Volume 5 - Disappearance

Starring (voice): Rie Tanaka, Tomakazu Sugita and Tomakazu Seki
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 13 March 2006

It's the 22nd century and Hideki has had a bit of good fortune, or so he thinks. Seemingly disposed of on a rubbish heap Hideki has found his own Persocom Chi, so named as it's the first thing that Chi says when she is booted up. Problem is Hideki is finding himself being romantically drawn to Chi, a thing which he is finding difficult as she's an android. But, Chi holds a deeper secret than her growing love for Hideki, Chi may be one of the legendary Chobit series of androids who are supposed to be capable of proper emotional responses and free thought, what that might mean for Hideki and Chi only time will tell...

This disc is volume five in the twenty-six episode run and holds episodes eighteen to twenty-one. The overall story arc continues with much of the show examining various characters responses to their Persocoms. Whilst Hideki continues to struggle with his emotional response to Chi, he discovers that others have gone much further, married and presumably slept with their personal computers.

In episode eighteen, Chi Disappears, Hideki is beside himself with worry. Chi has failed to turn up for her job at the bakery and it quickly becomes evident that she has been stolen. His loss makes him face his growing feelings for Chi, though he continues to remain confused, feeling that at heart she is little more than a machine. Various people that he meets examine the growing relationships between people and their Persocoms, some afraid that this will mean the end of human relationships.

Episode Nineteen, Chi Waits, finds Hideki no closer to finding Chi, He finds help in a strange place when the owner of the bakery, Ueda Hiroyasa, offers to help find Chi. Hideki discovers that the offer is not just motivated by unselfish reasons when Ueda confesses that he married his own Persocom, but the relationship ended in tragedy. Minoru Kokubunji also offers his technical expertise in the search, an offer that will have near tragic consequences for him.

In Chi Wants - episode twenty - the search for Chi is coming to a head, Hideki discovers that she has been taken by Dragonfly and her location is mysteriously provided for him via his computer. Hideki successfully rescues Chi, but not before Dragonfly has used his expertise to look inside Chi. In the darkened city Dita and Zima are still hunting for Chi, but what possible reason would they have for trying to track her down?

The last episode on the disc is episode twenty-one - Chi Answers. Dita and Zima are getting still closer and it doesn't look to be to Chi's benefit that they find her. With everyone gathered at Minoru's house the company finally have to face the fact that Chi may well be a Chobit, but with Chobit's being little more than an urban legend they need to find hard evidence. When they discover that the Chobit series was created at the behest of the syndicate they realise that the only was to know anymore is to hack into their computers a decision that nearly costs Yuzuki her existence.

Extras have been fairly consistent over the series run and so there are no real great surprises here. Audio is the usual, but reliable Japanese and English stereo with subtitles. You get the usual Japanese language ending as well as a little art gallery. Lastly there are the trailers and the DVD credits. Not a huge amount and, in truth, nothing that you would look at more than once, perhaps if the images could be taken as desktop wallpaper, it might feel that there was a little more value in the extras.

So, things are starting to hot up for the Chobit series and with not many more episodes to go it will be interesting to see the final reveal, especially where Zima and Dita are concerned. Another nice disc which has been let down by lacklustre extras.

Charles Packer

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