Apr 5 2010 12:31 AM
wow, that surely wasn't expected. For what may seems to be a completely anime original series that was very well done. Although episode 24 wasn't as spectacular as 23 (simply because of a predictable outcome), the last few 5 episodes of the series did move me quite a bit and I'm quite satisfied overall even though that the manga's story was essentially thrown out the window.
The plot was very repetitive at the beginning. Even though the series continued to be funny, that didn't excuse it from the lack of plot development. Nonetheless, I'm impressed to see the series manage to bring itself to a proper conclusion unlike many other series these past few seasons.
Character development wasn't exactly the series strong point, however. Many characters came and go along with characters that popped up every now and then. Those that popped up every so often really deserved some more solid development for having stayed in the series for so long. It also felt as if there were many holes in both Fujimoto and Kobato's background, but that was kind of expected since the manga hasn't even revealed what's under her hat I think.
The animation in the last few episodes were off the charts in a very good way. I especially enjoyed the slow motion scenes and especially the quality in episode 22 when Fujimoto told Kobato to buzz off after breaking his arm. That's not to say that the previous episodes were bad, but it made the broadcast feel up-scaled when the native resolution it was produced and aired in was 16:9. Nevertheless, those moments of beautiful animation and fluidity is what really shows that Madhouse can produce some quality work...though the Konpeito/confetti needs some work as they were quite inconsistent each time they showed them. Hoping for a fix in the DVD release.
Music....really not much to complain here. Maaya Sakamoto for the OP and Megumi Nakajima for the ED is just perfect. 2 amazing singers doing sets of amazing music. The inserts by Kana Hanazawa (Kobato's seiyuu) was also very good despite having an annoying voice in the show. On the topic of Kana Hanazawa, although she has done some very good roles in the past including Zange in Kannagi, Nadeko in Bakemonogatari, and Mikan in To Love-ru, this was definitely one of her roles. As dense and awesome of a character Kobato is, the high pitched voice simply didn't suit her especially when she continuously attempted to hit a pitch that was similar to the sound of nails on a chalkboard. That aside, I was very much pleased with the rest of the cast, especially with the amusement Ioryogi being voiced by Tetsu Inada who also voices Kurogane in Tsubasa Chronicle.
Enjoyment? No idea. There were points in this series that almost put me to sleep. Like I said, this series started out very amusing with an interesting concept, but that grew repetitive and boring really fast. Luckily the series turned itself around as certain "implicit" events got more serious, which allowed the plot to pickup its pace. Although watching the last three episodes back to back may have ruined some of the suspense (though with 23 and 24 coming out the same day, I'm sure that ruined even more suspense possibly), I really had a fun time watching Kobato compared to everything else right now. Obviously, the chances of a second season is slim to none given the nature of the ending as well as the fact that the manga has essentially been avoided in almost every manner possible at this point. It's sad to see Kobato go, but what this one show does show is that anime original adaptations are still possible when placed in the right hands. Having seen Summer Wars recently, which was also done by Madhouse, I look forward to their animation quality continue to grow to the likes of the higher tier groups in the future and hopefully this series also plants some ideas into other directors/companies to be able to produce more good originals/adaptations in the near future to revive the anime industry.
Overall, Kobato was not a masterpiece, but it definitely was not a failure and if given the choice, I would definitely consider this series rewatchable not because I like CLAMP, but because of the level of production and its ability to produce a relatively solid story with a satisfying ending. 8/10
One last thing that irked me though was the time skip in the last episode....was that really necessary?