with Kobato and the wish than he is intent on letting on. At times the audience are given some insight into what those secrets are as Ioryogi occasionally leaves Kobato’s side to visit his ‘friends’ and we learn about his past. As you would expect from CLAMP, this backstory is full of magic and lore and while we never learn all of the details, the picture it paints is pretty vivid (and part of me wonders why we didn’t get to see that story instead, though perhaps the imagining of what happened is greater than the viewing would be). This darker side to the story lets us know early on we’re dealing with a tragic tale and it gives us just enough to really cut through that sickly sweet tone that Kobato herself keeps throwing off.
The other reason this show doesn’t become overly adorable is Fujimoto. He is a very angry young man and of course bullies Kobato fairly mercilessly for being useless (which given she has no memories and other than singing can’t really do anything is probably a fair call). Of course Fujimoto is actually a great guy under it all and Kobato is going to become infatuated, hence the Christmas episode with the potential love triangle, but Fujimoto injects some very much needed rancour into what the early episodes.
For fans of Tsubasa Chronicles there’s also a small cameo from some of our favourite inter-dimensional travellers during one of the episodes.
Other points of interest include Kobato’s outfits. She has one outfit for each season so it is very easy to keep track of time and how long she’s been there and how long she has left. The time limit is literally the only thing driving any sense of haste in this story as Kobato herself is completely unable to really care about time passing. As Ioryogi becomes desperate, Kobato all but throws off her duty to fill the jar to go on a personal mission to save Fujimoto and at that point most of the pieces of the puzzle as to what is going on click but the final revelations in the last couple of episodes will still break your heart and then slowly help you piece it back together.
There’s an array of interesting side and supporting characters and some of these add much needed humour and human interactions. The whole kindergarten getting shut down storyline is necessary though seems really dragged out at times and yet still manages to turn itself around into something sweet.
That’s really the recurring theme. Things don’t really end they just get new and different beginnings. It fits with the overall tone of the anime and makes the ending a little easier to take. And it’s a theme that is interwoven through almost every plot and subplot in this story so there is a cohesion to this show that is fairly rare in anime.
Anyway, this isn’t fast moving, it isn’t overly exciting, and the emotions it hits you with are clearly telegraphed from a mile away but it is very effective and it is some good entertainment for when you just want the world to be a little bit nicer (first half) or when you’d like a good cry (second half). I would recommend this anime but I know that it won’t be for everyone and Kobato as a blank slate protagonist (particularly in the early episodes) is certainly not going to win everyone’s hearts no matter how sweet she is.
If you’ve watch Kobato let me know what you thought of it.
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15 thoughts on “Kobato Series Review”
Man, Fujimoto was what kept me going with this anime. I could slowly feel myself turning into a teenage girl whenever he’d appear on-screen and I’d sit up in my chair, waft the air around me, and smile real purty.
The series is fine. It stays around a little too long, but the ending has enough build-up to it and the characters (Fujimoto) are likable enough to care about.
Fujimoto definitely saved a few episodes for me. Kobato is sweet but she annoys me fairly regularly early in the series.
I loved watching Kobato. and I think the way the anime ended was almost the same as the way the manga ended.
I guess all I have to contribute is that many of CLAMP’s characters from previous works show up and not just Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles. The landlady’s two daughters are apparently crossover characters from Chobits, for example.
Thanks for the review. Hopefully it helps people realize the show exists since it seems to be more unknown compared to other CLAMP works.
Yeah, there are a few other CLAMP appearances but Tsubasa was the only one that really got me excited.
I’m amazed by how many people haven’t heard of this really.
That so true. The others just didn’t catch my attention as much as Tsubasa.
Mmm it’s quite q surprise. The OP and ED are both so good so clearly they have to watch the series.
I’d never heard of this anime before now! It sounds interesting though. I don’t normally enjoy this type of anime but I think I’ll have to give it a shot (eventually, it’s being added to my ever growing “to watch later” list.)
If you ever get around to it, let me know what you think.
I will! ^_^
This is my first time hearing of this show and I’m honestly tempted to give it a chance. It seems like it has elements I’d like but also things I’d find tiring.
I guess it depends on how much of a CLAMP fan you are. If you like their usual style then you will find plenty to enjoy in this. If not, and if you aren’t really up for a slice of life/drama with a supernatural back story then you should probably pass.
I liked xxxHolic and Tsubasa quite a lot but the only other CLAMP work I’ve seen is X and that didn’t work out too well for me. I guess I’ll give it a go and see.
YESSSSSSS BEAUTIFUL SLICE OF LIFE one of my favourites honestly and not because it’s by clamp. You displayed this series in a great review XD kobato I agree is one of the blankest protagnist Ive come across yet but that is not her fault lol
I think she gets away with it because she doesn’t remain blank very long. Every experience she has changes her and we see her growing in leaps and bounds. If she’d stayed the same as episode 1 I probably wouldn’t have been able to deal with her.
It’s just simply beautiful..
That’s probably a good description.