Anime fans of the 2000s most likely remember the widely talked about ecchi romance anime, Chobits. It started off as a cheap ecchi comedy but later developed into a romantic drama that tugged at your heartstrings. 2015’s Plastic Memories may have a similar premise, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Chobits. Heck, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Academy Award Nominated Film “Her” was inspired by Chobits. Chobits was definitely ahead of its time, so let’s jog that fuzzy memory up for ya.
Hideki moves from the countryside to Tokyo and notices that everyone is using androids, or “persocoms”. Persocoms are like a computer but they look like humans. Hideki really wants one but doesn’t have enough money. While walking back home, Hideki finds an abandoned persocom on the side of the road and decides to take her in. The persocom seems to be broken since it can’t complete simple tasks, and only says “chi”, which Hideki ends up calling her. Despite her flaws, Hideki takes care of Chi and develops a crush on her.
Sounds a lot like Plastic Memories and Her, doesn’t it? During the simplistic first half, you had a slight sense that something was off. We knew that Chi wasn’t a regular persocom, but we couldn’t figure out what she was created to do. Episode 15 was the turning point of the series when we see Hideki’s best friend, Shinobu, in a romantic relationship with their teacher. From there, Chobits spirals into an intense drama as Hideki and Chi try to understand their emotions and find out the origins of Chi’s creation. The ending theme changed to a slow and sad but beautiful tune that you could not skip and it became harder to put the series down. This second half is what made Chobits a memorable romance anime for 2000s fans and it’s a shame that not too many modern fans know of its existence.
Why is Chobits no longer considered a classic? There are loads of 2000s romance anime that are still remembered today, such as Ouran High School Host Club, Clannad, Nana, Love Hina and more. We don’t have a definitive answer, but we do have a few theories. First off, modern anime fans watching their anime through streaming instead of buying DVDs. Chobits was streaming on Netflix for a few years, but eventually got removed. This is a huge L for Chobits, because Netflix brings a huge boost to all of their anime’s popularity since just about everyone has a Netflix account. Chobits isn’t completely gone from the internet, though, because Funimation is still streaming Chobits through VRV, but only the English dub.
Other than availability, what else could have caused Chobits’ downfall? Romance anime has evolved over the years, with most rom-coms having the main characters become a couple within the first three episodes. Not only that, but modern anime fans are typically annoyed with cliches since they are way too overdone. Although Chobits wasn’t cliche at the time of its airing, fans today would probably roll their eyes at all the forced sexual encounters and idiot protagonist. We’d be surprised if they stuck around after seeing that one episode where Chi spends her day looking for underwear.
It’s sad to see an anime that was once loved slowly be forgotten. Why do you think this charming romance has faded from people’s memory? What’s your favorite part about Chobits? Leave us a comment and we’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as we can. Till next time!