Analysis / Chobits
The (manga) plot and themes as placed in a Japanese context
As a series, Chobits
suffers rather badly from Values Dissonance
, as the story assumes that the reader has (or empathizes with) a rather Japanese-centric worldview for its themes (perhaps more so than other works by CLAMP).
- In Japan, at the time of writing (and even today), most private "computing" (as how the West defines it before the onset of smartphones) was done on cellphones: surfing the internet, e-mailing, etc. A "personal computer" was known to the Japanese as a device which they use at work and for work. This is also a major reason why Japanese gaming is largely based around consoles and cell/smart phones as opposed to the PC. By having persocoms as the PCs of the setting, there is the vibe of "personal computers can be used for entertainment too!"
- The twin issues of an aging (and declining) population and resistance to immigration or mixed marriages meant that the Japanese had always been more open to the concept of human-like robots as companions (sexual or otherwise), as compared to the rest of the world. Besides drawing parallels with the coping of a loved one's dementia, Ueda's story arc also expresses the anxiety of losing something which is familiar in the face of a new alternative, which may (or may not) be better than the old, as seen when Ueda refuses to get an upgraded persocom. Also, while Ueda's marriage to his persocom is considered unusual (warranting a report in the media), notice how he was not ridiculed at the wedding.