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Kobato Vol. #05 Manga Review

4 min read

“Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”- John Lennon

Creative Staff
Story/Art: CLAMP
Translation/Adaptation: William Flanagan

What They Say
As the seeds of love begin to bloom in Kobato’s heart, her attentions are diverted from giving solace to strangers and filing up her magic bottle to finally earn her mysterious wish! Now it seems all Kobato has eyes for is the dour Fujimoto-kun and putting a smile on his face. With this turn of events, Kobato is fighting to save Yomogi Kindergarten more than ever, at the expense of her magic bottle. But as time runs out for her quest, is Kobato unwittingly endangering her wish, her life, and the lives of Ioryogi and his erstwhile allies by choosing to follow her heart?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Things are progressing at an accelerated rate, but it may not be down the tracks anyone had been predicting. Kobato suddenly finds herself overwhelmed when trying to deal with Fujimoto and is slowly coming to realize that this is because she loves him. This realization and her attempts to deal with her emotions will cause a large ripple to those around her- both those she knows through her daily activities and those that are related to her guide Ioryogi.

As Kobato sleeps that night Ioryogi goes to the roof when an old friend pays a visit- and this friend has much to lose with the current string of events. As the two talk the curtains on the past are parted and the story of how the irascible Ioryogi, who was a member of the Netherworld’s royalty, feel in love with an angel and declared war on Heaven. The consequences of this war fell heavily on one human child and the only solution to those events would have Kobato trying to collect wounded hearts to have a wish granted, which would also allow Ioryogi’s wish to be granted.

But Kobato’s efforts to heal others has run into a wall as now that she has fallen so hard for Fujimoto she has been neglecting her previous task as her wish may not be what it was. The problem lies that for Ioryogi’s accomplices her failure to get her wish granted leaves them in their current form- but that won’t be the worst thing that happens to Ioryogi as the change will cost him far dearer. Is Ioryogi going to be able to accept this change of plans, and what of all the others around him whose fate are tied to his? How far is Kobato prepared to go to help the one person who is weighing most heavily on her mind?

One of the things I love (and frankly fear sometimes) about CLAMP is their ability to seed elements into their stories that pay off later. In Kobato’s case it seems a little easier as they were able to start the series almost with a blank slate and fill in slowly around it. Kobato brings in some pleasant surprises that way as they throw a few head fakes in to make it seem like the story is going to go one way and before revealing it to be headed in another.

And in Kobato, that switch has a price associated with it. This is something romance comics can deal with when it comes to affections as well, but CLAMP puts their own twist in as the seeds they have been sowing about back story finally start to be revealed. That the roots can be found running through a number of their titles works well for me as I enjoyed those titles but I can see how the same explanations for events can be seen as shallow and somewhat confusing for those who missed (or disliked) Wish in particular.

Still, CLAMP’s ability to draw out emotions with some carefully crafted stories is on full display here and it is this ability plus their gorgeous and often flowing artwork (also present here) that has helped place them in the upper tier of manga creators and this series looks like it will be one that helps strengthen that position.

In Summary
Love is in the air but even in the most normal of situations it rarely comes easy, and the characters in Kobato are far from being in normal situations. This volume will peel back the layers that have shrouded the origin of the story as the readers will finally learn of the reason Kobato is on her quest for Heaven and what it is Ioryogi is being punished for. But when familiarity changes feelings, will Kobato still have her drive to fill her bottle with wounded hearts to have her wish granted, or will she decide to come up with a new wish that involves healing just one special heart.

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Readers Rating: [ratings]

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 13th, 2011
MSRP: $11.99

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