Written by: Gabriel Castillo
Published on: November 25, 2021 at 18:15 PHT (GMT+8)
Are we about to enter an age where persocoms can become a reality? When the anime adaptation of Chobits by CLAMP was released in 2002 (19 years ago wow), the idea of having humanoid computers seemed pretty farfetched, but it was fun to think about. Given the recent explosion of technological development, we seem much closer to the possibility of having actual persocoms!
Some countries already seem to be using androids for a variety of purposes (e.g., adding to the workforce). And, as part of the usual discussion when it comes to robots, can they truly become sentient beings? With freedom to do as they place? Do we have legendary Chobits in our midst? Let’s look back at the series that tried to showcase what things could be like.
Brief Summary (AniRadio Re-write)
The story revolves around the life of Hideki Motsuwa, a struggling student attending cram school to get into university. This takes place in a time where technology has advanced and personal computers, known as persocoms in the series, have a humanoid form. Despite Hideki’s desire to have a persocom, money problems get in the way.
Fortunately for the troubled student, he finds an abandoned but beautiful persocom discarded near some garbage. Of course, Hideki takes her home and switches her on. Strangely enough, she can only say the word “chii” which Hideki uses to name her.
Soon enough, Hideki finds out that Chi is no ordinary persocom. In fact, she may be a fabled chobit which are persocoms rumored to have free will and emotions. Things take a more romantic turn from there and Hideki spends a decent chunk of his time teaching Chi about the world. As their relationship develops a bit more, they also find out more about Chi’s mysterious past and… Well, viewers get all kinds of feels with the rest of the story.
Going Beyond Robot Romance
At first glance, the series might seem like it’s just about robot love with all the fanservice involved but the plot eventually takes on deeper themes. The show makes viewers think of questions like “Are man-made androids capable of experiencing and expressing love?” or “Can people really fall in love with these man-made androids?” and a few others. Ultimately, the show also touches on the meaning of love.
(mild spoiler ahead) Chi’s physical design also emphasizes the concept of finding a one-true-love or soulmate type of relationship wherein the pair of lovers care about each other’s well-being more than just physical intimacy. People are free to choose what form of love they want but this trait of Chi begs the question “Can these sentient androids also choose what form of love they want?” because to a certain extent, they were still somewhat programmed.
Apart from the deeper questions, the show dishes out romance-heavy sequences between Hideki and Chi. Their relationship, although a little strange at first given the circumstances, eventually turns into something quite nice and a bit enviable.
The series might be worth another watch now that we're entering an age of rapid technological advancement! Would you want to have your own persocom? Or a chobit?