Kobato Hanato is a wide-eyed, easily impressionable girl on a quest to fill a bottle filled with every broken heart she has ever healed. In order to do so, she must complete a series of tasks meant to teach her common sensibilities. Under the tutelage of a blue dog named Ioryogi, whose temper often leads to harsh tongue lashing, Kobato must develop enough knowledge of the natural world necessary to achieving her goal.
Kobato’s mission is a strange one. By mending other people’s broken hearts, she fills a bottle, that when full, will grant her dearest wish. Unfortunately, determined as she is, Kobato is totally clueless when it comes to urban life. It doesn’t help matters that her advisor is more likely to hurl insults at her rather than actually giving her proper instruction.
In the first two volumes, Kobato is shown to be an energetic young girl whose bizarre behavior is only overshadowed by her deeper motivation to help as many people as possible. Little explanation is given to why she must do so, rather both volumes drop hints of what future volumes may reveal, but otherwise focus the actual mission itself. In essence, what we get is an episodic series, with nearly every chapter acting as a standalone tale of Kobato helping others in various ways; whether it be assisting at a restaurant or giving away her cake to a mother in need.
Similar to other works by CLAMP,offers a glimps of Japanese culture through innocent eyes, revealing that the world is made up of all sorts of people, some of whom are nicer than others. Through her charm and enthusiasm, Kobato introduced is to many people, with some enchanted by her, and others who see her as nothing more than a featherbrained simpleton. Considering the light-hearted tone of the series, Kobato never finds herself in too much trouble, aside from a drunken mob or a lecherous old man. Through her dogged determination, Kobato endures herself to readers, though her naïve view of life will almost surely grate on some readers, though that is mostly counterbalanced by Ioryogi’s cynical nature.
As is custom with CLAMP, their artwork is flawless. The characters are wonderfully designed with elegant costumes that capture the whimsical nature of the series. As per usual, the title pages are beautiful to behold and will leave readers staring at them for minutes on end, absorbing the details.
Yen Press has done an exemplary job on this release, retaining many, if not all of the Japanese cultural references. Included are two pages of translation notes, with brief descriptions of each term at the end of each volume, as well as two pages of full colored artwork at the beginning.
Kobato is a likeable mix of lighthearted comedy and the supernatural. Though not as epic in design as other CLAMP works, the series is still enjoyable in its own right. From the artwork to the easy going tone of the series, readers will find themselves enveloped in Kobato’s charm.