|Original title: Chobittsu|
Characters: Chii, Hideki Motosuwa, Hiroshi Shinbo, Chitose Hibiya, Ichiro Mihara, Minoru Kokubunji, Yumi Oumura, Freya, Sumomo, Kotoko, Takako Shimizu
Regia: Morio Asaka
Year: 2002 mm
Broadcast in Italy: unpublished
Gender: Comedy / Science Fiction / Drama
Episodes: 26 mm
Duration: 24 minutes
Recommended age: Teenagers aged 13 to 19
Chobits (original title Chobittsu) is the anime based on the manga comic of the same name created by CLAMP (the authors of Cardcaptor Sakura) and published between 2001 and 2002 by the Kodansha publishing house. The Italian version was instead published for the first time by Star comics on Kappa Magazine; it was subsequently reissued in 8 volumes by the newspaper Express. The making of the anime was entrusted to the Madhouse studio for a total of 24 episodes and broadcast for the first time in Japan in April 2002, within the Animax television channel. An Italian version of the anime is not currently available.
The story revolves around Motosuwa Hideki, an eighteen year old who lives and works in the quiet countryside, cultivating the plan of moving to Tokyo to attend the University. However, this dream of his seems to be shattered when he, by letter, discovers that he has been rejected by the Faculty. After the initial discomfort, the young man decides to move to the big metropolis anyway to attend a preparatory school for rejected people (in Japanese ronin) and work to pay for his studies.
Arriving in Tokyo, Hideki first encounters a persocom (extraordinarily advanced humanoid robots), thanks to which everything seems to have become easier. But the most surprising thing is that these persocom look like real people and besides being useful in many things, they are also beautiful! So Hideki gets excited and would like one right away (if it weren't for the fact that a persocom is definitely expensive for its economic possibilities). And while the young man gets lost in these and other considerations about persocom, here he arrives at his destination: the Kabu Jougasaki residence, which is managed by the beautiful administrator
Chitose Hibiya; here he rents a room and meets his peer (and neighbor) Shimbo Hiromu. The latter has a good knowledge of computers and owns a portable persocom: sumomo (a concentrate of energy and dynamism). The very information Shimbo gives about the persocom intensifies Hideki's desire to have one and, coincidentally, luck seems to be on his side; in fact he finds a persocom with graceful feminine features abandoned in the rubbish. So Hideki decides to take him and take him to his accommodation and after a series of funny failures he manages to operate the robot, which however seems to be defective, because he can say nothing but 'Chii'. For this reason Hideki decides to call it just that. But despite not having activated any operating system, Chii manages to move.
That's why Hideki turns to a persocom expert: Minoru Kokubunji: a very rich kid who is a kind of tech genius.
It is he, in fact, who deduces that Chi can be a Chobits: a very special persocom who, according to some legends known on the internet, would have his own will and personality (therefore capable of feeling feelings and emotions). Finally, it turns out that Chii has fully functional learning software, thanks to which she can learn to speak and do many other things. But this only as long as Hideki is willing to teach her everything, from the simplest actions (like wearing a pair of panties, taking a bath, etc.) to the more complex ones (like knowing how to work and adapt to different life circumstances, take care themselves and be able to protect themselves from malicious people). But Minoru warns Hideki from falling in love with Chii - however cute and extraordinary - so as not to run the risk of suffering later.
This is because he too has a highly sophisticated personality,
yuzuki, built by himself to resemble his deceased sister in appearance and character, so as to fill the void. Despite everything, however, Yuzuki is not able to take the place of the latter in the heart of Minoru, he cannot erase the memory, also because his feelings towards the android are not the same as a brother feels towards a sister.
Meanwhile Hideki continues his everyday life: he teaches new things to his persocom, attends preparatory school with his friend Shimbo (also Ronin) and finds a part-time job at a diner. Here he meets Yumi (daughter of the restaurant owner), a nice and nice girl: between the two a beautiful friendship is made. But Hideki does not fail to note that behind the friend's always cheerful appearance, there is a deep sadness that thickens whenever we talk about a parsocom. This is because Yumi is in love with Hiroyasu Ueda (owner of the pastry shop where Chii works) and paid by him. But their love seems to be hampered by the fact that Hiroyasu has been married to a persocom in the past.
A similar fate belongs to the sweet and attractive teacher of the Takako Shimizu preparatory school. This, after being abandoned by her husband for a persocom, entertains a secret love affair with Shimbo; but her unhappiness is such as to make her almost lose faith in the love between real people.
In the thick of these amorous intertwining, Chii also makes great progress, acquiring awareness of her real feelings and her own destiny, which coincides with the pursuit of happiness. Happiness that can be achieved by finding "the one just for me": that unique and special person to love in an exclusive way and by whom to be paid. In fact Chii has been endowed with a particular protection that makes it impossible for her to have sexual relations, because this would imply the loss of her personality. So here is that the right person can only be the one willing to prefer spiritual love to physical love. But the only man for Chii '(the dear, unique and special person) is Hideki, who - despite his unbridled passion for Okazu (Japanese erotic magazines) which makes him seem a bit perverted - has never been with a girl, therefore considered by everyone as a good boy (in fact Hideki is always available to help his friends, offering them listening and solidarity).
It must be remembered that in Chii's journey towards her full spiritual maturity, an illustrated book for children, La città deserta, which is given to her by Hideki, has a certain relevance. It seems to speak of her, reminding her of a truth and a past that is decisive for her happiness. It is no coincidence that the text is written and illustrated by the administrator Hibiya, custodian of a mysterious past that directly involves Chii.
In the past Chii was called Elda and was created together with her sister Freya by Hibiya's husband - scientist and inventor of humanoid robots and for this reason considered the father of all persocom - to give her daughters; in fact she couldn't have any. The first Chobits to be built was Freya, only later Chii was also invented. Only that Freya's destiny - to be created to love - was unfortunately very sad: she fell in love with her father and, unable to bear the excruciating pain of an impossible love, she chose to disappear.
But before that happened Chii managed to transfer her sister's heart into herself to safeguard her. Thereby freya became his alter-ego: the unhappy side of Chii. For this reason the leaders of the powerful organization in which the scientist worked, fearing that the latter was also defective, opted to destroy it. Hibiya's husband did not allow this and in order to protect her he made fundamental changes on her. But as time passed he fell ill and died. Hibiya then out of fear that Chii might suffer as much as her sister Freya, decided to format her so that she could find someone to love on her own.
Indeed, his hopes are not disappointed: Chii finds Hideki. So that by staying close in everyday life, they both understand that their happiness lives in each other; and they will learn to love each other despite their fundamental diversity. But thanks to this mutual love Freya will finally be able to abandon Chii, leaving her free to follow her existential path. But that's not all, because at this point Chii can achieve the happiness of all persocom (and also of humans), by activating a special program. In this, however, she is hindered by the intervention of two particular persocom, Zima and Dita, in charge of destroying Chii, as it is considered dangerous for the survival of the persocom. But one of the two, Zima, has strong doubts about the goodness of their mission, so he manages to sidetrack his partner and leave Chii free. In fact, he too hopes in the happiness of the girl and through her in that of all persocom.
The Chobits anime, despite its characteristic freshness and comedy (very often based on allusive situations with an erotic background), addresses important issues, such as the diversity between computers and humans. To what extent can artificial intelligence be compared to human intelligence? A machine, however sophisticated, will ever be able to have a will of its own - and therefore feel feelings or emotions - that is not only the result of a complex algorithmic calculation? On the other hand, can we be sure that man is so different from a machine? That your intelligence doesn't actually work like software?
And if in the future we had technological skills such as to build humanoid robots, what nature should the relationship between us and them be? Would it then be right to subject them to a "servant-master" logic? Or should we interact with them with a view to mutual enrichment, which guarantees a common basis of equality and mutual respect (despite the fundamental difference)? These, and others, are the problems addressed in the shojo in question. But the fundamental theme is undoubtedly love, which as such is considered in its entirety. In fact the other (be it a human or an android) is sought - therefore loved - exclusively for what he is. To love is to know how to look at the beloved, not selfishly as a means of pleasure, but as an ultimate goal for the achievement of happiness. In this lies the strength and the courage to overcome all the roughnesses, especially those related to diversity (however it is understood).
by Helga Corpino
Chobits episode titles
|01. Chii wakes up|
02. Chii Exit
03. Chii Learn
04. Chii faces the outside world
05. Chii makes discoveries
06. Chii becomes weak
07. Chii Works
08. Chii is perplexed
09. Chii shopping
10. Chii Meet
11. Chii makes sure
12. Chii Play
|13. Chii goes to the Ocean|
14. Chii offers hospitality
15. Chii does nothing / Ciliegi
16. Chii Administers
17. Chii Assist
18. Chii Disappears
19. Chii Awaits
20. Who You Want
21. Chii Answers
22. Chii changes clothes
23. Chii Decides
24. One person only for Chii
Chobits and all names, images and registered trademarks are copyright CLAMP, Kodansha, Madhouse, Star Comics and are used here for cognitive and informative purposes.