December 20, 2010

Doing good deeds have its own rewards. You know that wonderful feeling of helping others before yourself? Well if you watch Kobato, then I’m sure you get the picture. Not to say that this anime sets the standards of doing good to others but at least it makes you think that in today’s world whereby everything is focused on me, me and me, it’s good to know that there are nice and kind people around whenever help is really needed.

So let’s meet the titular character, Kobato Hanato. She’s a sweet and perky girl whom every guy would dream of having her as their girlfriend. Just kidding about the dream part. Even if she’s so, Kobato is rather naive simply because she is not from our world. Is she an alien? Only time will tell. But Kobato is on a mission. A mission she must succeed in a limited time if she wants her wish of going to a certain place fulfilled. And that mission is to heal the hearts of others whether they are depressed or down. Another condition to that is she cannot and I repeat, CANNOT fall in love with those she has healed. It’s going to be tough seeing that romance is one of the theme for this series other than comedy (oh yeah), adventure, drama and fantasy. Just how many hearts she has to heal? Well, she is given a little glass bottle and once it is filled up with little colour-like balls called konpeito (candy), her wish will be fulfilled. Seems like an easy job, huh? Considering how Kobato is an airhead, you’ll doubt she’d ever get the job done.

But don’t worry, Kobato has a trusty or rather foul-mouth and aggressive stuffed toy dog companion-cum-teacher-cum-guardian named Ioryogi. He too seems to have his own motive for using Kobato to fulfil her wish. But even no matter how klutzy and dumb Kobato may turn out to be, after roasting her with his trademark mouth fireball, this food loving dog acknowledges her efforts even if he tends to criticize and show no respect to that Dobato (a derogative nickname Ioryogi gives her which literally means stupid dove) most of the time. Thus it is fun to see the interactions between the duo especially when Ioryogi snaps due to her naivety and foul ups. Whether it’s giving her a rundown on things or just an assessment of the things she did for today (he even give points by painting it on her cheeks). What a weird combination if I must say. And yes, since stuffed toys do not talk in this world, Ioryogi has got to play one whenever Kobato comes into contact with other humans.

As seen in episode 1, Kobato and Ioryogi arrive in this world so the latter puts her to a test to see if she’s fit for the mission. She screws up. Giving trash to crows? She’s going to get more than just pecking. Then she almost strays from her mission when she follows a couple of shady guys who want to take advantage of her. So when Ioryogi unleashes his fireball on to them, they reveal their true colours as they’re going to beat her up! Thankfully if not for Kiyokazu Fujimoto passing by, she would’ve been toast. However Fujimoto seems to be the kind of guy many would keep their distance simply because he is unfriendly. Even if he’s that stubborn and indifferent, never judge a book by its cover. So off he goes to his part time job while Kobato goes around helping, I mean creating more problems. After breaking plates, she volunteers to help part time and even creates the most delicious nabe dish ever! Even if she doesn’t know what the heck she’s putting in! That night she encounters a Granny trying to pacify her crying baby grandson but to no avail. Kobato starts singing and not only stops the baby’s cry but attracted others as well. I don’t know, I find that song (Ashita Kuru Hi) to be sort of out of tune when she’s singing solo. Kobato becomes an instant hit and is mobbed by the rest to sing. So after Granny thanks her, Ioryogi is pleased she passed the test and gives her a bottle for her to heal wounded hearts. A long journey always begins with the first step. That’s a lot of steps to go…

As Ioryogi lay down the rules in episode 2, Kobato is still kinda dense. Going around asking people if they needed healing? I don’t mind her helping others in need but considering her limited time, it’s like she’s ‘goofing around’ assisting others in tasks that don’t seem to heal the hearts of others. So by distributing free tissues, she chances upon the Yomogi Day Care Centre run by bespectacled Sayaka. And you know her helpful behaviour, she soon helps out with the centre, meets the kids and is surprised to see Fujimoto also working there part time (this guy holds lots of part time jobs). But he isn’t thrilled to see that klutz. So you can tell Fujimoto is always being mean to poor Kobato even if she tries her best so much so you just feel like slapping the guy to wake him up and appreciate Kobato’s efforts. Since Sayaka can’t afford to pay Kobato, the latter is just glad to help out as a volunteer. That evening Kobato spots one of the Yomogi kids, Toshihiko sitting alone on a swing. She learns how her mom is always busy and thus always late to pick him up. This causes the other mothers to gossip she may be neglecting her child. But Toshihiko believes she is doing her best and so Kobato praises him that he has such a wonderful mother. He is brought to tears and hugs her. That night at the playground, Kobato is surprised to see her first konpeito in her bottle. As Ioryogi notes, she has healed Toshihiko’s heart and without any ulterior motives. I guess you can’t blame her for getting carried away with her first candy. Leave it to Ioryogi to bring her back to Earth…

Thank goodness Kobato’s vagabond days of staying at the playground are over. In episode 3, Sayaka introduces her a proper place to stay. An apartment building run by the generous Chitose Mihara and her twin daughters, Chise and Chiho. While rushing in the rain (because she’s late to Yomogi), Kobato bumps into a girl, Mutsumi Tadokoro who cleans up Ioryogi after he gets dirty. On another rainy day, a kind baker Hiroyasu Ueda of Tirol Bakery offers her an umbrella. While looking for hearts to heal at a convenience store, she notes her umbrella she borrowed missing. Mutsumi was there and offered hers instead before chasing after a boy she seems to have a crush on, Katsuragi. Then another day, back at the same store, Kobato sees her borrowed umbrella and also Mutsumi. As the girls chat, Mutsumi gets disheartened when she sees Katsuragi walking with another girl. After needing to know what’s to be done, Kobato approaches Katsuragi and wants him to share his umbrella with Mutsumi. Mutsumi was passing by and isn’t happy to see what’s going on. Eventually he gives in to Kobato’s advice as Mutsumi learns that he was just accompanying that girl who forgot to bring her umbrella home. Nothing more. Mutsumi feels better and the next day, Kobato gets another konpeito in her bottle.

Kobato is darn happy in episode 4 because she gets to sleep on futon now in her empty room courtesy of the twins. While taking a walk, Kobato spots a lady, Kohaku admiring the green leaves. Seems Ioryogi knows who she is. She is someone from Heaven and she too recognizes Ioryogi but of a different name: Iorogi. Then later Kobato spots Kohaku walking back with her lover Shuuichirou Kudou home and becomes a busybody tailing her back. She sees her using her powers to water the plants. Both girls talk about the pain in Kohaku’s heart and since they’re so dense on what it is, irritated Ioryogi has to spell it out that she’s in love. Kohaku is worried that Shuuichirou as a doctor is always working so they rarely have time together. Kobato thinks of having them go on a date at the amusement park. It’s kinda weird to see Kobato getting her ‘worldly knowledge’ from the bookstore. Attempts to get tickets to the amusement park flop (because you need money to buy them, silly) and even if she tried lottery, she got an alligator stuffed toy. Then she bumps into Fujimoto doing his newspaper delivery job. She notices he got tickets to the amusement park and begs to exchange it for the alligator. Kobato presents the tickets to Kohaku but she doesn’t think she can go because Shuuichirou is always busy, etc. But Shuuichirou heard it all so he agrees to go. As the duo have their date, Kobato and Ioryogi are being visited by a floating rabbit named Usagi. Though it can’t speak proper words, Ioryogi translates and learns that Kobato has just 4 seasons to complete her mission. That’s just 1 year. Oh boy. She only has 2 konpeito. She’s going to have to work real hard. Kobato ponders why she didn’t get a konpeito for healing Kohaku’s heart. Ioryogi mentions she wasn’t hurt to begin with but Kobato is glad to see Kohaku happy.

In episode 5, Kobato thinks of reading a children’s story book A Firefly’s Light to the Yomogi kids but needed some practice. While doing so at the riverside, some guy, Soutarou Mori wanting to stop it. They notice him sitting dejectedly alone. Later as Kobato heads to Yomogi, it seems there are thugs trying to harass Sayaka to pay her debts and even get rough on Kobato! Fujimoto has his hands full but if not for Toshihiko crying wolf that the police are coming, the thugs would never have leave them alone. Afterwards Kobato sees Mori sitting at the same spot alone but he refuses any help. When she returns home and learning that Fujimoto is her neighbour (you know how much she annoys him and now this), she finds out that Mori was a famous author wrote that book, which happens to be his last. She confronts him and wishes him to go watch the fireflies together. That night, she learns that Mori wrote the story while his late girlfriend Naoko Niimura drew the illustrations. She had always wanted to show him this place where the fireflies are but he was always giving excuses that he’s busy meeting deadlines. Then one night she got into an accident which opened his eyes but it was too late, she was gone. As they walk deeper into the forest, they see the beautiful sparkles of the fireflies and this brings back nostalgic memories to Mori. You can tell his heart is healed not only because he isn’t seen at his usual place but Kobato has got another konpeito.

As Yomogi are set for their day field trip in episode 6, Kobato picks up a threatening call from Okiura. He wants her to tell Sayaka that he won’t put off the deadline to pay off her debts any longer. When Kobato tells Fujimoto about this, he wants her to keep quiet and not tell Sayaka. Meanwhile Ioryogi goes to do more investigation by visiting his bear buddy Genko (partly he loves eating his baumkuchen). After Ioryogi leaves, he is confronted by another old wolf pal, Ginsei. He isn’t happy that Ioryogi isn’t going back to the other world and thinks it has something to do with that girl but the latter warns if he touches Kobato, he’ll kill him. Kobato and the kids are having fun at the park. Which kid wouldn’t love playing hide and seek with Kobato since she’s so dense she probably couldn’t find anybody no matter how hard she tries. This is going to take long. I guess she needs indirect help from Fujimoto to find them. As it’s time to go home, they notice one of them is missing, Marina. Fujimoto and Kobato go search for her. Thankfully they find her sleeping near a tree. Yeah, Kobato took too long to find her so it’s no wonder she fell asleep after tiring herself out to find a four leaf clover. The gang have their group picture taken when they spot many four leave clovers. Must be their real lucky day. Ioryogi is on his way home when he meets another old acquaintance in his pigeon form, Zuishou. He tells him Genko’s findings. The former chairman of Yomogi, who was Sayaka’s dad passed away 2 years ago, was tricked into making some loan. And one of the swindlers is a relative of Sayaka. Ioryogi fears that Yomogi may be closed sooner if things get complicated.

As usual Kobato is clumsy while painting the furniture at Yomogi in episode 7. More of nuisance, is she? But that doesn’t mean Fujimoto should say cold words to her. Still, she is bent on cheering him up. Seeing that Fujimoto is a university student, Kobato notices he forgot to take his report and decides to return it to him. If she knows what a university is in the first place. Meanwhile Chitose meets Sayaka to offer some help in paying her debts since she too wants to protect this place and her daughters once attended Yomogi (having twins to play hide and seek is handy when you don’t know which one is it). Kobato eventually gets there and after spending time searching here and there, she bumps into a guy, Takashi Domoto whom she earlier spotted talking to Fujimoto. Nice and gentle Domoto offers to help Kobato look for that cold guy. Along the way Kobato notices Domoto’s helpful behaviour with the other students. So when they finally find Fujimoto, well let’s just say he’s refusing to help a couple of girls. Kobato is upset that he is harsh on them, gives his stupid report and leaves. She reflects on her words so Domoto talks to her. Domoto insists that if he wanted to help others, he would’ve turned other people’s help down (no spoon feeding, I guess) so he is envious of that strength Fujimoto has whom he also feels isn’t afraid to be hated by others. But Kobato thinks there is nothing wrong helping others because they look so happy when Domoto helped them. That night, Kobato gets a shock of her life when she receives another konpeito. Ioryogi says she must have healed Domoto’s wounded heart of being worried of what others think about him. The next day, Fujimoto thanks Kobato and even if it does seem cold, at least he said it. Plus everyone else thinks he is a kind person so poor Kobato is confused on what a strange person Fujimoto is.

Kobato finds a stray kitten in episode 8 and brings it home. But the twins say their apartment has a policy of no pets allowed since previous tenants complained about the noise. Calling it Milk, Kobato brings it to Yomogi and though the kids are happy playing with it, one of them, Yuzuru is allergic to cats. Another round of dressing down from Fujimoto that if she does things half heartedly or for personal satisfaction, she is no better than the ones who abandoned it. Kobato and the twins go door to door to see if anybody wants to adopt Milk but there were no takers. Finally their efforts pay off when Granny offers to take Milk in so that her grandson could play with it. That night on the rooftop, Kobato sings that lullaby to sooth Granny’s baby to the twins (still sounds off to me). After she thanks Fujimoto, she notices she receives a couple of konpeito for soothing the hearts of the twins when they felt the sadness of parting with Milk.

As Kobato hands out posters for the summer festival in episode 9, she meets a girl Natsuki Mizuhashi who lends her handkerchief to Kobato. She runs off when her classmate Yukino Morikawa comes by. After learning that the girls are from Seinan All Girls School (because that’s where Sayaka and Chitose studied before) Kobato decides to poke her nose. Making an unauthorized visit, she meets Yukino and later Natsuki who is cleaning the pool. After Kobato returns her handkerchief, Yukino excuses herself saying she has a part time job and doesn’t join them cleaning the pool. Kobato visits Natsuki and learns she and Yukino were once best friends but drifted apart. Then she visits Natsuki and learns she’s working to buy a camera because she’s interested in photography. Another flashback when the girls were best friends forever material and bought handphone straps for each other. One day Yukino and Natsuki meet each other so Natsuki chides her for trying to act like a professional photographer when she’s not. Kobato goes to talk to Yukino but she wants to be left alone. Natsuki goes home and realizes her handphone strap is missing and frantically searches for it. Kobato chips in and they finally find it in the dumpster. Finally Kobato brings her to see Yukino. Both girls reconcile and become friends once more. Kobato is rewarded with 2 more konpeitos. Hmm… The bottle still looks very empty…

On a sunny Sunday in episode 10, Sayaka is doing her book-keeping but finds she is still short on what she needs to clear her debt. After Kobato helps her air the futons, Sayaka shows her photos of Fujimoto when he was young. He was an orphan and was taken in by Sayaka’s dad to live with them. He was unfriendly and never mixed with the other kids. Sayaka noticed he loved playing the organ. One day while they were growing sunflowers in the garden, a ball came flying and hit one of the kids. A couple of guys climb in to retrieve their ball and accidentally ruin the garden. Though the guys apologize, Fujimoto saw how Sayaka stood her ground even if she was trembling. After fixing the wounded sunflower, Fujimoto then played the organ and cheered the kids up. Sayaka mentions how Fujimoto take up many part time jobs to help pay the debt and since he aspires to be a lawyer, burns the midnight oil with his studies. She’s afraid he may end up getting sick. After Kobato leaves and a visit to Kohaku, she returns and his happy to see Fujimoto. She starts spilling out how he looked cute when he was young and loved playing the organ. Too bad Chitose and the twins really want to hear more much to his horror.

Kobato wants to help out with Sayaka’s debt in episode 11. So upon Chitose’s recommendation, she finds herself helping out Ueda and his assistant Yumi Oomura at Tirol. Kobato notices Yumi’s fingers have lots of band aids. She works hard and surprisingly doesn’t screw up probably Yumi is there to guide her. Closing time, Ueda wishes Yumi not to push herself hard since her injuries haven’t healed yet. Yumi thinks Ueda has got some problem and it may have something to do with her. Kobato asks him directly and of course he doesn’t give her a direct answer. Then Sayaka pays Tirol a visit. Yumi mentions about her ex-husband which makes Sayaka a little uneasy. Kobato decides to play detective to find out about Ueda’s problem. Would it be more effective if she doesn’t go around announcing to strangers that she’s a detective? She and Yumi tail Ueda into a cafe and see him meeting with a woman. Yumi panics that he may be on a date and since they’re noisy, Ueda spots them. When Ueda catches up to them, he explains he was conducting an interview for a new part time since Yumi hasn’t got time to rest. Yumi says that she’s happy working with him even if she doesn’t get to rest and the reason she got her injuries was because she was trying to bake him a cake so that she could help out. He tastes it and finds it delicious. Ueda offers to practice baking with her. With that Kobato earns more konpeito as she is happy how both employer and employee think alike.

Ginsei pays Genko a visit in episode 12 as we learn the 4 realms of Heaven, Hell, Spirit and Human. Each world is not allowed to interfere with the other and only the Human realm is ignorant about the existent of the other realms. Ioryogi wanted to take something from Heaven and waged war against God. But he and his team were unsuccessful. As punishment they were transformed into their animals form and Ioryogi bearing the worse (because he’s a stuffed toy). Until Kobato’s wish comes true, Ioryogi can’t return to the Spirit World and will remain in that form. The usual antics at Yomogi and since Fujimoto only really listens to Sayaka, he has no choice but to go to university with Domoto. As Kobato and Ioryogi are resting at the playground, Ginsei suddenly attacks him and steals Kobato’s bottle. Ginsei and Ioryogi confront each other and the wolf doesn’t understand what he sees in her. Listing Kobato’s bad and good traits that she puts others before herself, Ginsei thinks of breaking the bottle so no wishes could be made. Ioryogi begs on his knees not to do so. Noting how much he has changed ever since being with that girl, Ginsei puts the bottle down and disappears. Ioryogi has to play like a stuffed toy when Fujimoto comes passing by. He soon returns it to Kobato who is looking for Ioryogi.

Autumn arrives in episode 13 and Ioryogi reminds Kobato of her mission. Well, her bottle is half full. Not bad, eh? Not. At Yomogi, Toshihiko and Yuzuru are fighting over the limited toy blocks. Kobato tries to quell them but eventually Fujimoto has to put his foot down. Because the kids say he can throw away the toys, this upsets Fujimoto as he just leaves. After telling Sayaka about it, Kobato gets an idea. She brings them to a giant ginkgo tree whereby they collect its leaves to make art. Toshihiko and Yuzuru make up when several construction workers arrive. They say they’re going to cut down the tree tomorrow after receiving complaints from the neighbourhood. Early next morning, Kobato goes to the tree and spots Kohaku there too. Then she hears comments from passers-by which made the tree insignificant or they don’t care about it. Kobato deeply cares for the ginkgo so Kohaku uses her powers to translate what the tree is saying (hey, trees are living creatures too). It is grateful to Kobato though it has resigned to its fate. Kobato got desperate that she tried to dig up the tree?! Kohaku stops her and tells her about the same case of a fuji tree she met. Then they start singing Ashita Kuru Hi that the tree crashes down. No, it’s not their horrible singing, mind you. As Kohaku mentions, the tree was happily sent off by Kobato’s song. And Kobato gets a konpeito because of the soul of the tree. Hmm… If she does this to lots of other trees, maybe she can fill up her bottle. Back at Yomogi, Fujimoto is seen carving pieces of that ginkgo tree into more wooden toy blocks. So how useful trees are?

Yomogi are helping an old lady pick sweet potatoes in her little farm in episode 14. They notice a kid stealing some but he escapes before they could do anything. Though the gang roast some of the delicious treats back at the centre, Kobato picked too much so they have to give some away. Sayaka requests Kobato to accompany Fujimoto as she wants her to know the neighbourhood better. Who wouldn’t refuse a free treat? When they give some to Granny, they see the potato thief, Keita and this time Fujimoto catches him. They learn he has run away from home and trying to return to his old place since his mom got a new job and moved. But he doesn’t remember it well. After giving vague hints of where his house might be located, they search for it and finally find the house but abandoned. As they talk, Keita mentions how his grandpa is always scolding him and thus the reason why he left his home thinking that grandpa hates him. But we all know it’s because he loves Keita very much. Fujimoto and Kobato related their experience with Sayaka and since Keita stole the potatoes so he could roast them here (because that’s what his family usually does), Fujimoto thinks he should take some responsibility and hand some back to his family. They accompany back to the train station whereby Keita’s grandpa is searching for him (earlier Fujimoto called him after noting the phone number on Keita’s bag). They are both reunited and as usual he scolds Keita but he knows it’s for his own good and that his family still cares.

Sayaka collapses one day at Yomogi in episode 15 so Kobato rushes to find a doctor and manages to get Shuuichirou. He diagnoses that she has a small stomach inflammation. She should rest and eat well for if this happens again, it may be fatal. As Fujimoto watches over Sayaka, Kobato takes care of the kids as they plan to fold 1000 origami cranes to make Sayaka feel better. That night Kobato seems a little down so Ioryogi thinks her memories may be coming back. Kobato learns from the twins to make porridge in order to help Sayaka recover. Fujimoto smelt something from the kitchen and to his horror sees Kobato making her… Poison? You know that could really kill instead of heal. Fujimoto teaches that klutz how to make one. Kobato starts crying (partly of his usual cold words) so he shows that he isn’t a cold hearted ass as he comforts her that Sayaka won’t die. Sayaka has a taste of it and finds it delicious (Fujimoto’s cooking of course). Kobato ponders why her konpeito hasn’t increased yet so Ioryogi sarcastically mentions how she was sent to heal people’s hearts but let others did it instead. Next day Sayaka is up and all better.

Kobato gets an idea to hold a bazaar so they could raise money in episode 16. But Fujimoto being the pessimistic meanie shoots her down. Not until Sayaka steps in. As the kids bring stuff that they don’t want to sell, Kobato draws up posters for the bazaar (not that her drawing is god anyway). That night, Kobato sees the person who made that threatening call to Sayaka, Okiura, her ex-husband. He tells her to prepare to move out as he will close down the day care when the time comes. On the day of the bazaar, Ioryogi leaves as he promises to bring back something she can sell. It is starting to rain and the sad part is that the bazaar is going to be a failure since nobody is showing up. Then Chitose and her daughters arrive after hearing it from Kobato. When she mentions that there were no posters announcing of their bazaar, Fujimoto thinks it’s the doing of that guy. Kobato decides to run into town and tell everyone about the bazaar. May sound foolish but in the end, streams of people start flooding Yomogi! It’s turning into a lively affair and it’s starting to be sunny too. Anybody who went around shouting about the bazaar may be deemed an idiot and embarrassing but you know, Kobato is one and doesn’t care about that.

As Kobato continues with her bazaar announcement in episode 17, she accidentally steps on returning Ioryogi. He looks messed up. This was what happened. After Ioryogi left, he went to Genko’s place for his usual baumkuchen. Since that doggy is eating into his profits it’s understandable that he only gets a box free. Even that Ioryogi is complaining he’s being stingy. On his way home, he gets hit by a football, flown away on a sheet (like a magic carpet), got pecked by crows and fell into a pond while trying to protect his precious box. Then he got lost and found himself at an amusement fair. To make things worse, some staff thought he was a prized doll and made him a prize for a shooting gallery. Panicking Ioryogi avoids all the shot so much so he became a very wanted target as he is the only one left standing. Soon everybody tries to shoot him down including a double shotgun-wielding granny known as Sniper Okana-chan! Oh sh*t!!! Even if everybody fires together, Ioryogi doesn’t fall. He finally did when a little boy shoots him. Just as the staff goes to pick him up, Ioryogi uses this chance to escape before being seen. That’s when he chances upon Kobato. He gives her words of encouragement about the bazaar like never give up no matter how tough it is. She is shocked to see the good response when she returns to Yomogi. After the bazaar as Kobato walks home, Ioryogi mentions how he is going to savour every bit of the baumkuchen but realizes the box is missing. To his horror, Kobato says she has sold it because he did mention he wanted to bring back something to sell so that baumkuchen must be it, right? ARGH!!!! All the hard work of protecting it gone. Punishment time.

It’s winter in episode 18 and Kobato’s bottle is about 4/5 filled. She notices a debt collector under Okiura standing outside Yomogi. Though he doesn’t do anything, this is scaring away the parents and preventing them from sending their kids over. Fujimoto can’t press charges or call the cops because he isn’t doing anything. Since Kobato’s attempts to learn more about Okiura from Fujimoto are futile, she and Domoto try to persuade the underling to not close down Yomogi. Like he cares but he suddenly experiences stomach discomforts and collapses. They call the ambulance and accompany him to hospital. Fujimoto calls Okiura to inform him about this but the latter isn’t moved and remains on closing down Yomogi. When Kobato and Domoto return, as usual Fujimoto gives her the cold shoulder. Then at the park, Domoto listens out to Kobato as she ponders why Fujimoto is angry at her. He says that she is honest, kind and always trying her best so she feels better.

Even if it’s Christmas, Fujimoto acts indifferent to her in episode 19. This scene has become so typical. Domoto accompanies Kobato and they see Fujimoto doing his part time job selling Christmas cakes. Yup, the same heartless bastard. Kobato still thinks that what she said may have angered him. She gets to know from Chitose that Fujimoto was always alone on Christmas Eve. Flashback reveals that he made dinner and was expecting with high hopes mom to come back. Since she didn’t, he decided to go fetch her even if it’s snowing heavily. He waited outside the train station but she never turned up. He was so sad that he cried out so loud. Ever since that day, his mom never returned and was soon adopted by Sayaka’s dad. Then after the Christmas party for the Yomogi kids, it takes no genius to figure out how Fujimoto treats poor Kobato. So it’s no surprise that she cried when she poured out her sorrows to Domoto. She doesn’t know why but every time she thinks of him her heart hurts (could it be love?). Domoto knows what present to get her. He confronts Fujimoto and wants him to bring a letter to Kobato. He tells him straight that his (stinking) attitude is hurting her and wants him to go to Kobato while he fills in his part time job. Since he’s not a total devil, he rushes over and quickly states how it was never her fault. Then they open the letter and it seems cheeky Domoto has brought Kobato her present: Fujimoto. She realizes he helped them to make up. Kobato starts singing as the snow falls while Ioryogi mentions that he will have to part with Kobato when spring comes.

Since Valentine’s Day is approaching in episode 20, Kobato thinks of holding a Valentine party to cheer Sayaka up but needs to take lessons to make chocolates. Surprisingly Fujimoto encourages her though overall he is still the same. At least he learnt his lesson. Now if you’re familiar with CLAMP’s works, you would have already recognized some of the cross-over characters from their other series. While Kobato is working at Tirol, she happens to bump into the dimension travelling group from Tsubasa Chronicle: Syaoran, Kurogane, Fay and Mokona. Since Sakura isn’t with them, I’m guessing it must be after the Shunraiki arc. At the park, Kobato learns more about these travellers and it’s amusing to see the gang tease Ioryogi and Kurogane that they’re alike because they both are voiced by the same seiyuu. Kobato offers them to temporarily stay at her place. In order to help pay for their stay, Fay suggests Syaoran and Mokona accompany Kobato while he and Kurogane do something else. As Syaoran and Kobato chat about the former’s travels, when he mentions about the person waiting at the end of the travel, Kobato gets a short snippet of her memory, possible the place she wants to go and person she wants to see. Hmm… Looks a lot like Fujimoto. That night Mokona signals it’s time to leave for another dimension (no feather?) so Fay tells Ioryogi to keep an eye on Kobato as she seems at unease and though people from other world could only watch over her. As Yomogi have their Valentine party, the kids asks Kobato whom she will give her chocolates to but she spaces out. Ioryogi is visited by Usagi and he knows Kobato’s time is running out.

Kobato leaves some chocolates for Fujimoto on his door in episode 21. While she is playing with the Yomogi kids, Okiura shows up and insists he wants to talk with Sayaka. Fujimoto is hot headed while Okiura remains cool. He tells them to evacuate the place and to get their priorities right. Is it the kids that they want to save or this ‘box’? Sayaka agrees to close the day care but wishes he will postpone it after graduation. Kobato thinks of going to talk to Okiura. That night Fujimoto confronts his underling (the hospitalized one) and from what I understand, the real culprit is Okiura’s dad and that Okiura is playing the bad guy to protect Sayaka. Because he felt indebted to Kobato, he doesn’t want to hurt anyone anymore or make a big fuss out of it. Soon graduation day passes and Kobato still don’t understand what made Okiura and Sayaka’s relationship turned sour. Chitose replies that they probably loved each other so much that it led to misunderstandings. Kobato goes to Okiura’s office and since she wasn’t allowed in, she really waited in the rain just for him to show his face! She really does have lots of patience considering she doesn’t have much time left. So finally Okiura shows up and I guess Kobato’s earnest feelings reached him if he really cared about Sayaka. He mentions he no longer has the power to stop his dad so Kobato is relieved he doesn’t hate her and collapses. Meanwhile Fujimoto faces Sayaka and tells her the truth. He wants her to be happy and that she has to be by his side though she isn’t ready to forgive him. Then Okiura comes back with Kobato in his arms. When Kobato wakes up, she wants Sayaka to go after Okiura if she still loves him. She does so and they both reconcile and embrace. Though Kobato is glad it turned out this way and secures another 2 konpeitos from the healed hearts, she notices Fujimoto’s disturbed look.

In episode 22, Kobato helps Sayaka pack up their stuff from Yomogi. A lot is going through Fujimoto’s mind that he almost got run over by a truck. Kobato, Sayaka and the kids watch Okiura’s underling demolish Yomogi. He mentions how Okiura won’t be showing up for a while as he is trying to deal with the higher ups. Meanwhile Ioryogi is meeting his other pals and he is thinking of kidnapping Usagi. However Genko scoffs his idea off that they don’t want to bear the brunt again. Perhaps God was trying to teach him the meaning of patience so Ioryogi assures them he won’t do it. Sayaka tells Kobato that she realized she has been a burden to Fujimoto and wants her to be by his side and tell him to do the things he likes for his sake. Fujimoto got into an accident during his delivery job but luckily it wasn’t serious and just got his arm broken. When Kobato and Domoto go fetch him, he walks off. Kobato follows him and tries to cheer him up but looks like his bad mood is back because he tells her off that he doesn’t need her pity and she’s a nuisance. That hurt Kobato’s heart very much though she wants to tell him how much he misunderstood. Then Usagi appears and Ioryogi pleads to give her at least 1 more season and will do anything but Usagi refuses.

Kobato refuses to be down and since Chitose did mention it, she is glad to be by Fujimoto’s side in episode 23. Okay so in a way I guess she’s being more of a nuisance than help because of that boating folly that got him wet. So he tells her straight that he wants to be left alone since he hasn’t got a chance to relax with her around. But that was just for a brief moment and it won’t be long Kobato starts following him again. Then when they return, Kobato receives a flower from Usagi and know what that means. Next day she packs her bags and tells Chitose that she has to leave. When Fujimoto learns about it, he rushes out to find her. Oh, now he cares. At the playground, Kobato shows her bottle to Usagi but it isn’t enough. Ioryogi pleads that Kobato is a pure human and did her best and doesn’t want her existence to be erased. Kobato has accepted her fate and thanks Ioryogi for everything. Just then Fujimoto comes by and gives them a brief reprieve. He questions her about her sudden departure. He gets more shock when Ioryogi starts talking to him. Kobato takes off her hat and a crown is seen floating on her head. Ioryogi explains her soul doesn’t exist in this world and was given a chance by the higher ups to be reborn in this world. However she chose to spend her time with Fujimoto rather than fulfilling her contract and thus it will be annulled. Teary Kobato has no regrets spending her time with him whom she considers special. Fujimoto can’t believe all this is happening and doesn’t want her to leave. His will is so strong that it broke Usagi’s barrier to teleport her away and fill up the entire bottle! His 1 heart can do that?! Must be a very wounded heart. However even though this means her contract has been fulfilled, Ioryogi remembers the discussion he had with Kohaku: Though Kobato’s wish has changed, her contract didn’t so it’s more like a curse now. Ioryogi pleads to Usagi to let her stay in this world but it’s still a no-no. Kobato feels the warmth of his konpeito and soon disappears to the place she wants to go.

In episode 24, not only Kobato’s presence has been erased from the Human world, but in the memories of those she met as well. It has been 3 months since the demolition of Yomogi as everyone resumes their daily life but something is bugging Fujimoto as he can’t put his finger on it. On a rainy morning, a konpeito fell off from his shirt and his starts remembering who Kobato is. He goes to see those who met her but they still don’t remember her. Till he meets Kohaku and is told the truth. Long ago, Kobato got into an accident in the Human world and died. Her wish was to cross time and be reborn next to the person she loved most. She accepted the trial to have that wish and was granted a temporary soul. Kohaku also mentions how she and Shuuichirou parted many times but they will always meet and be together since they have the same soul and their hearts bonded even if their previous memories were wiped out. Four years passed and Fujimoto is now working as a lawyer and handling an inheritance case. While having a look at the mansion at the countryside, he sees a piano and starts playing, bringing back nostalgic memories he spent with Kobato. The supposed owner comes in and she looks like Kobato! No memories of Kobato, though she heard him play Ashita Kuru Hi. Fujimoto gives back the konpeito to her and wants her to sing that song again. She does so and slowly her memories came back. Revealing her wish to be next to the person she wanted to be with most, teary Kobato hugs Fujimoto who welcomes her back. We have a glimpse of the lives of others Kobato touched like Sayaka and Okiura operating a new day care together, Domoto becoming a doctor while Ioryogi watches Kobato from a far and the rest of his pals still stuck at the baumkuchen house.

It was a good thing Kobato and Fujimoto were reunited. It would be totally a bittersweet ending if she hadn’t since she was working hard in filling up her bottle (excluding the frolicking parts but some are a blessing in disguise I suppose). I’m not sure if the place and person whom she wanted to be is Fujimoto in the Human world or in some other time-space because it sure looked like him (at least from his back) and Kobato looked like a little girl then. But Fujimoto from I can see at the end has sure changed. He doesn’t seem unfriendly or cold anymore and for that last few moments, he smiled more than he did in all the other episodes combined. You don’t know the value of something once you have lost it. Sure he was a friendly guy who doesn’t want to burden others but that doesn’t mean you should show your grumpy face to others, especially to a cheerful girl.

Kobato’s enthusiasm and positivism is something that all of us should be emulated. Not her clumsiness but I guess nobody is perfect. That girl never gives up and strives to do her best with a smile. Thus it’s like her favourite catchphrase each time you hear her say “Kobato, ganbarimasu!” (Kobato will try her best!). Perseverance is another of her strong point even if they seem hopeless from our eyes. While Fujimoto’s cold attitude may be seen as a factor to break her spirits but in fact in a way it makes her stronger. As mentioned her relationship with Ioryogi is most amusing. May seem like a trend in almost every episode when he gives her a taste of his fiery fireball but it never gets tired. And sometimes he paints scores with his paintbrush on her face for the task’s assessment. Due to the subjectivity, usually she won’t score full and even scores negative marks! But that damn dog has given himself a full 100 in the end, eh? While I understand that Ioryogi wanted to take something from Heaven and used Kobato for it, whatever he wanted to obtain doesn’t seem important anymore and made Kobato’s one a priority. Definitely time could even change somebody like him. I thought his other animal pals would have some sort of an impact but rather than revealing details of their Spirit world and what they did to end up in this predicament, I felt that they were mere side characters and nothing else.

When somebody like Okiura is being presented as the initial bad guy but later revealed the culprit to be somebody else, I should have seen it coming from miles away and across the ocean. Shame on me. You know this kind of genres, the bad guy isn’t really the bad guy. I guess with the demolition of Yomogi, the long standing issue between him and Sayaka has been resolved. I hope. That’s what his dad wanted, right? I may not have seen nearly every CLAMP’s work, but most of the supporting characters are crossover characters from other of their work. For instance Chitose and her daughters and Ueda are taken after the ones in Chobits and Kohaku from Wish. Perhaps I could identify more if I read or watch their works (like that will happen anytime soon). And thus the drawing and art sure do remind me of Tsubasa Chronicle especially some the characters who are tall and lanky. So if you keep your eyes peeled, you can spot a few trivia signs of other crossover characters whether they’re in the form of a company’s logo or advertisement. Oh notice this too? As each change of season, notice Kobato will change her outfit too?

The opening theme is sung by Maaya Sakamoto, Magic Number and is quite a lively pop piece that fits the personality of Kobato nicely. Both the ending pieces are slow and calm ballads and are sung by Megumi Nakajima. However I find the first ending theme, Jellyfish’s Confession to be a little odd sounding. Since the animation here shows Kobato’s bottle, I thought the konpeito in it would increase each time she earns them. But all we see are just 2 of them floating and bouncing inside them. Like a wallpaper, eh? I prefer the second ending theme, Watashi Ni Dekiru Koto but the odd part is that it appears very late at episode 20 and it’s a shame it only lasts for 4 episodes. That’s like after 4/5 of the series, eh? Kana Hanazawa sure did a good job voicing Kobato. She brings out the lively character in her and not only ‘soft speaking’ girls like Sora in Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~, Anri in Durarara and Kusano in Sekirei. Tetsu Harada is equally convincing in his Ioryogi role (Gorobei in Samurai 7) especially when he blows his top or starts getting loud. Other casts include Tomoaki Maeno as Fujimoto (Kouta in Nyan Koi, Touya in White Album), Fumiko Orikasa as Sayaka (Rukia in Bleach), Chiwa Saito as Kohaku (Kirie in Girls Bravo), Shinichiro Miki as Okiura (Creed in Black Cat), Hiroshi Kamiya as Domoto (Nozomu in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Series) and Houko Kuwashima as Chitose (Tomoyo in Clannad). With the abundance of casts in this series, there are other seiyuus also making their cameo appearance voicing the side characters like Aki Toyosaki, Ayako Kawasumi, Jun Fukuyama, Marina Inoue, Misato Fuken and Tomokazu Seki among others.

Considering the amount of sadness in the people’s hearts all over the world, I think if there was a job that requires what Kobato is doing, we’re going to need a much bigger bottle to heal them. Yeah, touched by a Kobato, you could say. I wonder if those hearts that Kobato has healed, will they ever be broken again? Where would the konpeito filled with healed hearts go to and for what purpose? Maybe that is something we should leave for another story. So what did I learn from his anime? No, not rabbits floating down from the sky or dogs breathe fire or wounded hearts are made out of candy. Kobato is a funny girl! Haha, just kidding. When you are sad and down, there’ll always be something or someone to come cheer you up in your lowest point. Well, almost. I wonder if Kobato would come heal my broken heart if I watched a sad anime? Who am I kidding? I’m too happy watching my animes.


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