The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Chobits

Title: Chobits
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Company: Madhouse Studios
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 2 Apr 2002 – 24 Sep 2002

Synopsis: Penniless, perverted, cram school student Hideki Motosuwa is in need of a computer. Not just any computer, but the computer of the future: a Persocom, a machine that resembles the female form perfectly. He may be out of money, but by luck he finds a Persocom in the garbage one day on his way home. When activated, the only thing it is able to say is “Chi”. Hideki immediately falls in love and devotes much of his time to teaching his Persocom from scratch, to the point where she even develops a personality of her own.

The Highlights
The first half:
Cute and entertaining.
The second half: Dull melodrama.
The female cast: Depressing.
The male cast: Mechaphelia, need I say more.
Final episode: Very unsatisfying.

The meat of what I watch consists of science fiction and strong human drama. Though sometimes one needs a rest from the seriousness of life and just sit down with a nice comedy. When I started watching Chobits, that’s exactly what I was getting, but somewhere along the line, the story made some paradigm shift that forced the story into my normal fancy, and failed miserably at it.

In simple words, the first half of the series was fun. Chi’s naivety made many hilarious moments, especially as Hideki tried keeping his hands off her. The episode where Sumomo (or Plum) was escorting Chi to get panties was funny from beginning to end, with one great payoff. Speaking of Sumomo, I found her just like other little characters like Gundam‘s Haro, or Cham Huau from Dunbine. In addition, Chi and her outfits are plain cute. Watching her swimming with the dolphins made my day. My only beef with this part of the series was that everyone was too nice. It’s just not natural. When it does happen, either the characters lack personality, or there is something underneath that uncomfortably unbroken smile. Either way, it’s bad.

Character issues did arise, one issue per sex. The women in the series were just plain depressing. Persocoms show up, men become aroused, women start questioning their sexuality and self-worth, well endowed high school girls go emo, it’s all a downhill slope. The men are just as bad. I mean, falling in love with computers, come on. What’s worse in not only does the male cast have a universal mecha fetish, it becomes the central point of the show in the second half, and that’s when things go to hell.

Around the time the ending theme changes, so does the mood. The happy go lucky spirit is tossed aside for drama and philosophy. Issues are addressed such as if this computer in female form will destroy a woman’s identity and if it is possible for one to love this machine as a person. While they are not bad questions, they are real buzz kills. None of the questions ever truly get answered without being attached to some sort of convoluted and melodramatic speech or moment. The weak personalities that everyone has just makes this all ineffective, not to mention incredibly boring.

Don’t ask me how the series ended. I just don’t know; it was all too confusing. Not Evangelion confusing, but more like the kind that arises from a sheer lack of any sort of intellectual merit. The climax lacked build up, and was completely devoid of energy. The whole thing felt forced to be honest, though just about everything from episodes 14 to 26 seemed that way.

Chobits had no need for any drama. If it was just left to the comedy I would have felt much better. Not every series needs to be deep, gripping, or insightful. So if it’s not needed, don’t do it!

The Rating: 4
4/10

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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