Chobits Volume 5

Chobits reaches its penultimate instalment as Chi is kidnapped by person or persons unknown. Could this be somehow connected to the speculation that she may be a member of the Chobits series? Meanwhile Hideki and Minoru delve deeper into the urban legends surrounding persocoms to uncover the truth about her past.

For a series that was by and large pretty fluffy and saccharine, Chobits is now a much deeper and darker affair with some profound social and emotional questions. There is the recurring theme of the Chobits series, which makes ties one of the main characters into what appears to be a large conspiracy, and a number of others are found to be connected to one another in ways that were not apparent before. For instance Ueda, the owner of the bakery where Chi works, has a tale of his own to tell and it appears that he and Hideki’s colleague Yumi know each other from earlier times.

Ueda’s recollections add more to another recurring theme that runs through the series: the impact of persocoms on society at a personal and emotional level. His story is really quite heart-rending and heightens the dark undercurrents that have begun to surface during recent episodes. The exact nature of his relationship with Yumi (not to mention her own bad experiences with persocoms in the past) is by no means clear, and will no doubt promise some interesting revelations as the series draws to a close.

All of this adds up to a series that has a lot of heavier drama and less of the light fan service-based humour that was present in the earlier volumes. The character designs and artwork are still of the “cute’ style that CLAMP fans are familiar with but this is offset by a story that is exploring some very deep and serious themes concerning the role of technology and its effects on human feelings and emotions, paying particular attention to Hideki, Chi and those around them.

If you have been watching Chobits for the comedy and high school antics you might be a little disappointed with the definite lack of laughs to be had here: while the revelations concerning the cast do not exactly come thick and fast the emphasis is very much on moving the story along and explaining a little more. The contrast between the bright look and feel of the show and its much more serious central themes is something of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing’ approach which would have been a little jarring had the change in tone been less gradual. As it is, Chobits has made a slow but steady transition from high school rom-com to tackling issues usually tackled by the most philosophical science fiction shows, while maintaining its palatable appearances.

In Summary

This section of the series eases up on the light and bright comedy about trivial everyday events to push the story forward into darker territory. We learn more about the world of persocoms in general, as well as some significant details about the cast members and how they all fit into the bigger picture. There are still a lot of things that are still unclear but all of this is enough to make it the most intriguing instalment yet.

8 / 10