Kobato 1 and 2 (and random Canadian sakura pics)
I read the first two volumes of Kobato today, which is a new Yen Press series by CLAMP. Kobato is a sweet but dim girl who has to learn “common sense” lessons to earn enough points for a magic jar (which is what most of volume 1 deals with - volume 2 has her trying to fill the bottle with pieces from wounded hearts) and is instructed and insulted by a weird, angry pseudo stuffed dog thingie who punishes her with his fiery breath attacks. I expect we’ll learn more about them as time goes on, but for the most part I enjoyed easing into the series by watching Kobato figure out life in Japan. It jumped from holiday to holiday, with her gaining experience through the year. Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, etc.
Each story is loosely connected by a few recurring characters that are new to the series, but as usual CLAMP threw in some familiar faces. Supporting characters from titles like xxxHolic, Chobits, Suki, Angelic Layer and more all pop up. I like trying to figure out if I can recognize old characters in a different art style, since the look of CLAMP’s series shift enough to make it tricky. Yen did a good job of adding notes to the back identifying everyone so I got to see if my guesses were right or not. The art itself makes quick shifts between pretty, cute and comical and was enough to keep my attention going through the episodic nature of the first volume.
Volume 2 deals more with Kobato trying to figure out how to help people recover from their emotional hurts. As usual she has no clue as to how to go about it and her missteps are pretty entertaining. (She also trips a lot, which becomes a running gag.) She eventually gets a job helping at a local rundown kindergarten where the two new characters from volume 1 work – Sayaka-sensei and Fujimoto (the part timer who seems to have a million different jobs). You find out why he’s so hardworking in this volume as the story runs through the whole volume, unlike the format of the first.
Here is a bit from the Spring chapter in volume 1.
I also wanted to talk about this chapter because I got to see the sakura trees here in Toronto this year (the trees were planted in High Park as a gift from Japan) and had meant to post some photos I took a couple of weeks ago. Sadly we were unable to make a day of it like they do in Japan (because it was f-f-freezing!) though it probably would have been rude to try. Even in the off time that we went (just before sundown on a Thursday night) there were a bunch of people there taking pictures before the blossoms fell.
I am disappointed to report that once again I did not witness the kind of rain of petals they are always showing in anime and continue to feel deceived. Next year I’ll go on a windy day and see if that finally works.
Anyway, here are the pictures. I thought they turned out well considering I took them with my cell phone. They look just like the ones I took in Kyoto. (Except without the elderly Japanese gentleman who kept wandering into every shot I wanted to take….)
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