Anime Review – Kobato.Posted: March 30, 2010
Producer: Madhouse Studios
Number of Episodes: 24
Length Per Episode: Approximately 24 minutes
Kobato. (no, I don’t know why there’s a period as part of the title) is a story about a girl named Kobato, who needs to fill a bottle she has with the fragments of people’s hearts she heals. Not literally, of course. Once she helps someone with a problem they have -usually in the form of mentally traumatic problems- a little candy-like object is added to her jar. If she can fill her jar completely up in time, then she’ll get her wish granted.
What is her wish? Well, she wants to go somewhere…
While it isn’t completely a character-driven plot, Kobato.’s biggest standout is its character development. By the end of the show, characters will have either completely changed from what they were like in the beginning, or characters you didn’t understand or only thought you understood will reveal their true selves by the end. Now, what’s so special about this? Well, this transition is completely smooth. By the time you’ve seen the end, if you go back and watch the first episode, you won’t even be able to believe the characters started off how they did.
Hanato Kobato is the protagonist of the story (as if the title didn’t already make that obvious enough). She starts off being quite the ditz. In fact, she stays that way throughout most of the show. There’s a reason she’s like this, but that’s something you have to find out for yourself. Kobato goes through all of this trouble of healing people’s hearts because of a reason she repeatedly states: she has a place she wants to go to. Filling up the bottle will grant her this wish because it seems as though heaven is the one making this deal with her. Kobato is very kindhearted and doesn’t hesitate to help anyone that’s in trouble. In a way, this is her greatest attribute, but also her biggest weakness. Since she’s so quick to trust people, she could easily be manipulated into doing something she doesn’t actually want to do. In the second episode, she takes up a job as a caretaker for Yomogi Nursery which is run by Okiura Sayaka. Also working there as a caretaker is Fujimoto Kiyokazu. At first, Kobato and him don’t exactly see eye-to-eye. Due to him constantly critiquing pretty much everything Kobato does, she repeatedly refers to him as a ‘bully.’ After a while, though, they start to warm up to each other.
Ioryogi takes the role of Kobato’s companion and mentor of sorts. He is frequently teaching Kobato about the ways of the human world and also making sure to keep her on her task of healing hearts. However, this is partially due to selfish reasons. Ioryogi has something to gain from Kobato completing her task; although, again, that’s something you need to find out on your own. All I’ll say is that it has to do with why Ioryogi is in the form of a stuffed animal. Ioryogi also serves as the main source of humor for the show. Whether it’s him getting angry at Kobato’s ignorance of human practices or the funny situations from being in the form of a stuffed animal, most of the laughs of the show will come from him. He certainly isn’t the only source for humor, though. At the beginning of the show, Ioryogi isn’t very patient or sympathetic towards Kobato. In fact, he doesn’t seem to really care for her at all other than the fact that he’s required to help her. By the end, he’s made one of the biggest and most subtle changes out of all the characters.
Kiyokazu Fujimoto is one of the most difficult characters to understand at times. While he has major trust issues, he’s also a kind person. The combination of these two traits sometimes causes confusion about what’s really going on in his head. He’ll often come off as being cold when talking to Kobato, mainly because he critiques everything she does, whether he’s being sarcastic or not. However, even acting this way is pretty kind considering how he is. Due to his trust issues, most of the time he just pushes people away instead of dealing with them. While he doesn’t necessarily draw Kobato in, he only pushes her away when he’s really pissed about something. He works at Yomogi Nursery along with Kobato and has strong, son-like feelings towards Okiura Sayaka, who runs it.
There isn’t too much more to say about the show without spoilers, but yeah. A lot of the show is definitely character progression and development, but it also has its own plots that are quite interesting. For the first fourth of the show, each episode is mainly just about a random person whose heart is healed by Kobato by the end of the episode. After that, though, most of the heart-healing is done inbetween the episodes. The rest of the episodes are then mainly character development and such. The thing about those kind of episodes, is that they’re really a hit or a miss. Some shows that have them are just plain boring and you wonder why they’re taking time away from the main plot, whereas on the other hand some shows will have these kinds of episodes being your favorites. None of Kobato’s episodes ever feel like “filler” (at least for me), and are fun to watch. Of course as I said, there are also some interesting plots in the show; the main one being about a shady figure who seems to desire Yomogi Nursery’s complete and utter destruction…
The show won’t have a second season. Everything comes to a conclusion by the end. No loose ties.
RATING: 9 out of 10 (will probably raise to a 10 eventually)