Chobits is a charming series which portrays, weirdly enough, a touching relationship between man and his computer. Incidentally, it also brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘to turn a girl on'.
As well as providing excellent comedy moments to enhance the emotional experience, Chobits delivers an intriguing social commentary on the relationship between humans and machines. Sure, watching Chii stumble adorably through simple social situations with hilarious consequences left me feeling warm and cheerful. However, later, as the series introduced the more controversial subplots, I found myself emotionally confused (in a good way) and a touch saddened. I am unsure whether I agree with the possibilities opened up by the story, although I appreciate how important these issues are for the characters. At the least I take this as a sign of the series' complexity.
Whilst largely episodic, with the series revolving around Chii's step-by-step development and Hideki's bumbling responses to it, there also exists an overarching sad tone which only comes to the fore towards the end. In this way, it is comparable to series like Fruits Basket and, just like Fruits Basket, the delivery of the last few episodes is great. On the one hand, what happens to the central protagonists is quite melodramatic but, in terms of the wider implications, the series delivers an intriguing, open-ended conclusion.
Everything considered, only one question remains: why does it not deserve the full marks available? The problem is that Chobits remains trapped by its genre, with the plot hinging upon the ‘single male with female guest in his apartment' gimmick. Although presented with utmost skill, the fact remains that there are only so many new ideas to be found here. The result is that the bulk of episodes in the middle are stereotypical and wholly skippable with the second viewing.
Being a typical CLAMP feature, Chobits has a clean, fresh look, with the palette comprised mostly of pleasant pastels. Movement is smooth throughout and the comic expressions hit the spot every time. Because of the combination of simple-yet-elegant design and quality visuals, dating the series is not straightforward; meaning it will continue to look good for a long while yet.
Animation-wise, my only problem is with the character designs of Chii and Hideki. I find it discomfiting that this guy who looks twenty-five (although he is nineteen) is supposedly in love with a girl that looks twelve (although, technically, she is ageless). There is a believable reason why she looks that way, but that does not stop me pulling the odd face, particularly at the ecchi scenarios.
The opening theme is catchy and repetitive without ever getting old; the ending and in-scene themes in comparison are decent but not memorable. What earns the show a high rating is the voice acting, which works well at all times, and Chii easily gets the most credit for suitability.
Chii is everything a guy could ever want - docile, loyal as hell, and forever pubescent. Not to mention that she looks great in a towel. Going by past experience with similar characters, I expected nothing substantial from her... which means I was pleasantly surprised at the extent to which she did develop. At first she just does a lot of endearing things like mimic Hideki's actions and act innocent at the most inappropriate times, which only evokes a lot of sentimental gushing. Eventually, her own will and personality start to come across; although, disappointingly, she does not mature to the extent that she could have. By the end, she still seems a lot more victim than heroine, albeit a highly sympathetic one.
Just like Chii, but on a different level, Hideki Motozuwa is a fish out of water character. A farm boy trying to make it in cosmopolitan Tokyo, he is shy around girlie things, kind and considerate, and totally lacking in the brain department. Hideki is ninety percent stereotypical - down to the nosebleeds and the virginity - but the ten percent of personality that he has stops him being annoyingly flat. For example, his patience when teaching Chii, how he provides for her at considerable cost to himself, his active concern for her when she is not with him, and his willingness to learn from her in turn, are indicators of a deep and admirable soul. Moreover, the fact that Hideki provides some classic comedy moments makes warming to him very easy.
The rest of the cast, including Hideki's best friend Hiromu Shinbo, Yumi the waitress, Minoru Kokubunji the child expert, Mr. Ueda the baker, and Chitose Hibiya the landlady, all have fantastic backgrounds. They provide subplots which are not only emotional in their own right, but feed meaningfully into the central plot as well. Each character's situation is a memorable variation on the same theme and gives a fascinating insight into Chobits's controversy.
Chobits is enjoyable through and through, just not rewatchable through and through. Barring the formulaic structure, it seems to have no major flaws to speak of; after all, it has characters that are interesting, delivers some truly heart-warming moments, and looks very good. If you are looking for a romance with a mostly-sweet-sometimes-sad feel, then this one comes highly recommended.
Chobits is to its core a romantic comedy like so many others. It is about a rather typical teen male lead and his life with girls that suddenly have to stay in his apartment. If you’ve seen or read enough harems and ecchi comedies you can see the done to death premise from the very first episode. A guy with zero talents and zero experience with women all of a sudden gets swarmed by pretty gals who need him for emotional support.
But that’s the thing; the story bothers to give legit reasons for why that happens. It’s the near future, where technology reached the point where computers look and act like people. Many real humans turn to them for comfort and neglect each other. It’s basically an extreme version of what is happening already with virtual reality and 2D waifus replacing physical human relationships.
This is just the premise of course, and as we have discovered countless times, it means nothing if the script is shit. Chobits is not doing that much in terms of plot but it definitely bothers to flesh out its characters to the point they are memorable and not restricted to archetypes. Unlike countless series where what is going on in the setting does not affect the cast, over here the conflict is all about the state of the setting and how it messes with the mind of every individual.
Of course the story still uses cheap tricks in order to explore the setting. Hideki is an average and oblivious country boy, who doesn’t know much about the city and the technology of the persocoms, so he needs everything explained to him, while also staying largely unaffected by the conflict. It’s what I call a lobotomized askman, someone existing as a self-insert and an excuse for infodumps. He does eventually become part of the setting and its issues through his interactions with others, but he always comes off as an ideal boy scout everyone can trust and seek aid from.
And then, there is Chii, the titular robot waifu who works as the focal point from which everything begins to unravel. She is found naked in the garbage with her memory wiped, Hideki takes care of her in his apartment, and the doujins are practically writing themselves. She was written with a lot of done to death tropes, that individually mean nothing but in this case bounce off each other all the time and don’t allow her to be just another generic moe chick.
She is still used in a similar cheap way like Hideki. Also oblivious, needs to be taught everything, with infinite potential to mentally mature into anything you want her to be, like a Furby with a super computer. Being an empty vessel that can be filled with anything you want, makes her the ideal pet or waifu.
But that’s the thing; the script could have stopped there, not bothering to go any further, yet it didn’t. There is a tragic backdrop story from before she lost her memory, which sums up everything that can go wrong with putting too much emphasis on loving machines instead of people. It’s also good food for thought regarding memories defining who you are, and how losing them makes you a completely different person thereafter. I am not a fan of the amnesia trope but when it’s used as character growth instead of regression, meaning not going in circles trying the get back what you had already, thus not getting any development, then count me in.
It’s not all peachy though, since it has a lot of the mystery box syndrome going around, which, just like in any other show that abuses it, only ends up disappointing you. There’s something about a second dark personality inside Chii, which occasionally comes out and causes persocoms to freeze, and there is the military sending two other machines to spy on her, there is something about the creator of the sentient machines using a program that can completely change the world. And none of these mean much or led anywhere. They were just baiting you into keep watching for a big twist to come, which never came.
It’s the trademark of all CLAMP stories. They keep promising something big to happen down the line, and it never does. They are trolling your expectations and keep you watching with queerbait relationships. These themes and ideas I’ve been hyping up for you all this time are found only in about a fifth of the duration of Chobits.
The rest of it is an almost generic school comedy about Hideki and his ever growing harem. There isn’t much nudity as there are pervert jokes and the chosen girl is set in stone from the very beginning, but it still counts as an erotic comedy. More subtle and elaborate than the average of its kind yet still not deconstructed enough to be anything more than that. And this is the biggest issue with Chobits. It’s way better than any harem yet very undermined as social commentary or psychological.
Nonetheless, there is closure and the characters get developed, which is something I can’t say for most harems and comedies. It would definitely be better if it removed the disappointing mystery bait and had more theme exploration regarding the society and its technology but even as it stands, it is an above average anime and it’s highly memorable.
In an alternate society, personal computers known as persocoms are manufactured in the shape of attractive young humans. Hideki Motosuwa, an all around loathsome specimen of a human being, is a ronin trying his best to get into university (Even though he's pretty stupid). One night, walking home from somewhere or other (job or work? I was to busy rolling my eyes to notice), he stumbles across one of these expensive persocoms just lying in the trash (convenient much?). She's also naked but that's less convenience and more of a not so subtle plot device. Anyhoo, once he turns her on, he realizes that she has no memories, no basic computing type skills, she can't even talk (refund anyone). Thus begins the epic love affair between a boy and his robot.
You're curious aren't you? You've heard things about this series, probably even good things but I've been down this road my friend, turn back there's danger ahead.
Let's start with story. While it sounds like a story that could potentially be the perfect mix of romance and scifi, it's not. It falls dangerously close to slice of life (which I hate) and ecchi (which I could stand). The major problem for me was that they had a great setup for a great story and didn't use it. Instead they spend most episodes dealing with Hideki tying to teach the beautiful and childlike (translation: annoying) Chii about how to conduct herself in day to day life a la slice of life. They kind of touch on the mystery surrounding Chii but it doesn't last long. The last few episodes they finally unveil the big secret of her unique existence and it's disappointing, borderline infuriating. One interesting thing about the story was that of the supporting characters. Yeah I know, I was more interested in side characters than main, that's just sad. I actually found myself saying, "Dude! That guy should get his own spinoff!". Themes were okay, like I said they had potential but failed all the same.
Animation was good enough. I'm not such a stickler for it, but I will point out that I do like the character design for Chii. Everyone else was mediocre. I mean as a bishonen lover, I enjoy a pretty boy as much as the ecchi fan will enjoy all those panty shots. They made Chii so beautiful but the guys so ordinary it was a waste. Especially Hideki, not only is he dumb, perverted, annoying, and awkward, he's also not that pretty to look at. Shame, some hot guys would have got this show more (I'm shallow so sue me).
Sound: voice acting's fine, not much of a problem. I watched the dub just so you know. Moving on.
As for chacters, I've come down pretty hard on them already but don't worry there's plenty. I've already given as much detail as needed for our hero Hideki, he sort of reminds me of Keitaro from Love Hina except worse, much worse. If he were a real person I'd buy a shovel and some lime and do the world a favor, but seriously the worst part about him is his personality. I hate him, there I said. The only character I hate more is Chii. My God she got on my nerves. She's like a two year old, and not like an exaggerated "Oh my boyfriend is so immature, he's like a two year old." Dude actually has to teach her everything. How to walk, talk, dress,etc. At one point, I was like screw this, if that was me I'd toss her back in the garbage, buy a desktop, and get knocked up, it'd be less work.
Overall I give this seris a negative ten, an F minus and anything else you can think of. I'll give it a 2 just for the people who may like it. And really, I don't like it because it features my top least favorite catagories: ecchi and slice of life. But if that's your dig, try it out you may love it. To break it down, you should if you love watching characters go through "funny" situations, usually involving moderate to full on tacky fanservice with romantic themes of love conquers all or loving you for you that sort of thing. Not good for those who love more hardcore scifi since it's almost non-exisistant or those who dislike harem or things similar or those who like there romance a little less idealistic and a little more mature. The josei lover probably won't be able to stand it. The love between the two is very juvenile in my opinion. I seriously don't understand why some love it so much, but hey diffeerent strokes right?
**I did not mathmatically calculate this score. I don't think that SOUND and ANIMATION should effect the score of what I consider a horrible anime. I don't care how pretty it looks or how nice it sounds, it's still terrible.
Full Discloser: I have not finished the Chobits anime. I’m debating whether or not I want to because it has upset me greatly and I am not only offended by it, I am annoyed as well. You may continue with this review as you wish, but be warned that I posted this review before finishing the anime.
Synopsis: Chobits follows young and innocent Hideki, who has just moved into a dorm room to attend school. All around him, people are carrying humanoid electronics called ‘Chobits’. These Chobits can do nearly everything, including access to the net. Hideki, a poor student, finds that very appealing considering he treats the internet as a demigod. There’s one problem: he doesn’t have the money to afford a Chobit.
As he’s walking home one night, he comes across a Chobit. Elated at being able to have access to the internet, he takes home said Chobit; but it turns out she’s defective. From this point on, chaos ensues as Chi learns to talk and function properly in society.
Warning: I am not a fan of storylines where a human and a robot end up in a romantic relationship. This does not feel logical to me and as a very logical person, it doesn’t sit well with me. I am sure that this inherent dislike has made it’s way and burrowed some bias into my review, but I’ll do my best to be as unbiased as possible.
The STORY of Chobits started out well – I really thought this was going to be adorable, but I feel very let down. The budding relationship between Hideki and Chi began to really bore me. At first, it was pretty adorable to watch Chi get adjusted to modern society when she had no idea how to do anything. After a while, it became annoying. Once the filler episode passed, I didn’t find myself really enjoying the anime anymore. It felt as if almost every episode was meant to strengthened Chi and Hideki’s relationship without focusing on the sub plot. (I am assuming said sub-plot is Chi and her darker self. I have no idea what that is really because I dropped it beforehand).
Someone tell me why there was a complete filler episode on episode 10? Why did I need to be reminded of the 9 previous episodes and be bored to tears? ESPECIALLY in 26 episode anime. I could understand this happening in those epic anime like Inuyasha and Bleach – but why here? I found it to be extremely annoying and completely unnecessary.
I need to mini rant for a second: I also hated that the teacher went with them on their beach trip. You must be kidding me. The fact that a teacher would accompany her students on a trip that is not school oriented is ridiculous. Even a prep school teacher. Even a professor would be hesitant. Obvious plot device is obvious. And they just had to have the beach scene. Sigh.
And then, Shimbo takes Hideki and says, “Motosuwa, you have to save her!” after Chi jumps off the boat. Let’s use our brains, shall we? HIDEKI CANNOT SWIM. Shimbo can. Obviously Shimbo or one of the many girls he was with should have gone after her. This was an obvious plot device to make the protagonist more “heroic”, but let’s face it HIDEKI IS THE OPPOSITE OF A HERO. GOD.
Also, the fact that the teacher STAYS OVER AT HIDEKI’S HOUSE is ridiculous. As a teacher myself, I find this degrading and insulting. Even if I were teaching adults, I would never do something like this. It’s unprofessional. Once again, this is an obvious plot device that bordered on revolting. The fact that she says sexually insinuating things to him made me want to drop this anime like it was the zombie plague.
I understand the beach scene can be justified because Shimbo has a relationship with Shimizu, but that's ridiculous in it's own right. I'm not one to care about age, but I do value professionalism highly. You're 34 and your girlfriend is 20? No problem. Oh wait, she's your student/client/patient? UH?
I quite liked the ANIMATION for Chobits; it did have feelings of many other anime in terms of artistic quality, but this is a type of art that I personally enjoy. I also liked that the background seemed to suit the anime perfectly – it had an almost water color appeal to it.
For a 2002 anime, I really thought the art was pretty outstanding. My only gripe is that the female characters all began to look the same. If you were to shave off their hair, it would be nearly impossible to tell them apart.
When it came to SOUND, I absolutely adored the OP for Chobits. I thought it was adorable, and I also felt it was appropriate for the anime itself. I didn’t really enjoy the ending as much because the sound was a bit annoying – but I also didn’t give it much of a chance.
I will say that I watched this in the English dub and as a general rule, I dislike dub. Not because I think that subbed anime is superior, but because I have a horrible attention span and if I’m not reading subtitles, then I space out completely. That being said, I really enjoyed the dub! All of the voice actors sounded natural. Sometimes in anime there is a forced feeling and it sounds ridiculous, but I felt each and every voice actor did a pretty swell job.
The CHARACTERS in Chobits ranged from decently annoying to pretty fantastic. There are quite a few characters and I really liked Shimbo and Sumomo (the minor characters who served as comic relief constantly). I will dive into the two main characters:
Hideki, of course, has to be the clueless protagonist. I understand this is a formula in anime, but it’s one that is starting to grate on my nerves. I especially hated the entire porn point to his character. Of course he is going to watch porn – he’s a teenage boy – but do you really need to bring it up every single episode? The porn thing was way overdone and began to be borderline disgusting, especially when he received it from someone’s father. I don’t care how realistic that may be. I don’t want to see it and I don’t find it amusing. I did find Hideki to be whiny and weak and a poor choice for a protagonist. I don’t find him being a hero of any sort rational. In a horror movie, he would die first.
Chi was one of the most interesting characters, in my opinion. Watching her learn how to handle society and then watching her struggle with her other self was fascinating. I also liked how they tied in her character to the main character of the book she was always reading. Unfortunately, I didn't get down to the core of her character because I dropped the anime before she could fully develop so I can't fully rate her.
Due to my own bias, as I mentioned before, I had to lower the rating of the story. I just cannot stand this type of plotline, as I’ve mentioned. I watched this anime based on a recommendation from a friend. If you don’t mind – or even like – this sort of plot line, then I’d recommend Chobits. In fact, many people really seem to like the anime so I am in the minority.
**I do also feel this anime could have easily been condensed into an 11 or 12 episode anime and been much more successful and efficient. During some of the gratuitous filler episodes, I found myself surfing the interwebs.
I’m unsure whether or not I’ll finish watching this. I need to breathe for awhile. If you don't take DNF reviews seriously, that's fine, but this is my serious opinion on why I probably will not finish this anime.
Oh to find a girl who loves you for who you are, who hangs on to every word you say and who actually desires to do everything possible to make you happy, well you've probably guessed it, she'd have to be a robot, and in Hideki's case it was, or a computer to be precise.
Story - 7/10
Chobits is like many school and romance Animes, a young high school aged boy, who inevitably has never touched a girl, stumbles upon a relationship and now has to figure out how they work, and in Chobits the guy really has to figure out how everything works, including where the power button is.
The first part of the series is dedicated to Hideki attempting to teach his persocon, a form a computer that can resemble a human or other life form, how to talk and interact with others. As well as his struggles with juggling life and his College prep classes. During this stretch in the show Hideki is more of a father to his persocon, whom he named Chi. He spends his time worrying what trouble she could get into how he's going to afford taking care of her and most importantly why she's a one of a kind persocon that even boggles the mind of young computer wiz Minoru Kokubunji.
Towards the middle the story turns more into a romantic comedy. Chi starts to have feelings for Hideki, which were enhanced after reading a book about a lonely character also searching for the one meant just for her, and Hideki having feelings for everyone, including Chi, his landlady Ms. Hibiya, his teacher and his co-worker, and bosses daughter, Yumi. The story also can turn here for some, due to influx of Sumomo as a constant character. Sumomo is the persocon of Hideki's neighbor, best friend and go to guy for every problem he encounters, Shinbo. Depending on your tolerance for cuteness you may find her completely adorable or horrifyingly annoying.
The 3rd act of the story focuses on Chi's powers being exposed and the revelation of who actually created the Chobits, the special series of persocons that outperform those available to the public. This is around the point where the show lost me. They tried to throw in some new characters who just came out of the blue, were never developed, but were suppose to play a huge part in the climax. They also attempt to make the ending bigger than it is, having you believe there is a huge conspiracy behind Chobits and that the fate of the world now rest with Chi, but no. The big reveal of where Chi came from and why she acts the way she does, while attempting to come from a good place, just seemed a bit weak and even cruel to the main character Hideki, a few words from someone he knew could have saved the poor kid tons of time and the problems now filling his life, like how he'll apparently be in love with a robot instead of a real girl.
Animation - 7/10
While there isn't anything truly spectacular about the animation and character design, there is no place to complain about it either. They let the story drive the anime instead of trying to blast it full of flash animation, like many others of the time had. Many of the characters look as if they could be pulled out of every other slice of life anime, with the exception possibly being Sumomo, who was pulled out of a fairy anime, though her actions do seem to have some special attention paid to them to ratchet up the cute factor.
Sound - 6/10
I really can't remember any music or anything special that jumped out with the sound of the show. There were no real annoying moments and for an anime like Chobits that works out best, keeping you more focused on the story rather than the music.
The English voice overs were also done very well, some could find Sumomo a bit irritating, but i enjoyed the lively touch to her voice which then contrasted nicely with Kotoko's more serious tone. Also with two Anime mainstays voicing the two male leads of the show everything sounds exactly as it should.
Characters - 6/10
Some of the characters in Chobits we've seen a million times before, the hopeless 15-25 year old who needs a girlfriend, the knowledgable and helping friend and the formatted computer, ok guess not the last one. As well thought out, drawn and voiced most of the characters are, there is just something missing about most, where others are neglected an entire series just to have all their information dropped on you quickly as the story draws to a close.
At parts of the series it seems as if a character is given a plot point to either fill a missed hole or to just get them out of the way.
But again some of this can be forgiven because of Sumomo.
Overall - 9/10
Chobits ended as a series that i really really enjoyed, but then I'd ask myself, Why? and i don't know if i can say. Its got a great story and some funny moments, but does that make up for the somewhat abrupt and terrible ending? It can easily be seen as just an average boy meets girl type story, but again I somehow enjoyed it over many other Anime's i've seen, and based on its ranking many others did too.