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Chobits vol 1: Persocom

(return to disc)

Content rating: 8
Posted 2003-08-25 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by Cacophanus on 2003-09-11 10:55:00

The first four episodes of Chobits are full of good, clean fun. The show mixes slapstick, (not-quite-budding) romance and cuteness in equal measure, creating a very pleasing blend.

Throughout the manga (which I'll mention again in a moment), Hideki -- the male half of the central pair, an innocent young man fresh off the family farm who's come to the big city to study -- is told again and again, "Gosh, you're a really nice guy." And he is a nice guy. Not very bright, and prone to speaking his thoughts out loud by mistake, he nonetheless succeeds by dint of good will. In the second episode, for example, after a day of fruitless job-searching, he wanders into a pub; one of the workers confuses him for a busboy and tells him to start cleaning the tables. Instead of correcting the error, Hideki simply makes himself useful. He's surprised later on when the manager of the bar offers him a job; see, he wasn't trying to insinuate himself or play the pity card. He saw a way to be useful to someone else, and did it.

And that's one of the things that I like about this show: it isn't afraid to make an ordinary, decent man the protagonist. He's no hero -- he can't even bring himself to enter a lingerie store, although he certainly spends a lot of time "studying" lingerie-clad models in magazines at home -- but he's a good guy. Maybe I'm tired of all the angst-filled anti-heroes I've seen lately, but Chobits strikes me as not only fun to watch, but almost morally uplifting. Well, maybe that's taking things too far, but as Rancid Pickle wrote, it's a series that the whole family can enjoy. You'll feel good about sharing it with your kids.

The manga starts off with the same boy-meets-android-girl story we see on this disc, but then gradually twists the tale into something deeper: an exploration of what it means to love, and be loved. Can a human being truly love a machine, in the same way that he could love another human? Can a machine truly love a human? And, regardless of the possibility, should such relationships exist? The manga shows examples of human relationships which are broken when one member becomes attracted to a persocom; and, really, how can a person compete for love with a machine which never refuses, never talks back, never makes demands of its own? Oh, and which is inhumanly attractive and never ages? I find this a very interesting question. It allows me to enjoy the manga on another level, beyond the humor and the extreme cuteness.

Will the anime go down this same road, asking these same questions? I don't really care: I already have the manga. If the show wants to present those ideas again, fine. But if the show decides to explore some other territory with the same set of characters -- sticking to comedy, perhaps -- well, that would be fine with me, too, as long as it continues to present me (and other viewers) with spectacles like the infamous "Panty March."

Notes on other stuff: the video is anamorphic, 16:9, so it appears in letterbox format on my poor television set. The extras aren't overwhelming, but the nice colored artwork might make a nice hardcopy (I just realized that one might be able to grab files off the DVD). The menu is pedestrian, but I like the opening theme which plays over it, so that's fine. The artwork on the box liner is nice, too, especially the spread which appears on the reverse side, hidden from view until you open the package.

Hey! I managed to write this review without ever mentioning the name of the title character. I didn't mean to do it, it just sort of happened. Wierd.

Equipment used when writing this review:
Sony DVD player, JVC 27-inch TV, stereo speakers

Content: 8 Video: 7 Sound: 7 Packaging: 8 Menu: 7

Buy this disc from AnimeNation
Other reviews of this disc:
Chobits vol 1: Persocom by rgmoore (Rating: 7.80)

Chobits presents me with something of a quandry. On the one hand, I'm not at all a fan of the "magical girlfriend' genre, which strikes me as an offensively sexist wish-fulfillment fantasy. On the other hand, I'm a huge fan of CLAMP...(continues)

Content: 8 Video: 8 Sound: 9 Packaging: 7 Menu: 7

Chobits vol 1: Persocom by Rancid Pickle (Rating: 8.00)

I have no idea who translated this, 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...(continues)

Content: 9 Video: 8 Sound: 9 Packaging: 7 Menu: 7

Chobits vol 1: Persocom by Bombilation (Rating: 8.00)
Well first off this review is of a DivX version a friend gave to me to see.

I was very interested since I had read some of the manga version of Chobits and really wanted to see it animated. The story revovles around Hediki, who...(continues)

Content: 8 Video: N/A Sound: N/A Packaging: N/A Menu: N/A

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