Chobits, The Complete Series (Anime Classics) – Blu-ray Review

Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $54.98 US
Running Time: 600 minutes
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Rating: TV 14
Release Date: Available Now

If an android can fall in love would love between a human and a machine truly work?

CLAMP certainly has quite a following among manga and anime fans and with very good reason since they are the creative force behind fan favorites like Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, X and xxxHolic. Among these titles is a series about an awkward young man and a beautiful human-like computer learning about life and love. While these classic anime series has been released before, The Complete Series of Chobits definitely is something else altogether on Blu-ray and thus making this a Must Buy collection.

Covering all 24 episodes plus the Chobits Special, this Blu-ray release is part of FUNimation’s Anime Classics collection and yes the series looks even more spectacular in HD. This is a good thing because the series not only sports beautiful animation that looks just as good as the manga version but because the story will quickly remind you why you’re a CLAMP fan in the first place.

You see, the story introduces us to Hideki Motosuma, a young farm boy who just doesn’t have the grades to get into his favorite university in Tokyo so he decides to head to the big city to attend college prep classes. He’s funny kind of guy who thinks aloud, gets easily emotional and has no idea of how to use a Persocom, which is an android-like computer that looks and talks just like a human. Of course, he couldn’t afford one even if he wanted to but all that changes one evening when he finds an attractive Persocom left out in the trash.

He takes it home and activates it only to find that all this cutie can say is “Chi,” which is what he names her. With the aid of his next door neighbor named Shinbo, his lovely and kind landlady named Miss Hibiya and a Persocom expert named Minoru, Hideki begins teaching Chi how to talk and act. The young man is immediately smitten by Chi who might be a machine but somehow seems to have a kind and noble heart that makes her more endearing to Hideki with each passing day.

Living happily with Chi, Hideki begins to discover that everyone around him in the big city seems to be too attached to their Persocom and he even meets people like the cute and busty Yumi and his teacher named Miss Shimizu who wonders if being with a Persocom is better than being with a human. After all, they’re cute and seemingly perfect. However, there’s clearly something different about Chi and it is Minoru who suggests that she might be one of the “Chobits” – a Persocom who possesses human feelings. Of course, that’s just an urban legend … or is it?

It is Hideki that begins realizing that the legend might actually be true after Chi unleashes a most unusual power that affects all Persocoms around her. Slowly, the mystery of the Chobits begins to unravel as Hideki and his friends discover the truth behind Chi. Meanwhile, Hideki and Chi become part in other people’s lives such as Shinbo and his relationship with their teacher or Yumi’s problems with Persocoms. When Chi goes to work in a bakery, the owner of said bakery even tells Hideki about his past history with a Persocom.

The more they live together, the more Hideki begins to wonder what his true feelings might be when it comes to Chi while Chi herself wonders if she would ever find the one who was meant to be with her. Could a machine really learn how to love? Could a human really fall in love with somebody who isn’t even human? These are questions that will lead up to a most riveting finale as both Hideki and Chi must reveal what they really feel for each another.

A genuinely funny and very sweet story that is actually meaningful, Chobits handles everything – even fan service – with an amusing and heartfelt sentimentality that makes us fall in love with the characters. Even the antics of Sumomo and Kotoko (who are smaller-sized Persocoms) are so damn cute and amusing that you can’t help but love them. Even the finale is so touching and beautiful that most romance-comedy anime series rarely have the same emotional impact.

It’s also great to see the Chobits Special includes in this three-disc collection, which is actually very funny since the chemistry between Sumomo and Kotoko makes for a great comedy. I even loved the filler episodes within the series that has Chi try her hand at cooking (with emphasis on the “try”), Hideki and the others going to the beach, a ghost story and Hideki trying out an online role-playing game.

The Complete Series of Chobits is an endearing, beautiful and bold series that deserves the right to be called a classic. It’s an imaginative story that is told perfectly to the point that you don’t even have to be a fan of the romance-comedy genre to fully appreciate. In other words, you will fall in love with Chobits from the very beginning and even more so thanks to this release.

BLU-RAY REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A+
Farm boy Hideki comes to Tokyo to attend prep school and, although he doesn’t have money to buy an expensive humanoid computer called a Persocom, he finds a really cute sitting outside a dumpster. She is Chi and once activated she becomes a big part of Hideki’s life as he and those closest to him try to unravel the mystery behind the rumor of the “chobits” as Chi proves to be even more special than any of them could possibly imagine.

VIDEO QUALITY: A
The series looks amazing on Blu-ray and that’s a very good thing seeing as the animation did justice to CLAMP’s original work. You just have to watch this series in high-definition.

AUDIO QUALITY: A
The original Japanese voice actors are excellent but there’s something about Crispin Freeman that makes his Hideki sound just the way we imagined him to sound like and Michelle Ruff as Chi is just perfect. The score is also beautiful and the opening theme song, “Let Me Be With You” is beyond cute. However, “NINGYO HIME” (MERMAID) by Rei Tanaka is simply breathtaking.

EXTRAS: A-
Aside from the fact that the series is on Blu-ray, the third disc comes with a number of extras that include FUNimation trailers, textless opening and closing songs and two extra episode previews that were omitted from the original release. Thank you, FUNimation, for also including the Chobits Special episode with Sumomo and Kotoko trying to find Chi out in the street. It’s a hilarious extra episode.

Then there’s the three special features that come in the form of “chats” between characters like Shinbo and Sumomo or Minoru and Yuzuki that have the character recap specific scenes concerning Chi or Hideki. The best one is the Hibiya and Kotoko Chat with a sweeter epilogue to the main story.

OVERALL: A+
Chobits is that timeless anime classic that not only speaks volumes about the human heart but also has us questioning the very definition of the word love. That’s when you know you’ve stumbled on a series that is meaningful enough to fall in love with so if you missed this one the first time around you really should pick this one up right away.

Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment

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