PL notified me of something interesting yesterday, which I had not realized yet: Kobato has grown more on me than I had realized. I was surprised when I first read that, but after watching this episode I’m sure of it: I’ve given this show way too little credit thus far. Kobato shows that you can achieve depth with simplicity, and you don’t need world-changing or epicness to deliver great characters. Thank GOD we finally have another show to remind ourselves of this.
I guess it was impatience that lead me to condemn this series early on, and opt not to blog it. After all, this series had nothing to set itself apart in the beginning. I really thought that it would end up as another one of those series with just shallow characters, where 24 episodes would just pass without anything happened. At this point, I’m not sure what was up with me: here we have a show that for once is scheduled for 24 episodes right from the start. It’s produced by Clamp, who after Tsubasa Chronicles know better than any other manga creators how to keep track of their series’ adaptations, so this series is planned in perfectly inside its time-frame, as opposed to those tons of other series that are just way too short.
My guess that it’s my pessimism that turned me off at the start. Around three years ago I probably would have jumped on this series, but ever since I’ve been disappointed a bit too often by series that started of slow and simple… and never really went anywhere in the end. I think the most recent example at the time of Kobato’s debut was Saki: I basically gave it a bit of a chance because I was hoping for that same development, but the show just turned into a huge disappointment for me. And then there are all those romantic comedies out there that thrive on showing cute girls. And really, I’ve tried to give them a chance for the past few years, but I hardly ever found one I really liked. Kobato reminds me of El Cazador de la Bruja. I’ve seen it constantly criticised for its simple story and bad action. But who cares?! The characters were damn awesome! Seriously though, especially in its second half when the characters came together it turned into a very memorable series for me.
In any case, this episode of Kobato really showed me its character-development. Would it have worked to anyone who hasn’t seen the rest of the series? Probably not. It’s all about showing not exactly how Kobato has matured, but instead how her desire to protect the kindergarten has grown and how she does everything in her power to help out. Would she have done the same at the start of the series? I doubt that. And yet her development feels natural and it doesn’t look like she just changed character. Same with just about5 everyone else: they all have gotten a passion to protect that kindergarten.
My big dilemma right now is how to recognize series like Kobato from random shows that never get anywhere. At the time of this series’ debut, I was beginning to think that I’ve gotten pretty good at evaluating the potential of a series based on its first episode, and this was a good wake-up call. There are of course those series that are obviously going to be awesome (Aoi Bungaku) or erm… not to my tastes (Ladies Versus Butlers), but what about Kiddy Girl-And? Looking back I’m glad to have dropped it, hearing the stories about it, but what if it did turn out good? Was I also wrong in dropping Railgun?
Rating: ** (Excellent)