Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chobits Anime Review

Chobits
Funimation
Complete Collection - 4 discs
675 mins. - 24 episodes + 3 bonus episodes
$49.98 (2011)
$54.98 (2011) Blu-Ray
$99.98 (2005)
$59.98 (2005) Parts 1-2/ea.
$19.98 (2004) Vol. 7
$29.98 (2003-2004) Vol. 1-6/ea.
$39.98 (2003) Vol. 1 Limited
$34.98 (2003) Vol. 1 w/Artbox
ISBN 704400087202
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Morio Asaka
Studio - Madhouse

Synopsis: Hideki Motosuwa moves from the countryside to Tokyo in order to study and become a college student.  He lives alone in a studio apartment and attends prep courses.  One of his neighbors, Hiromu Shinbo, is also attending the same prep school classes and owns a small persocom.  Hideki has never seen a persocom before and is amazed at the pint-sized, personal computer shaped like a doll.  Shinbo's persocom is named Sumomo and has a boisterous attitude.  She is very cute and able to perform all sorts of useful functions like taking calls, accepting messages, surfing the internet, and other computer tasks.
Hideki finds a bandaged up girl on a trash pile which turns out to be a persocom!
One fateful evening while walking home Hideki discovers a full-sized persocom on top of a trash pile.  She is wrapped in bandages and apparently left for the garbageman to pick up.  Hideki picks her up and carries her home.  He has no idea how a persocom works or what to do with her.  She resembles a beautiful young woman and Hideki is very embarrassed to undress her from the bandages.  He manages to turn her on and the she appears to be very dazed.  The only word she can utter is "chi" and this becomes her name.
Hideki brings the bandaged up persocom home
Hideki has Shinbo analyze Chi, but she is apparently a very powerful persocom and too much for Sumomo to handle.  Shinbo knows a young computer genius named Minoru Kokobunji and they take Chi to see him. Even his persocoms can't analyze Chi and they all conclude she is a very unique unit.  Perhaps even one of the legendary Chobits series which are said to possess the capability for emotions and intuitive learning.
Hideki unwraps the bandages to find a beautiful persocom
Chi lives with Hideki and slowly learns more about life.  She even gets a part-time job at a bakery.  Hideki learns how to care for a persocom and continues to study for the college entrance exams.  Dangers exist for Chi and Hideki because of her unique nature.  Many people try to take advantage of Chi because of her naive nature and hidden capabilities.  What is the truth behind the Chobits series?
Hideki freaks out as Shinbo inspects Chi
Hideki gets a part-time job at a bar and meets the owner's beautiful daughter named Yumi.  His prep school teacher is a hottie named Takako Shimuzu.  Even his landlady, Chitose Hibiya, is attractive.  The young hot-blooded Hideki is surrounded by lovely women in his life and now has a very cute persocom living in his apartment.  How is he supposed to dress and clean her when she's anatomically correct?  What about his library of porn manga?  It's a comedy of errors as Hideki fumbles his way to teaching Chi about life.  Explore a world where computers walk and traditional relationships are challenged by artificial perfection.
It's Shinbo's turn to freak out as Sumomo crashes trying to analyze Chi
Pros: Great soundtrack including opening/ending theme songs, charming characters - innocent Chi, big goofball Motosuwa, reliable Shinbo (or so it seems), and wise Kokobunji; progresses past the typical harem anime, explores themes of artificial intelligences and regular humans relationships, includes a short entitled "Chibits" featuring Sumomo and Kotoko
The weird things on Chi's head house connection sockets for cables
Cons: Chi has no personality and just does cute things, Motosuwa is a big pervy dork, he leaves Chi on her own too often and just asks for someone to take advantage of her, an older dude in the series kind of has an implied relationship with a high school age girl, weird children's storybook with creepy music and characters, too many recap episodes! - a total of 3
Hideki buys Chi girlie underwear!
Mike Tells It Straight: Chobits is the second anime series I've seen based on work by the manga group CLAMP.  It's an interesting pseudo-harem/slice-of-life show exploring potential relationships between artificial humans (persocoms) and normal humans.  The series had some good points including the cute relationship between Hideki and Chi as he teaches her about the real world.  The supporting characters were surprisingly intricate with their own little side stories.  Hideki is a typical young man with a penchant for porn and being totally inept with women.
Young master Kokobunji and his harem of persocoms
I found the series to be enjoyable and fun with a few ecchi/fan-service moments sprinkled in with some sci-fi elements.  The idea of human-shaped personal computers was neat and follows the 'robot servant' theme of many science-fiction novels.  It contained an underlying theme of robot and human relationships which continues into later episodes.  A subtle backstory emerges for Chi's origin as a particularly unique persocom.  This being a slice-of-life show it gets a little slow and boring at times, but the story progresses.
Persocoms are water-proof so they can go to the beach!
The Chobits manga is slightly different than the anime and considered to have a better story.  I was disappointed with the anime ending since it didn't really give a clear resolution to the story (although I can live with it since most anime have lukewarm endings), but I would have liked more of a reveal to Chi's big secret.  The recap episodes I could have lived without.  I'm not a fan of recap episodes and think they're pretty lame nowadays.
The esoteric pseudo-children's book Chi discovers is weird
It's interesting to note one of the characters in Chobits is related to a character from Angelic Layer (also by CLAMP).  Cool to see a little crossover between series even though it's not apparent when watching the actual series.  I'll say Chobits was a funny show until the second half when the Chi's origin story began surfacing.  I liked the fact all of the supporting charactes' lives developed along with the main characters, Hideki and Chi.  At the end of the day it's still a slightly cheesecake show about a horny dude getting a hot android for free.  I'll probably check out the manga to see why people like it better!
Hideki comes home to this every day

TO BUY and Recommendations: