Judge David Gutierrez doesn't like robots dressed as French maids. Weirdo.
Domo arigato, Miss Roboto.
I'm beginning to see an abundance of Japanese anime involving the construction of female robots and the robot's attempts to socialize and become "human."
Facts of the Case
No matter what kind of a woman a man dates, robot or organic, it will never be easy. Never. Why? Because even though she's a robot she's still a woman and he still has to understand where she comes from and who she is. Normally, this is a difficult enough task. Throw in the fact that the robot girl is an amnesiac, and you have the world of Chobits.
One thing I always hated watching on television was the "clip show." They always struck me as lazy and left me feeling cheated out of new material and angry. Chobits: Chatroom (Volume 7) has a similar presentation. Framed by conversations or letter writing, characters recall and discuss the events surrounding the courtship of Chi and Hideki. Eventually, I pieced together that Chi may or may not be a Chobit—a Persocom (i.e. android) capable of independent thought and feeling…and an urban legend. Hideki finds Chi in the garbage, turns her on (see how he powers her up and all is explained), and brings her home with him. Hideki's neighbor, Hiro "Shinbo" Mushimbo, and his miniature Persocom, Sumomo, attempts to rebuild Chi's memory and help her rediscover herself, while Hideki finds himself falling for his robot.
The disc contains three episodes. Beware, as spoilers follow below.
Chapter 9.5: "Shinbo and Sumomo Chat"
Chapter 18.5: "Minoru and Yuzuki Chat"
Chapter 24.5: "Hibiya and Kotoko Chat"
Despite how odd I think this whole world of robot companions is, I liked the characters and I wanted to know more about what was going on. Is robot lovin' okay? Not for me to decide. As is the case with all romantic stories, it's never really the destination, it's the journey. I wanted to be in on this journey, but I feel like I just arrived too late.
I was thrown off by the episode numbering. Does the .5 in each title indicate where the episodes should go? I reckon that's how it works here, but if that's the case, why even watch this DVD if everything's already said and done?
The voice acting was average. I got tired of hearing a high-pitched "Chi" all the time in both Japanese and English. Japanese voice acting on these things always gets to me.
One thing I noticed is Chobits has a strange sexuality to it. Yes, it's odd that a guy wants to get it on with an intelligent microwave, but there are just a couple of things I found to be a tad bit more disturbing:
• Robot French maids.
Despite the interesting story, I'm at times left a little weirded out by this fascination in robot anime with building a potential mate. Are relations with real humans really that bad?
I liked the plastic case packing and interior cover art. Geneon even throws in a two-sided insert featuring character art. I found it oddly inviting and, if it's not too weird, charming. It made me want to buy it a cup of coffee.
This DVD had a beautiful transfer. Every color and image looked perfect. I noticed no problems here. Geneon did a wonderful visual job and should pat themselves on the back.
I watched this in both Japanese and English, and the audio sounded fine.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
The story is engrossing and charming and probably best viewed in its entirety and not in a collapsed, compressed format.
A testament to the strength of the overall story, despite the broken fashion in which it was presented, I was interested enough in what I saw here to want to see it all. Despite the annoying voices and uncomfortable sexuality, Chobits deserves better.
Chobits: Chatroom (Volume 7) is free to go. Geneon, however, is guilty of producing a redundant and unnecessary DVD and is sentenced to solitary confinement with no hope of parole. Don't bother appealing this one, Geneon.
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