Fall 2009 Anime Impressions – Kobato

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Confession of an anime blogger time: I’ve never actually finished a Clamp anime show before. I hear their name mentioned frequently but so far, I’ve never come across a show that interests me enough that I watch more than a couple episodes. And the trend might have continued if this had been a stronger season with enough good shows and if I hadn’t read the excitement that some other bloggers had over this series and if the show wasn’t being done by Madhouse.

But all the stars aligned and I found myself watching Kobato. 🙂 (And for the record I’m not using the official Japanese title because I refuse to add the nonsensical period at the end – it just doesn’t work with English grammar.)

Rating: episode 1 – 10/12 A
Rating: episode 2 – 10.5/12 Strong A
Rating: episode 3 – 9/12 A-
Anticipation Level: 2.5/5 – Average

Kobato is your typical genki (energetic and a bit klutz) girl who has come to Earth on a mission – to help people by healing their hearts. If she can help enough people then she can have a wish granted (what this wish is, we don’t know yet). To help her not get in trouble – because she needs it – she has a talking stuffed animal with the personality of a drill Sargent.

A very shoujo sounding show and that will scare many off but I found a lot to like about it even though I’m not much of a shoujo fan. The two big draws are Kobato herself and the polish that Madhouse has applied to the show.

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In regards to Kobato, we can start by saying that the character type that Kobato falls into makes her a very sympathetic main character. One would have to be a very cold-hearted person not to start feeling the urge to cheer Kobato on as she tries her best to accomplish whatever task is presented to her and this desire is only strengthened from the fact that Kobato is a good person. Added to the mix is how the klutzy, not-familiar-with-Earth nature of Kobato injects the show with a good dose of comedy of a similar vein to I Love Lucy and that’s reinforced and expanded upon by her relationship with the talking stuffed animal. Nor should it be forgotten that Kobato is the master of outrageous expressions, which is always good for a laugh or three.

To help Kobato reach it’s full potential as a show, Madhouse needed to do a good job in adapting and so far they’ve really done so. This season has been full of mediocre and tepid animation which makes the high quality animation of Kobato all the more apparent to viewers. Animation alone is never enough to carry a show but it definitely helps. Less apparent but probably more important is how well Madhouse has been pacing the show and using the available time – the show flows naturally and the viewer is never left feeling that a joke has been stretched too long or too short or that it’s jerking haphazardly between the funny parts and the sad parts. Also helping with the enjoyment of the show has been the excellent voice work done by the various voice actors.

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At this point the only thing that can sink this show (as I see it) is if they let the episode count on this one get really high and start meandering through filler material and letting the show become unfocused. I don’t think that will be case since I read that it’s going to run for 24 episodes, maybe not enough to finish the story but long enough to satisfy.

As opposed to Natsu no Arashi Season 2, the fan response to this one is large enough that I don’t think too many people will miss this enjoyable show but if for some reason you’ve passed Kobato over – I recommend giving it a try, you might just like it a lot.

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But I still think my peeps are better 🙂
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