By Meredith Caudle
CLAMP is a name that many anime fans have etched into their brain. You can’t have a conversation about anime without bringing up one of the many series by this group of artist and what we’re going to take a look at now is one of their latest series, Kobato. This series has an interesting history to it; it originally began its publication in 2005 by Shogakukan Comics but was put on hiatus before picking up TWO YEARS LATER in 2007 by Kadokawa Comics who then continued to carry the series until its final volume. During that two year span, the entire series went through an overhaul and what resulted is the version that many of us state-side have seen. The only real difference between the original Kobato and the one that is being published now is where the story takes place. They are basically the same story but the current version that is being reviewed now takes place earlier in the timeline than the original Shogakukan Comics run. Getting back to the story, Kobato follows the adventures and misadventures of a girl who has but one goal in life; to have her greatest wish to come true. With such desires comes a cost however and to have her wish granted, Kobato must prove herself worthy by healing the hurt hearts of the many people she encounters and collection the essence into a small jar. Once that jar has been filled, then her wish will be granted but this is easier said than done.
Sounds lovey-dovey doesn’t it?
Our title character Kobato may come off as the ultimate airhead but after a while, her charm and willing to continue with her task start to warm up on you. She is naïve and most of the time succeeds through accident but the antics she gets into are more or less a joy to read. Helping her along the way is a little stuffed blue dog by the name of Ioryogi, probably the most violent and scary looking of all the CLAMP plush-mascot characters to date. These two make for an interesting duo which is where most of the comedy comes from since it’s not uncommon to see Kobato milling around just before Ioryogi blast her in the face with some sort of power that even Godzilla would envy. From the very start, Kobato brings trouble for herself and Ioryogi by offering a bag of trash to some hungry crows simply because Kobato thought her action would reduce the litter in the area. It’s not surprising to say that both end up being ATTACKED by the crows and Kobato winds up not only getting blasted again but also with an X on her face, a sign that she has failed her first test! But fear not readers, Kobato soon learns that hard work does not go unrewarded and she soon finds herself on the path to having her wish come true…as well as a lot of marks and blast to the face as well.
Throughout her trails, Kobato finds herself meeting all sorts of people, two of them being Sayaka Okiura, a kindergarten teacher and her assistant Kiyokazu Fujimoto, a guy who seems to make it his job to tease Kobato every chance he gets. What Kobato doesn’t know however is that these two are in desperate need for help but given the size of the situation, it’s going to take more than a happy demeanor and kind words to heal their hearts. Aside from these two at the school, there are many other familiar faces dotted throughout the series. By now, many fans of CLAMP have grown accustomed to seeing characters from others series popping up all over the place in different series and in Kobato, we get more of the same. CLAMP characters are scattered everywhere and they seem to take you by surprise whenever they show up. Kobato’s landlady for instance, Chitose Mihara ,is actually a spitting image of Chitose Hiyaba from Chobits and believe it or not, her DAUGHTERS are younger (and human) versions of Chi (Elda)and Freya! Don’t get too excited however since this isn’t an epic-cross over much like Tsubasa and xxxOholic. Let’s just say that familiar characters are not what they seem and their sudden appearance is sure to give your mind a tumble, but it’s all for good fun.
The series is everything you could want from a classic CLAMP shojo series; its sweet, its ultra-cute and it does have its share of comedy and sadness. One thing that I will not spoil is who and WHAT Kobato actually is. As stated before, she is on a mission but after a few chapters, you being to question why there are certain things she is restricted from doing as well as why she gets so upset when people become sick. There is an air of mystery surrounding our dear girl which only makes you curious to find out whether or not she gets her wish.
Yen Press has published volumes one through five with the final volume coming out this summer for the United States.
- Beautiful artwork
- Very humorous
- You might find Kobato a little annoying if you’re not to keen on ultra-nice, and ultra-airheaded, characters.