Chobits Omnibus Volume 2 Manga Review (This Is How It Should Be Done)

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Chobits Omnibus Volume 2 Manga Review

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Note: Will contain mild spoilers.

Chobits Omnibus Volume 2 MangaThis omnibus contains the final four volumes of the original Chobits manga with Hideki and Shinbo (Shimbo as Dark Horse calls him) rescuing Chi from “Dragonfly,” thereby Hideki gaining possession of a third persocom in the form of the “laptop” Kotoko.  Along the way, we learn of Yumi’s relationship with the cake shop owner Ueda, the landlady’s connection to Chi, Chi’s sister, and ultimately Chi’s purpose in finding someone of her own, this being Hideki.

From the story perspective, CLAMP continues to explore odd relationships.  Obviously, the main one are the people-persocom relationships, primarily seen with Hideki and Chi but also seen with Minoru and his relationship with his custom made persocom, Yuzuki.  There was also the issue of Ueda’s previously having married a persocom as well as CLAMP briefly exploring the idea that two persocoms might develop feelings for each other, this in the form of Zima and Dita.

However, CLAMP decides to take things to a whole other level with Chi and Hideki by having placed Chi’s switch in her vagina area.  Thus, if Hideki wants to consummate his relationship with Chi, it would result in her being deactivated with all of her memories wiped in the process.  Of course, the purpose of this is to see if Hideki truly loves Chi for Chi and not out of a sense of wanting to have sex with her (which can cloud one’s judgment). However, in addition to being jacked up, this actually leads to a plot hole.  I say this because Chi was deactivated, lost all her memories, yet retained a perfect copy of her sister Freya.  Therefore, Chi should be able to back up a copy of herself in a similar fashion as I see it, though that doesn’t solve the whole “I just switched her off” element.  *_*

CLAMP had already resolved the relationship between Shinbo and Shimizu-sensei, so the only other relationship to resolve was that of Yumi and Ueda.  Here, we have Ueda who’s 38 and Yumi who’s a teenager in high school (I was thinking 16 but she may have been 17).  It is not uncommon to have some love-struck teenager in love with an older man in manga titles.  Usually, the girl falls in love with her sensei and will either be rejected due to the age issue, will have a secret relationship/marriage with him (My Wife is a High School Girl), or will wait until the girl graduates to marry her (Maison Ikkoku).  Here, Yumi falls for her boss and he apparently has feelings for her.  Though CLAMP does its best to make this relationship sweet, innocent, and above the board despite the massive age difference, the cynic in me thinks that at 38, the only thing Ueda wanted was a hot young girl for sex, which he confused as love.  *_*

Still, one cannot deny that as stories go, Chobits is very well done with a good cast of characters (some of whom get sorta forgotten once their purpose in pushing the plot has expired), nice humor, cute character designs, and a very interesting concept.

While I’m thinking of it, CLAMP is notorious these days for crossovers with their previous works.  Indeed, Ueda, Yumi, Chitose, Freya (as a human) and Eda (as a human) are featured in CLAMP’s ongoing series, Kobato.  Chi was in Tsubasa, and I think some others may have cameos as well.  Chi was referenced in xxxHOLiC.  I’m not 100% sure, but I think that Chobits is where CLAMP first started exploring the idea of crossovers.  I say this because Chobits is the spinoff-sequel to CLAMP’s earlier work, Angelic Layer. Thus, Chitose’s husband Ichiro was the creator of the Angelic Layer game and then the creator of persocoms.  Some of the Angels are shown in cameo as are characters like Misaki.  Who knew from such simple cameo crossovers, CLAMP would make it a trademark of their works.

Now to the Dark Horse side of things.  ^_^

I’ll be the first to admit that Dark Horse is notoriously bad for not keeping a release schedule.  If they say that they will release a manga title on April 30, 2011, more often than not, it won’t be released until months later.  However, many times, they buy me off with a superior quality release that makes the wait worth while.  For volume 2 of the Chobits Omnibus, Dark Horse exceeds themselves.  Color manga pages are inserted in their proper places as they would have been originally when published in magazine form in Japan (I don’t think tankoubons ever get color pages in Japan beyond the dust cover).  I so wish more U.S. manga did this.  I know Del Rey might at times include color pages if they were at the front of the volume they were publishing, only to reprint those same pages in black-and-white, but that’s not quite the same as what Dark Horse has done here.

In addition, Dark Horse includes a whole section of color art from CLAMP about Chobits. Some are the clean artwork for previous volume covers, and others are whatever promotional or included artwork from CLAMP.  It really is a very nice extra, especially with the $25 price for the manga.  ^_^

As with the first volume, Dark Horse makes good use of multiple fonts for different characters, which is something I really like.  Dark Horse’s retranslation of Chobits retains all of the Japanese 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.”  Egad, that annoyed me from the start since I’d watched the anime first and Pioneer had named her “Sumomo” in both the dub and the subtitles.  So TokyoPop’s renaming Sumomo to “Plum” was not cool with me at all.  Not only that, it alerted me to how terrible Wikipedia is as a site since the wiki-gods at the time stated that Sumomo could only be referenced as “Plum” on the site.  *_*

The only negative I have with the book is the lack of translator notes.  I love translator notes and it is a shame we didn’t get them.

So, even though I had to wait a lot longer for this volume than originally promised, Dark Horse makes it up to me by releasing an omnibus edition of Chobits that just kicks butt on almost every level.  If you’ve never read Chobits or even if you have, I find Dark Horse’s releases well worth the money spent.

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4 Responses to “Chobits Omnibus Volume 2 Manga Review (This Is How It Should Be Done)”

  1. jeff-morris says:

    Chobits was interesting right up to the point where the reader finds out about Chi’s on/off switch. The entire concept of how people were more comfortable interacting with persocoms instead of other people, the very idea of human-like computers walking around, and Chi herself were fascinating…and then they had to do that.

    As my wife pointed out, it doesn’t stop Hideki. She’s got a secondary “data port” right under her nose. 🙂

  2. Jayce says:

    I got this I think a couple of weeks after it was released in Kinokuniya, read it all on the one hour train home… I think I’m a bit too addicted to Chobits

    Jayce
    animeupdateaus.blogspot.com

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @Jeff — Ah, but see “true love” meant that Hideki could go without and still be with Chi. ^_~

    As to the “secondary data port,” I remember years ago someone mentioning that AND a very possible 3rd data port…a “recharge socket” as it was called in Red Dwarf. *lol*

    @Jayce — So, the Japanese have an “omnibus” release as well?

  4. arimareiji says:

    @everyone: Here, have one of my favorite pieces of fanart ever: Hammer

    ~

    @jeff-morris: Not to mention a number of other creative ways humans have found to have sex with each other over the centuries. Vaginal intercourse is probably still the favorite in terms of frequency, but it’s hardly the only one.

    Personally, I think they could have much more effectively accomplished the same goal by never giving her genitals in the first place. After volumes of fanservice, the way they threw the reveal out there came across much more as a “Ha ha, fooled you” to the readers than it does a meaningful story element. Even Gainax’s “Dirty thoughts are bad!” is less hypocritical.

    Alternately, it comes off as an incredibly twisted daughter complex on her creators’ part: “My pure innocent little girl will never want to have sex, so I’ll make her as sexy as possible but give her the ultimate chastity belt to punish anyone who ever wants to, in a manner reminiscent of Tantalus from mythology.”

    (Or of Sakura, from Bokusetsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan. I’m fond of the fan theory that God decided death was too good for Sakura, and sent Dokuro-chan instead.)

    ~

    @ANB: I hope I’m not being unrefined by interjecting (in the event that you personally know Jayce is in Japan right now), but Kinokuniya has branches all over, including Australia. There are even several in the US, including one here in Seattle.

    re: Wikipedia… yeah, there are a lot of reasons I only edit as an anonymous IP on rare occasion anymore. And most of them have to do with the self-righteous pretenses and that having more mutual backscratchers always trumps the “3 pillars” principles, let alone silly things like demonstrable fact.

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