Chobits Omnibus Volume 1 Manga Review

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Chobits Omnibus Volume 1 Manga Review

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Note: May contain mild spoilers.

ChobitsDuring the first year or so of my anime fandom, I discovered a taste for the romantic comedy harem stories. While looking for other such titles, it was recommended to me that I watch the anime Chobits or maybe even read the manga. I watched the anime and loved it, though some things weren’t clear. Since I knew from Ah! My Goddess and Love Hina that the manga stories told the full and proper story, I went and purchased the manga from TokyoPop. The manga certainly cleared some things up for me, but I found myself annoyed with TP’s adaptation. Thus when I needed capital to help pay for $34K in medical bills several years ago, I sold my entire Chobits manga collection without hesitation. So, when Dark Horse released the first of two omnibus volumes of the Chobits manga, I really wanted to have this excellent series back on my bookshelf. Question was, would Dark Horse do me right or would I be left frustrated?

I hadn’t planned on discussing the story much, but upon rereading this omnibus, which covers the first four volumes of the manga, I couldn’t help but be hit by the writing found here. There are certain CLAMP staples here — non-standard romantic pairings, a hyper character that reacts to teasing, a sizable cast, and an interesting story concept. However, it is CLAMP’s ability to use the story to make one think out of the box that gives the manga extra spice.

In brief, the story takes place on an Earth (and technically is the spinoff-sequel to Angelic Layer) where the personal computer has been replaced by very human-looking androids known as persocoms (the Japanese modification of the loan words “personal computer,” though technically they’d phonetically spell it “pasokon”). Hideki is a poor rounin attempting to get into college by attending cram school during the day. In the evening, he works at a bar. He longs to have his own persocom and amazingly finds one in the trash, taking the shape of a very pretty 15- to 16-year old girl. Quickly, he discovers that this persocom isn’t a normal one and over the course of four volumes, he has to not only teach the basics to “Chi,” the name he gives his persocom, but he has to come to grips on if she is just a mere machine or something more.

Considering the Japanese love of androids and 2-D characters, CLAMP’s work here lays out the groundwork that questions the very notions of love and whether or not a person having a relationship with a machine in human form is acceptable. Since the manga is only half-way through, CLAMP hasn’t finished the exploration process. Along the way, CLAMP picks up a lot of fun, sweetness, interesting characters, and a genuine mystery over Chi.

Being a seinen title, CLAMP takes advantage of the higher degree of freedom in what they can and can’t do. As such, there are a fair number of fanservice shots of girls and female persocoms in their underwear. Further, CLAMP has Chi show off her breasts on more than a few occasions. Partially this is done for the fanservice effect, partially this is done for humor (in Hideki’s reactions), and partially this is done to show Chi’s innocence. I found this amusing especially since CLAMP’s former seinen title xxxHOLiC had almost no fanservice and certainly no nudity.

All this aside, the story and art combine to make a very enjoyable reading experience and one that I am very much enjoying and will likely enjoy again.

On the Dark Horse side, we have a pretty good release here. Regular readers of my blog know that I’m a big stickler for honorifics being retained in anime subtitles and manga adaptations. Thankfully, Dark Horse has come a long way from their manga pioneer days and make full use of Japanese honorifics. There were a few instances where for some reason, a “san” was converted to “Mr.” I believe one “chan” instance was converted to “little.” I figure that these instances may be from a later edit by an anti-honorific person doing some final touch-up work on the adaptation. That’s just a guess though.

Dark Horse has an interesting way of defining honorifics. Most manga companies simply have a mini glossary to define the honorifics for those few who are unfamiliar with them. Dark Horse uses the character page at the beginning of the book to not only introduce all the characters and give a little character info on them, Dark Horse also uses this to define honorifics.

Dark Horse has included a number of color pages, including a few manga color pages. Most of the color pages are color art from CLAMP. I’m not sure what most of these were used for as I only recognized one piece as cover art. Dark Horse promises that in the next volume, there will be even MORE color art. The inclusion of color art at all is a big positive for me.

Another thing that Dark Horse is doing is multi-fonts, depending on the font changes in the original Japanese tankoubon. This is something I HIGHLY applaud. Now that I think of it, I’m wondering why Del Rey doesn’t do that for Chachamaru, who has a distinct font separate from the others in Negima! So Dark Horse’s treatment of Chobits is win all the way around.

The only real negative for is a lack of translator notes. Often, translator notes include interesting tidbits and I think all manga should have them.

So, if you were to ask me to give this manga a one-word review, I would say “Win.” ^_^ Thank you Dark Horse for not leaving me frustrated over this excellent manga.

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6 Responses to “Chobits Omnibus Volume 1 Manga Review”

  1. Rat Catcher says:

    If you aren’t getting paid for Amazon links, why are you still using them?

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Because whether I get paid or not is not the point. I have always promoted stuff I like. Heck, I’ve promoted “meh” stuff too because people might like them. Why do you ask?

  3. Psycho is posting on that tournament site. Since he’s not sure his ballot stuffing will be enough, he’s trying to slander you for having ads and Amazon links, implying sinister motives exclusively to you no matter that other blogs use ads or have Amazon links. And since he can’t be honest, his implications are that you get money from Amazon when you don’t.

  4. Rat Catcher says:

    Someone made a comment on the AniBlog Tournament site saying you should be disqualified for being a “for profit” blog, which made no sense to me. Based on Frank’s comment, I see you have someone who doesn’t like you which makes those comments make sense now.

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    *yawn*

    Like Psycho matters. We all know I own him since he obsesses over me, meaning I win, as always. Even if he stuffs the ballots, which I’m sure he’ll waste time on, I still win. ^_^

  6. […] honorifics which makes me very happy.  Further, and this was something I’d forgotten for my volume 1 review, Dark Horse makes the wise decision NOT to translate Sumomo’s name to “Plum.”  […]

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