Nanase Ohkawa Interview – Newtype USA – Chobits (March/2003)

CLAMP consists of manga artists Satsuki Igarashi, Nanase Ohkawa, Mick Nekoi and Mokona Apapa. Their works are very popular, and include Card Captor Sakura, ANGELIC LAYER, Wish, X, and of course, Chobits.

Is Hideki unique among CLAMP characters?

Please tell us about how you decided on the concept of Chobits.

Ohkawa: A long time ago, we [CLAMP members] thought it would be funny if a PC had its own personality. When we first had the thought, MS-DOS was still a new thing and the screen looked ugly. A while later we got the idea of doing a cute, talking computer.

When did you have the idea of a humanoid computer?

Ohkawa: Right from the start we wanted our PC to be humanoid and cute.

So you made a girl PC, making Chobits a “boy lives with mysterious girl” show.

Ohkawa: Yes, because I like those kinds of stories and games. I wanted to write that kind of story at least once. The female characters in Chobits are typical cute girls. You have your cute young girls, your active mature women and your girl with a gentle and warm soul. Originally, I’d wanted to have a childhood friend for Hideki, but I couldn’t. So parts of my idea for his childhood friend were applied to Yumi, like having big breasts. Oh, and I also really wanted a character who wears glasses. Actually, the childhood friend was supposed to wear glasses, but after ditching her, we were left without any glasses-wearing characters! I regret that. I should have put glasses on someone (laughs).

In the manga, Hideki said Chii was “like a girl Doraemon.” Some people might read that line as being some sort of criticism. What do you think about that?

Ohkawa: I don’t agree. For example – and this is just my opinion – but I think that boy characters done by women end up acquiring some female traits. You can’t help but feel “if he were only a bit more … ” whatever. It’s impossible for men to understand what a woman’s ideal man is. By the same token, only men can fully understand the way they wish they could be. I read this in a book somewhere, but it seems to have something to do with differences between the minds and bodies of males and females. That’s why I do Hideki the way I do: because I’m a woman. He’s definitely a female creation. He’s pure and simple. The director said the same thing: Hideki’s very pure. We also made like that because he’s Chii’s partner, and she’s pure, too. It’s rare for us to do characters like this. Notable exceptions are Sakura from Card Captor Sakura and Kohaku from Wish. They’re pure like Hideki (laughs).

Anime that girls won’t get embarrassed about

What was your role in converting the manga to anime?

Ohkawa: First off, Director Asaka asked us to make a more detailed setting for the anime. We wrote the script for Episode 1, and we also wrote the last episode.[1] I didn’t really join the anime project as a member of the staff, unlike for Card Captor Sakura. I’m just too busy to be involved in an anime project right now. Time is very limited when you have to draw weekly.

How did you change the setting?

Ohkawa: Because the TV anime started at the same time the students start the new school year in Japan [in April], the first episode starts when Hideki moves to Tokyo to enroll in a school to prepare for the college entrance exam. That’s different from the manga. Oh, and Hiromu’s home changed, as did the relationship between he and Minoru. Yumi is different from her manga counterpart as well.

Did the director have any specific requests?

Ohkawa: Just that it’s sort of sad when anime becomes more like porn, so he didn’t want that. We agreed completely on that, and there wasn’t anything else in particular. As for the illustrations, we agreed with the director that we should have sexual realism but not eroticism per se. We wanted an anime that girls won’t get embarrassed about.



[1] Although this is written in the third person, only Ohkawa is known for having working in the Chobits anime. In addition, although it says here that Ohkawa wrote the script for the last episode, it was actually written by Go☆Tamai.



Interview published in Newtype USA, vol. 3 n.2, March 2003. Available at