Ho… Ho… Ho…
|Christmas time is here, and while everyone hopefully has a nice Christmas and enjoys your time wherever you are, here’s a Secret Santa post!|
Kobato helps usually just by being herself
I really like participating in Reverse Thieves Secret Santa program every year. It’s not only a great chance to perhaps see some shows that I might have missed, or maybe just not have taken the time to watch, but it’s also a great chance to read some other folks’ blogs and see what other people think about the shows that we as a community watch. Plus it’s always fun to impose on some other folks and try to get them to watch some of the best shows that I’ve watched. This is the third year that I’ve participated, and I’ve always enjoyed the shows I’ve watched, although I have to admit there are some that I don’t pick because they don’t look so enjoyable.
Picking the fukafuka Show
There are a lot of really pretty shots, like this one to introduce us to Kobato
The three choices I had to select from this year were three things that I’d really never considered watching. Arakawa Under the Bridge and Level-E were two that I’d heard of, but never had any thought of watching, and really didn’t know what they were even about. But the third choice was one I’d never even heard of: Kobato. I’ve really only watched one show from the world of CLAMP before, Chobits, and that was all the way back when I was watching dubs when I first started watching anime. Since then, I’d never really gone back to watch any of their shows. Chobits was pretty good, but kind of felt like it got too big for its britches with the big story that it tried to rope in. But reading about Kobato, it seemed like it was the best of the three to go for.
Short Plot Summary
Ioryogi frequently gets the short end of the stick
To be honest, there’s not a lot of plot to the show. It’s mostly the setup, in which Kobato Hanato (whose name rolls off the tongue a lot better as “Hanato Kobato”, the way she says it throughout the show) is a girl with special circumstances who appears on Earth and has a task to complete: To heal the broken hearts of humans, in order fulfill her wish to go to “the place she wants to be”. Assisting her in this effort is the irascible Ioryogi-san, who inhabits the body of a blue stuffed dog. And while one might think that the best way to go about finding people to help is to keep moving around, Kobato ends up helping out at Yomogi Preschool, and spending a lot of time around Sayaka Okiura, the owner of the preschool, and Kiyokazu Fujimoto, who works there as well as pretty much everywhere else while going to college. Kobato frequently runs afoul of Kiyokazu’s no-nonsense gruff attitude, but her nearly unstoppably positive naivete tends to let his grumpiness just roll off her back, at least for a while.
Sometimes you just need to hang out…
CLAMP Crossover Craziness
These two look a bit familiar, no?
Not having watched or read much from CLAMP, I wasn’t aware of how many characters and settings they reuse or export. Kobato has plenty of this, with Kobato and Kiyokazu living in the same apartment building that Hideki in Chobits lives, with Chitose still as the landlady (although this Chitose is a different person) and her two children Chise and Chiho (you can guess who they look like). Other frequently appearing characters are Hiroyasu and Yumi from Tirol bakery, and Kohaku and Shuichiro, the primary couple from Wish. Kohaku is a fairly important character, providing the audience a good indication of the connection between Heaven and the human world, as well as helping fill in a lot of the weight of Kobato’s situation.
Well, maybe not at the beginning
Because the show doesn’t have a very long plot distance between the start and finish, I decided to write this review without overt plot spoilers. But I do want to give my overall impressions of the show, and those start out with: it was really a great show. One of the reasons I didn’t look for more CLAMP stories after Chobits is because that show got a little draggy, especially in the middle of the second cour (like a lot of 2-cour shows do, to be fair). And while the setup of Kobato could have led to it being very repetitive, had they gone with a “person healed this week” setup, they really resisted that, instead establishing that that’s what Kobato has to do, but almost as quickly establishing that for her, it’s a secondary thing to just being a good person. As she grows to care for the people around her, her focus changes, much to Ioryogi’s chagrin, because he also has some personal consequences riding on Kobato’s success.
Kohaku tells Kobato how the tree feels, and it’s beautiful
Throughout the show, there are lots of lovely moments, with some really stellar episodes thrown in. My favorites were episode 13, which had Kobato give a giant ginkgo tree a beautiful memory, and episode 18, where Doumoto learns that he’s not the one Kobato is holding closest in her heart. The show also does a really good job working in humor, especially centering around the grave indignities visited upon Ioryogi-san, such as ribbons and line-drying. There’s also a very good performance by Kana Hanazawa, nailing the personality of Kobato, and never letting her good-natured airheadedness get grating, a fear that I had right from the beginning.
I’m really glad I had this show recommended to me, and I’m glad I chose to watch it. It was a fun show to watch: funny, sentimental, and touching. And it has a great ending, which you might see coming a bit, but it doesn’t matter because that’s the ending it’s supposed to have. I want to thank Reverse Thieves for running this program again, and I’d definitely recommend this show to anyone.