Kobato. (the dot at the end is part of the title) is the newest work of the all-female manga artists team, CLAMP. The first chapter was published in the pages of Sunday GX magazine (Shogakukan) in December 2004 under the name of Kobato (Temporary).

A total of 7 chapters were published in Sunday GX and after that the series entered on a hiatus that went over on October of 2006, when the series restarted its publication in a new magazine, Newtype, of Kadokawa, where it iscurrently being serialized.

+ Technical Information

Planning and presented by CLAMP.
Story/Script: Nanase Ohkawa.
Comic: Mokona (scenario and main characters) and Tsubaki Nekoi (creatures and minor characters).
Art assistants: Satsuki Igarashi and Tsubaki Nekoi.

Like the other works by CLAMP, Nanase Ohkawa is responsible for the main story and script for the whole series. Mokona, who is the main artist for the majority of their works, is in charge of drawing the storyboard, main characters and scenario, while Tsubaki Nekoi draws the creatures (Ioryogi, Ginsei) and minor characters. Nekoi chooses the right screen tones for the art direction as well, while Satsuki Igarashi gives a hand to Mokona at the art finalization by inking what Mokona drew by pencil.

+ Publication history

This was the first work by CLAMP under Shogakukan publisher. The editor in charge of the magazine asked CLAMP to write a story that was different from what the readers of Sunday GX were used to read, in order to obtain new readers. The series published in Sunday GX are aimed for young and adult readers, their art is characterized by thick lines and heavy tones, which provides a rather dark aspect to the stories. CLAMP's task was to create a story that was different from those, that is how Kobato. was conceived.

Kobato.'s announcement at the official website of Sunday GX magazine. At that time the title was still written as "小鳩" instead of "こばと". The summary beside it reads: A new kind of heroine will be coming into GX's pages. This girl has been given a destiny-- to work for a certain boy, and to make him happy-- the one thing she is forbidden to do is to fall in love with him. The heart thumps. Destiny waves.

After 7 chapters published, the manga entered on a hiatus and no more chapters were published in Sunday GX. On top of that, the first volume containing those chapters was not released, even though there was enough material for it. It stayed like that for the following 8 months.

According to CLAMP, they were asked to draw only 7 chapters for Sunday GX, and so they fulfilled the task. Once it was decided to restart the series, they decided to move to a new magazine.

In June of 2006, it was announced that Kobato.'s publication would be resumed in October, this time in a new home, one of Kadokawa's most-sucessful magazine, Newtype.

After its return in Newtype, the series went though some significant changes, starting with the title changing from Kobato (Temporary) to Kobato. (the dot is part of the title). The chapters' lenght was altered too, since Newtype magazine focuses more on anime rather than manga, its editorial department limited the chapters to no more than 14 pages.

The most-significant change happened with the story, it was pulled to an earlier point of the narration and the chapters were now called "Exams". The events described in the "Exam." arc take place before the events of the (Temporary) series, they feature Kobato going through a series of common sense tests in order to gain the bottle that would allow her to collect the hearts of wounded people.

After "Exam. 9" was published, the story finally moved on, the following chapter published in the magazine took off from where the story had stopped in Sunday GX. For this new arc, the prefix "Exam." was replaced by the prefix "Drop.", as a reference to the drops that would take to fill Kobato's bottle.

In October 2007 Kobato. featured in the animation-clip CLAMP IN WONDERLAND 2 1995~2006. The music video featured all of CLAMP's works released until then and it was produced and directed by the members of CLAMP. It was the first time Kobato. was animated. For pictures please check the gallery.

On December 26 of 2007 the first volume of Kobato. was released under the Kadokawa Comics Ace label. The book carried the 9 chapters of the "Exam." arc and the first chapter of the (Temporary) series, making it 10 chapters total. The prefix "Exam." before each chapter title was dropped in the compiled volume and instead, the chapters were renamed as "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2", and so forth. The first chapter of the (Temporary) series became Chapter 10. For more information about the comic version of Kobato. please check the comics section.

On April 26 of 2008 the second volume of Kobato. was released. It debuted at 22nd in Oricon's manga chart with 32.351 copies sold in its first week.

In December 2008, Newtype magazine announced the production of a TV Anime series based on Kobato. to be broadcast on NHK channel in the Autumn of 2009. The staff has members who worked previously in CLAMP IN WONDERLAND 2 and includes CLAMP's own Nanase Ohkawa as series compositor.

+ Reading order

Kobato had a very problematic serialization, moving from different magazines and shifting its story back and forth. The correct reading order is the following:

Exam. 1~9 -> Chapters 1~7 of (Temporary) -> Drop. 1~

The "Drop." arc is currently being published.

+ Curiosities

+ Nanase Ohkawa said in an interview that she wants the readers to really "feel/enjoy" the story, so that's why Kobato has such a slow development and thus, a slow publication.

+ At first, CLAMP wanted to name the series "小鳩" (Kobato) at first, which is "Kobato" (little dove) written in kanji. However, because they thought the kanjis of "小鳩" were too hard to read, they ended up choosing "こばと" (Kobato) in hiragana instead, which has a much easier reading. It was initially supposed to be a tentative title, but as the deadline grew closer, they decided to leave it as "Kobato (Temporary)".

+ The name "Ioryogi" was created by Nekoi and was originally planned for a character of another CLAMP series, XXXHOLiC, only that the name had a slight difference, the original name was "Iorogi". But they ended up choosing another name for XXXHOLiC and letting Ioryogi for Kobato's dog.

Note: these are excerpts from japanese CLAMP interviews and there's a whole lot more of information waiting to be translated. So if you want to offer yourself to help by translating them, please don't hesitate in contacting me.