Coming from another place not really specified, Kobato has journeyed to Earth with her guide, a stuffed dog named Ioryogi, to fulfill her wish. In order to go to a place that she has always dreamed, she must help others and fill a special bottle with the shards of their broken hearts. Of course, that’s assuming she even makes it that far. In the first episode, it’s Kobato’s first day on Earth and she must pass a test in order to even qualify for carrying a bottle. In this episode, Kobato will make new friends and help out at a festival in order to get one step closer to fulfilling her wish.
Good and the Bad
I must confess a sin; I went into yet another series with pre-conceived notions. I know, bad me. But seriously, everything that led up to the season premiere just gave terrible vibes. A cute girl, doing cute things, while carrying a cute bottle and a cute stuffed dog trying to heal broken hearts. Shoujo much? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I happen to enjoy Shoujo series quite a bit. I just had no reason to believe that I would like this one. Then I started watching and all those thoughts just kind of disappeared.
But to get things out of the way, yes this is a very Shoujo series aimed at the female demographic. The lead female is Kobato, a girl who just wants to heal broken hearts while learning the ways of Earth. Along the way, she is helped along by a stuffed animal that loves to yell at her and make her cry or scream and lots of jokes surround her reacting in exactly that way.
That being said, it is terribly difficult to deny just how cute and charming this first episode really is. Getting into the story and characters right away, Kobato wastes absolutely no time in getting the story set up: Kobato has arrived and she has a purpose. In hindsight, this is possibly one of the best things the series could have done in converting a large percentage of the audience over. Fans aren’t going to start this series with a lot of time spent on Kobato being cute and ditzy for no reason. Within moments of the series starting, we already know that she’s new to the world, she’s cute and not entirely informed about the world she now lives in but she’s charming and wants to work hard. Yes, that sounds very cookie cutter but trust me when I say that within twenty minutes you’ll be cheering her on as well.
One of the biggest surprises about the first episode for me though was the direction of the jokes and comedy. Quite a bit of the humor comes from Ioryogi yelling at Kobato and making her cry and cower. If that doesn’t work, there are also a number of jokes involving Kobato and her overall ineptness in the world around her. Just how many times can we watch a single girl getting yelled at or making a mess of dinner? A lot apparently and oddly enough, it’s yet to get old. Check back with me when I’m another two or three episodes in to see what I’m saying about the jokes then.
Kobato isn’t striking me as a purposely ‘laugh out loud’ comedy series to me however. While I hope that the series doesn’t plan to make these two jokes the primary comedy of the entire series, during this episode I found myself laughing because of how quickly Kobato was growing on me. Sweet, always apologizing but clumsy in a good natured way, I really enjoyed getting to know this heroine here and am already looking forward to seeing more of her learning experiences in future episodes.
I cannot even begin to describe how happy I am that Takeshi Hama had the means to use a full orchestra while composing this score. Using primarily string and woodwinds for the themes, the music that came up throughout this episode never failed to perfectly capture moments. In particular, the walk that Kobato takes through the cherry blossoms is probably the best take away shot that one can get from this episode partially because of the wonderful string music that accompanies her and the expression on her face. The OP and ED themes failed to stand out as anything beyond average pop songs at the time but after a full day, I can still recall the wonderful melody that Kobato sings late in the episode.
Initially I avoided watching this series as long as I could. Then I began watching and before long I was cursing to myself that I didn’t have a second episode ready to watch right away. Filled with a charming heroine, wonderful music and a story that isn’t coming across as too soft; this is a series that I am going to gladly follow from here on out. I have a couple of ideas on where it might be headed in future episodes but even if I’m completely wrong the first episode hasn’t given me any reasons to steer clear. Be sure to check this one out!