Manga Monday- Chobits

Chobits is a Japanese manga created by the Japanese manga collective Clamp. It was published by Kodansha in Young Magazine from the 43rd issue for 2000 to the 48th issue for 2002 and collected in eight bound volumes. Chobits was adapted as a 26-episode-long anime television series broadcast on TBS and Animax from April to September 2002. In addition, it has spawned two video games as well as various merchandise such as figurines, collectable cards, calendars, and artbooks.

The series tells the story of Hideki Motosuwa, who finds an abandoned persocom, or personal computer with human form, which he names “Chi” after the only word it initially can speak. As the series progresses, they explore the mysteries of Chi’s origin together and questions about the relationship between human beings and computers. The manga is set in the same universe as Angelic Layer, taking place a few years after the events of that story, and like Angelic Layer, it explores the relationship between humans and electronic devices shaped like human beings. Chobits branches off as a crossover into many other stories in different ways, such as Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, xxxHolic and Kobato.

Development

Clamp—a creative team consisting of Satsuki Igarashi, Ageha Ohkawa, Tsubaki Nekoi and Mokona—wrote and illustrated Chobits, which is the first of their manga to be targeted towards older male readers (seinen manga). The idea for Chobits originated from the group’s experiences with computers, which would present indecipherable error messages when experiencing difficulties, to which they added a “sexier spin” to the concept. After completing their previous manga series Cardcaptor Sakura, the group successfully pitched Chobits to the Japanese manga magazine Young Magazine. Clamp completed fourteen pages per week for Chobitss weekly serialization, totaling fifty-six pages a month. The title of the manga has its origins in “Chobi”, the name of a cat at the place of Nekoi’s former employment, which the group made into “Chobits”, as the characters Elda and Freya were twins.

Ohkawa designed Hideki and Chi first. Chi’s design as a personal computer resulted from Ohkawa’s wish to increase the sense of “emotional discomfort” around becoming emotionally involved with something considered to be merely a lifeless machine. The characterization of the protagonist Hideki proved to be difficult for her; in the beginning, she considered an “aloof” man who gradually warms up emotionally or a sex-obsessed man. She decided that neither characterization would be a good fit for Chi and settled on one of a penniless and benevolent student. In keeping with the conventions of the romantic comedy genre, the group had planned to introduce conventional characters, such as an older female neighbor and a physically attractive friend from childhood; in the case of Chobits, the “childhood friend” never appeared. The artwork was done in ballpoint pen to evoke the sense of “rough” lines, and colored pages were done in acrylic gouache.

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