Manga Review: Chobits Volume Four

Article first published as Manga Review: Chobits Volume Four by CLAMP on Blogcritics.

Chobits Volume Four is a manga by CLAMP, and it was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2003. The series is rated “OT” for Older Teens. Since there are some panels in the series with female nudity, as well as some humor with sexual tone to it, I agree with this rating. Personally, I would recommend this series to manga readers who are fifteen or sixteen years of age and older.

Chobits Volume 4
Written by: CLAMP
Publisher: Kodansha
English Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: February 11, 2003

In this volume Hideki really has to wrestle with his feelings for Chi, his full-sized Persocom; his confusion escalates after she mysteriously vanishes from the bookstore where she and Hideki go to buy books in the A City With No People series. After consulting with Minoru and his Persocom, Yuzuki, Hideki is joined in his search for Chi by Mr. Ueda. After talking with the other merchants in the shopping district, Mr. Ueda shares a story with Hideki about a Persocom that Mr. Ueda once had.

Meanwhile, we learn that Chi has been abducted by Yoshiyuki Kojima, a young man who learned of Chi’s existence by a posting that Minoru had left on the custom Persocom message board earlier in the series. During her captivity, she also meets Yoshiyuki’s laptop sized Persocom; her name is Kotoki. Back in Volume Three, Hideki acquired his friend Shinbo’s perky and happy laptop Persocom named Plum. Kotoko is basically Plum’s polar opposite, due to being more brooding and condescending. While Chi is wrestling with her own feelings of confusion during her captivity, Kotoko does nothing to help Chi with her confusion.

This volume of Chobits takes a much more serious tone to the story than the previous three volumes had, and the theme of this volume is confusion. While Chi’s confusion has been blatant prior to this, Hideki’s confusion was hinted at; however, in this volume, Hideki’s confusion concerning his feelings for Chi increases dramatically, and he finds himself questioning several times whether or not he has actually fallen in love with a machine.

My favorite portion of this volume is near the end, when Mr. Ueda shares his story about his Persocom. Not only is it a touching story, but it really makes the reader like Ueda more than before. By revealing this story, CLAMP has now provided a character who can empathize with Hideki’s feelings for Chi; while Minoru and Shinbo are good friends for Hideki and can provide him sympathy, neither one can truly understand what their friend is going through.

Art-wise, there really isn’t any nudity in this volume; there’s a couple of suggestive panels, but even these are tame in comparison to similar panels in previous volumes of Chobits. I think CLAMP did a great job in designing Kotoko and Yoshiyuki, and their look really complements their characters. In my opinion, one of the best drawings appears during the section where Mr. Ueda is sharing the story about his Persocom. In this particular panel, CLAMP utilizes “pathetic sympathy” very effectively, and this adds a striking visual component to Mr. Ueda’s story.

Readers who have read and enjoyed the Chobits manga up to this point will not be disappointed by how the story progresses.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Chobits Volume Four that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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