atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

Chobits et al

Well, my copies of Chobits and the second half of Cardcaptor Sakura arrived Saturday afternoon. I didn't actually open the box until I got home from work on Sunday morning. That is what I call "will power".

Friday evening I awoke with some bad back pain, and a feeling in my other limbs which most closely resembled that feeling you get when you've got the flu and you've just decided that you're ready for death, even though you know that most of the time, people don't actually die of the flu. My arms and legs felt well-tenderized: besides the pain of having been used a lot the previous evening (double truck night! Whee!)

Power failure...more later.

* * *

Just as I finally got the computer shut down, the power came back on. Isn't that typical.

Anyway, as I was saying, my arms and legs felt well-tenderized: besides the typical muscle pain one gets from physical labor, my limbs also felt totally exhausted, as if I had only just finished working out. I hurt everywhere and didn't want to move, and after an hour and a half of self-argument I finally gave up and called in sick.


This is about how the discussion went:

Spirit: You know you have to work. You have a responsibility to go and "live by the sweat of your brow", you know.
Flesh: But I hurt everywhere.
Spirit: People have survived worse. If you're like this after a hard night's work, how would you have survived a Nazi concentration camp? Or the gulag?
Flesh: We don't have those things here. And I hurt everywhere.
Spirit: This isn't even the worst we've had it. Remember the time you had to go to work when you had severe gut malf? You managed.
Flesh: But I don't have to go tonight. You could call off.
Spirit: You've already done that too much as it is. They're going to get mad.
Flesh: Let 'em get mad! I hurt everywhere.
Spirit: I understand you hurt everywhere. I feel your pain. (Literally.) But look: it's just not good for either of us if I call off. We need a promotion, and we need to have good work performance in order even to be considered for one. Calling off whenever you don't feel good won't help matters at all.
Flesh: But everything hurts.

...and it went on, more or less like that, for an hour and a half. Finally I just gave up, and ended up feeling guilty all night long.

So much for "will power", though.

I know why my back hurt; it hurt because I was being stupid and forgetting that I'm not 20 years old anymore. At work we have this mobile work platform called a "Wave". It's made by Crown Lift Trucks ( and it's really useful for getting things down from the big steel shelves we have in the back room. Unfortunately, the "things" in question, in this case, were 50-lb bags of dog food, and I was stupidly bending almost double over the front of the thing to pick them up off the load platform in order to stack them on the shelves.

Bad lifting technique...and I felt it not 12 hours later. My back is still stiff and sore from that, so hopefully I have learned my lesson. I could have done that when I was 20, and probably when I was 30...but not now, when I am just 11 days away from being 39. As my boss said when I called in, "You're gettin' old, man!" I laughed ruefully and agreed with him....

Well, anyway, so Chobits:

Chobits is set in an alternate universe, present-day, where instead of being beige boxes, personal computers are androids called persocomms. The typical persocomm runs around $3000-$6000 depending on features and capabilities, and besides being able to do every task that a personal computer can do, they apparently can also be used as self-propelled sex toys and life partners. Their software is very sophisticated, to the point that an average persocomm seems to be able to pass the Turing Test ( ).

The main character, Hideki, is a farm boy from Hokkaido (the northernmost of Japan's three main islands). The nice thing about him being from there is that he doesn't speak in the Kansai dialect, which is more of a southwestern Japan thing. (I'm sure that Hokkaido has a different dialect of Japanese than that which is spoken in Tokyo, but I've never heard it remarked upon, so it must not be all that different--certainly not as different as Kansai is.) One reason it's nice is because I expect it'll keep the dub folks from giving him a hick accent. A Maine accent might be more appropriate, anyway.

In any event, he is 18 years old, and has moved to Tokyo in order to attend cram school, in order to pass college extrance exams and go to college. His family does not have a lot of money; a persocomm is far beyond his means--but on his way home from his first day of job-hunting, he spies a persocomm atop a pile of trash bags.

Trash Collection in Japan

In the spirit of Japanese culture, which emphasizes the group over the individual, trash collection is done from specified locations in residential neighborhoods rather than from individual houses or buildings. So, at the trash collection site in Hideki's new neighborhood, there is a pile of trash bags with a discarded persocomm atop it.

He picks the discarded unit up and takes it home, not noticing the magneto-optical disk which falls to the ground; the persocomm--which is in the shape of a very cute girl, wrapped in cloth strips--is very heavy, and it takes all his attention just to pick it up and carry it.

He gets the thing home, and literally gropes his way to the thing's "on" switch. When it starts, all it can say is "chii" and it mimics every move he makes.

It develops that this persocomm--which Hideki names "Chi"--has no operating system installed, and no software; but with the help of some friends he learns that the machine has a chunk of "protected memory". Any persocomm which tries to access this memory suffers a hard crash and must be restored from a backup.

This is the basic setup for a really interesting and entertaining series. So far I have seen eight of its 27 episodes, and I am forcing myself to watch only one DVD per day. (See above, "will power". Although it's not easy, it's easier than forcing myself to go to work when I feel as if I've been beaten with a stick all night.)

The opening theme song, "Let Me Be With You", is running through my head right now, driving me crazy. But, what the heck, at least it's a better song than Creamy Mami's song.

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