Volume 3 - Darkness Descends

Starring (voice): Rie Tanaka, Tomakazu Sugita and Tomakazu Seki
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 18 July 2005

Hedaki, leaves his country home to move to Tokyo to attend collage. He is surprised to discover that nearly everyone owns a Persocom, a personal computer, built to mimic animals and humans. Poor Hedaki cannot afford his own Persocom so is overjoyed to find Chi discarded in the trash. But is Chi just a Persocom or is she hiding another secret...?

Chobits: Volume 3 - Darkness Descends takes up the story where the previous two discs had left off with Hedaki trying to discover the origins of Chi. It quickly becomes obvious the Chi may indeed me one of the legendary Chobits, a self aware Persocom.

The overall tone of the story is one of teenage sexual innuendo, with lots of embarrassing situations cropping up in each episode. The odd thing is that given that the humour is almost exclusively of the male teenage type it's surprising to discover that Chobits is created by the all female team at Clamp. They obviously have met way too many testosterone poisoned young males as they really know what's on most young male minds.

The disc covers episodes nine to thirteen of the series. Each episode runs around twenty-three minutes. As usual the quality of the animation is superb, with more than a single style used within each episode. The picture quality cannot be faulted. Obviously the disc comes with both English and Japanese language tracks; the Japanese track comes with English subtitles. One good point here is that the English language track is just as good as the Japanese original and sustains the comedic tone throughout.

In episode nine (Chi Buys) Chi purchases Hedaki a racy picture book, to go with his collection, unfortunately this is just at the same moment that Hedaki tries to teach Chi to bath. With the pictures of the bathing beauties in his head Hedaki finds it difficult to separate his fantasies from Chi.

In episode ten (Chi Meets) Hedaki goes on a date with the hope of loosing his virginity, with about as much luck as most of us had at that age. When he discovers that his date is a Persocom, he realises that he has feelings for Chi. Meanwhile at home, Chi has a vision of herself as a Chobit.

Episode Eleven (Chi Confirms) sees Minuro telling Hedaki a strange story of a murder that happened in the apartment below his. When he starts to hear strange noises from downstairs Hedaki becomes terrified and starts having murderous visions about room 104.

Episode Twelve (Chi Plays) sees Hedaki being loaned a DVD player by one of his female friend's fathers. Like any red blooded young male he immediately goes off to rent porn, but runs into Minuro who gives him a game he can play with Chi on his DVD, but being Chobits things don't work out the way Hedaki hoped. Any animation that has the word porno in the first few lines is going to grab the attention of most of the audience.

The last episode on the disc, episode thirteen (Chi goes to the Ocean) sees Hedaki take Chi to the beach, but has to admit that he cannot swim. When Chi falls into the water Hedaki jumps in to save her, but she ends up saving him. So why isn't Chi damaged by the water?

The disc comes with a few extras, the first being the closing animation without the credits, very good but a little odd. Next up is the Japanese version of the opening credits, which is a nice addition that you will watch only the once, but it's nice to have it included. A bunch of trailers for some other, interesting looking, films are thrown in and there is an art gallery. Lastly there are the DVD credits, which lets be honest no one is going to look at.

These are all round excellent and funny episodes; of the type of animation that only the Japanese can produce. Buy it.

Charles Packer

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