Oh, how I love Madhouse. Kobato has never been among their big-budgeted series, but in episodes like this they just go all out, and produce an absolutely gorgeous episode that has among the best eye-candy I’ve seen this season. The way they handle their CG is miles above most other animation companies.
And about this episode… I can only say how adorable it was. It was all about Kobato and Kiyokazu, and the development between the two was basic, but very heart-warming. Show this as a random episode and it’ll probably fall short. The reason why I enjoyed this episode so much was because of how the characters were already developed at this point. Kobato is the kind of series that doesn’t offer much in the short term, however it’s a gem on the long term.
Also, while he played just a very small part in this episode, I loved Ioryogi. He was just adorable, both in the way at which he kept reminding Kobato (who is more and more trying to avoid that matter) of the konpeito-bottle, and the way that he ended up celebrating Christmas. I really thought that that white creature didn’t want to talk to him anymore, but here this episode proved me wrong. This will offer even more opportunity for the creators to get the finale right. The main focus is going to be on two things:
– What will happen off the nursery?
– What will happen to Kobato?
The former will probably result in a good ending, but I don’t care about that: I’m only interested in the role that every single character will have in it. The latter however has been built up extremely well. It’s about the reverse of Chobits: in there the main storyline started off incredibly intriguing but became less and less interesting as the show went on. Here, I’m looking more and more forward to that ending. I blame Kobato: she’s become such an adorable character at this point.
(Not that I consider Chobits to be bad or anything, of course, but what made Chobits stand out was its collection of themes and subject matters, not the main characters).
Rating: ** (Excellent)