Kodansha Comics just released a new luxury collector’s edition of Chobits for it’s 20th anniversary. You heard me correctly, Chobits is 20 years old. The anime came out in 2002. Do you feel old? Because I sure do.
Chobits by CLAMP gives an interesting twist on the technological advances of the early 2000s. Instead of smartphones and laptop computers we know today, people have their own “persocom” which is basically Siri personified as a cute anime girl. They come in a variety of sizes and styles that are so lifelike they seamlessly blend into society. They’re so helpful and know everything, it’s impossible not to love them...right?
The story starts out by introducing Hideki Motosua, a broke college student from a small farm town who recently moved to Tokyo. One night he stumbles upon a persocom in the trash and takes it home. This mysterious persocom, who goes by Chi, seemingly has no operating system, but can still move. She has no concept of language, but can learn and recite information that is taught to her. She is also believed to be a rare custom model called a Chobit, a persocom that has free will and can feel emotions. The story focuses on Chi as she learns how to fit into society and more about her complicated past.
I don’t remember reading Chobits when I was growing up, but I know I really enjoyed the anime. Looking back I realized that I watched this anime when I was WAY too young. This is one of CLAMP’s more fanservice-y titles and most, if not all, of those references went over my head 15 years ago. It wasn’t until much later in life that I remembered the series and realized that Chi’s on switch is in a very...18+ location. That being said, these moments are played for laughs and felt a little more frequent in the anime than the manga.
While we’re on the topic of the anime, I think it’s good to know that it was not a 1:1 adaptation of the manga. It’s not drastically different based on the first volume, but the anime definitely has an extra element of wackiness that was common for the early 2000s. Moments like Chi trying to buy clothes on her own or getting a job were much shorter in the manga compared to the full episode arcs in the anime. If you enjoyed those episodes, you might be a little disappointed like I was. Hopefully this gives the manga more room for original content that didn’t make it into the anime, but we’ll have to see what volume 2 brings.
Nostalgia was definitely something that drew me to this volume, but the bigger draw was the presentation of the manga. Between Chobits and Cardcaptor Sakura, Kodansha has been doing a wonderful job with their new hardcover collections. I’m a sucker for good graphic design so I can’t help myself from praising the structure of this manga. It has a sturdy hardcover with beautiful illustrations and a design that I can only describe as art deco meets circuit boards. Subtle glossy embossing gives it that little extra oomph that shows the reader how much thought and care was put into creating this edition. The pages have been upgraded from the cheap newsprint manga readers will be familiar with to bright white pages that feel much more durable. Combine that with full color illustrations at the beginning and end of the manga, and you have an absolute treat for the eyes.
If put in the wrong hands, Chobits could have easily been another dime a dozen fanservice title with a high tech twist. There’s still some fanservice elements, but CLAMP wrote their characters in such a thoughtful way that the tone feels completely unique. It’s lighthearted and fun with an undercurrent of loneliness that adds an unexpected depth to the story. If you are a fan of the series, other CLAMP works, or want to add another beautiful hardcover manga to your shelf, the Chobits 20th Anniversary Edition will not disappoint.
Chobits 20th Anniversary Edition manga volume 1 features story and art by CLAMP and is presented in this oversized hardcover edition printed on premium paper with color pages and more.
After moving from the countryside into the big city, poor college student Hideki Motosuwa finds himself down on his luck. All he wants is a good job, a girlfriend, and his very own “persocom” - the latest and greatest in humanoid computer technology. Hideki’s luck changes one night when he finds Chi - an adorable, but seemingly broken, persocom thrown out in a pile of trash. After taking her home, Hideki discovers that Chi is more responsibility than he expected - and that there’s much more to his cute new persocom than meets the eye.Add to CartLearn More