Posted 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.
Posted on with categories: Kobato

This is going to be a really short entry because I also still need to write this series’ review and get up early tomorrow as usual so I’m sorry but there’ll also be no screenshots for this one because I watched it streamed. I had to watch too much awesome stuff today in too little time…

Hell yeah! Kobato! Best ending this season! That was so adorable!

Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: Kobato



Aww. What a wonderful episode. It was perhaps a bit too dramatic, but I love this kind of stuff. It’s awesome to see a series which has entirely been building up to its final episode, and having that final episode actually pay off. This series did not try to be too epic. Instead, it remained true to itself and based on its simple premise. And while it may have been simple, this episode proved that it ended up way more effective than I could have expected.

What made this such an awesome episode wasn’t exactly because it was a bad ending. Rather, I absolutely loved this episode because of what it meant to the characters: here Kobato was, with the decision to either try and raise more konpeito (which may have not been enough at that point), or spend the rest of her time with Fujimoto. While at first it seemed a bit weird for her to spend time with him for an entire month (and seriously: Fujimoto’s still injured. that’s something you hardly see in anime, especially with such small wounds), it all made sense once we found out her secret. She’s dead.

The first part of this episode was slice of life, and the reason Kobato shined so brightly in this episode was because she knew that she was spending her last time and wanted to make the best out of it. It’s not far-fetched, and actually an adorable premise. The fate of the world was never involved, and instead this episode really was all about its characters, allowing it to really get the best out of them. I have just found my contender for the best ending of the season right now.

As for that final episode, I really wonder what it’s about. I mean, the main character has just died and we still have one episode left (let me by the way praise the creators for doing such a thing. I don’t recall any other show in which the lead character dies before the final episode), but my guess is that it’s going to close off the story of Fujimoto and Ioryogi. I especially want to see the latter. By the way, wasn’t this week supposed to air a double episode? I’m not seeing episode 24 yet…
Rating: **** (Incredible)

Posted on 16 March 2010 with categories: Kobato



It’s beautiful episodes like this one that totally restore my faith in anime. What a wonderful example of how to write a touching story without the biggest budget, epic backstory or over the top plot twists. The character-development in this episode was all worth the wait and the first half, and a heart-warming prelude to that finale. I laugh at articles like this one (well, the ‘anime sucks’-section anyway), which paint a completely biased and one-sided picture of the current state of anime.

I love it when a series changes my perception of things, and for me, Kobato restored my faith in these simple series that might not amount to much at first. Despite its mediocre start, I’m emotionally connecting to this series, more than just about every other series this season. This is really what a drama should be.

I also think that this is one of the few good uses of the “crash before the ending”-trope. Just like with White Album’s second season, Fujimoto’s crash was nothing serious, and instead more meant as a wake-up call, rather than creating some cheap drama by placing someone in the hospital. On top of that, it was also well built up: in his state of mind, it’s not surprising that Fujimoto wouldn’t pay attention to the road.

To be honest, out of all the series that are about to end in the upcoming weeks, Kobato’s is the one that I’m looking forward to the most. It’s really been building up to that final episode through its entire airtime, and out of all the endings, it’s this one that I feel has the most chance of actually turning out great. It’s the kind of ending where the creators have to really screw up big time to ruin it. Especially considering how the creators wrecked the kindergarten in this episode, it shows that they’re not going to force down a happy ending if it doesn’t make sense within the story.
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 9 March 2010 with categories: Kobato



Aw, what a heart-warming episode.

I’m really glad that Kobato managed to get exactly the time it needed in order to tell its full story. I’ve said this many times before, but there are too few series that try to go beyond 13 episodes, and it’s series like this that show the heights you can reach with a little character-development. This episode wasn’t exactly the most realistic… but hey. It’s not what I expected from the episode that would wrap up the kindergarten storyline.

So, if I understood things correctly, Okiura, unable to protect Sayaka instead tried to do the only thing he could: play the bad guy, in order to prevent other bad guys from causing even more trouble for her. I remember noting how the kindergarten would certainly get its happy end… and it didn’t. It closed off in this episode, and all of the kids are away now, at other schools. It’s the price Sayaka had to pay for her father’s debts, and while everyone tried to buy her time and money, it just wasn’t enough. At least, I’m glad that Kobato managed to help her move on from that. Meddling or not, but without Kobato there would have been no way in which the two would have made up with each other, and Kobato did what you’d expect her to do, without forcing everyone to go out of character just for the sake of a happy ending. Even Okiura stayed in character, simply because we hadn’t seen so much of him yet.

Now, three episodes left… I’m getting very curious as to what Kobato’s wish is. This episode right now closed off about half of the plot, so we can expect the final three episodes to really focus on Kobato herself. I personally love it when a series wraps up one of the main plots before the start of the major climax. It makes the series more dynamic than trying to end everything at the same time. It especially works well with inspired series as Kobato , which manage to make something heart-warming out of each conclusion.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 2 March 2010 with categories: Kobato



You know what this episode reminds me of? That one episode of Touka Gettan: the Lost Episode of Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito. The Tsubasa Chronicle cast drops by, they have nothing to do with the story, and at the end they just say goodbye and leave again to go back to their own story when there don’t seem to be any feathers here (or whatever they’re searching for at this point in the story, since Sakura was absent and all…). At the start of this series, when I found out that this kind of an episode would pop up I was very afraid that they would hog up all the screentime, but this was a really good episode, which made them more than Clamp’s usual cameos, and yet didn’t overdo it.

On top of that, the few revelations that their visit brought was interesting. It was a nice way to hint at Ioryogi’s original form. Who knew that he was his world’s Kurogane. I never realized that they had the same voice actor, and exactly for that reason. I also love the way in which Fye wished Ioryogi good luck with Kobato. He clearly seemed to know what was up with her.

In any case, this episode skips about a month and a half forward to Valentine. Predictable, but at this point I don’t care. For me, this show has reached the point where the creators can stuff their characters in any sort of setting, and make it utterly enjoyable. The valentine episode also was surprisingly good for the romance in this series, without going too obvious. You can see that Kiyokazu has grown a lot closer to Kobato during the past months that weren’t shown, and the valentine’s episode wasn’t used as a cheap knock-off getting the two of them together. Speaking of which: I very much approve of series that keep track of their own time: that’s an awesome way of showing the development between the characters, and making it less sudden.

And that ending was very powerful. That’s some great build-up there: this moment was bound to come: Kobato was bound to run short on time because of how easily distracted she can be. As a kid at heart, she constantly needed to be pushed by Ioryogi and yet you can see that she genuinely wants to go to some place. We have no idea why, all we know is that it’s something very important for her and that she’ll never have any more chances after the deadline passes. With four episodes left, I hope she gets there.
strong>Rating: ** (Excellent)
ED: Really weird place for a new ED, but better than the first one and a solid ballad.

Posted on 23 February 2010 with categories: Kobato



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)

Posted on 17 February 2010 with categories: Kobato



Well, I’ve got to hand it to Clamp: they did it again. Kobato is a great example of why an anime doesn’t necessarily need huge production-values or incredibly solid direction, in order to have a soul. Wonderful characters can be written with any kind of budget, and while it definitely helps, it’s definitely not a necessary.

Because really: at this point I’ve been completely captured by Kobato’s charms. This isn’t exactly like Letter Bee, in which the characters have enough charms for me to keep watching, this is something more: at this point I consider Kobato to be a genuinely good series and I really admire how well the creators managed to flesh out Kobato and make her such a likable lead.

When it first appeared, the debt-problem sure seemed cheesy. But here’s the thing: it was cheesy, if it just was introduced and resolved within one episode. At this point the debt problems have evolved in a great driving force for the drama among the characters. It ain’t gonna destroy the world, we’re not stuck in a cheesy love triangle. Instead we have a bunch of people who try to protect something that they truly care for, even though the odds slowly stack up against them.

This kind of character-development was really what I was hoping for when I gave this series a chance.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 10 February 2010 with categories: Kobato



Oh, what a surprise. It turns out that the previous episode wasn’t finished telling its story yet. It needed about five more minutes, which appeared in this episode. So, what was the rest of the episode spent on? A hilarious Iyoryorgi adventure and xxxHolic references. This was like, what? The fourth different version of Watanuki that exists now?

So yeah, overall this episode was a lot of fun, it only to see Iyoryogi suffer so much. Episodes like these are all about creativity and how much you’re interested in the involved characters, and that worked like a charm for me. His fire-breathing technique to avoid the pond was especially awesome. On a more serious note it also built up the main storyline a bit, though subtly.

As for the bazaar, what was obviously missing from the previous episode was Kobato seeing her hard work pay off. At this point, she knows very much that she’s a klutz and that helping people isn’t that easy. She should be proud of what she did here, though. It’s not like her healing of a troubled person, but she put in real effort. Apart from the mysterious penguin/duck/rabbit/thingies, of course.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 2 February 2010 with categories: Kobato



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)

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