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Watching Kobato, 3/3

Well, fuck me. We've also got Watanuki and Toya Kinomoto, but no Sakura. I don't know why. Wouldn't either incarnation of Sakura just been so perfect with Kobato, I ask, couldn't they have gone with anime!Tsubasa, couldn't they have put the original CLAMP Magical Girl in it, but that is retrospective nitpicking. I was too busy being giggling fangirl during it to take much notice. (If anyone are interested, Tsubasa as we once loved it, by which I mean Fay on the swing set, and Watanuki - whether it was as subtle tribute or not, the rabbit with the eye patch is voiced by Namikawa)

I wonder, is it me or is it the series when the only character I muster honest curiosity for was the thug in the sunglasses? It's a sign of something, that's for certain, that I was unreasonably annoyed that the one who got to do the Big Reveal was Ioryogi, while Kobato just stood beside him and smiled.

The last two episodes were the strongest of the series, and they were much better than I had come to expect them to be. They did what the previous 22 episodes didn't manage: they made me care about the characters and how it was going to turn out for them in the end. They also made the story be about something more than "sad lady is sad" or the daily life of the kindergarten. Plot never really came to Kobato, but there was some resolution, there was some ending, and there was some change. Sad thing is, the ones who got hit with the character development were Ioryogi and Fujimoto. Kobato got a lot less of it, though I think it could have been helped if she got something of a backstory. When Ioryogi and Fujimoto each got an episode's worth of it, I think they could have spared more than an eight-second flashback on the main character of the story. I get that her past is supposed to be mysterious, but it could have given the story some badly-needed conflict if it had at least mattered a bit. And even if the ending was stronger than the rest, there were gaping plot holes.

I also don't think I was supposed to laugh there at the very end, but that's how it was.

(oh fine, highlight for spoilers: Kobato did avoid the "eeeeh..."-worthy part of a certain Chobits couple that wasn't a couple here, but I'm wondering, now, if they didn't almost take it there with Kobato and Fujimoto anyway. Kobato remembered him and going by the school uniforms on the once preschoolers, must have been re-born at a point before the series proper, but those flashbacks. Those flashbacks of adult!Fujimoto and no-older-than-five!Kobato in what I presume was her previous life. Oh, CLAMP.

I have to say that I think the series could have been ten times more interesting if it had been about Kobato wanting to go back to some other Most Important Person and then unintentionally falling in love with Fujimoto. But CLAMP hasn't been doing it that way since CCS, so I can't say I was surprised.

While going back through seven years worth of LJ and flocking stuff, I found that I at some point talked about Kobato-the-manga as Series That Was To Tsubasa What Legal Drug, Good Or Bad, Was To 'Holic. Which is - the bare bones of the spirit, story, setting and background are the same, but Legal Drug and Kobato are lighter, shorter, shallower, simpler, and they arguably work out better for the last reason. Of course it doesn't do justice to either series to describe Kobato as Tsubasa's blonde little sister, but the universe, the themes and the moral - well, there you have it.

Kobato is cute, and if I watched it when I was ten, I would have loved it with a ferocity even as an adult. But I'm fifteen years too old for that, and for all that it is cute, it has a few too many glaring lacks to be worth a re-watch in full length (and don't even with the "but it's meant for kids" - so is fucking Digimon, or hell, CCS, without that having negative impact on the storytelling and the ability to entertain adults). The problem with Kobato is, as I've already talked about, bad pacing. The anime could easily have been half the length, and would probably have been better off for it. At the same time, the story certainly has enough material to have filled a full 24 episodes if the writers had been interested in fleshing it out and dishing it out more evenly. There could have been rising conflict. There could have been thematic coherence between the episodes. There isn't, so Kobato is cute, with enough cameos from other CLAMP series to keep the parish watching, but it's not memorable and is unlikely to be on any rec lists I make anytime soon, except maybe for my youngest sister.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 13th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
I watched it while having dinner, and it went down okay. I liked Kobato herself (cute works fine for me), but like the rest of the cast, she was severely lacking in depth.

It was the same for me, really: the only parts of it that had me excited was to see other CLAMP characters.
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