Country boy Hideki has a lot on his mind. Despite studying hard to get into college and working all hours at his part time job he is still worried about his upcoming exams and is desperately short of cash. On top of that Chi, the human-looking computer or “persocom’ that he had found dumped on a rubbish heap, continues to behave strangely and place even more strain on both his patience and finances.
The next four episodes of CLAMP’s manga adaptation begin with Hideki’s Love Hina-esque frantic studying which leads him to a bookstore in search of a textbook. Instead, he buys a book called “The City with no People’ for Chi, which has a strange and profound effect on her. This interesting and cryptic book adds to a deeper and more serious theme of the series that was only hinted at in earlier episodes and will no doubt have greater significance later on in the series. Apparently concerned with her master’s financial situation, Chi searches for a job of her own. Not surprisingly her naivety gets her into trouble and results in perhaps the most risqué and “adult’ scene of the series to date. This too has a strange effect on Chi and without including too many spoilers it suggests that she is a very unusual persocom indeed.
Now that the setting and major characters have been introduced, the character development is given more thought although there seems to be more emphasis on posing new questions than answering existing ones. While it slows the pace of the plot a little this will undoubtedly build up to even more interesting events in later episodes. There is certainly more focus on relationships, particularly those centred on Hideki himself. The mutual concern that he shares with Chi is very moving, and even though it often leads to problems it also gives the most heart-warming scenes. There is still some comedy in evidence, although it consists mostly of Chi’s copying of Hideki’s mannerisms and his recurring habit of thinking out loud; the balance between comedy, romance and drama is a little more even this time around.
The animation quality is still of a very high standard and maintains both the artwork and content of the original manga story. Again the DVD extras are limited to a credit-free closing animation sequence, a suitably cute picture gallery and a couple of MVM trailers, accessible through the well-designed, computer screen-themed menu.
The next four episodes of Chobits continue to add to the mystery surrounding Chi and show the developing friendship between her and Hideki very well. The impact of persocoms on daily life and the effects on those around them is explored a little more fully and the overall atmosphere has begun to shift from comedy to romance and drama, without being too dark at this early stage in the series.