16 September 2007

Review:: Chobits (anime)

I think we can all agree that in the world of movies and TV shows, there is camp (think Sex and the City) and then there's kiddie camp (Dora the Explorer). In the case of Clamp's Chobits, think band camp. It's far more daring than you would have originally thought. This anime is certainly loaded, not just with sparklies and cute technology but plenty of sexual innuendo.

This is a world where people can have their own walking persocoms-- a bad transliteration of the Japanese paasocon, which stands for personal computer. That's right, this story is about a P.C., except that this anime is far from politically correct. These persocoms are fleshy, appealing, and oftentimes very feminine. You know what I'm talking about. Hideki, in his late teens, is the lucky bumbling main character who finds himself a mysterious persocom, Chii, and is nearly constantly turned on by her adorable innocence. In the first episode, when trying to wake her up, he has to figure out how to turn her on. I'm not even going to tell you how he does it. I'm sure you can use your imagination.

Despite the notion that Chii is a bundle of sensuality and impulsiveness faintly evocative of a sex toy, this is a winning series that really grows on the viewer. However, I'd only recommend it to a more mature teen audience. I know of a few preteens who are quite obsessed with this anime, and I have to wonder if perhaps the occasional references to breasts and porn sites are a bit much for the younger kids. I'd want a feminine role model to do more than say "chii" in a cute girlie voice and innocently put white, filmy natto residue all over her face.

7.5 of 9
The episodes I saw had likeable male characters but one-dimensional, attractive female characters. As far as Japanese anime women go, they're not so terrible but I still prefer complexity in the girlie brain. Try Azumanga Daioh for a wide (if sometimes hilariously overdone) range of female characters.
Moderate, as in most non-action anime
Mature teens (and soft core pervs of any age)
Like it? Try this!::
I'd say you'll be safe with anything by Clamp.
Further Notes::
Of course I recommend watching this in Japanese with English subtitles, but from what I could tell, they did a formidable dubbing job. Still, I dare you to think that Chii's "underpants" chant is funnier than the Japanese equivalent, "pantsu." I crawled into bed one night, happily singing "Pan-tsu! Pan-tsu! Pan-tsu!"

Chobits. Directed by Morio Asaka. Geneon Studio, 2003. 100 minutes. $29.98