Kobato. (2004.12.18 ~ 2011.07.10)

Scans of the final chapter are available here.

My thoughts (spoilers ahead):

It was rushed! Much more than Tsubasa and XXXHOLiC were! But I feel like this was the best CLAMP could do under the circumstances they had. I feel like Kobato. could have been much greater, development-wise speaking. I feel like it wasn’t supposed to be only 6 volumes long. It ran for almost 6 years and it only had 6 volumes.

Kobato. was very damaged because of its publishing issues. Though never officially revealed, something didn’t work out during its days at Sunday GX, and after some months in hiatus, it moved to Newtype under its 14 pages limitation (since Newtype is first and foremost, an anime magazine). The story went back a few steps before continuing from where it was left out, and it looked promising, it even got an anime adaptation with only 3 volumes published and still rather unknown.

Being a CLAMP title, maybe they bet the anime would be popular regardless of the manga sales (because Kobato. never sold well enough for a CLAMP title). Maybe they even bet it would increase the interest over the manga version. But the anime ended, the manga kept going for another year, and maybe there was nothing else to be done.

Yes, I am considering here the possibility of the manga being canceled earlier than CLAMP’s original plan. There were a lot of sub-plots there weren’t explored well enough, I am talking about the creatures, the Mihara family, Sayaka and Okiura’s relationship, Doumoto, to name a few. The main plot itself – the girl who heals wounded hearts – seemed more promising than it actually was… I don’t know why Kobato’s bottle has that size if CLAMP’s original plan was for her to get this little amount of drops.

I thought the reincarnation resource is being way too much used by CLAMP, so is the “waiting x years in order to be happy with your loved one”. We’ve seen that in RG Veda, Wish and more recently in Tsubasa and XXXHOLiC. It was cool and different and it worked well with RG Veda, but now it’s getting overused. Before that, we’ve seen the “stopped time” plot in Tsubasa/XXXHOLiC, seeing it again in Kobato., so shortly after, feels like plot recycling, and I really don’t like that plot device very much (it doesn’t make much sense to me the stopped time thing!! xD).

I am quite unhappy with this ending, but not only the last chapter, because a chapter is a chapter, you can’t blame the ending just because of the final chapter. I am looking at the big picture here, the story as a whole and how it felt unexplored. With only 6 volumes (with 160 pages each, less than the average manga volume!), I think Kobato. should have less characters and less sub-plots to tell its story properly.

But not everything is wasted, right?

OUTO HIGH SCHOOL UNIFORM! Don’t you love when CLAMP do that? *-*

Seriously, though, love Kobato.! It lacks a proper ending, but not sure how much CLAMP is to be blamed for that…


48 thoughts on “Kobato. (2004.12.18 ~ 2011.07.10)

  1. Hi!
    I wholeheartedly agree with you.
    Unfortunately Kobato. was just a victim of the many changes its publication had, because, honestly, I feel the story had lots of potential in both manga and anime formats. I don’t think CLAMP put, for example, Doumoto or the Mihara twins just to fill the story with useless characters and I’m sure they didn’t show the creatures’ shadows just to make them look cool without the intention of showing them in their real forms.
    And that’s so sad because I love Kobato to pieces, the artwork, as usual for a CLAMP series, is beautiful! In my opinion none of the mainstream series we have nowadays (example, Kimi ni todoke) have such beautiful artwork and characters (Kobato is gorgeous) as this series has!
    The end was rushed, but at least it wasn’t sad as many people expected it to be. The Outo uniform was looooooove


    • I don’t think CLAMP put, for example, Doumoto or the Mihara twins just to fill the story with useless characters and I’m sure they didn’t show the creatures’ shadows just to make them look cool without the intention of showing them in their real forms.


      And I must add that the lack of color pages sucks! XD I mean, just two pages with sakura flowers for the last chapter…I mean, seriously, CLAMP? XD

      A spread with Sakura petals is turning into a must-have item for every CLAMP ending XDDD

      Kobato. was truly a victim of publishing issues =(


  2. Awww… I’m going to miss Kobato.

    I’m glad the ending was happy(ish), though I’m disappointed by how rushed it was and it felt forced. At least it wasn’t like xxxHOLIC’s ending, which was incredibly frustrating now that I’ve had time to mull it over. I think the anime did a better job with its ending in this case and it was more consistent with its storytelling.

    It felt like Kobato fell into the same trap as Wish, where CLAMP couldn’t finish it the way they wanted to. It seemed like the story could have really built up into a more substanial story like Cardcaptor Sakura, but I think it’s as you said, that it’s publishing issues really damaged its opportunity to develop.

    >I think Kobato. should have less characters and less sub-plots to tell its story properly.

    I thought Doumoto was okay (because I suspect his role was supposed to be larger, like in the anime), but the lady getting divorced was a really odd inclusion.

    Also, I’m disappointed Icchan never got to show up. =(


    • I agree with Chibiyuuto and you that kobato was supposed to last longer than it did. Because of this, I don’t think the lady going through the divorce was added randomly in the story-I think she’s supposed to be the mom of the little nursery kid who had a crush on kobato (toshihiko?).

      I absolutely loved this story-i loved the concept of filling the bottle and kobato’s journey of being in a new world but there were several things about the serialization that annoyed me. I believe that publishing issues are to blame for it’s early ending but i also believe that the slow pacing of the story contributed to it’s low readership. I remember how annoying it was to have to go through 2 chapters of stuff going on a bakery and wondering where the plot went (i think at one point i even forgot what the plot really was)

      Lastly i think the ending would’ve been a little better if fujimoto remembered kobato when he SAW her-not because the usagi returned the memories.


    • I thought we would get other “ladies getting divorced” AKA: people needing help, but after that everything started to wrap itself. Seems like CLAMP had more in store for Kobato.


  3. I think you point a problem, but really the problem is that Ohkawa doens’t know how to end things anymore.

    She lost herself in endless subplots that she doesn’t know how to close and finally she has not time and she doesn’t deliver even the proper end for the central plot.

    because please in tsubasa What or who was Clow Reed??? a pillar of this series was the antagonist and she never get to tell us even who he was!!
    not to talk about all the subplot she never ends the vampires and the hunters for remember only one!

    and the end in holic!, after She kills Yuuko the thing went downhill
    the story with watanuki could be better had some moments but finally she destroy the ending
    there is no way in hell that Dowumeki would marry Kohane!
    she always treat her as a little girl almost a daughter or at most little sister.
    kohane see both of them as surrogate big brothers and she has another destiny as the new seer why become a mother?? have no sense at all
    and finally No other Doumeki who don’t keep the half of an eye with Watanuki could know how to protect him and when use the egg, Yuuko was really adamant about Doumeki being the only one who can do it because of this treat
    finally the obsession Watanuki never had with Yuuko? it was too much almost like he was in love with her and this never was the case in all the series their relationship was like a aunt and nephew or even like dysfunctional mother and surrogate son

    She gives Watanuki the appearance of the one she loved, so she made a son

    so really ohkawa has a lot of really awesome ideas to start a manga but she can’t finish any

    so please Ohkawa never finish X please free us of the disapointment


    • so please Ohkawa never finish X please free us of the disapointment


      I think she finished up Chobits quite nicely, there weren’t any loose ends, really.

      Tsubasa, XXXHOLiC and Kobato. had frustrating endings… like a lot of stuff was missing.


        • I have faith in the ending for X, but mostly because the series has probably been well planned to the very end. I think Ohkawa has a fixed idea of what the end will be like, but I imagine that it will be far from happy in any way.


  4. I agree, I feel like the anime gave a more satisfying ending than the manga. Both have plot lines left hanging by the ending, but the build up, climax, and closing felt more emotionally satisfying than the manga.

    My biggest grip with Kobato. though is I still can’t figure out if Fujimoto is supposed to be the other version of Ioryogi. A common theme in CLAMP works is being with your destined someone, even if two people are from different worlds they have the same soul, same personality, and the same pairing will happen across different stories. By this “rule” one would expect that Kobato/Suishou would fall in love with Fujimoto/Ioryogi, but the human form of Iorogi is quite different from Fujimoto in both appearance and personality. Unless CLAMP is making their designs different on purpose I’m really confused.


      • Yes, but that only made things even more confusing for me, because my brain kept thinking “Ioryogi doesn’t look like Fujimoto!” as I’m looking at the picture. XD;;


        • Because the Angel and Kobato are two different people/things. They may look the same, but are not the same. Like if the two are twins in some other world….


          • That. Like in Wish, where Kohaku was in love with the mortal Shūichirō but wasn’t that interest in Kokyō, his demon counterpart. And vice versa for Hisui. And since Kohaku appear in Kobato, and it’s a angel/demon/mortal story, I think it a sign. ^_~


  5. You pretty much summarized everything I felt, and expressed it very well.

    I’ve indeed been feeeling all along that Kobato was being wasted and that the whole concept of the girl healing hearts could have been pushed a bit further.
    Same thing about the multitude of characters: too many people introduced, too little development of these characters.
    It really felt like everything was cut short in too many ways.
    Of course, we always got the Art and the wholesome cuteness, but I believe there could have been a lot more to it than what was made in the end.
    As for rushing, well, Rush has become a synonym of Clamp as of late, I can’t even get mad anymore =_=
    Coming from a woman who says she thinks of the ending of her stories before making up the plot to get toward that final she imagined, it’s really a surprise: if it’s really that way, why are most of her endings so messed up? @__@


    • Interesting question you have. For what I been told, read (and even experienced it myself) when you have a specific part of a story that you want to tell, you’ll picture it again and again always changing something trying to make it better. At the same time your trying to create the story to go with this plot line. The thing is that most of the time when you finally reach this point of the story, the character have develop their own personalities and quirks, and sometimes they would no do your so special scene (that you spend so much time planning) without being Out of Character.
      In this type of situation if you don’t flesh out the story properly so you can justify your “scene” the plot will feel force.

      A good example in Kobato would be how Fujimoto fell in love with Kobato just because………seriously I love this manga to pieces but I always felt like a bitter taste that he went from seeing her as annoyance to liking her just because Sayaka suggested it. That and also that in the manga time it barely pass the time for him to develop such strong feelings for her.


    • That’s why my inner fanboy cannot blame entirely on CLAMP, I do think there were rushed by Newtype’s editorial department, they needed to serialize Five Stories Monogatari again…

      If you think about it, there is nothing wrong with the ending itself, it’s a typical CLAMP ending (maybe some may not like the fact that it’s a recycled ending from Wish). But the problem is having that ending right NOW.

      Not saying Kobato should run for more years (6 years is a long time for a manga). But it should either have more volumes with these amount of characters or it should have been 6 volumes but with much less characters.

      I think CLAMP introduced new characters in the hope that the boys from Newtype would be interested in some of them, but didn’t work out and in the end they couldn’t give them all a proper ending.


  6. Guess I am ONE addicted CLAMP fan after all
    Well, we truly all are one hell of addicted fans ^^;

    I spent years(almost 10), and enormous amounts of time, efforts and money on Clamp and Clamp’s fandom. So that made me exigent I suppose and I expect more and more from them. But I believe that having high expectations from someone means that you have a certain level of respect and admiration from that person: you wouldn’t expect anything from someone you don’t give a damn about.
    That said, leaving that aside, I believe there TRULY are things to complain about in their latest rushed endings, independently from being a fan or whatever.
    Even in a purely objective way, you just can’t not see the plots holes and craziness of some things in their mangas.
    To resume it, we are not following Clamp blindly I suppose.


    • I agree. think it’s important to be honest with your feelings and express them. Not be a spoiled brat (not saying anyone here is!) and complain about everything pointlessly.

      There are peope who will like it, there are people who will not, and that’s how we share our opinions about it =)


  7. but somewhere in the two last volumes it started to fail

    I think upon seeing how manga sales didn’t increase, or the manga’s reception wasn’t that good overall, they were told to please end everything ASAP.


    • :O I didn’t know that the manga’s reception wasn’t good. It would make sense then for the ending to be rushed the way that it was. I’m so curious now, I know where to go to look at sales, but where should I go to learn about how well-received a manga is? :O


        • That’s true. ^^ I wasn’t sure if you were referring to an article or the Oricon rankings. That’s where I go to look at manga sales. I think I originally found their website through your live journal, during the early days of Tsubasa when you would post the Oricon results.

          I feel like the odd-ball of the group, but I kinda liked the ending. 🙂 I thought it was super cute when Kobato found Ioryogi and how she never lost her memories and then she finds her other half again. ^^ To me, what was rushed was how he just remembers everything and everything is peachy with them so quickly. But that’s just me. ^^;;

          Thank you for posting the link to the scans. 🙂


  8. Maybe with time I will digest this ending and be happy about it! I digested XXXHOLiC’s ending and I am one of the very few people who liked it (at first I didn’t!).


  9. I’ve already vented about this elsewhere, but I have to wonder how many of CLAMP’s problems are due to a lack of proper editing.

    CLAMP seem to be so popular that generally their manga sales are guaranteed, and it appears that they get free rein with whatever publisher they’re working with to take their stories in whatever direction they please.
    While creative freedom is usually a good thing, I can’t help but feel that a person like Ohkawa, who often seems to bite off more than she and Mokona can chew plot-wise, is in desperate need of a decent, firm-handed editor working alongside her. Someone to clean up her often messy storytelling and ask her if she really needs to introduce that extra story-arc / plot twist / new character(s) and to keep the plot from veering off course.


      • I think the problem with Kobato was that the publisher change. Ohkawa needed someone with her at the very beginning, sitting her down and saying, “Okay, roughly how many chapters are we aiming for?” and helping her keep the plot simple enough and the amount of characters low enough to fit with that.

        As much as I adore Harry Potter, JK Rowling’s lack of editorial input also showed in the end product! It must be something about very creative and motivated writers, that they have a tendency to try and cram too many of their good ideas in to one thing. They need someone sensible to view their work at a distance and help them prune their creations.


  10. I am so disappointed I want to cry. I didn’t want a rushed love confession, it felt so empty… And I couldn’t even recognize Fujimoto. I feel like CLAMP killed the pairing I loved so much, even if they ended up together… It doesn’t feel the same.


    • I’m starting to firmly believe that they did loose their touch.I mean, if we look back at the late 90’s we will find works with the greatest art( X’s volumes 8-12 probably have the nicest clamp artworks ever) and the best stories(just think of Clover , a masterpiece both in narrative and in design).Since then, everything kinda went downfall. I still don’t get their wish to modernize their style,when it was already top notch, while now is definitely good and original( you can tell that there is a good amount of work behind xxxholic illustrations) but surely even the good gate 7, their best work in terms of art in the modern era, is not at those amazing levels of X or The late RG Veda. I think that there is an age for everything, and that is hard for a writer to keep himsefl true to his standards, so I understand if Clamp or Rumiko takashi are not making any good stories anymore(sincerely, after the halfway through the story even xxxholic was so disappointing), but at least they should stop creating new stories if they don’t have great ideas or if they are worksick, and maybe,in the meantime, focus on the series that they left behind. I think that they should follow James Cameron’s example: he directed very few movies in more then ten years, he took his time, but now he can proudly say that two of the most important movies ever where created by his mind,Avatar and Titanic.


  11. Well then, another Clamp manga finished… I saw that ending coming from miles away. I mean, really? At least it was a happy end but whatever. I’m dissapointed (as I was with holic and Tsubasa). I would have loved to see more of human-looking Ioryogi. poor thing, is he now stuck in this form?

    And now Clamps only Manga is Gate 7 which I don’t like (yet?) xD

    Where are the good CCS, MKR, Wish days? When Clamp was still interesting and everything. *sigh*


    • i agree with you… i saw the end long time ago… it was so obvious that it was about to end, and i don’t like gate 7 at all… i am a big fan of clamp works but this one just seems to be a redo of chobits with something else… i think clamp is loosing their inspiration since they are getting older and they are about or are going to be under the menopause hehehe…


  12. I wanted to know more about the other characters. 😦
    It could have been a great ending and they had to go do something like this..
    In the last scene did Ioryogi end up with his angel? lol I wanted to know more about them and the other animals..


  13. I think we should be clear that the story is all about Kobato not Ioryogi and his animal friends. If CLAMP will make a spin-off manga about Ioryogi and his past, then I would be happy.


  14. My thoughts

    If u wanna talk about recycling plots or images, then u can just look at the reunion between Kobato and Fujimoto: so Sakura&Xiao Lang (the ones from Card Captor Sakura): the flowers in the air, the unexpected meeting, etc.
    Besides all the things u mention, I’m really happy with the ending. After Tsubasa and Holic, I was looking foward to see a happy ending like this. I know there’re things unsaid, but I don’t feel the same fury about it as I felt with TRC and XXXH. (maybe because the one-two months wait help in this fact).
    ANyway, I’m really happy it ended and how it ended, so now they can work in some other project as X, Lawful Drug or anything new.


  15. I am really not getting the general disappointment at all. You make a lot of good points I didn’t see in other places – the way the plots seem underdeveloped, for example. That’s true, and it would’ve been awesome if the series could’ve added, say, another volume to it and explored the bgs of the many different charas better.

    That said, though, I absolutely ADORED the ending. Sure, it was a glaringly obvious cliche’d CLAMP ending, but I think it fits the series perfectly. From the beginning, Kobato was like this weird hybrid between Wish and CCS (with some TRC clone-and-time-travel-shenanigans sprinkles on top!), and that the ending was, basically, a hybrid of both those series’ endings seems totally appropriate.

    And besides, look at how many good things it has, even if it’s rushed! It’s a happy ending, which last I recall everyone was dreading the series wouldn’t have! The pairings all stay together and can be happy – you get the OBVIOUSSAPPYOTP!1! ending for Fujibato, you get the slightly more bittersweet ending for Ioryogi/Suishou, we earlier had the angstier resolution for the Okiuras… The Yomogi nursery is still there, the Okiuras are now happy, Fuji managed to become a lawyer, Kobato is alive and will be okay, the plushies will regain their forms, Ginsei was a huge sap and HELPED KOBATO which is so adorkable afjskl. We got to see baby Kobato, which is just about the cutest squishy little thing, Ioryogi and Kobato’s relationship is still the same as always (another thing a lot of people seemed to be dreading before was for theirs to become a romantic relationship, and it didn’t happen).

    Just about every main plot had some sort of resolution, the artwork in the final chapter is GORGEOUS, and the ending was sweet, simple and mostly easy to understand. I honestly cannot understand at all why there is so much hate and dislike and negativity towards the ending, when it’s generally so satisfying and cute and happy.

    Pacing issues is something that at this point I don’t think CLAMP will ever, ever get over- they have ALWAYS had them and it should not be surprising at all that they go from dragging some plot or arc on forever to cramping up an ending in two or three chapters.


    • Your absolutely right in all the points you touch, CLAMP actually avoided all the plots that we dreaded giving at the end a sappy and lovely ending. But I think that more that hating, the feeling is more like disappointment because the ending felt and it was rush.
      Maybe this is the result of waiting month after month (not counting the monthly hiatus every so often) for a 12-14 page chapter(4-6 pages less that your average weekly manga)making the plot story drag much more than normal, and the all of the sudden they give us the final arc and a 30-something page finale.

      Maybe if they had gone with a magazine that actually gave them a 30 something pages per month then maybe the story would have develop much more than it did.

      Oh well, like my mom says “would have doesn’t exist, so stop wishing for it”


    • The ending itself isn’t bad, and if you put Fujibato relationship alone, it fits perfectly.

      I am a little tired of the reclying but someone who is not into CLAMP might see the greatness in it.

      I was just a little disappointed with all the others things that could jave been more developed. Like I said, I am not disappointed with the final chapter itself, but with the whole series. I mean, I love it but I can feel all the bruises it got due to these editorial issues =/

      That’s why I think Kobato. could have been greater under proper conditions (ie: monthly magazine with 30 pages chapters).

      It is true, it’s the typical CLAMP ending, nothing to be complaining about. If you didn’t like it, stop reading CLAMP XD


    • I quite agree with you.
      I really love Kobato’s ending, because it is an happy end, and I was so afraid it ends badly.
      And I must admit, I didn’t care if all the plots are not explained, we can imagine ourselves what was the reason, or what I like most, find some explanations in others stories.
      I just care about the character Kobato, and I’m happy with her story (Ioryogi and Shuisho as well).
      I didn’t expect a big and complicated story for Kobato, it’s just a story which make me happy, and the end makes me happy (it feels very lame when I explain iot like this, but I can’t do better in English).

      But I can understand the disappointment of some fans. (I’m just disapointed because we never saw Mihara with his wife and hios daughters T_T)


  16. The chapter in itself was pretty adorable, though as many have pointed out, a bit rushed and cliched. The anime was more emotional and wrapped up, it made me cry and sob like a baby. Though the first big panel with Fujimoto crying was beautiful.

    I was also bummed by the color page being used in flowers. It would’ve been good to have a final color illustration. I mean, really, flowers?

    But overall, it did seem like Kobato was cut short and that is sad, because I loved the story and Kobato herself, the cute klutz girl with her cute dresses, running around healing hearts. And all those subplots left unfinished were really frustrating, particularly on the side of the other worlds and the creatures and whether their curse would be lifted.

    On a final note, am I the only one who feels the final scene with Fujimoto and Kobato hugging is exactly the same as the ending of CCS with Syaoran and Sakura hugging?

    Oh, and Adult!Fujimoto cutting his hair? Biggest loss in the history of hairstyles


  17. I guess I’m more disappointed by the fact that I expected Kobato. to be kind of like CCS and all this publication & page limitations issues ended up ruining a really good plot. I want more SuishouxIoryogi and their side of the story to be more developed. And it makes sense that CLAMP didn’t plan the series to end with Kobato getting so little konpeito when she was given a bottle that big. Tsubasa’s ending was alright with me, xxxHolic’s almost made me hate the later arcs (in the series), so I was really glad that Kobato. actually got a happy ending just like the anime. Not completely satisfied but fine.

    Unfortunately I’m not getting excited over Gate 7 or Blood-C; should be worrying over my low interest in CLAMP’s newer works? [CLAMP members should take the time to read over their readers’ reactions to their recent works.] I think a spin-off series about the vampire twins back to Tsubasa again would be good…


  18. The manga ended up pretty much like the anime, except that she didn’t fell the bottle with Fujimoto’s heart healed. And the bottle was more filled up, but that’s due to fillers (quite litterally XD). As for the series as a whole, it felt more like 20 Mensou ni Onegai, Wish or Suki Dakara Suki, romantic series where side plot lines are neglected. Not my favorite Clamp stories, but I knew what I was getting from the start, my expectations were too high. The third realm introduction, aside from heaven and hell, was interesting, I hope we’ll get more into this in another series.

    > I feel like Kobato. could have been much greater, development-wise speaking. I feel like it wasn’t supposed to be only 6 volumes long. It ran for almost 6 years and it only had 6 volumes.

    It’s like these Tsubasa worlds, for each new world we were all like: “this is going to great, with this kind of setting, it has to” but we ended up disapointed almost each time. ^^; If the series ended sooner than Clamp planned, it most have been only a tankoubon short.

    > I am talking about the creatures, the Mihara family, Sayaka and Okiura’s relationship, Doumoto, to name a few.

    Maybe the creatures were meant to be only introduced in Kobato and will get more attention in anoter series. The Mihara’s family will more than likely come back in other series as well. Doumoto feel like a hint that the stuff with saw in the anime about him apply for the manga too, more like a cameo. I don’t feel like he was supposed to be anything more than Fujimoto’s best friend, sign that he had a life beside his part-time works and Sayaka’s problems. As for Sayaka and Okiura, we had the key points, Clamp doesn’t often go into full details about this kind of secondary characters.

    > I thought the reincarnation resource is being way too much used by CLAMP, so is the “waiting x years in order to be happy with your loved one”. We’ve seen that in RG Veda, Wish and more recently in Tsubasa and XXXHOLiC. It was cool and different and it worked well with RG Veda, but now it’s getting overused. Before that, we’ve seen the “stopped time” plot in Tsubasa/XXXHOLiC, seeing it again in Kobato., so shortly after, feels like plot recycling, and I really don’t like that plot device very much (it doesn’t make much sense to me the stopped time thing!! xD).

    Yeah, Koboto felt like a consolidation of all the plot line Clamp used in the 15 last years, I hope we’ll get something more original in the next series, althought it seems Gate 7 will be about
    reincartion as well. ^^;

    > OUTO HIGH SCHOOL UNIFORM! Don’t you love when CLAMP do that? *-*

    Indeed! ^_^
    Almost a “see me next in Gouhou Drug” statement.


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