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|Index||21 reviews in total|
Despite my usual disgruntledness, people who know me know I'm a sucker for
just about anything anime. Give me a good anime, and I'm in an annoyingly
happy mood for quite some time afterwards. Chobits is a action, comedy,
romance series. It fits right in with shows like Ranma ½ and to lesser
extents, Ah! My Goddess, and Sailor Moon. The jokes are hilarious, the
characters are lovable, and the obviousness of the fan service rivals that
I have to admit, I get very involved with anime. I cheer for the hero, at times the villain, mourn the loss of favorite characters, and take great interest in the lives and loves of the characters. Chobits is very easy to relate in this manner to. Hideki is as simple and honest as they come, yet human. Picture a cross between Tenchi, Keiichi, and Ranma as well. Chii is a great character, cute and innocent. She can be every bit as funny and interesting as Hideki, even when speaking a single word. She makes a great pair with Sumomo, a mobile persocon who belongs to Hideki's best friend.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me explain a little about Chobits since the majority of even anime fans probably don't know much about it. The gist of the Chobits story is about a farm boy turn city slicker named Hideki. He's in cram school, trying to get accepted into a college. When he gets to the city, he's amazed by "Persocons". Turns out they're everywhere. After making a few friends he learns that they are basically walking computers. looking human, acting human, but by their programming only. He dreams about how great it'd be for awhile, but ultimately knows he's broke. As he's walking home at night, he finds Chii. just laying on the curb in the trash. He saves her from the garbage heap, takes her home, and activates her. Turns out she knows almost nothing. No common sense, no language, nothing. He figures that's why she was thrown away to begin with, but why look the other way with such good fortune? He takes it upon himself to teach her about the world while trying to lead his daily life.
The show never ceases to stay interesting, and the stories range from serious to all out joke fest craziness. The jokes are certainly aimed at an older audience. They have all the appeal of Ranma ½. Hideki loves adult magazines and movies, and there are several very funny jokes about it. Unlike most anime guys, he's not blind to all the cute girls around him either. He's far less shy about it than Tenchi and Keichii, but he's still a good guy at heart. For the most part, the series is clean and lovable. There's extremely little out right nudity, mostly just a ton of cute fan service.
One thing I really like about Chobits is that it's very upbeat. Not just the humor, but the generally message of the anime. Going through Hideki's life, his job, his classes, his troubles and watching him fight through them all. CLAMP is great at this kind of overall upbeat anime, and Chobits is no exception. It's a great anime that I recommend to just about anyone old enough for the adult themed jokes. You might want to preview it before you have your younger siblings or kids watch it.
The story revolves around a farm-boy, Hideki, who has come to the big city
of Tokyo to try to raise his grades so that he may enter college. There he
finds a Persocon - a computer shaped as a human - in a garbage-heap. And
is a cute female model at that! Though it appears to be broken (the only
word it can say is "Chii") his hacker-friend soon discovers that the
persocon (naturally named Chii by Hideki) may be much more powerful than
appearances imply. It soon becomes obvious that Chii hides a great secret
within that cute little body.
The series has a nice naivistic feel to it, sometimes the story-line of an episode is almost at grade-school level. At the same time there are quite a lot of very adult insinuations. Chii is a _very_ attractive robot, and doesn't mind taking her clothes off! (Though there is always an object strategically placed in front of the "camera"). Hideki constantly throws himself into fantastic fits of shame whenever he has (or believes he has) made a fool of himself - which is quite often. His problem with shamefulness is of course extra strong in sexual matters.
There are some deeper questions raised in the series too, such as the question if love of technology and might be keeping people apart. Another question is the fact that all young men in the series appear to prefer robot-girls (who robotically obey their least whim) to human girls. Persocon shops are filled with rows of attractive girls ready for anyone with money to buy. Interestingly questions like these are actually given at least a little bit of depth, rather than just picking one of the possible answers as the truth!
This anime series is more of a very long story, it doesn't meander around too much like series sometimes do. There is a clear beginning and an end (after 26 episodes) and the whole main story has obviously been thought out before the series was made. There doesn't appear to be any official version out, but a version subtitled by fans can be found on the peer-to-peer nets.
So, your classic story - man vs machine. More particularly - man falls
in love with found machine and, behold, it's vice versa.
I stumbled upon these series by accident on the french MCM channel; the french dubs are perfect (Chii is exquisitely dubbed), but after a few episodes I got me the subbed originals - and found out that MCM messed up the episode sequencing. Content-wise this isn't problematic since the first two thirds of the episodes are quite stand-alone. Still it's exactly this that makes the series dip after a while, and you get the idea that they were just making it up as they went along. The underlying storyline (who/what is Chii, what will happen between Hideki & Chii) gets hinted at once in a while, but all in all the first half of the series focuses on the problems that arise when Hideki tries to educate his persocon Chii and the embarrassing situations Chii gets her prude master in, all in your typical "harem" anime setting.
The main thing is: it's so well-done! The first say 8 episodes are often hilarious observations of masculine fears and obsessions as we get to know Hideki's thoughts every step of the way. Through the parts of the comic-in-comic (Chii reads a favorite comic that seems to be especially designed for her and is a key element the overarching story) you occasionally get the idea that more is about to come.
Of course, you can't keep Hideki as constipated throughout and as the often sexual jokes wear out, the series drifts towards fan-servicing with unfortunately pretty sexist undertones (not that I care). At that point, despite the fact the the manga script lay there waiting to be developed, the series seems a bit lost, and the build-up of tension between Chii and Hideki comes to a halt, as do the other plot lines (Hideki and Yumi...), culminating in the low (plotwise) or high (imagewise *grin*) of #14, where all characters spend a day at the beach. Apart from seeing all babes in bathing suits (yeah I know they're drawn figures, but cut the imagination some slack), you're left wondering when they'll get on with it. This wondering is only augmented by the following two episodes where Chii is hardly seen and the plot focuses on Shimbo and the Sensei...
***Spoiler-laden paragraphs below***
But in fact (though you only find out later) this is where they (finally) start developing the actual story about relationships between man and machine, and what machine is/can be, what it means to be human. These eps. 15-16 are the first part of this topic, where it's seen from the (negative) human side only. The story-telling is raised to a significantly higher level. It's a bit of a mystery why the next 2 episodes again seem to fall to the earlier level, and nothing much is added, except for a hint at what the plot will turn out to be.
But, in episodes 20-26 suddenly the stakes are raised and we get an entirely different anime, with all the depth and beauty that we've come to expect from this Japanese art form. What makes a machine a machine, a human human, what is love, what is the function of memory... you get it all. The density of each episode is a zillion times higher than that of the first ones, and suspense is gradually built up. And then of course there's the final two episodes where a lot of questions are answered and the series DELIVERS. Home run! Considering the end credit song had changed midway to the very melancholic Ningyo Hime, I expected the worst, and indeed initially it does end up the way 99% of man-machine-love films end up: it cannot be (I think this has its roots in the ancient beliefs that relationships are merely there for procreation). But, lo and behold people! it does not end this way. Love DOES conquer all and after a series of emotional lefts and rights in the final episode, you get positively uppercutted by the rare 1% solution: the relationship between man and machine is a fact. Relationships without procreation are allowed. Bingo this is heaven.
***SPOILER ENDS - but don't look an inch upward from this line***
So, despite the fact that the series seems a bit lost in the middle, the absolutely charming and hilarious first third plus the final third with its deep issues, superb plot and magnificent denouement make this series a solid 9 for me. I would have given it a 10, but it is a fact that the whole could have been better 1) had they from the start opted for a continuous story (like the final eps) with the story lines more mixed like in the manga, rather than more or less separate episodes focusing on one topic or even gimmick, 2) had made a better mix of humor & drama and developed the Chii character a bit better (like in the manga). Though this might be easier to achieve in a full-length feature, in which the story would benefit from being chopped from 8 to 2 hours. Obviously, this would leave Chii-o-files gasping for more, but still:
People from TBS: make this into a full-length feature!! Presto!!!
O, and don't forget to have a box of Kleenex within reach once you start on the final episode...
PS: if you buy the DVD's (6+1 bonus), disc 1 and 2 are really worthwhile (though 2 has quite a bit of sexual/sexist fan-servicing), while disc 3 may be the least interesting. Disc 4 is where you get a first glimpse of how good the series will get, and discs 5 & 6 are simply must-haves. Beware that the 7th disc contains just 3 summaries (eps 9, 18 and 27), plus a 5-minute extra called Chibits.
'Chobits' at first glance can be considered as nothing short of a
generic anime that draws comedy out of perversion. As true as it maybe,
that is not the case. At first I could not stop laughing my heart out
at the hilarious accounts of Hideki's city life and his fantasies. As
the story progressed, I realized that the show has more to it than the
belly aching comedy.
The story explores the society's obsession towards electronics and the artificial for companionship. In the 'Chobits' world, people are spending more time with the persocons or the androids. There are people who are falling in love with their persocons and cheating on their spouse. All these reflect the societal interactions that we see today. People are obsessed with the computers, portable music players, gaming systems and phones that have reduced the level at which people interact with each other everyday in the streets, office or in public transportation. As more electronic devices come to our life, more we are pushing each other apart. 'Chobits' explore these issues in a light-hearted but emotional tone that would make anyone shed tears in laughter or sorrow.
I enjoyed this series. I watched it all the way through after borrowing it from a friend. It rained all weekend and I popped it in not having anything better to do. Within a few episodes, I had fallen in love with Chii, one of the main characters. The character building is very nice. Within minuets you feel as though you know Hideki and his persocom Chii. Over all I give it an 8.5 out of ten. The art work, I give an 8 out of ten. I normally watch anime movies like Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky, or Princess Monoko. Many of those are described as overly cute. This series is completely different. It has just the right amount of love, anger, sadness, happiness, and Yummies LOL Watch it and you'll learn what I mean.
Chobits hasn't been officially subtitled, but I have seen fansubbed
and I must say, since I was first introduced to manga and anime at the age
of 13, I have never seen anything this cool! No other anime series is as
funny, and none as addictive.
Every ninth episode seems to be a long set of memories so that new viewers can get updated on what they have missed in previous episodes. Good idea, but bad for those of us who have seen all the previous episodes, and want to see more of Hideki and his quest to find out wether Chii really is a Chobit.
I hope I will never have to see a final episode of Chobits.
Yes, this is the best anime series of 2002. I loved Onegai Teacher,
Hellsing, and I My Me Strawberry Eggs, but I fell in love with Chii. How
could you not?
Hideki comes to Tokyo to attend cram school since he failed his college enterance exams. On the first day there he finds Chii (what a lucky guy !!!) in a pile of trash. Of course then he has to figure out how of turn her on. Of course after 4 hours finds her "on" switch - which is located in a more interesting spot. Now what do you do with a cute nude female android?
When his new friend shows up he hunts for something for her to wear and how to hide her. The show just gets funnier from there. Another hit from the CLAMP ladies !!!
As those characters in the series keep mentioning about relationships
between computers and humans, i asked myself a couple time - do i
Despite chi's "specialness" and the fact that she is the cutest girl in the world, she is - although i don't want to admit, a computer. There will be no generation afterward, and as Hideki get older, Chi still stays the same, as cute as always..... Is that a good thing? Will the tragedy of Chi's boss happen again? god knows.. The story ended with a good ending, but i feel sad for both of them, maybe i over-thought it too much..
Overall, this anime is the best for no doubt, it definitely deserves a 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ah, the trials & tribulations of a boy and his... personal computer?
"Chobits" is an unusual Anime' (Japanese animation) series that I took a wild gamble with earlier this year, having never seen or heard of it before, but nonetheless liked the concept because I found it very interesting. "Chobits" is a romantic sci-fi/comedy series from the all-woman Manga-writing team CLAMP, who also did another Anime' series I've always liked: "X." Basically in "Chobits," you'll find yourself wondering if it's possible or not to have a meaningful relationship with your personal computer.
In its storyline, "Chobits" seems to borrow heavily from cyberpunk, the computer-tech and hacker subcultures, and the cult-classic science fiction film "Blade Runner" (1982). Set more or less in the present (the early 21st century, most likely between 2001-2002 when the Manga was still being serialized in Japan), the protagonist of the series is a socially clumsy/technologically inept 18-year-old country bumpkin named Hideki Motosuwa, who has just moved from his family's farm to the big city of Tokyo. He moves into a cramped little apartment in order to attend a cram school so that he can hopefully get into a good university. To help make ends meet, he gets a job at a local restaurant simply called My Pleasure.
So far, "Chobits" sounds a lot like any run-of-the-mill, fish-out-of-water comedy you've come across (whether it be in Japan or the United States), but I've only described what happens in the first 10 minutes of the first episode! On his way home from work one night, Hideki stumbles across a discarded "Persocom" in the trash, the human-looking androids made to resemble attractive young girls/women. Persocoms are so-called because the name itself is an abbreviation of the words "personal computer." Persocoms seems to have all but completely replaced desktop and laptop PCs in this revisionist universe of our early-21st-century existence, since they can do a lot of the things that normal computers and telephones can do: they can surf and download stuff off the Internet, answer the phone and record messages, play video games, perform simple household chores and in poor virginal Hideki's case, look for porn on the 'Net. (So yeah, they're basically an iPhone, PC, and telephone/cell phone all rolled up in one!)
Hideki thus names his new Persocom "Chi," after the only word she knows how to say. He discovers, with help from his new neighbor/classmate/best friend Shinbo Hiromu (who also has his own cute little "mobile" Persocom named Sumomo) and wealthy 12-year-old computer genius Minoru Kokubunji, that Chi has absolutely no data and only one program installed on her CPU. Kokubunji suspects that Chi is actually a "chobit," referring to an urban legend that states that certain Persocoms were programmed with free will and the ability to feel a full set of human emotions. Hilarity ensues pretty much as Hideki tries to teach Chi common sense, manners and how to properly act in the larger Japanese society, but he soon comes to realize that she is harboring a dark secret somewhere in the depths of her (supposedly) blank CPU - a secret that could prove dangerous if it's truly possible for a Persocom to ever truly find happiness by coming to love a human being.
"Chobits" is a nice romantic comedy series with a neat sci-fi twist that asks us an important fundamental question: Is it ever really possible for a person to love his computer? I guess it's time to justify my earlier "Blade Runner" reference when I mention that the Persocoms in the series are perhaps an upgrade from "Blade Runner's" replicants. The Persocoms here in "Chobits" are able to respond to, and emulate, human emotions, which replicants lacked and were forbidden from achieving in "Blade Runner" while also being used off-world as slave labor; so, you could call "Chobits" an anti-"Blade Runner." And I also suggest that it's a little unnerving that countries in Asia (namely China, Japan, and South Korea) are constructing extremely life-like robots that are capable of expressing, and responding to, the emotions of their human creators. (It sounds kind of scary, doesn't it? And "Blade Runner" seems even more prescient now that you think about it.)
For the first half of this 24-episode Anime' series, it's pretty funny and sweet with the interactions between Hideki, who despite his social and technological ineptitude, is a really nice guy who actually cares about other people and helping them out (he's another one of the many great shy-guys common in Anime'), and Chi. Chi is basically like a child who has to be taught proper manners and the such. But things start to take a dark turn in the second half, as the dark secrets surrounding Chi's past start to arise and the implications it has for her burgeoning love for Hideki, as well as all other Persocoms in Tokyo. It all begins with the arrival of some very well-thought-out cyberpunk elements in the story.
"Chobits" is a great Anime' series that will definitely put a big happy smile on your face. Despite some of the darker elements in the second half of the series, be rest assured that things end on a good note. ("Chobits" also has one of the most beautiful and cheery soundtracks ever composed for an Anime' series, with songs by Japanese music acts Round Table and Rie Tanaka.)
You really won't be disappointed at all with "Chobits."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had heard of this series long before I got a chance to see it and
when Funimation put the opening four episodes on their YouTube channel
I decided to check it out. Even though I prefer my anime subtitled and
this was the dubbed version I was quickly hooked and was left wanting
more. Some time later the series was finally re-released here on DVD so
I could watch the whole thing. The rest of the series was just as good
as the opening episodes although the tone does shift somewhat midway
through; the earlier episodes are light hearted and while never
explicit often feature situations that suggest that that Hideki; the
main character, is a bit of a pervert! Later on things get much darker
when the 'person' he cares for disappears.
To summarise the plot; Chobits is set in a world where instead of using personal computers people use Persicoms; robots that fulfil the roles of computers but look almost human. Hideki moves to the city so that he can cram for his university entrance exam; he dreams of owning his own persicom but knows he will never be able to afford one. He is lucky though and one day finds one lying amongst some garbage. He takes it home hoping to get it working but it doesn't have an operating system installed. He manages to turn it on but all she can say is 'Chi'; and thus she is named. In the opening episodes he struggles to get her working, study for cram school and earn a living. As the story progresses it becomes apparent that Chi isn't like other persicoms; she may be a 'Chobits', this is a persicom capable of genuine emotion if so other people may want to get their hands on her.
This was a really fun series with plenty of laughs as well as one or two genuinely tear-jerking moments. While I watched the whole series in Japanese with English subtitles I saw enough of the English dub to say that is sounded pretty good; so dub-fans shouldn't be disappointed. The animation was decent although I'm not sure why Hikeki's eyes were drawn in a different way to all the other characters. The main characters were fairly likable; I especially liked Sumomo; the small 'genki girl' persicom belonging to Hideki's housemate she may be tiny but she has plenty of energy!
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