Chobits (Volume 1) Manga | My Reviews 08 JUN 2008

ChobitsChi isn’t your average humanoid computer. She can’t do word processing, she can’t connect to the Net, and she’s incapable of interfacing with other Persocoms … but when the hapless, technophobic Hideki rescues her from the scrap heap and takes her home, he finds that she may be more advanced than her childlike behaviour lets on…

Chobits tells the story of 19 year-old naïve farm-boy Hideki Motosuwa, currently studying to get into university through a Tokyo prep school, who comes across an abandoned Persocom just lying there in the trash. Persocom are androids, computers in the form of human beings, and are currently the hottest thing in Japan, with nearly everyone in the city owning one of these powerful machines. Everyone except the eternally broke Hideki who can only ever dream of owning one of these beauties to handle all his email, internet and porn-browsing needs.

So the discovery of his very own Persocom is indeed a time of happiness – that is until he discovers that there is something very, very wrong with this one. Unable to speak, ‘Chi’ being the only thing coming out of this adorable little android, Chi (as she is now named) is in need of some serious teaching and unfortunately for her the good-hearted (but very hot-blooded) Hideki is the boy to do it.

Volume 1 of this adorable little developing comedic love story introduces us to the main characters of Hideki and Chi and establishes the baseline on which the rest of the manga is to follow. The central intrigue surrounding the story is of course who is Chi, why was she abandoned and why is she seemingly so powerful? Built on this are a number of observations of love and the nature of it and then on top of that gets thrown all manner of comedy as the naïve but rather perverted Hideki gets to try and teach Chi about the world and daily living.

Chobits is legendary mangaka group CLAMP’s first attempt at a seinan story, in other words a story which is aimed at men aged between 18 and 30. As with all their writing, Chobits is intelligently written with loads of humour, both physical and inferred, more than enough intrigue and dramatic elements and a heavy dab of developing romance. There is also quite a few ecchi moments tossed in as well, some fairly unfamiliar territory for a group that made a name for themselves with younger girls’ titles like Cardcaptor Sakura and Angelic Layer.

Visually, Chobits drips detail and the character models are simply gorgeously rendered. Every single character that appears on the pages are brought to life with expert line work and makes Chobits one of the better looking titles out there. There is loads of background detail as well for a change and it is nice to see CLAMP drawing without falling back on their trademark elongated human proportions. And of course, their brilliant ability to capture the more humorous moments with great caricatures and exaggerated artwork simply adds to the fun!

Chobits volume 1 is a great start to an interesting, compelling and deep storyline that keeps you entertained with plenty of humour, both ecchi and normal, but at the same time keeps the mystery and intrigue flowing – all the while making social commentary left, right and center too! And to top it all off, there is even a hint of a romance to keep you on your toes!

All in all Chobits is a great read and a good laugh, and is highly recommended to anyone who wants to jump on CLAMP’s more mature works bandwagon.

Especially males that is.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.