Chobits: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)
May 30, 2011 by Dennis Amith
Highly entertaining, perverted and all-out fun! Possibly one of the most accessible CLAMP anime series, “Chobits” is a welcome addition to FUNimation Entertainment’s “Anime Classics” line on blu-ray. Featuring all 24-episodes, plus three recap episodes and OAV, if you are a big fan of “Chobits”, this Blu-ray release is a worthy upgrade from the original DVD release.
Image courtesy of © CLAMP-KODANSHA/”Chobits” PARTNERSHIP. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Chobits: The Complete Series
DURATION: 24 Episodes (600 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080i High Definition (16×9 SD Remaster), Dolby TrueHD Japanese and English 2.0, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Clamp/FUNimation Entertainment
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Original Manga by Clamp
Directed by Morio Asaka
Script by Akiko Horii, Genjiro Kaneko, Jukki Hanada, Nanase Ohkawa, Sumio Uetake, Tomoyasu Okubo, Tsuyoshi Tamai
Music by Dan Miyakawa, Katsutoshi Kitagawa, Keitaro Takanami
Character Design by Hisashi Abe
Art Direction by: Chikako Shibata
Anime Production: Madhouse Studios
Featuring the following voice talent:
Rie Tanaka/Michelle Ruff as Chii
Tomokazu Sugita/Crispin Freeman as Hideki Motosuwa
Fumiko Orikasa/Karen Strassman as Yuzuki
Houko Kuwashima/Mona Marshall as Minoru Kokubunji
Isshin Chiba/Ron Allen as Jima
Junichi Suwabe/Terrence Stone as Yoshiyuki Kojima
Kikuko Inoue/Ellen Wilkinson as Chitose Hibiya
Megumi Toyoguchi/Julie Maddalena as Yumi Omura
Motoko Kumai/Sandy Fox as Sumomo
Ryoka Yuzuki/Wendee Lee as Takako Shimizu
Tomokazu Seki/Tony Oliver as Hiromu Shinbo
Yuji Ueda/David Lucas as Hiroyasu Ueda
Yuka Tokumitsu/Midge Mayes as Dita
Yukana Nogami/Kaye Jensen as Kotoko
Tokyo is abuzz with persocoms – humanoid computers that are virtually perfect. The socially and technologically inept Hideki is dying to get his hands on one. When he finds Chi abandoned in the trash, she’s cuter than any current model he’s ever seen, but when he gets her home and turns her on, she has no data and only a single learning program installed. While Hideki puts his whole heart into teaching Chi the ins and outs of humanity, a mystery unfolds as a dark secret within her awakens.
Typically, when you think of CLAMP, the all-female Japanese manga artist group (consisting of Nanase Ohakwa, Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi and Satsuki Igarashi), you think of anime series such as “X”, “RG Veda”, “Tokyo Babylon”, “Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle”, “Magic Knight Rayearth” and “xxxHolic”.
Often, darker or action-driven popular manga and anime series. But the group has shown their flair of taking on series that surprise you because they are different from their usual norm such as “Angelic Layer”, “Cardcaptor Sakura” and their popular 2002 series “Chobits”.
“Chobits” was no doubt a series that was well-loved by CLAMP fans worldwide. The manga series was first published by Kodansha in Young Magazine from February 2001 to November 2002 and then later received its anime adaptation in 2002 with a 26-episode TV series.
The series which branched off into video games and other merchandise won many fans including inspiring many cosplayers who were fans of the character Chi.
While the series was released by Geneon in seven volumes on DVD, the complete collection has now been released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment in May 2011.
“Chobits” is directed by Morio Asaka (“Cardcaptor Sakura”, “Galaxy Angel”, “Gunslinger Girl”), character designs by Hisashi Abe (“Gunslinger Girl”, “Offside”, “Sorcerer on the Rocks”) and art direction by Chikako Shibata (“Bakuman”, “Azumanga Daioh”, “Gunparade March”, “Durarara!!”). Anime production is by Madhouse Studios.
“Chobits: The Complete Series” revolves around the character of Hideki Motusawa, a young man who works at his family’s farm in Hokkaidou (northern Japan) who has been trying to get into a university but has gotten rejected. His dream is to be in Tokyo, so he decides to live in Tokyo to take a prep school in order to get into a university.
But in his first day in the city, he notices how things are much different than in the country, the biggest difference is that people in the city use persocom’s. Human-like beings that are personal computers that can go on the Internet and do whatever you want as long as you purchase the software.
But for Hideki, living in Tokyo and going to prep school, the price of a persocom is way more than he can afford.
For now, he needs to focus on his school but being a young man, Hideki is also a perverted individual that he thinks about sex and sometimes learns that he talks to himself out loud (which is not a good thing, especially with the perverted things that wander in his mind). Fortunately, he has made good friends such as Ms. Hibiya, the manager of the place he is staying and also a fellow prep school student named Hiromu Shinbo, who has a mobile persocom named Sumomo.
But one day, after walking home, he sees a persocom thrown in the garbage. Figuring that he would help out the environment by taking someone’s trash and putting it to good use, Hideki carries the heavy persocom, but unbeknown to the student, the operating system disc has fallen out and to make things even more difficult for Hideki, he knows nothing about technology.
So, as he tries to figure out how to turn on his persocom. And trying to figure out how to turn it on, he realizes that her switch is between her legs and eventually is able to turn on the persocom. But with a lack of technological and computer know-how, Hideki is unsure why the perscom keeps on saying “Chi!” but he takes it as it being her name.
When Shinbo brings Sumomo to check on Hideki’s persocom by connecting to each other, Sumomo is fried. How a persocom can turn on and react to situations without a operating system is a surprise, so Shinbo recommends Hideki to see an intelligent young man who builds custom perscom, his name is Minoru Kokubunji.
When Minoru tries to connect three of his perscom to Chi, they are also fried. But fortunately one of his custom’s barely was able to analyze Chi and to find out that her data is protected. Minoru theorizes that Chi may be a legendary perscom known as a “Chobits”. A specialized perscom that can run without software but it’s only a theory based on rumors. No one knows of any real Chobits. But Minoru does notice that Chi does learn and perhaps Hideki can teach her things and also gives him advice to not fall for his persocom.
Meanwhile, Hideki does all he can to take care of Chi, from teaching her how to speak, how to shop, how to bathe, thanks to the help of his friends and the Shinbo’s perscom Sumomo, Chi will be learning in no time. But he also learns that unlike other persocom, Chi requires a lot of energy to recharge and because she requires so much power to maintain, Hideki must take a part-time job to help pay for the wattage and also to take care of Chi.
But one day when Hideki takes her to a book store, she finds a book that interests her. A book about what happens when a persocom falls in love with its owner and once she does, she will cease to survive.
As Hideki and Chi’s start to care for one another, Hideki knows that falling for Chi is something he has been warned about by Minoru. But what happens when he cares for her deeply and wants to protect her.
Can a human and a persocom fall in love?
The main characters of “Chobits” are:
- Hideki Motosuwa – A 19-year-old who is a ronin and trying to get into a university in Tokyo. He decides to move from his parents farm in Hokkaido to study at a Seki cram school. Life for Hideki changes when he finds himself a persocom. A perverted guy, a bit naive but with a heart of gold.
- Chi – A Chobit, a legendary persocom who is not ran by operating software to learn things. She is taught by Hideki to understand the world through his eyes and cares deeply for Hideki.
- Chitose Hibiya (Ms. Hibya) – The landlady of where Hideki is living. She has a mysterious past that has a connection to CLAMP’s other anime series “Angelic Layer”.
- Hiromu Shinbo – Hideki’s neighbor and fellow student at the same cram school. Shinbo helps Hideki understand Tokyo but also what a persocom does and its functions. Through the help of his mobile persocom named Sumomo, they both help Hideki.
- Sumomo – Shinbo’s mobile persocom who helps Chi. A miniature genie like persocom who is very cute, she later is given to Hideki.
- Minoru Kokubunji – A wealthy 12-year-old genius who builds his own persocom. Very protective of his custom persocom Yuzuki. He also helps Hideki in trying to find clues of Chi’s true origin. Note: Minoru’s late sister is also a tie-in to CLAMP’s “Angelic Layer” series.
- Takako Shimizu (Ms. Shimizu) – Hideki and Shinbo’s cram school teacher. She plays an important role in Shinbo’s storyline.
- Yumi Omura – A 17-year-old girl who’s father owns a Japanese pub, where Hideki works at. She has an inferiority complex towards persocom.
- Hiroyasu Ueda – The owner of a bakery known as Chiroru where Chi works at. He plays a role in Yumi Omura’s storyline.
“Chobits: The Complete Series” is presented in 1080i High Definition (16×9 SD remaster). It is important to note that this series is from 2002 and while we have seen a classic anime from “FUNimation Entertainment” such as “Yu Yu Hakusho” look vibrant and colorful in HD, “Chobits” is similar to other older TV series in the fact that the colors are not as vibrant in HD and it is an upconvert. While the picture quality does look clean in some ways, the colors are not as pronounced or vibrant.
While I didn’t notice any banding or major artifacting, I will say that this older anime TV series definitely looks much better than other series that have appeared on Blu-ray from FUNimation Entertainment.
I didn’t notice any discolorations or any dust/scratches or any major blemishes but you can tell it is an older anime series from its visual presentation as it doesn’t have the colors, sharpness as a newer anime series but still, because of its upconvert fans of the anime series may want to consider upgrading their copy from DVD to Blu-ray. Otherwise, if you are only interested in HD-native anime series, “Chobits” may not be to your liking.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Chobits: The Complete Series” is presented in English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD. 2.0. The first time I was exposed to “Chobits” was in Japanese and have watched the series previously in Japanese, which the voice acting is well-done. But watching the English dub version, I actually felt that the English dubbing was able to bring out the pervertedness of Hideki much more effectively. Also, the voice acting in English for Chi was well-done, actually the entire English dubbing for the series was good and whichever language you select, I’m quite sure that Japanese or English voice dub fans should be happy.
While a 2.0 soundtrack, definitely not an immersive soundtrack but the dialogue, music and effects are quite clear through the front channels. For a more immersive soundtrack, if you have a modern receiver, selecting stereo on all channels was my preference.
Subtitles are in English.
“Chobits: The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:
- Shinbo & Sumomo Chat – (23:52) The episode is consider episode 8.5 (a recap episode). In this episode, Sumomo is low on space and Shinbo must decide what content to erase and thus recalling certain events in the series.
- Preview – (:41) The preview for episode 9.
- Minoru & Yuzuki Chat – (23:52) Considered to be episode 16.5 (a recap episode). Minoru and Yuzuki try to look into who Chi may really be and who is the creator of the Chobits. And both talk about when they first met Chi.
- Preview – (:41) A preview for episode 17.
- Hibiya & Kotoko Chat – (23:53) Considered to be episode 24.5 (a recap episode). A recap of all episodes which will lead to the final episode. This one features Hibiya and Kotoko.
- Chibits Special – (5:59) A short OAV in which Hibiki has forgotten his wallet and Chi must give it back to him. But Hibiya and Kotoko has realized Chi has forgotten her underwear.
- Textless Opening Song – Featuring the textless opening songs for the series.
- Textless Closing Song – Featuring the textless ending themes for the series.
- Trailers – Funimation Entertainment Trailers
“Chobits: The Complete Series” comes with a cardboard slipcase.
I can easily remember how popular “Chobits” was here in America.
Each time I went to a convention, you would see many Chi cosplayers, all you would hear about was Chi and when there were many anime magazines in the US at the time, Chobits would grace the front cover. This is a testament to the popularity of the anime series.
Personally for me, I actually found the concept of “Chobits” quite intriguing, especially today when you hear about hardcore Japanese otaku falling in love with their Nintendo DS “Love Plus” characters and even one man going as far to wed his virtual bride.
I suppose when I think about it, what I enjoyed about “Chobits” is that it did not have the banality of the usual anime series in terms of the concept but it does have the elements of struggling student, a student who is perverted and for a CLAMP series, “Chobits” was surprisingly perverted but instead of staying the same way episode-after-episode, you do get moments of drama and eventually you start to learn the backstory of the some of the characters.
But how the series was written and seeing Hideki and Chi evolve from the moment he found her to him actually really caring for her was fun. In fact, episode after episode, you can’t help but keep watching because the storyline, the characters were so enjoyable. CLAMP fans will definitely like the “Angelic Layer” tie-in to the series and for the most part, will enjoy the how each of the characters are also given character building storylines. So, if you are a fan of Shinbo, Ms. Hibiya, Ms. Shimizu, Yumi or Ueda-san, you will get to know more about their background as well.
As for the Blu-ray release, as mentioned, those who are purists to original HD native anime series may not like “Chobits” because it’s an older series that is not HD native. It’s 1080i and is an upconvert. But those who want an enjoyable series and love “Chobits” will no doubt enjoy this anime release as it its a major upgrade to the series.
Also, another positive to this Blu-ray release is that it comes with the three recap episodes plus the mini-OAV.
Although rated TV 14, there were situations like turning on Chi by putting one’s fingers between her legs to seeing Hideki being turned on when Chi splashes milky liquid (yogurt?) on her face. So, there are sexual themes in the series and definitely not the type of anime to watch around younger children.
Overall, “Chobits” is an enjoyable anime series and a welcomed addition to FUNimation Entertainment’s anime classics on Blu-ray. Also, giving fans a chance to own every episode on Blu-ray versus having to buy multiple volumes like in the past. It’s definitely a worthy upgrade if you were a fan of the series and owned it previously on DVD and for a CLAMP series, “Chobits” is definitely one of the more accessible series from them.
It is important to note that for those who had their first introduction to CLAMP via “Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle”, this is not the same type of series. While it does have sci-fi elements, this is not an action-adventure anime series. You can call it a lighthearted/perverted romantic comedy if you want. But I still recommend it as it is quite different from what has been offered on Blu-ray thus far here in the U.S.
Enjoyable, perverted but yet highly entertaining, “Chobits” is indeed an anime classic worth catching on Blu-ray!
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