It seems that things are finally looking up for hapless cram student Hideki. Financial problems aside, he has a part time job, his out-of-the-ordinary persocom Chi is becoming more independent by the day and his friend Yumi has asked him out on his first date. Meanwhile, Chi uses her first part time wage to buy another “City with No People’ picture book that appears to lead her towards communicating with her “other self’. Who is this “other me’ and what does she have to say about Chi’s life?
As the series reaches its midway point there is still a good balance between the light romantic comedy aspects and the darker themes that lie just beneath the surface. Hideki’s naivety of all things persocom-related is shown to full effect when he takes Chi to the bath house for her routine cleaning, and in another episode accompanies her in an online computer game with his friends, at which point Chi seems to have become separated from the rest of the group. In these episodes we learn a little more about persocoms and the problems associated with them as well as the ways in which they have made everyday life more convenient, as well as building on the mystery that still surrounds Chi herself.
The episode in which Hideki goes on a date with Yumi includes in a chance meeting with Minoru which explains more about some of the supporting characters as well. Yumi is clearly impressed with Hideki’s concern for his persocom, but is also relieved that he acknowledges the fact that they are separate from humans. We learn a little more about Minoru as well, which is a definite plus point: even though he is merely a child, his intelligence and solemn demeanour makes him appear old beyond his years and makes his character all the more interesting.
The only disappointing parts to this disc are a couple of pretty formulaic filler episodes. There is “Chi Confirms’, featuring the over-used “haunted house’ theme which is amusing enough but leaves Hideki seeming like a wimpy child; and the final episode, “Chi Goes to the Ocean’, in which the whole main cast pay a summer visit to the beach. In the same way that the short holiday is a welcome break from Hideki’s and Shimbo’s studies, the episode itself is nothing more than an entertaining diversion that doesn’t really add anything to the main storyline.
The sequence of events in the series is a little different to that of the manga so those familiar with the original story are unlikely to be bored, although things aren’t moving quite as quickly. As always, Madhouse has done the characters and artwork justice, making it just as humorous and heart-warming. The extras are the same as before, but there is the generous inclusion of five complete episodes (on the review copy at least).
The explanations and revelations are not being revealed as early on as in the manga version, but the quality of the material here easily makes up for this. With the exception of a couple of filler episodes, the third volume of Chobits maintains the quality of the previous two and makes for an enjoyable and charming experience. There are still enough unexplained events to keep the viewer’s interest though, avoiding the slowdown in pace that occasionally occurs at this stage in a series.