First Impressions: Kobato

Cuteness is personified in Kobato.

Ignore the talking dog.

So, you know how I’ve been talking about all these shojo series that seem to rely on cuteness alone to make them watchable, and how much I don’t care for them? Well, it’s a miracle: I’ve finally found a cute shojo that I can enjoy!

Meet Kobato, the cutest lil'... whatever she is.

Kobato is another On Demand treat that I just randomly watched without knowing anything about. Episode one opens with an adorable girl (yup, it’s Kobato!) who is “arriving.” Where she comes from, who knows? It could be Neptune, or it could be Atlantis, or it could be Wisconsin. The point is, she has arrived, and apparently she has to prove to a grumpy little stuffed dog that she is worthy of gaining a bottle that can be used to collect a set number (which I forget) of broken hearts. Not in a gross serial killer way, mind, but more like she heals broken hearts and collects the sorrow in the bottle and leaves the hearts all happy and full o’ joy.

Kobato's stuffed dog friend straight-up looks like a hellhound from Ghostbusters. Freaky.

Kobato keeps disappointing the mean talking dog by mucking up tasks such as throwing away trash incorrectly. (It sounds stupid, but it’s actually pretty cute.) Then while walking around she gets into a bit of a snarl with a couple of guys on the street and is saved by a guy with terrible anime hair (hello romantic interest?). Later on she goes to a park and does a decent job of helping a guy run a food stand, but mean stuffed doggie will have none of it. He claims that she’s failed the test. However, a crying baby is heard nearby, so Kobato runs over to help out. She sings a lovely little song and the baby shuts up, much to the grandmother’s relief. Even mean doggie can’t refute what has happened, so Kobato finally passes the test and gains the bottle.

If you ask for "the George Washington" at the barber shop, you have no reason to be angry when you leave looking like this.

I really enjoyed this opening episode. I thought that it was super kawaii immediately from the opening frame when you first see Kobato’s green Mary Jane shoes land lightly on the ground, and it remained adorable throughout. The tsundere guy who saves her was cute and wears glasses (you know how I love anime characters with glasses!) so I’ll forgive his crazy mullet-tail. The grumpy stuffed dog got annoying, but you need some sour to balance out the sweet, so I’ll concede that he’s necessary. Even though I actually did laugh out loud at one point when a customer in the park is describing Kobato’s stew pot, overall I found it to be more cute than funny, but not in an obnoxious way. This is another by CLAMP, and thus far there’s been no creepy fan service, (or any fan service at all) which pleases me greatly. Kobato seems to have just the right amount of magic and charm to come off as sweet but not saccharine, and I’m very interested to see more of this delightful shojo.

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