BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Kobato (vol. 1) presented by CLAMP

Kobato 1I think this is my introduction to CLAMP, an all-woman collective of manga artists that began in the mid-1980s with varying members through the years, but consistently cranking out high-sales series that often get turned into anime. Go, girls, go!

That said, I probably need to go hunt down some of their other series … suggestions welcome! Kobato, making its English debut, strikes me as an odd mix of do-gooder intentions hindered by unnecessary verbal violence. Closing the pages, I’m left more with a feeling of ‘huh?’ than anything else …

So Kobato Hanato, all adorable big-eyed fluff with fabulous costumes, is a sweet young girl whose only goal in life is to help others. To do so, she has to somehow earn a special magic bottle, which she can then fill with the wounded hearts she has helped to heal. But to get that magic bottle, she has to be trained in the ways of the world by a would-be stuffed blue dog named Ioryogi, who is one mean control freak with anger management issues, not to mention being obsessed with finding the next stiff drink. Again, huh?

Each chapter has Kobato out earning points that will eventually get her that magic bottle, with duties ranging from collecting garbage, to cooking nabe (a Japanese hot pot dish) tableside for strangers, to sharing Christmas cake with a harried mother, to singing in the park under showering cherry blossoms, to sharing umbrellas, and – one more big ‘huh?’ here! – chasing down a cold beer for the irate pup.

The series is rated ‘T’ for teens, and I know kids these days have seen and heard way too much before their time … go ahead, call me OLD. But is this the sort of thing they want to read? The volume ends with a bit of promise … a love triangle just might be brewing, a bit of mystery surrounds the princely young man who helps at both the fancy bakery and the kindergarten facing student shortages. While this oldster isn’t intrigued enough to pick up volume 2, given CLAMP’s longstanding success, many others will likely keep reading…

Readers: Young Adult

Published: 2010 (United States)



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