So as I was trying to figure out what to read next (pff! as if my TBR pile weren’t enough), I saw a very pink, cute, and bright book with the title Kobato in yellow text on my shelf. I suddenly felt like emotions were pouring out of me and I decided to reread it…again.
If I had to place this title anywhere on my top manga or top romance manga or favorite canon OTP lists, it would either be at the #1 or #2 spot (only bested by Skip Beat). Why? Because this series is AMAZING, especially considering it’s only 6 volumes long!
Kobato tells the story of a girl named Kobato who is on Earth with her talking stuffed dog companion Ioryogi, on a quest to fulfill her wish of going to a place, however, in order to do this she must first obtain a bottle! And in order to obtain that bottle (because it can’t just be any bottle), she must pass an aptitude test that Ioryogi oversees.
From page one, this manga really knows how to get a reader. We learn that Kobato doesn’t exactly have common sense as she acts like a homeless person when she’s tasked to do what any normal person would do at the park, and gives crows a buffet when tasked to dispose of some trash. And yet there’s something about her enthusiasm, her hard work, and just her character in general that makes it hard to hate her. She’s practically the definition of sunshine!
Or she is at the start.
As Kobato continues collecting hearts (because it was obvious she’d pass the aptitude test eventually, right?), she begins to develop herself. She learns that saying yes to everyone can lead her into dangerous situations and that her wording can come off as misleading, which then cause said situations. She also learns of different ways to heal people and that actions aren’t always necessary. Sometimes all a person needs is reassurance that their “neglecting” mother is actually a loving and hardworking person. She also learns the beauty and pains of love as she meets people who are on the verge of divorce and (as she comes to realize) falls in love herself.
On Kobato’s adventures we also meet other characters like Sayaka-sensei, Fujimoto, Chitose, Mr. Loan Shark, and many others. Some characters have simple roles like ‘apartment manager’ but they’re, for the most part, well-developed characters. We learn just enough so that they all have their own quirks and if we’re curious about them, chances are they have their own series. For example, Chitose has her story told in Chobits and Kohaku has hers told in Wish. Even some of our one-panel characters appear elsewhere, which is one of my favorite things with CLAMP manga!
Another thing that I LOVE about this manga is that it’s not only about Kobato as she collects wounded hearts or even just her falling in love (though it is the biggest thing). There are so many other relationships (not all romantic) that are covered such as Sayaka and her husband, Sayaka and Fujimoto, Ioryogi and his mysterious angel, Ioryogi and Kobato, Ginsei and Ioryogi, and Kohaku and Shuichiro. Unfortunately, a lot of these stories are told rather than shown, which makes it a bit unnatural since so much of this series is focused on showing and feeling.
The part that is especially just told to the reader is the reason why Kobato and Ioryogi are going around collecting wounded hearts. I really wish there was a series dedicated to just Ioryogi and his angel’s romance. I really think it would be great and I honestly want to know what Ioryogi and the other punished individuals look like in their true forms! From the little clips and shadows, I can definitely say they looked FIIIIIINE.
And because art is always a big part of what I read (or don’t read), I’d like to say that CLAMP’s art is absolutely beautiful. Some of these series are really old but the art really keeps up with its own style. Also, I’m not a big fashion person but all the outfits Kobato had were SO CUTE. All of them so nicely designed and chosen for a specific season or task she had to complete. It was a really nice change to see her in different outfits versus wearing the same thing all the time.
My only other complaint for this series is that there isn’t more.
I really wish there’d be a oneshot where we get Ioryogi’s past told: how he met his mysterious angel, his meeting with Ginsei, and other things I don’t want to spoil. I also just love Kobato x Fujimoto and wish there was a oneshot where we get a glimpse of their life together. Because, yes that ending was perfect, but I just want more of them being together as an official couple. I mean, I really enjoyed their interaction when they finally realized they liked each other (gosh, Fujimoto is such a cutie) but I do want more.
Unfortunately, to my knowledge, there isn’t more >_<