Kobato. Manga Volume 04

こばと。/Kobato Volume 04 Manga

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SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Kobato. Manga Volume 04Ioryogi is being chauffeured around by Zuisho when they are intercepted by Ushagi, in the form of a bunny plushie, who quietly informs Ioryogi that Kobato has six more months to get her wish granted or else. Meanwhile, Kobato encounters Okiura and Fujimoto arrives about the same time. Kobato stops Okiura from going after Fujimoto but also stops Fujimoto from going after Okiura.  The incident has Kobato contemplating her feelings for Fujimoto at her apartment, which leads to her singing. Her song is heard by Zuisho and Ioryogi, as Zuisho flies Ioryogi home and the two speak of the singing of the angel Kohaku.  Ioryogi gets home to a relieved Kobato, who’d been worried about him, but Ioryogi realizes that with each heart Kobato heals to fill her jar to get her wish granted, the further off course from her wish she’s taken.

Back at Genko’s baumkuchen shop, Ginsei pays him a visit to discuss the situation with Ioryogi and the reality that Ioryogi won’t get to return to his normal form if Kobato doesn’t get her wish granted. Because Ginsei has nothing better to do, Genko enlists him to help at the shop, starting in the kitchen. The two continue their conversation, including how it was Ioryogi who started the war with Tenkai and that all those who participated, Ginsei, Genko, and Zuisho included, were punished by being forced into animal form (Ioryogi into a toy stuffed animal form).

Meanwhile, Kobato has a late start for work and as she leaves, she sees Fujimoto leaving as she runs into another man.  This person, Takahashi, is a friend of Fujimoto’s who had attended the same university as Fujimoto until Fujimoto quit to help Sayaka-sensei run her kindergarten/nursery school. During their conversation, Kobato learns that Fujimoto teases people he likes and that if he really dislikes someone, he simply ignores them, something that isn’t happening with Kobato. After they part ways, Kobato wonders why she felt a pain in her heart whenever Sayaka-sensei’s name was mentioned with Fujimoto.

As she ponders on the way to the school, she literally runs into another young woman, who seemingly has similar clumsiness as Kobato. After a few mishaps where the two bash heads accidentally while trying to be polite, the young lady buys the two of them a cold beverage and they talk. The lady reveals that she’s on her way to turn in divorce paperwork and she wants Koboto to come with her as her official witness. Kobato asks about their marriage and divorce, so the young woman says that she did marry for love, but her husband found a new and better love.  As such, the young woman decided to bury her own feelings and for love, let her husband go free to be with this new woman. Kobato sees the pain in the young woman and cries for her. Kobato’s actions touch the young woman, who hugs Kobato for caring about her, resulting in another healed heart for Kobato’s collection.

Back at Sayaka-sensei’s school, she and Fujimoto discuss the past, as Fujimoto was basically adopted by her father.  She notes that when the subject of Kobato comes up, he seems to let his guard down, something he tries to deny.  Sayaka-sensei tells Fujimoto that she can run the school without him and that he there’s school and his wanting to be a lawyer to think about. Fujimoto tells her that he’s doing what he wanted and that once the school is out of danger, he’ll consider going back. Sayaka isn’t about to let her former husband crush the school.

Over at Genko’s shop, the angel Kohaku enters to buy a cake for her beloved Shuichiro-san, whom is in his fifth reincarnation since she first met him and fell in love with him. Ginsei wonders who this Shuichiro-san is and doesn’t understand Kohaku’s explanation, leading Genko to whack him and tell him Shuichiro is human. She reveals that though her punishment for has long since past, her love for Shuichiro is such that she cannot leave him, even though each reincarnation of his leaves him with no memories of her. Ginsei can’t understand this kind of love and Genko has him put a bow on Kohaku’s cake, which is does poorly though she doesn’t mind.

Meanwhile, Kobato is pondering love and Fujimoto.

Thoughts/Review:

Hmmmm…well, it appears that Ioryogi was a demon and a ruler as well who fought against Tenkai (The Heavens) and lost. Well, that explains him and the others he’s encountered of his kind — they were all participants in the war.  Still, why did Ioryogi decide to do the unthinkable at go to war with Tenkai?

Interesting the CLAMP is setting up a tragic romance between Fujimoto and Kobato. To be honest, I really hadn’t seen it as I saw Fujimoto carrying a torch for Sayaka-sensei, whom he’d know since childhood. Apparently, he’s developing some kind of feelings for Kobato.  For her part, she’s also developing feelings for Fujimoto, though her own naivety keeps her from completely understanding this completely.  Since Kobato is with Ioryogi but is a human, could she be an angel? That would seem to be the reason that CLAMP introduced the angel Kohaku to the story, to show an angel living in human form.  It has certainly appeared that Kobato isn’t human and has some reason to need to always wear a hat. So I’m going to guess she’s an angel who got involved with Ioryogi for some reason.

I wonder if the man that the unnamed young woman was divorcing is Shuichiro-san.  The girl’s story to Kobato stating that her husband was so much happier with this new woman, whom the girl had met, felt like it could be Kohaku, especially since Kohaku was introduced immediately after the young woman’s story.  I could be wrong though.

So, in addition to saving Sayaka-sensei’s school, Kobato has to deal with her growing feelings for Fujimoto as well as get her mysterious wish granted by healing hearts, for which she only has six months. I guess CLAMP inserted the time limit to speed their own story along since it officially has ended in Japan.

As an aside, I was happy to see Yuuko-san get a cameo appearance along with Clow Reed, though neither is mentioned by name and only recognizable if you’ve read Cardcaptor Sakura (Clow Reed), xxxHOLiC (Yuuko-san/Clow Reed), or Tsubasa (Yuuko-san/Clow Reed).

On the Yen Press side, I’m glad William Flanagan is translating this because he is very adept at handling CLAMP titles and making the potentially very confusing, understandable. CLAMP put a lot of exposition into this chapter, but I was pretty clear on understanding the situation, as revealed by CLAMP.  A lesser translator (and no offense to them) might not have pulled it off as well.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the translator notes this time. For volume 1, there were notes regarding characters that had previously appeared in other CLAMP titles.  For this volume, there are translator notes, but none about CLAMP crossover characters.  That’s a real shame too.  Indeed, when I saw Yuuko-san and Clow Reed standing and being referred to in the story, I flipped back to the back to see what would be written about them. I knew who those characters are, but what about someone who’s never read a CLAMP manga in their life?

Further to that, the image containing the winged demons and angels made me think that they too were probably crossover characters from another CLAMP title. Indeed, this turned out to be true as the four winged characters all appear to be from the CLAMP manga Wish.  As I looked down the character list for Wish, I then discovered that the angel Kohaku is the main character of Wish and Shuichiro-san is the male lead.  I also discovered that the character Ushagi-san is also in Wish, looking the same there as he does here and having the same role, that of God’s messenger. In volume 3 of the Kobato, there is a translator note about Ushagi-san, but that makes no mention of Wish.

All of this, combined with the main element of the Kobato story that has Kobato attempting to get her wish granted, leads me to believe that Kobato is actually some sort of sequel-spinoff to Wish, in a similar way to Chobits being a sequel-spinoff to Angelic Layer.

Oh well.  You may not have learned it from this volume of Kobato, but you did learn it from me so don’t let this small negative put you off from purchasing the manga. ^_~  I do find it interesting that CLAMP have really become so enamored with their previous works in bringing former characters back to current projects. Well, it does help fuel my interest in reading other CLAMP titles such as Wish.  License-rescue anyone?

In the end, this volume provides a few answers, some minor advancement in the plotline for Sayaka-sensei’s school, some new developments about a possible Kobato-Fujimoto romance, and some answers as to who Ioryogi and company are. Worth picking up if you’ve been following the series or are a fan of Wish.

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2 Responses to “Kobato. Manga Volume 04”

  1. hughroe says:

    WISH was a good one. And from the image with Genko and Ginsei about how Ioryogi didn’t get what he started the war for, looks like he either fell for an angel or wanted to become one.

    And the paradox presented, For Kobato’s wish to be fulfilled, the jar must be filled with healed hearts, but with each her wish becomes a bit more difficult to achieve. Looks like the story is as much about testing Ioryogi as Kobato’s wish.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    And from the image with Genko and Ginsei about how Ioryogi didn’t get what he started the war for, looks like he either fell for an angel or wanted to become one.

    That’s what I’m sensing but we’ll see.

    Looks like the story is as much about testing Ioryogi as Kobato’s wish.

    Yeah. Plus, now that Kobato has a time limit, that test takes on more urgency.

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