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Review: Chobits

The original review was insufficient. It read as follows:

Persocons are humanoid robots which act essentially as massive, lovable PDAs. Chii is a Persocon discovered by Motosawa Hideki, who happens to be one result of the legendary Chobits project: an effort to imbue persocons with true emotion and intelligence.

Not so ecchi as first expected, with surprisingly deep forays into philosophy.

Genre: romance
emotion: humor

The main strength of this series is that the characters are acting out a vast philosophical debate, and they’re doing it naturally and unselfconsciously. The topic is nothing less than an attempt to define happiness, and it is acted out through the attempt to explain it to a machine. A secondary topic addressed is whether or not it is worth sacrificing one’s own happiness for the happiness of a loved one. The question of whether a human could love a machine (provided that the machine had the body of a cute human and could easily pass a Turing test), and whether it is possible for such love to be reciprocated, is tertiary at best.

However, the show also has fairly significant weaknesses, the most glaring of which is that the main strengths of the series aren’t dealt with at all for at least the first six episodes. Instead, the initial presentation of the series is entirely unappealing: an ecchi ronin loser is suddenly surrounded by beautiful women, all of whom seem to have non-trivial interest in him. It feels like a very generic romantic comedy of mediocre quality.

The plot twists sometimes almost randomly, and the laws of physics are frequently discarded entirely when it’s inconvenient for the story. There are a number of major events which seem to happen only to remove a major female character from being a contender for the affection of the lead male character. Moreover, the number and scope of coincidences involved in the plot strains credibility pretty hard.

It’s hard to say “the series would be better if you just started watching at episode x” for two reasons. The first is that you would miss all the introductory material for the setting and the characters, and it could be confusing to the point of incomprehensibility without that. However, the second, bigger reason is that it’s hard to define a point at which the series suddenly becomes good. There’s a gradual shift toward the more serious issues which really make the series. My only advice is that you just stick it out through the initial episodes; I promise that it gets better, later on.

Genre: romantic comedy
Emotion: I could get more into this if they at least paid lip service to basic principles of computer science, physics, and plot advancement.
BTFS: .52

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