Chobits
Chobits

Ok, time for Issue 4.  This week's review is going to be none other than Clamp's series Chobits.  First of all I'm gonna go on the record as saying I love most of the works done by Clamp, I have particularly enjoyed Angelic Layer (even though it was designed for younger audiences to some extent), Magic Knights Rayearth (and it's OVA spinoff Rayearth, which I intend to review in an upcoming issue), and a few others, but I gotta say this:  The staff at CLAMP are a bunch of pervs!  Some of the works they put out there have quite a bit of fan service and sexual innuendo hidden (and often NOT so hidden) here and there, and a couple of series (and in particular their mangas) have patches of frontal nudity and the like.  So I will say quite openly that apart from things like cardcaptor sakura, angelic layer and maybe a couple of others, their key demographic is usually not the younger audiences out there.  The majority of their works are classified as Seinen anime/manga, which are typically works made for the 18-30 male demographic.

Note I do NOT intend this to be a rant, far from it, as I said just before, I have enjoyed a lot of their previous work, I just wanted to get that out.  That being said,  lets get this review moving!

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Chobits

 


Chobits is set in a semi-futuristic time when humanoid robotic companions known as persocoms are available to the common family (as long as they are able to afford the VERY hefty pricetag attached to one of them), and with the right software installed in them they can do pretty much anything including acting as a nanny, acting as a guide to and from locations and in the case of businesses, acting as a cashier or teller or possibly even as a cook.  From the way that they are portrayed in the series are also anatomically correct  (Get your mind out of the gutter... though in the interest of keeping an open dialog I guess I will say that with the right software installed even THOSE sorts of things would be possible - human/persocom "romance" is actually a theme that pops up a couple of times in the series...)

The main character in this series is a Ronin (translation: someone that failed their university entrance exams) by the name of Hideki who moves from his home farm in Hokkaido to the bustling city of Tokyo so that he can attend preparation school in hope that he will be able to pass his entrance exams next time around.

Not long after he arrives in Tokyo (in fact the first night he is in his new flat) he comes across a discarded persocom which after a fair bit of time and effort he manages to get it back to his place and up and running (I will not spoil the scene, but I will say it is one of the particular circumstances that lends a bit of proof to what I said earlier about the people at CLAMP being a bunch of pervs =p)

The majority of the series that follows is largely centered around the antics of Hideki and his persocom which he names Chii (largely due to the fact that when he first activates her, chii is the only word she can say.) She has difficulty communicating with him at first;  but slowly she learns how to speak. She is initially fearful that Hideki will discard her because of this, but he reassures her that he would never throw her away.

Chi remembers nothing of her past life and is unable to perform simple tasks, so Hideki takes it upon himself to teach her and take care of her. Mimicking Hideki and several other outside influences, Chi proceeds to start learning about the environment around her. She makes many humorous mistakes in the process, including her imitation of a pornographic pose from one of Hideki's magazines, and calling everyone and everything "Hideki" (Hideki had attempted to teach her his name by telling her his name as he pointed at himself, but she believed that he meant that Hideki was what one said when one pointed)

As the series progresses, the theme starts to take a more serious twist to it as it delves more deeply into the theme of relationships between humans and persocoms, and the line between the two blurring due to advances in technology, some people preferring to spend time with their persocoms than with other people.  (One such theme that pops up in the series being about a minor character that fell in love with and married his persocom, only to come to grief later when the persocom saved his life by pushing him out of the way of an oncoming truck, itself being hit by the truck instead.)

There is a fairly large supporting cast in the series, I'll cover a few of the more major characters otherwise I'll be writing all night.

Chitose Hibiya:  The landlady of the building where Hideki lives, while he does not find out until very late in the series, she was one of the original designing staff working on the persocom project prior to the start of the storyline, and Chii (also known as Elda) was in fact designed by her husband prior to his death as a 'daughter' for her due to the fact that she was unable to have children of her own, along with a second persocom very similar to Chii/Elda, known as Freya.

Minoru: This young boy may only be 10 years of age, but his skill and knowledge of Persocoms is unrivalled, he having custom built a number of powerful persocoms in his time, one of which he having a particular attachment to, named Yuzuki, which, it was revealed later in the series was in fact designed to resemble his older sister who had died prior to the start of the Chobits timeline.

Shinbo: Hideki's best friend and next door neighbour in the series, he helps Hideki a number of times in both technical and more emotional aspects, providing him with useful advice when he needs it.  Shinbo also develops emotions for their teacher at the cram school they go to, and later in the series enters into a relationship with her.  Shinbo also owns a 'mobile persocom' named sumomo (Plum in the english translation)

All in all, despite some of the series more mature themes, I would definitely recommend checking this series out if you are into what could almost be considered a romantic comedy anime, while the storyline can sometimes seem a little confusing, and a little dark in places, it is also very enjoyable.

Final rating: 8/10  (While it is a very enjoyable series it is not without its flaws, it does have some rather large plotholes, which contribute to its less than perfect score.)

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