Sometimes it is nice to take a break from trying (trying very hard might we add) to keep up with the fast paced vehicle that is life and the summer anime season. The summer season has swept by us like a quick storm and there are a few titles that I at least have been trying to keep up with. Unfortunately, due to work and personal commitments this has been more difficult than planned.
However recently I took a break from the hectic crash course of life and decided to get into the fetal position to watch something light hearted and easy to watch, so I decided on the CLAMP anime series Chobits. With that this week’s Otaku Review is all about life, relationships and robots, it is Chobits.
Is this real life?
This anime can really be called an oldie having been released back in 2002 but is always considered a goodie. Whether you read the manga or watched the anime you have seen some rendition of this title but here we are going to focus on the anime since there are differences between the two. The anime opens by introducing us to our first protagonist Hideki Motosuwa who has been sent to Tokyo to attend cram school, his parents also cut him off making him work to pay his own way. Hideki is your typical young male character who dreams of having a girlfriend but also as is the norm in this world, he also wants to own a persocom. Persocoms are basically personal android computers which are modelled as human, mainly young women.
After finishing a shift at the restaurant where he works Hideki happens upon a persocom that seems to have been thrown away. Not one to waste a good opportunity he scoops up (with difficulty) the long haired persocom and takes her home, a disk falling to the ground as he does but he does not notice. Once Hideki actually manages to find her on switch which he discovers is located in a very personal area she buzzes to life and instantly adores him. The only problem is she can literally only utter one word “Chi” which winds up being her name.
The series continues with Hideki attempting with the help of many friends to teach Chi to speak, concepts of the world and how to live a normal life. While also searching for just what kind of persocom Chi is, obviously a custom build but where did she come from? There are many crazy ups and downs as they search for these answers while all life’s normal troubles and emotions come into play.
Can you love a robot?
There are so many reasons why I both love and hate to watch this series. Hate, it is too much like real life. Yes, it takes a very futuristic look at technology but really are we that far off this reality? People are already stuck to their personal devices as if they are attached to them. Preferring to communicate through those than in person. It is a scary future to think about in some retrospect’s while at the same time intriguing to ask the question where will technology be in just a few years’ time?
Thankfully the love outweighs the bad in this case, the main reason I love this anime is for its innocence. I realise it is not an innocent story considering some of the aspects of the story but think of it as a whole, it is a story of self-discovery. Self-discovery through yourself and others around you, those around you make you who you are while this also influences your relationships with others. Hideki is your usual young male protagonist where he is fuelled by hormones yet he is caring to Chi beyond that and goes out of his way to make her happy even if all it is was buying her a creepy picture book.
Although I hate its ties to reality I also appreciate them in a way. This anime shows hardship (glamourized hardship but hardship all the same), Hideki must work for what he has. He cannot simple buy or do what he wants because he must work to live and that makes him incredibly relatable to viewers. He gets flustered when in awkward situations just like anyone his age. Chi on the other hand has a different sort of relatability to her, she is clueless to the world around her and who has not been this way when faced with new surroundings?
In my opinion Chobits also tackled and perhaps not directly the subject of loneliness and depression with Chi. I do understand this was meant to show would she ever find love or the “person just for me” but aspects of it really reflect how someone suffering from depression can feel. She has friends around her and Hideki is there yet she has instances where she feels alone just like some who is depressed, the picture book she reads A City with No People is a fantastic illustration of this state of mind.
On the happier side of things this anime is a light hearted and beautiful anime to watch, the story flows seamlessly from episode to episode. It brings you into the lives of these characters where you can become engrossed in their own personal development. There are so many moments of slap stick but obvious comedy in there that you cannot help but laugh, Hideki is put in some hilariously awkward position both real and imaginary that you cannot help but laugh.
The Anime Just For You
If you want something light hearted that will give you some laughs but still has a deep underlying story, then Chobits is for you.