Recently, CLAMP's works have progressed at a slower pace that has worn on reader’s patience. Titles such as Tsubasa and XXXholic stretched beyond what many fans of the group would consider tolerable. Some have argued the content of said works, calling into question the groups tendency to pad out their works. During Kobato’s infancy, the same flaws could be found. The stand alone chapters gave the series a lack of focus. Whereas most CLAMP works start strong, Kobato felt like an experiment with no clear direction.
Where volume 4 saw the plot solidify into a substantial story with consequences, volume 5 moves the series forward considerably, spewing out several developments in the process. The question of Kobato’s origin and her behavior is finally explained. It should come as no surprise that the circumstances behind her are reflective of the group’s other works, namely Wish and Tsubasa. The group is known for their recycling of ideas, and while some may consider this a negative, its effect tends to draw reignite interest in their older works.
Where Kobato truly shines is its ability to tug at the emotions of its audience. The series is infectious and readers can’t help but get lost in its charm. Even at its bleakest, there is still a warmth and a feel-good feeling to the book that proves uplifting. Kobato is cute as ever, and is easy to sympathize with. As her relationship with Fujimoto grows, CLAMP makes sure to drop several impossible obstacles in the way, keeping us on the edge of our seats, hoping for a miracle resolution. Does she lose Fujimoto or curse Ioryogi? CLAMP can be so devious.
Volume 5 peels back the curtain of Kobato’s origin and her connection to Ioryogi. CLAMP's ability to craft stories filled with magic and melancholy has allowed them to rise through the ranks of manga creators and made them a fan favorite. Kobato is a perfect example of the group’s strengths and weaknesses and evokes the charm of the groups’ past works, ensuring that its readers will stay put for the future.