Sweet and naïve Hanato Kobato came to Earth on a mission to collect and fill a bottle with "konpeito," which appear after healing a person's heart that is suffering. Kobato collects these because it is her wish to go to a certain place. Despite her strangeness, Kobato turns out to be well-suited for this mission as her heartfelt sincerity in helping others earns her the love and admiration of everyone she meets. However, she is not allowed to fall in love with anyone whose heart she heals.
I have to admit to being won over by Kobato before ever seeing the first frame of film. One look at the artwork for this series and Kobato's beautiful clothing and settings and I knew this was going to be something for me. Thankfully I was also rewarded with an enjoyable and heartwarming story. While Kobato doesn’t exactly break any new ground, it’s a light hearted series that should make anyone smile, with just a touch of drama to keep it interesting.
Kobato herself begins as a bit of a mystery, tasked with a mission of healing the hearts of others in order
for her to be granted her own wish. Despite being a hopeless idiot and incurably moe, Kobato does the best she can helping others. She is guided and protected by Ioryogi, an important figure from the spirit world who appears to Kobato in the form of a stuffed animal. The reasons for her mission, her origins, and the reason for Ioryogi's appearance are explained as the story unfolds.
Most of the plot is going to be fairly predictable to anyone who's seen many series like this and the early episodes are a bit formulaic. However this does change as the plot thickens over the last half of the series. I found the pacing to be good and I never felt that it lingered or stalled for too long in any place for me to get bored with it. Maybe the only exception would be the first half dozen episodes, with their similar and episodic plotlines. I was never blown away with any of it despite Kobato's overwhelming cuteness, but the ending story arc is both heartwarming and heat wrenching. But I did like the ending overall and felt it wrapped up the series nicely and tied up all the loose ends.
The main reason to watch Kobato is for the titular character. She is overbearingly adorable in every way. Her character design is extremely appealing and she has possibly the best wardrobe I have yet seen in anime. Kobato could be the poster girl for moe; she’s earnest, innocent, naive, lacking any common sense, and impossibly stupid. On the surface one would probably think she lacked substance as well. While you could definitely say this early on, due to the length of the series and the time spent growing and developing her character she eventually becomes a great all around protagonist, instead of just a moe figurehead.
Kobato's main foil would be her guardian Ioryogi. A quick tempered spirit stuck in the form of a stuffed animal, he is constantly berating Kobato for her stupidity and chastising her for not staying on task. However despite his gruff nature it’s obvious that he really loves and cares about her too. The relationship between them is the source of a lot of the shows humor, and I found the pair to be quite a delight to watch.
The other most important character to the story would be the introverted and standoffish Fugimoto. I am not really a big fan of Fugimoto's type and always feel this is an overused cliché, particularly in shoujo and romance anime. I don’t think I will ever understand why girls find this kind of guy to be appealing. Why would you want to break down the guys emotional barriers and deal with all his baggage when there are plenty of other guys who are actually nice to you? Someday I hope to understand this mindset.
The rest of the supporting cast is handled well and for the most part quite interesting. Sayaka is the most important, as the head of the preschool that Fugimoto and Kobato work. The great majority of the story takes place at the school and revolves around their efforts to save it from villainous loan sharks. Sayaka is given some back story and development but most of the remaining cast remains mostly static. They push the story in the right direction when needed and then fade from view. This is a good thing since it allows the show to focus on those who deserve the screen time.
I am not particularly a huge fan of CLAMP artwork and designs. While their drawings are undoubtedly brilliant and beautiful (particularly when drawing children), I never liked the skinny and malnourished looking characters. However, I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t the case in Kobato and the production studio opted for a more normal look. While everyone is still a bit too thin, they don’t look like they are starving to death. What really won me over and why I think this is perhaps the most visually appealing work yet was Kobato and her beautiful clothing. Also, being a CLAMP product you can expect are to see plenty of references and cameos by familiar characters from their other works. It is nice that at least for the important ones, they don’t seem to reuse the same old models with different names. This may or may not be a bonus to some fans, but for me it was refreshing.
The series music, the OP theme and the in between songs are cute and very fitting of the series nature. In addition the acting is solid all around. Kobato's seiyuu is suitably adorable sounding and brings out her personality. Though it does become a bit grating and overly cute at times, it is a minor annoyance and it probably wouldn’t work as well with a more mature sounding voice.
Overall I found Kobato to be a rewarding and wonderful viewing experience. If you like cute and adorable things, CLAMP, light hearted and touching stories with a hint of romance; then Kobato should be high on your list. If you really dislike moe or need action to be entertained than this is something you should stay away from. While it may not go down as an all-time classic, Kobato will leave you with a smile.
Amazing- that's the one word I would use to describe Kobato.
I'm rather picky with my ratings, but for the first time in a good while, I decided on a ten.
Story-9 The plot of Kobato. starts out simple enough- a girl assigned the task of healing peoples' wounded hearts. The first half of the series covers the bases of the overall objective- cases of Kobato doing her work. Even these earlier episodes I though were awesome, but as the series enters its second half, Kobato.'s plot thickens and the series develops into a masterpiece.
In the first half, we see glimpses of the dark realities of life
beneath the bright, cheerful character of Kobato- and from the very start, Kobato. deals with very real life details; a misunderstanding with a friend, a tragedy with a lover, family problems...
In the second half, however, is revealed a whole new facet of Kobato. The show cuts deeper than a story about a girl with the objective of fulfilling her dream. Debts. Love. Death. Tragedy. Farewells. We see all of these events changing and forming a much more mature Hanato Kobato
Art-10 I loved the art- I loved it! The details are intricate, the colors and effects wonderfully done. I don't think I could have asked more of the creators (especially considering this is based off a CLAMP work) except actually letting viewers distinguish the ages of the characters.
Sound-10 The soundtrack for Kobato. was one of the best I've ever heard. My favorite soundtrack up until the point I saw Kobato. was the True Tears Soundtrack, but Kobato. really gave True Tears a run for its money. The sounds vary- cheerful, light, heavy, peaceful... Both soundtracks are masterpieces that fulfill their purpose, supporting and improving the show.
Character-10 Character. Yes, I'm someone who doesn't enjoy a book, movie... or anything with shallow characters. At a glimpse, people may think Kobato, is just another "moe", empty-headed character, but as the series progresses, all the characters- Fujimoto and Kobato noticeably- grow and mature as they learn important life lessons through their trials. The storyline doesn't go "easy" on them: the lessons they learn are tough, yes, but also shape and define the characters.
Enjoyment-10 I both laughed and cried while watching Kobato. It really is a series with contrasting qualities; it brings laughter and tears. It shows the darkness in our society, but also the hope, dreams, and goodness in it. There are trials, but also miracles and second chances. This simple, 24-episode story has all this- and what's even better is that it has a healing quality, one that warms the heart.
Overall-10 Overall, I give Kobato. a ten. I would give an eleven if I could. Kobato. is something viewers of all ages can watch- I would recommend to anyone, anyday. You could watch it with the whole family, your siblings, friends... it's not something you have to filter or think through.
All I can say is to give it a try- and let the show do the rest.
Somewhere around about episode 12 it hit me. No, not that the show had suddenly become watchable, that wasn’t to happen for several more episodes. No, what hit me was a perfect way to express what it was I didn’t like about this show. I had some vague review thoughts in my head (subconsciously reviewing the show as you watch it; the curse of being a critic) but most of them revolved around bitching about how stupid Kobato herself was and how the show relied on cuteness as its main appeal, something I’ve just never really liked. But then it hit me. I read on
a blog somewhere that the way the person got through a series they didn’t like was because they spent their time also playing Pokemon. So I finally got around to playing Pokemon Platinum after the first few episodes of Kobato (why yes, I am a game behind everyone else) because I realised I would probably smash my laptop if I had to sit through another ‘Kobato Ganbarrebleargh~’ without something else to occupy my mind. Now normally this shouldn’t work unless I was watching the dub. Multitasking while watching subs is next to impossible. However it did work because I actually understood pretty much everything that was being said.
Let me explain. I have never once made an attempt at learning Japanese. I know about as much as any weeaboo who watches subbed anime would know. Watching Kobato wasn’t a sudden grand realisation that I was now fluent in Japanese. It was the simplicity of the language the characters used. They all had just a few stock lines they would throw out in most situations which meant that after watching a few episodes paying attention to the subs you knew pretty much everything that they could say. This effects the anime in far more ways than you might realise. Of course you get the painfully dull and repetitive dialogue. Of course there’s the way every scene and every episode feels the exact bloody same with no inspiration, ingenuity or imagination, bar Kobato’s wardrobe. But alongside that you also have the actual tension in the series solved using the same uninspired methods in every episode. Kobato throws out a few stock phrases, Ioryogi mutters something in the background and all is right with the world once again. It limits the direction any episode can take.
But yes, it does get better. It may take until around episode 17 before I actually went through an episode without having beaten 3–4 pokemon trainers while it was playing, but it certainly did improve. Vastly improved. By episode 20 I had shut that Game Boy for good and was actually watching this show for real. The show took a much more dramatic and melancholic tone that suited the style of storytelling far more. After watching the previous 16 episodes of failed comedy (bar Ioryogi dodging cork bullets at the festival. That was quite funny) and bland stories that were supposed to be heartwarming, the effect this change to a plot-driven story had on the overall quality of the show was phenomenal.
Let me talk about the MAL stats for a second on this series. There’s a very high percentage drop rate to completed rate, around 20% of the people who watched it, dropped it. And yet the anime is rated 8.07 at the time of writing, a very respectable score indeed. MAL doesn’t count the scores once you’ve seen beyond a certain number of episodes so those who actually sat through the entire thing were clearly rewarded for their efforts. It also shows the usual reaction of people to rate something highly because the later episodes were better, much like After Story. It’s something that bugs me a lot because I hate having to sit through several poor episodes just because ‘it gets better I swear!’. I don’t doubt it does. It’s just those earlier episodes are a right pain to sit through. Because Kobato is, for the most part, a poor anime. It just happens to end on a very high note. Plus you can’t skip those earlier episodes the same way you theoretically can for After Story. Without those earlier episodes the ending ones don’t work.
It did turn me into a romantic sap though. Good old Clamp did it again. They made me believe that, through anything, love will prevail. No matter what happens to you, what you go through, what form you’re in, love will get through all that. It did the very same thing Chobits did. It made me believe in the Power of Love. I came into this anime looking for something to replicate the feeling Chobits gave me and, in the end, I guess it did exactly that.
What are you doing with your life? What are you working for? What will you accomplish during your time? How could that time be better served improving that of another?
All of these are questions you'll probably be asking yourself while watching "Kobato."
"Kobato" is one of those rarities that soothes the soul. It's hard not to find yourself smiling often, since there are many heartwarming moments throughout. The show regularly brought tears to the eye--not of sadness, but happiness. It's definitely something to consider checking out if you like happier anime, or need something to cheer you up.
The entire point
of the series can be summarized with one word: empathy. It shows the heartwarming inspiration and greatness of what happens when someone abandons their own interests for the sake of helping others. When someone becomes selfless, the avenue is opened up for miraculous outcomes and beautiful changes in peoples' lives.
A pessimistic philosopher once said that there is no such thing as a truly selfless action, basing their argument on the premise that we're only doing it because seeing someone in need bothers us--because we ourselves would feel better and be at peace if they were happier. But what about people for whom this sense of relief is only a side effect? What about the people who truly don't care about themselves, and are willing to go above and beyond to lend a hand when someone needs it? "Kobato" shows how great your life can be when you realize that following your own dreams isn't the only source of fulfillment.
I was a little nervous at first becaue of how moe Kobato herself was, but I quickly learned just how great of a character she is. Her mission is to heal peoples' hearts so her wish can be granted, but it becomes obvious early on that she is far too concerned with the well-being of others to worry about filling the jar for herself. (Ioryogi constantly observes this and stresses over how she may not complete her task in time to have her wish granted.) She'll spend days--or longer--working towards an end, even with the knowledge that it won't get her any closer to her goal. She's great with kids and loves to help out at the local preschool, even though this too doesn't directly get her any closer to her goal. She loses sleep worrying about the problems of those around her: She relentlessly seeks solutions, no matter how poorly she may be treated or how ingrateful the person may be. She just wants everyone to be happy.
Kobato teaches us to take pleasure in little things as she carries out every task happily and with a smile--even ones we may not necessarily want to do. It's a combination of these things that leads to the creation of what is perhaps the best wife/mother material to ever grace the world of fiction.
If we had more characters (or better yet, people) like Kobato, the world would be a better place. It's disheartening that mindless fan service dolls are more popular than characters that are actually GOOD from shows with actual substance.
This show has more characterization and character development in a single episode than many anime contain over the span of their entire runtime. It's touching to see the characters change after their encounters with Kobato. The show deals with very real issues people go through and examines the power one person stepping outside of themselves can have, making all the difference in changing a life. Even the most stone-hearted aren't safe from her outgoing and caring nature: no wound can't be healed with the proper care.
"Kobato" has a pretty good idea of when it's time to stop with the comedic content when things are getting serious, which is really important in a dramedy. Once misplaced line can completely butcher the mood of a scene; "Kobato" knows what's appropriate and when, but is quick to throw in a crack once the storm has passed and the happy status quo has been restored, helping complete a smooth transition and elevating the viewer's spirits.
...I guess I gotta talk about art 'n' sound 'n' stuff, too. Character design is great; there are some pretty unique ones, the most unique and appealing being Kobato. Hair movement seems to have been given a particular attention, particularly in the case of it bouncing up and down and someone runs or as the wind blows through it--again, the most attention was given to Kobato. There is some pretty great imagery, like petals, or leaves falling from trees, or snow, and the surrounding greenary is always a pleasure. Warmer, brighter, and more vibrant colors are what dominate the visible spectrum, complementing the overall tone of the series.
Voice acting quality is excellent, with Hana Kanazawa completely bringing the show to life with her peppy, happy, excited Kobato. Hearing her sing was an extra special treat. The soundtrack contains some beautiful pieces--particularly those played during more dramatic or emotionally riveting scenes, although there are a number of more upbeat ones for the laid back/comedic scenes.
"Kobato" made me put my hands together and clap like an idiot because it made me so happy. The show renewed my faith in humanity; it gave me hope that there may still be good people out there with actual morals who care about their fellow man. It's wholesome, pure, innocent, and clean--all endangered, unappreciated, underrated qualities in this day and age. It made me take a step back and reexamine how I was living, and radically altered my outlook on life in general.
The ultimate fantasy for any anime fan is the anime crossover. How cool would it be if one of your favorite anime characters teamed up with another one of your favorite characters to make animated magic? Very, indeed. Let's explore some of the most creative anime crossovers of all time.