Posted by psgels on 23 March 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kobato




Kobato is one of those series that at first sight isn’t anything special. It starts with a premise, and repeats that for a bunch of episodes with a number of questionable results. In Kobato’s case, she has to heal a number of people’s hearts. I too wasn’t that much interested by this premise, having seen a few too many series with similar premises that never really went anywhere in the end. Kobato however, did.

The people that Kobato heals in the first half of this series range from nice enough to mediocre, so it’s understandable to get turned off at first. But oh, the character-development in the second half more than makes up for it. This is one of those series which is greater than the sum of its part. Through its entire airtime, it never forgets what it’s supposed to be, and what it’s supposed to build-up for. Every of the early episodes spends time to flesh out the characters, while the later episodes use this build-up to deliver with an excellent emotional impact, resulting in a heart-warming series.

Kobato truly stands out in how incredibly genuine she is. I found her an airhead at first, but her personality and innocence turned out to be so addictive that I couldn’t help but root for her. And true, the story in the second half can get pretty soppy at times, but this isn’t the show that tries to pull deus ex machina for extra drama, and instead carefully builds it up.

Madhouse has done the animation, and despite that you can easily see that this wasn’t the series that their best artists were working on, they still delivered great graphics, allowing Clamp’s character-designs to shine, along with a few episodes that look absolutely gorgeous.

Kobato’s story is very simple, but it has really proven that it’s in no way a disadvantage. Due to its simple plot it had all of the time it needed to properly tell the story that it wanted to do. the ending is wonderfully un-rushed, and provides an amazing conclusion to the series that made optimal use of the time it spent on building up. This isn’t a series for people who dislike overdramatic-ish series due to the soppy parts, but this series’ second half hit all of the right buttons for me.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Never forgets the meaning of build-up. Simple, but very effective.
Characters: 9/10 – Excellent character-development, though the drama can get a bit soppy at times.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Madhouse rocks, even in their less-budgetted series.
Setting: 8/10 – Good attention to detail to the series’ small surroundings, plus some Clamp references that don’t feel forced or rushed.

17 Responses

  1. Acylia says:

    I agree with you there, and I’m glad you picked Kobato up and followed it(her) to the end. Sometimes series tend to surprise us. :D

  2. luckyhuh? says:

    It was wonderful, i have been very displease with lots of endings(sora urrr and many others!) but with this the build up was so nice and steady, that i couldn’t help but feel satisfied, it remained me of the days i used lo love anime, maybe because i am getting old and after 18+ years of watching anime my patient for it, has being running low with every year as more real life stuff piles up, kudos to this series for bring back once in a while this prodigal son, i think the last time i felt like this was spice and wolf.

  3. kyoko-han says:

    I actually cant agree with your rating. The build up could have been better to be honest with you. I understand why they didnt have much to work with since the manga is so short.
    Alot of characters didnt get fleshed out enough like for example ioryogi and his friends what did they try to do to God of all people that they were turned into objects. What was ioryogi after? I also felt okiura character was wasted. He could have been so much more and perhaps an actual rival. i would have loved more character development with him.
    As it stands I feel sorry for his character he looks cool but he wasnt executed properly.
    Overall I liked the last two episodes it was definitely well done a bit over dramatic which was completely unnecessary but overall it was cute. I would have liked it if fujimoto cut his hair for his new job but well.

    I have to give this series a good 50/100

  4. xiao1 says:

    such a cute series. I love love loved it to pieces. I do wish they gave more back story to Ioryogi though. Well, I guess I’ll turn to the manga then!

  5. Suu says:

    I agree with Kyoko-han’s opinion. The ending was very typical of a CLAMP series. I felt like it was reminiscent of other things they’ve done and maybe I would have appreciated it more having not known what to expect.

    I also found the– everyone gets a good ending AND our couple meet again AND they get their memories back so they can live happily ever after –was a little TOO corny even while I really REALLY wanted to feel touched. I loved the bittersweet piano scene at the end and then the moment Kobato was like “oh my! my memories are back TOO~” I had a headdesk moment. I would’ve liked to see Kobato and Fujimoto meet again at least without memories at least to suspend my belief of the perfect happily ever after.

    Overall it wasn’t ‘bad’. Kobato was sweet and I enjoyed watching it. In fact, a lot more than Kyoko’s 50/100 (so harsh, dear!) But I do agree this story could’ve made better use of its time with all the episodes that did nothing for the plot. And hell, I love slice of life, but if they were going to make it this dramatic at the end I think they could’ve been more consistant with the drama and went a little easy on the fluff. You could’ve watched a few episodes at the beginning and end and got the whole series.

    But eh, I’m so hard to please :P Oh well! At least it was pretty

  6. Ebod says:

    Right, so after watching the last episode with subs, I think I figured out how it went.

    Kobato died early and made a wish to cross time and dimensions to be with the person she loves the most (which was alternative universe Fujimoto).

    However, she fell in love with the current Fujimoto, so when she was whisked away, her wish changed because she no longer wanted to be reborn in the other dimension with the other Fujimoto. Everyone thought she was gone forever as even though her wish changed, the contract stayed the same.

    HOWEVER, the contract said the she could transcend time and space to be with the one she loves the most. The person she loves the most is now present day Fujimoto, not the alternative universe one.

    So, as per the contracted, she DID transcend time and was reborn again to be with Fujimoto (thus explaining her age – 17? 18? – even though she was only granted her wish 4 years ago).

    Phew, hope that makes sense. xD

  7. luckyhuh? says:

    Well, i know there were some short comings with this anime, and i acknowledge them, but damn all those when flying out of the window the moment i found my self crying like a girl, i do think that the sum of the good parts of this anime completely out weight the bad, and this is from someone that with the years have become a hard-ass towards anime because i simply too old to be flapping at any anime S!#$, that is coming from japan this days.

  8. Alec says:

    the ending was nice and everything, but I would have proffered if she didnt have the deus ex machina part in the end where the curter Kobato remembered her previous life.

    i would have prefered if she was a reincarnation, just like shuichiro’s case. that would add abit more DRAMA to it… its not a happy ending, but its 100% better than the current ending.

  9. inkka says:

    Aww…Happy ending…Usually I don’t like deus ex machina too much. but damn. The ending of Kobato made me cried like baby.I’m satisfy too much to see the two happily together.(Especially when I see how much Fujimoto cares about her.)
    And Thanks for the little fantasy theme that always appears.Little Deus ex machina can acceptable anyway.

    And the “look a like” happy and questionable ending of this series make you can imagine what the thing that truly happen to Kobato.(I like this way). You cannot sure to say that everyone can remember her or why she is in that place(the condition of your imagine is around 4-6 years after ep23 and her story that Kohaku told). if Fujimoto can remember her only. Of course.It’s a little sad for me.

    Talk about overall-review. I really like this series. It really heart-warming. It really excellent character-development(For me I give this section 10/10. Different form you).
    You can see obviously that Kobato in ep1 is different form ep23-24.You know…some series you say character development is so good. But You can’t prove that anyway.But this series is different.It can prove with Your eyes.

    (First half of this series is really help for impact stroy that It did in second-half. and..At least the main premise is about collect people’s heart right?. so it didn’t the bad thing for them to do such of thing for half of series. Hey you remember the first thing that they said about the story of this series?? and It’s concern about Kobato’s contract anyway).

    And what the problem with “Simple story”(But with some detail that it gave.It didn’t much simple to me.) This is the way that you can get the highest genuine drama.Yes It’s really effective Because you cut and abandon the smart story that always has bad guys blahhhhh.So Your attention is mainly at character and You see. What the thing that they give to us!!

    Wonderful..Kobato I love her !!

  10. inkka says:

    hmm..I forgot to tell the thing that I say about the character development of Kobato. Why It can prove with your eyes..

    Because Kobato’s wish is CHANGE.
    at the end.

  11. Reltair says:

    I stopped half-way during this series. So the second half is even better? I’m going to have to pick this up again, especially if it has a happy ending.

  12. totoum says:

    i’m with alec on this,the ending would have been perfect for me without the deus ex machina,fujimoto finds kobato again but she doesn’t remember him but still falls in love with him,they live happily ever after and maybe one day when they’re really old fujimoto tells her the story of how she first met him.

    But I can live with this.

    A couple of note

    First,kudos to hanazawa kana who voiced kobato ,she’s maybe the only actress who can do a “moe” or “airhead” voice without annoying me at all.

    Second,psgels said:”and despite that you can easily see that this wasn’t the series that their best artists were working on”

    I originaly started watching because there were some of madhouse’s best staff working on this,it’s just that they probably had a limited budget.

  13. kyuzo says:

    lol. yey for an ending that made viewers overuse the term deus ex machina.

    ending was perfect for me. i’d rather have this than what most people wanted, a bunch of pictures showing how happy both of them are in the future. it fully closed the series. also, it gave the chance to show how everyone else, who played quite a part in the series, were doing. predictable as it may, it was well executed.

  14. Firechick says:

    I wonder why people are saying this anime had a limited budget? I sure don’t think it does! I think this has one of the best animation artwork I’ve ever seen! Especially the flowery backgrounds!

    Anyway, I loved CardCaptor Sakura so I felt like watching this…and boy am I glad I did! But I haven’t decided whether I’m gonna put it in my top 20 yet. But I definitely loved it to bits!

  15. psgels psgels says:

    Firechick: well, let me put it this way: it aired right alongside Madhouse’s Aoi Bungaku. Of course it would pale in comparison to that one. ^^;

  16. Miguel says:

    I loved this show and agree with the review 100%. The character developement for Kobato was great. This has almost none of the typical cliches. Kobato has no memories for a good reason that isnt a bad car accident, she is an airhead but is so different from all the other airheads in animes, she is one of the most likable characters I have ever seen. And its nice to see an airheaded character that isnt fanservice for a change. The animation was some of the best Ive seen, madhouse can do anything. All the characters were unique. i loved it.

  17. Robin says:

    They say that Kobato’s wish has changed, but has it really? Kobato’s wish was always Fujimoto…only the nature of the wish changed as Kobato prefers to spend more time with the present day Fujimoto than reincarnate…

    However, in the end, if we assume that Fujimoto’s “Kopentou” filled up Kobato’s bottle and therefore granted her wish, guess what? She ended up in the same world as Fujimoto again! Fate brings them together even across diffferent universes. The Fujimoto in this world may very possibly be the reincarantion of the Fujimoto from the other world…

    However, the transformation from a family kind of love to a romantic kind of love between the two is kinda…but as they say, their love transcends above all these things…

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • KaZuHiRo
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 01:46 AM)
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY PSGELS!! If you’re still lurking around that is…
  • Vonter
    (Thursday, Jul 28. 2016 12:48 AM)
    I’m kinda bummed that the Killing Joke adaptation is likely gonna be another feminist driven criticism. As for my opinion its just not as good as it could be because it seems 2D animation in general is having less commitment adapting complex artstyles. Not as distracting as Berserk, but the Bruce Timm artstyle doesn’t strike the tone of this particular Batman story.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:48 PM)
    @topgavin, I am not gonna deny that’s a large part of what I like about it as well. And practically everything really does become a side plot when the other guy is introduced.
  • topgavin
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:19 PM)
    I think, after watching the recommended episodes for kaleid and watching the first 3 eps of it, I’m solely watching for Gil. All the other stuff (and girl mc’s) is a side-plot to Gilga-f******-mesh wrecking people.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 05:43 AM)
    @Aidan: You know how a boomerang works.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 01:08 AM)
    @RealJustified, pretty sure that’s Kevin pretending to be afgm.
  • reaLjustified
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 12:49 AM)
    @afgm How so? I’ve rarely even seen you on here, plus trolls aren’t even a common occurrence.
  • afgm
    (Wednesday, Jul 27. 2016 12:40 AM)
    this chat is ass, to be honest
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:35 PM)
    @Krista, relax. He’s the only one that riles people up like this. Normally this chat is fairly civilized.
  • Krista
    (Tuesday, Jul 26. 2016 09:24 PM)
    The chat’s becoming too angry for me, thanks for the recommendations guys! I’m gonna try to find another place for this kind of stuff.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

orange 04c

orange – 04

Orange takes it very slowly this week, even slower than its standard. Indeed, we can summarize the plot of the first 15 minutes just by one sentence: After Kakeru dating with another girl, Naho feels brokenhearted and avoids Kakeru like a plague. Which actually makes sense. After all, the guy already had a girlfriend so […]

Thunderbolt Fantasy 03d

Thunderbolt Fantasy – 03

With this episode we basically get an idea where the show will head for the rest of the series and I pretty much enjoy the direction they taking so far. Of course it makes sense that in order to get past those obstacles, the band needs to ally with others who are most suitable for […]

Fate Kaleid Liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!! - 03 2

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 3rei – 03

Plenty of action this week as we have faceoffs between Beatrice and Illya with Gil and Angelica firing legendary weapons back and forth. I wish there was a bit more fight animation here as while it was the same in the manga, it’s still a shame to have the scene cut away just when the […]

91 Days - 03 4

91 Days – 03

Seeing as things didn’t quite go to plan for Avilio last episode, it’s now time for him to prove his innocence to Nero. Avilio is playing his cards right and things would have gone to plan if it wasn’t for the man who lead them to Fango before. He states out of curiosity that he […]

Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu - 17 4

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World – 17

While I did enjoy this episode and think that some interesting things have been brought up, I must admit that even my patience is starting to run out. I blame this mostly on the fact that I am watching this weekly instead of binge watching it all as the progression in these episodes has slowed […]

EVA 01b

Neon Genesis Evangelion – 01

Truth be told, I’ve never seen any of the EVA franchise, and it’s not normal since EVA is a must for any anime viewer. I don’t really know the reason why I keep myself from watching it, maybe both because mecha is not my favorite genre, and the hype of EVA is just overwhelming that […]

Berserk - 03 2

Berserk(2016) – 03

Forgive me for the delay on this particular post but I must admit that in light of Berserks quality my interest in covering it has somewhat declined. I know that for every episode to come I will have to dance around the elephant in the room but this series isn’t making that easy for me. […]

Orange 03d

Orange – 03

So this week we finally encounter a love rival. Of course with a romance drama show like Orange there had to be someone who would stand on their way right? Except there’s not much of a rival really since Naho never stands a chance against the new girl Ueda. As she learns hard and clear […]

91 Days - 02 2

91 Days – 02

At this point I think it’s clear what kind of show we are getting. It’s not Hitman Reborn which essentially uses its mafia inspiration as window dressing for shounen battles. Nor is it Baccano with a silly yet funny atmosphere combining the prohibition setting and supernatural. No, what we have here is the old school […]

Latest Reviews

The Murder Case of Hana & Alice a

The Murder Case of Hana & Alice (2015) Movie Review – 85/100

Welcome to the third installment of World Animation section, but this time we head back to Japan for my favorite anime movie out of last year. If anything, I have always wanted those reviews to be a recommendation if you want to look for something different. So if there is anyone who would check out […]

Untitled-1

Legend of Legacy Review – 80/100

Oh Square Enix, this is the kind of avant-garde work you need to do. Developed by Furyu with the people behind SaGa, and written by Masato Kato of Chrono Trigger, I knew I was in for a unique game right from the start. But its gameplay is certainly divisive and for good reason, as this […]

My Life as a Courgette a

My Life as a Courgette (2016) Movie Review – 82/100

It’s never easy to make a good family’s animation. For movies aim at adults, the filmmakers can easily get themselves loose, go crazy and the audience can still get it. But for kids, these movies might be one of the first movies they’ve ever seen and that’s a huge responsibility. They have to aware of […]

Red Turtle a

The Red Turtle Review – 93.5/100

Welcome to my first movie review on World Animation section, the column where I wholly dedicated to indie/ art-house animated features around the world that hardly got coverage anywhere really (but rest assure our since sometimes I will review anime movies as well). And what’s a better way to start this section by reviewing one of […]

Flying witch 09d

Flying witch Review – 86/100

As I mentioned in one of my weekly posts, most of the reason why a slice-of-life anime show don’t work well is not because there’s nothing happen, but more because the cast isn’t interesting enough or the show tends to repeat the things that we already know. I’m happy to say that this is not […]

Bungou Stray Dogs 12a

Bungou Stray Dogs Review – 62/100

Well, we don’t usually give a review on the first cour of anime show, given the fact that the second part will air next autumn season. But since I’m not certain I would cover its second half, plus I don’t think this series will improve itself, I might as well give Bungou Stray Dogs a […]

Kiznaiver - 12 1

Kiznaiver Review – 60/100

Kiznaiver is a very different faire from Studio Triggers other works in that it takes a more serious tone and has a writer who tends to go more for the melodramatic. This is a tale about a group of very different people gathered together and have their pain linked to one another. In an effort […]

Joker Game - 12 2

Joker Game Review – 50/100

When experiencing the wave of new anime each season it can get rather tiresome to notice all the teenagers fighting supernatural forces while gathering a harem through seer luck or similarly tired concepts. So when something like Joker game comes along and takes a road less traveled with it’s story, naturally I am well on […]

mayoiga 07b

Mayoiga Review – 78/100

Mayoiga has to be one of the most misunderstood shows in recent years. On a surface, the premise alone has a lot of potential. The idea behind putting 30 people, each of them has very different set of personalities, together in a bus to a mysterious lost village, in order to start over new life […]