Chobits is a Japanese manga that was originally released in 8 separate volumes, from 2000-2002. It was later compiled into two omnibus editions, four volumes in each, which are the editions I own. It was also adapted into a very faithful anime, which ran for 26 episodes in the year 2002. I also own that collection on DVD.
Chobits takes place in the not-so-distant future, where computers are now available in the form of Persocoms (Personal Computers), which are humanoid robots that come in a variety of genders and sizes. The only way to tell a Persocom from a human upon first glance is their ears, which look like small attachments at the side of their head. A Persocom can be programmed to do just about anything, from cooking and cleaning, to internet research, and even some seedy things which are discussed in the books.
The story revolves around Hideki, who is too broke to afford his own Persocom. Lucky for him, he comes across one that's been thrown away at the side of the road. She has the form of a beautiful young girl and appears non-functional. Hideki takes her home and boots her up, only to find out that her name is Chi and that she's far more special than he ever could have imagined.
I would classify this as a sci-fi comedy, or "slice of life". This is very easy to get into if you're not into hard sci-fi, but the themes are extremely relevant, and I feel as though I've seen other, more popular films, television shows,and even video games become influenced by Chobits. It definitely talks about AI in an accessible way, as well as touching upon our reliance on technology -- to the point of literally being in love with it. Moreover, I think it asks an important question about whether or not we're crossing the line into slavery, if we're ordering around beings that have intelligence and independent thought. There is a television series on AMC called Humans, which is extremely similar to Chobits, so if you're not into manga or anime, I would suggest that.
The artwork here is beautiful. Everything is in black and white, save for the covers, which are in full colour. CLAMP is known for their aesthetic in manga, and this is one of their prettiest series to date. It's also nice to see a company that has all females behind the scenes; this book was both written and drawn by women.
If you enjoy comics or manga of any kind, this has become a beloved classic which I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.
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