Anime Reviews: Chobits

I have no idea who translated Chobits from Japanese to English, but give them a medal.

Quite a bit of the anime imported from Japan attempts to show some humor, but normally something gets lost in the translation. Most jokes fall flat or get one smirk out of the audience. This is not one of those animes.

Every episode is full of delicious humor, and most of them are flat-out belly laughs. Admittedly, most of it is slapstick and schoolyard humor, but it was funny enough for my oldest daughter to fall out her chair from laughing so hard.
The music is springy and upbeat, and supports the storyline well. As with almost all of CLAMP and Madhouse’s work, the video is very smooth and the colors are expertly handled. Both of the soundtracks (English and Japanese with subtitles) feature excellent voice acting.

The packaging is fine. I like the clear DVD case Pioneer selected for this release. The menuing is decent, and you can go directly to a particular episode right from the top menu, something I wish other studios would do. The extras are ho-hum, and include a textless opening video and an image gallery. Unfortunately, the images in the gallery are very limited (8 in total), they included only a couple of color pictures. Production sketches would have been cheap to include and would have increased the value.

This DVD includes four episodes. The storyline is well laid out and is easy to follow. There seems to be a bit of underaged-girl types, such as the high school aged daughter of the pub owner, who notes her breasts are D-cups and they’re not hard and cold. Chi, the persocom (mobile computer made to look like a cute kid) and the focus of the storyline, even looks a bit underaged. All of the females portrayed are cute. Actually, cute particularly describes Chi, especially as she learns to communicate.

The basic plotline follows the exploits of a farmboy who applies to college – and gets rejected. He is determined to go, so he leaves the countryside and heads for Tokyo. When he arrives, he is certainly out of place. The hot commodity are the persocoms, which range from human-sized to little pocket model creatures. Hideki notes the abundence of breasts available on them, then notes the price – way out of the range of a poor cram school student.

Hideki finds his apartment, meets a couple of people (every female seems to think he’s cute in episode one), and finds a mysterious persocom in the trash. It looks new, and is very cute. He finally gets it turned on, and all it can say is ‘chi’.
His neighbor tries to help, but Chi ends up frying the neighbor’s persocom. Hideki gets referenced to a specialist, a kid who handcrafts persocoms. Chi fries all of his units too. All anyone can tell is that Chi is custom and has some heavy security in her programming.

The story continues as Chi learns how to communicate. Episode four is basically about Chi going out to buy underwear, and is by far the funniest episode on the DVD.

This series is rated at 16 and up, and parents may want to preview the DVD before letting younger kids watch. There is brief nudity and very heavy sexual innuendo. An example is where one must put their fingers to turn on Chi (no pun intended).
Overall, it is a fun and quirky story, and I’d certainly recommend it to appropriate audiences.

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