A Japanese manga created by the Japanese manga collective Clamp. It was published by Kodansha in Young Magazine from February 2001 to November 2002 and collected in eight bound volumes. Chobits was adapted as a 26-episode-long anime television series broadcast on TBS and Animax from April to September 2002. In addition, it has spawned two video games as well as various merchandise such as figurines, collectable cards, calendars, and artbooks. The series tells the story of Hideki Motosuwa, who finds an abandoned persocom (パソコン PasoKon?), or personal computer (パーソナルコンピュータ pāsonaru konpyūta) with human form, which he names "Chi" after the only word it initially can speak. As the series progresses, they explore the mysteries of Chi's origin together and questions about the relationship between human beings and persocoms. The manga is set in the same universe as Angelic Layer, taking place a few years after the events of that story, and like Angelic Layer, it explores the relationship between human beings and electronic devices shaped like human beings. Chobits branches off as a crossover into many other stories in different ways, such as Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, xxxHolic and Kobato.
The series centers on the life of Hideki Motosuwa, a held-back student attempting to qualify for university by studying at Seki prep school in Tokyo. Besides a girlfriend, he dreams of having a persocom (パソコン?): an android used as a personal computer, which is expensive. On his way home one evening, he stumbles across a persocom in the form of a beautiful girl with thigh-length hair lying against a pile of trash bags, and he carries her home, not noticing that a disk fell on the ground. Upon turning her on, she instantly regards Hideki with adoration. The only word the persocom seems capable of saying is "chi" (ちぃ Chii?), thus he names her that. Hideki assumes that there must be something wrong with her, and so the following morning he has his neighbor Hiromu Shinbo analyze her with his mobile persocom Sumomo. After Sumomo crashes during the attempt they conclude that she must be custom-built. It was said to be based on the future of earth. Shinbo introduces Hideki to Minoru Kokubunji, a twelve-year-old prodigy who specializes in the field of custom-built persocoms. Minoru's persocoms, including Yuzuki, a fairly exceptional custom-built persocom, are not able to analyze Chi either, and thus they conclude that she may be one of the Chobits, a legendary series of persocoms rumoured to have free will and emotions. Although this is a possibility, Minoru is confident that it is only rumour. Yuzuki also adds that she does not resemble any persocom model in any available database and so she must be custom made after all. A major part of the plot involves Hideki attempting to teach Chi words, concepts, and appropriate behaviours, in between his crammed schedule of school and work. At the same time, Chi seems to be developing feelings for Hideki, at an emotional depth she is not supposed to possess, and Hideki struggles with his feelings for her. The need to figure out more about Chi and her mysterious functions and past becomes a pull for the characters in the series. Hideki's feelings intensify for Chi regardless of her being a persocom and despite his friends' painful experiences involving other persocoms. Chi becomes aware of her purpose through a picture book series called A City with No People which she finds in a bookstore. The books speak about many different things involving human and persocom relationships: persocoms and their convenience as friends and lovers, how there are things that they cannot do and questioning whether a relationship between a persocom and a human is really one-sided. It also speaks about the Chobits series; that they are different from other persocoms, and what they are incapable of doing unlike other persocoms. These picture books awaken Chi's other self, her sibling Freya who is aware of their past and helps Chi realize what she must do when she decides who her "person just for me" is. Together, Chi and Hideki explore the relationship between human beings and persocoms, as well as their friends' and their own.
Chobits was adapted as an anime television series by Madhouse. The series was directed by Morio Asaka with music by K-Taro Takanami and character designs by Hisashi Abe. The opening theme is "Let Me Be With You" by Round Table featuring Nino. The ending themes are "Raison d'être" (Reason to Be) by Rie Tanaka (episodes 1–13), "Ningyo-hime" (Mermaid Princess) by Rie Tanaka (episodes 14–25), and "Katakoto no Koi" (Awkward Love) by Rie Tanaka and Tomokazu Sugita (episode 26). The series was broadcast in 26 episodes from 2 April 2002 to 24 September 2002 across Japan, East Asia, and Southeast Asia by the anime satellite television network, Animax and the terrestrial Tokyo Broadcasting System network. It was later released on 8 DVDs. The original episodes 9 and 18 are "recap" episodes, summarizing previous events. These episodes were re-numbered for the DVD release as episodes 8.5 and 16.5, respectively, and removed from their original sequence by being published together on the final DVD. As a result, the series is 24 episodes long on DVD. In addition, there are two DVD-only OVAs: a 27th episode recapping the series (numbered episode 24.5) and a 6-minute special, "Chobits: Plum and Kotoko Deliver". The ending theme of the latter is "Book End Bossa" by Round Table featuring Nino. The series was broadcast in Korea by AniOne TV, in France by Europe 2 TV, in Spain by both Animax España and Buzz Channel, in Portugal on Animax Portugal, and in Poland by Hyper. It is licensed in North America by Geneon, which has released the series in 7 DVDs. This release is redistributed in the United Kingdom by (on 6 DVDs instead of 7, placing the recap episodes and special as extras on disk 6)MVM Films, and in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment.It is also licensed in Taiwan by Proware Multimedia, in France and the Netherlands by Kaze Animation, in Germany by ADV Films and later Kaze Germany, and in Russia by MC Entertainment. At Anime Boston 2010, North American anime distributor Funimation Entertainment announced that they have rescued Chobits and will release the series on DVD and Blu-ray on April 26, 2011 & May 10, 2011, respectively. The anime series made its US television debut on May 9, 2011 on the Funimation Channel.