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 15 or 16 years of age and older.
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 from 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 Kotoko.
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 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 gives a much more serious tone to the story than the previous three volumes, 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’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.