Genre: Romantic Comedy/Sci-Fi
Length: 8 Volumes
Allegiance: Kodansha
Mangaka: CLAMP
Vintage: 2002
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kitsune
Chobits takes place in world where humans and humanoid computers called persocoms live in harmony. Cram school student Hikdeki Motosuwa is broken-hearted because he lacks the money to buy a persocom of his own, but miraculously, he stumbles across a one lying in an alley with some trash! Finders keepers; who wouldn’t take it? Upon powering it on, he realizes that the persocom’s memory has been completely wiped. All she can even say is “Chi,” so that’s what Hideki begins to call her. He is about as experienced with persocoms as she is with the world, but nevertheless, Hideki finds himself teaching Chi about everything that you can possibly think of; even how to speak! As Chi regains her memory and adapts to life with Hideki, she acts surprisingly human-even more so than other persocoms. Hideki begins to question if she has real emotions–could she be a legendary Chobit? Is it possible for a human and a computer to share true love?

Research Agent Report by: Kitsune 
Plot
Characters
Impact
Visual
8.50
10.00
9.50
10.00
Overall 9.00
(not an average)
Chobits is CLAMP’s biggest hit in America to date. Quite ironically, it has gained a broader audience in the country due to many potential readers thinking that it is a shoujo manga. They are mistaken; Chobits is a seinen manga (one directed at adult readers). Nevertheless, l was still able to thoroughly enjoy the manga, for even with its racier scenes it never gets too graphic and is ultimately a great story.

The beginning of the manga, in which Hideki is primarily teaching Chi basic concepts of the world, is a little dull, has its humorous moments. Fortunately, it picks up rather quickly. The mystery of the legendary Chobits becomes very absorbing after several chapters–as a true sci-fi fan, I was very intrigued by the thought of an extremely human-like robot that the Chobits represented. Bits of the mystery slowly being revealed here and there, along with the twists that kept me on my toes kept the plot flowing nicely. In addition, there were good uses of symbolism to eventually tie characters and their subplots together, such as the mysterious photographs Hideki receives that appear to be of Chi.

Many of the characters in Chobits are memorable from the start, such as the childish Chi and the upbeat Sumomo. Other characters may seem average at a first glance, but this makes it all the more surprising as several individuals slowly reveal their engrossing pasts. Kokubunji, the young persocom expert, grasps one’s attention early on when he warns Hideki not to fall in love with his persocom. However, as the story progresses he is revealed to be astonishingly deep for his age. Even the seemingly simple baker actually has a very meaningful past that is important to the main storyline. And of course, Chitose Hibiya turns out to be much more than a simple landlady as well. Her past is by far the one that is most thickly veiled in mystery, sparking one’s curiosity immensely. Dita and Zima are very coolly portrayed, and are admirable antagonists with a noteworthy purpose of their own. Being high-tech persocoms themselves, they fit the sci-fi scene perfectly. My favorite character in the series is Kotoko, who is extremely adorable! Her serious and blunt personality acts as an appropriate foil for Sumomo and Chi’s energy-drives ones. Ultimately, the characters of Chobits are very well designed and portrayed. Their personalities and stories are very realistic and easy to relate to. I found them to be extremely lovable and commendable.

The major point of Chobits is a deep one. Thoughts of falling in love with an object and of what really make a person alive aren’t ones that most people ponder on much. Because it’s not something that comes up often, I found the message of Chobits to be a great food for thought. Falling in love with an object does sound quite odd, but doesn’t it happen every day? After all, plenty of people abandon their families – abandon people – for objects like alcohol, drugs, and so many other things. I could really relate the message of Chobits to that sad fact. However, the story mostly made me think of the nature of the living. When a person is born, they are immediately able to feel at least the most basic of emotions. When a computer or an object is created, they do not. Even if emotions were somehow able to be programmed in, would it really be feeling if it’s controlled from a greater force? If we humans were created by a greater power as many believe we are, then are we really alive? Likely so, for we are granted a free will. There’s a primitive connection to other humans that lives in each of us. But with objects, I think not. But I digress though I’ve really only skimmed the surface of the questions that Chobits can bring to light. Just dig in a little and it will give you a lot to consider for your own.

The artwork of Chobits takes my breath away – I think that the artwork contained in the series is some of CLAMP’s best. I purchased the two omnibus volumes of the series, which contains roughly 100 extra pages of colored work. It is some of the most beautiful colored manga that I have ever laid eyes on, and definitely the most elegant. Many of the poses drawn in the manga are some of the hardest to convey, and they do so with grace. I was thrilled that I could see such pose-work drawn in the series, for most manga-ka don’t even attempt to accomplish such extensive poses because it’s so time consuming. There are so many two-page shots in the series as well, which are also very time consuming, but their beauty is worth every bit of the effort. The characters are also perfectly drawn to suit their personalities. Needless to say, I am highly impressed with the artwork of Chobits.

Although Chobits may not be the shoujo manga it was marketed as, the series deserves its acclaim. The plot is evoking, and the characters are excellently designed and really come to life. The points of the story are a little different than the norm, but they are very insightful and worthwhile. The artwork is too much of a feast for the eye for anyone to turn down. CLAMP’s Chobits is one of the top manga series on my list, so I would highly encourage anyone to read it.