If you've been coming to DVDTalk and checking out anime reviews, you've undoubtedly come across me glowing about a manga-ka group known as CLAMP. Their projects, such as Tsubasa and xxxHolic have proven to be highly entertaining, but those are just their modern works. An older show such as Chobits really highlights the quality of the CLAMP craft.
Chobits is a 24 episode series from 2002 and was produced by Madhouse. Based on a manga of the same name by CLAMP the series takes place in present day Japan, though there's something of a twist. Powerful and convenient android computers known as Persocoms populate the metropolis. These devices are loaded with programs that assist humans in their daily living. From internet to phone calls, note taking, and even household chores, the Persocoms are an integral part of society. They also happen to be pretty darn cute.
Primarily the show focuses on Hideki Motosuwa, who is the son of a farmer who dreams of attending college. Initially he is refused entrance into his school of choice, so he determines that a prep school will help him achieve his goal. Thus he takes all his savings and moves to Tokyo in order to pursue his dream. It's there that he first sees the Persocoms in person and even has the fortune of finding an apartment with an attractive manager. His luck improves as he stumbles upon a Persocom that had been thrown out on the side of the road.
After taking the Persocom back to his place, Hideki boots her up only to discover that she's flawed in a way. The only thing she can say is "chi" and she just doesn't seem all that bright. Then again she's only operating on the base program and doesn't have her functional operating system installed. This doesn't really faze Hideki, however, and he looks into the fact that Chi, as he so aptly names her, is a custom built machine that could possibly be one of the rumored Chobits series.
The Chobits are a special and rare line of Persocoms that are technologically superior to all others on the market. Chobits possess the ability to think and act freely, which is definitely a trait beyond the programming of its sisters. As the series progresses we learn that Chobits can develop feelings and choose to love. If you think that sets up a romance between Hideki and Chi then, well...consider yourself excellent at the art of deducing the obvious.
While much of the show revolves around Hideki's perverse behavior and constant desire for pornography. There's also the Chi learning things angle. Nestled in between are moments where Hideki becomes attracted to Chi and starts to like her, and the same happens on Chi's end as well. Eventually there's some history for her character thrown in and more of the Chobits series of Persocoms is revealed, but at the core of everything is the relationship that develops between the protagonists. It's charming, funny, and cute from start to finish.
Chobits is one of those shows that sticks with you when you finish watching it. The series has a lot of heart and that speaks to the quality of CLAMP's original work and character creation. This show had been in Geneon's hands for the longest time until they bit the dust. Now that it's in FUNimation's hands this release is a perfect chance for a new audience to discover a great modern classic. Highly Recommended
Chobits is presented on both DVD and Blu-ray. This Blu-ray disc is presented with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and receives a 1080i output with AVC encoding. Considering the series is originally from 2002 it should be no surprise that the transfer here is pulled from a standard definition remaster. As a result the picture quality isn't as perfect as could be and there's some degradation of the quality. While clean for the most part, there's some line noise, haloing, and softness in both color and lines. The quality is still good, and presumably it's better in a sense than Geneon's DVDs (I don't have them available for reference), but it's not as sharp looking as more modern shows or intended high definition anime.
For sound quality the original English and Japanese dub tracks are presented here with Dolby TrueHD 2.0 output. The quality of the material suits the style of show well enough, though don't expect this release to put your home theater to the test. It's a very subtle series with a quiet soundtrack. Directionality is non-existent and for the most part the show sounds flat.
For bonus features there are trailers and clean animations. This release also includes three summary episodes (9.5, 18.5, and 24.5) along with previews for 9.5 and 18.5. There is also a Chibits special, which is basically a little piece that focuses on the mini Chobits in the series.
Chobits is a blast from start to finish. It's a show with a lot of heart and it's packed with personality. There are inappropriate jokes aplenty, spot on comedic timing, and there's something about the show that will keep you watching again and again. If you haven't seen the show before then you should definitely consider this Blu-ray collection highly recommended. Even if you have the prior Geneon release, you may want to pick this set up for the up-conversion in the picture quality. It's a solid release from FUNimation's Anime Classics line and it shouldn't go unnoticed.