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.|