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Chobits August 20, 2010

Posted by coolmikeol in Anime, Manga.
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Hideki with Chi on his back, with Shinbo and Sumomo in the background.

Chobits is a series that came out in 2001 that deals with the relationships between humans and Android with human appearance with artificial intelligence. This 24 episode anime plus 3 recap and one special series is what I call a classic anime based on its animation style and somewhat original (but short) plot. Short summary of the story from MyAnimeList.net:

“In the future, personal computers have developed into “Persocoms”, mobile computers that look like human beings. Hideki Motosuwa, a prep school student, desperately wants to buy a Persocon but cannot afford to. One day he finds a Persocom that has been thrown away and decides to keep it. When he turns on the Persocom, all she can say is “Chi” so he decides to name her that. After a while it starts to become apparent that Chi is more than an average Persocom. Having much better performance, it seems that Chi might be a “Chobit”, a type of advanced Persocom rumored to have independent thought.”

In Chobits, the main male character, Hideki Motosuwa, is comparable to Love Hina’s Keitaro Urashima, in how both of them react in overly excessive ways to certain situations. It’s quite funny watching how Motosuwa always seems to talk to himself loudly and how he always yells and freaks out at things that a 19-year-old should not be freaking out about. For example, in episode 11, he is told a horror story that he believes is about his apartment building.  Throughout the episode he has bad dreams, hallucinations, and becomes scared of everything around him like a child. In the end it was just all a misunderstanding, and he just shrugs it off as if he wasn’t acting like a scared cat all that time.

Chi is a very cute Persocom that Hideki found just lying in some trash coming back from school. On start-up she has no memories and cannot initially speak. Later on in the series she is found to not an OS or any type software in her system, except for a learning software. Since Chi was turned on, she is like a new-born child. Everything around her was a new experience for her, with Hideki explaining to her what those experiences are. She gains language and intelligence of her surroundings with a fast pace, but with a naive nature. I find Chi to be a very interesting character because of how she tries to find her “special one for her” with Chi also dealing with the relationship issues between a Persocom and humans. When Chi was learning words from Hideki, I found myself learning as well, especially the Japanese words for leaving home (ittekimasu) and coming back (tadaima), for wishing someone a safe trip from home (iterashai), and welcoming someone back home (okaerinasai) since it’s repeated in almost every episode.

The main bulk of this anime is dealing with the issues of relationships between man and machine, and it does it quite well. It tackles the scenarios of the psychological issues that take their toll on humans. In one example from the anime, Takako Shimizu who is Hideki and Shinbo (Hideki’s friends) cram school teacher, had a bad experience with a Persocom. Before when she had just got married to her husband, they agreed to get a Persocom as well. After a while her husband paid less and less attention to Takako and eventually and apparently forgot all about her, locking her out of her house as if he was expecting no one to come back home. She then developed a distrust for men, until Shinbo came and encouraged her to love again, this time in him. Shinbo and Takako elope and get married. There is another example where Hiroyasu Ueda (Chi’s manager where she works) gets married to a Persocom, and how his marriage was mocked by the media. Though he loved his Persocom, when it got damaged beyond repair, including its memories of him, he thought of it as being dead, despite it never being truly alive. He tells Hideki during a conversation with him that even though Persocoms are not human and not real, the memories that are created with them are still there.

While there is a lot more to say, I’m going straight to my overall feelings about this anime. It was a good anime to watch, though it wasn’t as great as what I kept hearing from all over the place. The characters were pretty decent, though my favorites were Chi for her cute ways of learning and Sumomo for her over energetic and funny wake up alarms and how she reacts to Hideki’s freaking out moments. The animation is a bit bland but it’s expected of a rather old anime. The story was understandable and watchable, but the ending was not as climatic as I would have hoped for.

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