Is this the CLAMP spring? Hot on the heels of Dark Horse's announcement last week that it will (finally!) publish the CLAMP manga Gate 7 comes another piece of news that should please fans: Sentai Filmworks announced Saturday that it has licensed the anime Kobato, based on the CLAMP manga of the same name.
Sentai representative David Williams broke the news during the Sentai panel at Honolulu's Kawaii Kon, saying,
… and a new title that we haven’t talked about yet will be coming out in August: Kobato. It’s a CLAMP project, and we will be releasing that in August, so watch for that one. … It’s a fun, nice little CLAMP title.
Yen Press has the license for the manga, and they released the first two volumes simultaneously in May 2010; the third came out in September, and the next is due out in July, a month before the anime debut. Reactions to the first two volumes were decidedly mixed. The story features an incredibly naïve young girl who is on a mission to solve people's problems, and a smart but foul-mouthed blue dog who helps her. Kobato, the main character, is completely clueless, so much so that reviewer Kate Dacey floated the idea that the book is actually a parody of the moe (helpless young girl) archetype.
Reviewer Lissa Pattillo, on the other hand, played it straight, calling the book "a delightfully charismatic read that's full of magic and mirth."
The first volume is a bit episodic, with each chapter tied to a holiday or seasonal event. In Japan, the manga was originally serialized in Shogakukan's Monthly Sunday Gene-X and then moved to Kadokawa Shoten's Newtype. The stand-alone chapters in the first volume really feel like extras from a magazine, but the plot gets going in volume 2. While I'm not sure the timing lines up in this case, a move from one magazine or publisher to another usually results in a reboot of the story, and that may have been the case here.
Although readers with a low tolerance for moe may find the story annoying, the artwork in the manga lives up to the CLAMP standard—it's beautiful in a sweet, decorative way, definitely reason enough to give these books a look.
The Kobato anime was produced by Madhouse, and CLAMP member Nanase Ohkawa supervised the production.
Kawaii Kon is a fan con and not usually a venue for breaking news, but as longtime anime and manga blogger Jason Yadao pointed out, Williams and Kawaii Kon founder and director Stan Dahlin are friends, and it was Williams who first suggested that Dahlin start an anime con in Honolulu.