It’s N00b Reviews, time!
After having watched some episodes of Chobits whilst I was at university with some housemates without realising it was anime, I have decided to read and re-watch the series for this blog to see how it compares to my original thoughts and see if anything has changed my opinion whilst on my journey of discovery into all things Manga!
Chobits is a Manga written by the all-female manga collective Clamp. Clamp are also responsible for Cardcaptor Sakura, Tsubasa:Reservoir Chronicle, Wish and Angelic Layer (to name just a few!)
The Chobits series focuses on the protagonist Hideki Motosuwa and his relationship with an abandoned ‘persocom’ (personal computer) named Chi. Initially Chi can only say “Chi” but as the series progresses Hideki teaches her to speak, interact, and behave.
The art style used in the Chobits manga is cute and not overly detailed in regards to the human characters. However, I think the way emotions are portrayed through the characters’ facial features makes you feel empathetic towards them. Unlike the human illustrations the persocoms seem to have more detailed features, particularly in their hair and clothing. But I did notice that something that was done particularly well was the way that their expressions were drawn. Expressions of sadness, happiness, and anger, were very distinct on the faces of the characters. This is a very charming addition that draws attention away from the dullness of the human illustrations.
What I liked:
What I really liked about Chobits was it’s length. Each chapter was short and sweet which meant it was easy to read unlike the Toriko manga I read last week that I really struggled with, I did actually manage to read the whole of Chobits.
I also liked the way it offered light-hearted comedic moments that are sure to put a smile on your face! Many of the jokes came at the expense of Hideki and his behaviour around women. For example, in one scene he is looking to buy underwear for Chi but is too embarrassed to enter the store.
When did This Manga Get so Philosophical?
Are persocoms capable of emotions? Can they have real relationships with humans?
In multiple story arcs these kinds of questions are explored as the computers’ memory is compared to human feelings and memories. The character Minoru Kokubunji, for example, loses his sister and then creates a persocom to replace her, but then realises that the persocom is completely different to the real thing with different memories, and so he learns to recognise that his sisters’ memories are unique.
Another example is the character Hiroyasu Ueda who falls in love with and even marries his persocom, but she develops hardware faults and he cannot not bring himself to have her repaired because her memories might be lost and he felt she would not be the same person if this happened. One night while walking with his persocom, Hiroyasu, lost in thought, walks into the middle of the street, unaware of an oncoming truck. In a final moment of clarity, his persocom pushed him out of the way and was herself run over. Her last word to Hiroyasu was “Konnichiwa” – the default greeting for a newly activated persocom with no memories. It’ so heartbreaking.
What I disliked:
There were moments in the manga where I felt really awkward and uncomfortable about the relationship between Hideki and Chi, not only this but the references to pornographic material that didn’t seem necessary to the plot. Other than this issue though, I found the manga captivating and it intrigued me as to where they would take the relationship with the two main characters.
How Did it Compare to the Anime:
Whilst bits of the manga were embarrassing and cringy the anime was even worse for this! The anime also seemed to have some more filler content in between the main story and introduced characters sooner into the story than the manga did.
Like in Attack on Titan, the plot in the anime also appeared in a different order to the manga. The Chobits anime feels more like a cutesy alternate universe, removing all the drama and tension that appeared in the manga. This is apparent even just from the titles of each episode: “Chi goes out”, “Chi learns”, “Chi goes on errands”… I could go on. I’m not saying the anime is completely rubbish – it did have many redeeming features including the aesthetic. The way it was presented was beautiful and visually faithful to CLAMP’s art style. You can see the similarities in the style to Cardcaptor Sakura, Clover and of course Angelic Layer.
Unlike some of the other manga and anime series I have read/watched I actually preferred the manga in this instance. I read all of the manga but could not sit through and watch all of the episodes of the anime. The pace felt much slower than the manga and even though episodes were only roughly 20 minutes long it felt like a lot more.
After a little research I discovered that a reason for the poor pacing and filler content is the fact that the manga was still in ongoing whilst the anime was airing and it started to get ahead and then rushes to catch up towards the end. For this reason would definitely recommend reading the manga first as it was funny, emotive, and enchanting; the characters were well-written and the artwork was beautiful.
Written by Jess Harcastle, Marketing Whizz-kid for Cosmic Anvil.