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Content rating: 7
Posted 2003-09-29 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by kurt on 2003-10-17 14:53:00
Disk 3 of Chobits takes the story in a meandering path, leaving the main highway for a series of day trips. I enjoyed these little digressions, but feel a little impatient for the real journey ahead. Perhaps that's because I've almost reached the end of the manga ....
Episode 9 is the infamous "bath house" episode, which could never have been made in the United States. No, not because the censors would prevent it, but because nearly every house and apartment in this country has its own private bath or shower. In Japan, many apartments have only a communal toilet and sink; the inhabitants must travel to a bath house in order to, well, bathe. Some establishments provide a social function, some are resorts (as in Spirited Away), but some are just plain buildings with big bathtubs (as in Neia_7). Hideki must somehow find a way to show Chi how to clean herself, without actually showing Chi how to clean herself. It's so cute that he's so bashful :-) One of my favorite parts of this episode is Chi's present to him: a new girly magazine for his collection. It makes sense: she knows that he likes that sort of magazine, and she wants to make him happy. What's wrong with that? It reminds me of a birthday present my then girlfriend (now wife) gave to me, many years ago: a copy of the issue of Playboy from the month I was born. Of course, way back then, the pictures weren't really very racy, but it was the same sweet thought.
Oops, I guess now I'm going off on tangents....
Episode 10, "Chi Meets," introduces Chi (and us) to "Dark Chi", a presence that only she can sense, a voice that only she can hear inside her head. Just what is this mysterious being? It seems to have some connection with the wierd series of children's books Chi is reading. We really don't find out much yet, except that Dark Chi has a somewhat more sophisticated fashion sense than Light Chi. This episode also provides the only real substantial bit of character development on this disk, when we learn about Minoru's favorite persocom, Yuzuki. In the manga, the relationship between Hideki and Chi is mirrored, in a way, by that between Minoru and Yuzuki. The limits on the connection between humans and persocoms -- between humans and machines -- is one of the central themes of this series; it takes the show from a simple comedy/romance to higher and more interesting planes ... every once in a while.
The third episode is a pretty standard haunted-house mystery, which turns out in the end to have a mundane explanation. It felt quite a bit like an episode of Scooby Doo, and didn't appeal to me very much. I must admit that the blurring of Hideki's dreams with reality was effectively disturbing, though; it reminded me a bit of the dream sequences in
Werewolf in London.
The final episode (yup, four per disc, a decent deal) is another standalone entry which is light on the philosophy, light on the relationships, and heavy on the comedy. After browsing the shelves at the local video rental store, and skipping past Jaws, Enter the Dragon and The Matrix, Hideki chooses an on-line game called Brave Quest Online so that he can play together with Chi. Most of the humor didn't work for me, though I was amused by the full-size version of Sumomo.
Overall, I'd prefer that Chobits spend more time on Hideki/Chi and less time on wacky hijinks, but I'm not complaining.
The extras on this disk: an original Japanese opening, which looks to me just like the regular opening (but with all the credits in Japanese -- so what?); 5 pieces of artwork, 3 of which appear on the insert; DVD credits (who cares?); and trailers for five new Pioneer shows, among which are Haibane Renmei and A Little Snow Fairy, Sugar. I cannot believe how cute Sugar is. It is so unbelievably kawai that I will be forced to purchase it :-)
Equipment used when writing this review:
Sony DVD player, JVC 27-inch TV, stereo speakers
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