Kobato, vols. 1 & 2 by CLAMP – review

KOBATO, vols. 1 & 2 by CLAMP
Yen Press, 2010, 163 pages, 978-0-316-08536-6, Paperback, $11.99
Yen Press, 2010, 160 pages, 978-0-316-08536-6, Paperback, $11.99

Genre: Manga/Shoujo

There’s somewhere that Kobato Hanato wants to go. Ioryogi-san, an aggressive and demanding dog that looks, conveniently, like a stuffed animal is willing to help her get her wish, but Kobato must follow his directions in order to earn it. She must fill a bottle to the brim with wounded hearts by helping those who have been emotionally hurt. However, Kobato finds this task more difficult than expected, particularly since her straightforwardness and frequent lack of sense sometimes scares people away. Still, she has a good heart and the best of intentions, so it’s inevitable that some things will go her way, even if she isn’t on the quickest path to success.

I stumbled upon Kobato by accident, to be honest. I’ve been so out of the manga loop–far too focused on trying to get one or two series finally finished–that I didn’t know there was a new CLAMP title out. Shame on me–despite it all, CLAMP is still one of my favorite manga groups, and I’d at least like to keep up with what they’re doing.

Style-wise, this manga is reminiscent of Cardcaptor Sakura. But don’t mistake Kobato for Sakura at all. Kobato, while sweet, has very little common sense and, at this juncture, is naive beyond measure. Much of Ioryogi-san’s grumbling and yelling is in direct response Kobato’s air headedness, yet he doesn’t abandon her, and he tries to steer her in the right direction. If anything, I’d like to know how the two of them came upon each other.

Reading the first volume, I wasn’t very clear on where the plot was going. As Kobato became involved with the kindergarten in volume two, however, it became more obvious. Whether or not she’ll remain with these same characters throughout the entirety of the story, I don’t know. If she wants to fill her bottle to the top, I can’t imagine that Sakaya and Fujimoto would provide sufficient wounded hearts. But how do I know? CLAMP always surprises me.

This manga is meant to be fun and silly–obviously a comedy. Parts of it become more serious–particularly as the story with Sakaya develops–but I’d say that, at this juncture, it’s certainly more lighthearted than, say, Wish—and Wish was pretty lighthearted at times. Still, there’s some intrigue going on. It seems that Ioryogi-san has a long time rival, Sakaya is in trouble with a loan shark who seems weirdly familiar with her, and Fujimoto has some deep-seated mistrust of other people. All of these things have yet to be explained, and seeing how Kobato’s influence will affect them should be interesting.

As with most CLAMP titles, part of the fun is seeing whether or not there will be any appearances by known characters. So far, it looks like Kobato will be living next door to Chitose Mihara, mother of Chiise and Chiho, characters which I’m sure most CLAMP fans will recognize. Will there be more? I suppose we’ll see.

Overall, Kobato was quick to read, pretty fun, and I’m curious about how it will play out. Since the specific place that Kobato wants to go remains a mystery, I’m interested in finding out exactly what a girl like her would wish for.



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