Shugo Chara Overview:
In Shugo Chara, Amu is an ordinary girl but her classmates see her as having a cool and spicy personality. She just wants to be cute and normal and find the courage to confess to the Prince of the school, Tadase. After making a wish one night, she wakes up to find three eggs in her bed. When the eggs hatch, Amu’s life is going to change as the school Guardians know she’s got them and suddenly want her to become the Joker.
Shugo Chara Review:
In case you didn’t pick it up from the super shiny pink colour scheme or the overview, Shugo Chara is another magical girl series, though technically there are as many magical boys in this show as girls so we’ll leave that to the side for now. Essentially if you are up for transformation, ridiculous costumes, a monster of the week that mostly seems ineffectual but somehow helps our hero learn more about herself and others, before building to a massive overly emotional final battle, then Shugo Chara is the show for you.
In this version of the magical girl/kids with super powers story various young people have a guardian egg and for those with particularly strong dreams or wishes the eggs become visible and may hatch into guardian characters. The guardian characters can do a character change with their owner which gives them some power though they are still strictly human at that point.
For Amu, when she does a character change with Ran, she becomes very enthusiastic and becomes really good at sports (cheerleader). Going a further step, they might be able to do a character transformation where they get a full transformation sequence and then the powers get really over the top. By the way, don’t break the egg. Bad idea.
Though it probably wouldn’t be fair to simply leave it at that because even within the magical girl genre there’s quite a bit of variety. Shugo Chara manages to be one of those adorably sweet shows that has just enough actual drama and heartache to keep it from tipping into cavity territory. Mostly that is because of the two older characters in the cast, Ikuto and Utau. Even though they are still students, admittedly older than our fifth grade protagonists, they have enough of a tragic back story for to fill an entire young adult novel all on their own.
So rather than skipping all over the place with this I’m going to take a plus/minus approach to this show.
Pretty much every encounter between Amu and Ikuto is golden. Whether it is early in the story where Ikuto is strictly set up as the dangerous bad-boy, or later on where you start to see him as the stray cat, or further down the story where you realise he really is just a lonely teenager starved for actual relationships, his encounters with Amu really are the highlight of the show, and not just because his character change turns him into a cat boy and quite adorable with his ears out.
This relationship is enough to keep you going through the many episodes of this series (there’s 51 in the first series of Shugo Chara and then it just keeps going).
The rest of the guardians from the school (King, Queen, Jack, and Ace). While each of them get a moment at some point in the series, and the King, Tadase, is technically set up as Amu’s actual lover interest early on, to be perfectly honest I’m not sure these characters serve any point other than this show decided it wanted a team of 5 people.
For a large majority of the series the other guardians can’t do character transformations so their powers are pretty limited, and to be honest Tadase’s character change is incredibly annoying. Even after they can do character transformations, most of them aren’t overly helpful. Yaya in particular has the most ridiculous costume ever and her attack remains laughable.
I kind of get that Amu developed as a character through the support these guys gave her, but they could have easily given her one or two friends who would have served the same essential role and then they wouldn’t have had to keep coming up with excuses to make the rest of the cast relevant.
If you want something kid safe, this one is more or less a winner. While some of the themes around Ikuto are a bit more mature there is no foul language, no overt nudity (although a couple of the costumes are a little on the skimpy side), and the violence is fairly limited to magical attacks rather than weapons (with one or two exceptions).
Do not expect a complex storyline. The plot is strictly formulaic. At first the guardians are on a quest to find the embryo, some magical thingy that will apparently grant a wish. The evil company, Easter (not joking), is also trying to seek the embryo. Incidentally, both Ikuto and Utau are either working for or controlled by Easter for a fair amount of the series, as does a teacher who comes to the school.
The guardians have the genius plan of randomly running around and hoping they spot it (seriously, I don’t think ever come up with a better plan because they are strictly reactive in terms of seeking the thing) whereas Easter has the even more genius plan of corrupting other kid’s eggs and turning them into x eggs, which sends them on a rampage requiring them to be purified by Amu etc, etc.
Occasionally Easter comes up with plans in order to collect large number of heart’s eggs at once and are essentially ripping the dreams out of small children but seriously, their plans kind of remind me of most of the throw away villains from Sailor Moon. Some of the subplots fare better with Utau and Amu at one point swapping eggs and being forced to confront each other and their own weaknesses and Ikuto’s entire plot line is fairly interesting, but the overall story is as cookie cutter as they come in this genre.
There is some really good music in this series. Okay, the theme songs are catchy but fairly horrendous when you think about them but within the show itself you have Utau who is an idol and regularly performs. Because Easter runs an entertainment company there are quite a lot of episodes that feature performances from various bit characters. However, the true stand out would be Ikuto on the violin. It is no wonder Amu tracked that sound down in the park because it was beautiful.
It never really felt like there was much point in Amu having 3 and then 4 guardian characters. Admittedly, it was used as a plot point toward the end and early on it was showing that she didn’t have one clear dream but other than Ran, the other two guardians don’t get to do much, and the final one doesn’t come until very late into the show. It just felt like they could have done more with that.
A final plus to finish on, Amu is the kind of heroine I could get behind. While she tries really hard sometimes to be upbeat, most of the time she is full of self doubt and confusion. She doesn’t really get the guardian eggs or why she needs to fight and she certainly doesn’t understand her feelings for either Tadase or Ikuto.
I like that she is essentially a good person but she is a kid. She starts the story in the fifth grade and while her outer persona may be super cool sometimes, you never really forget how young she really is. Over the course of the series I came to really admire her because she didn’t run away from her problems (although she did occasionally sulk) but neither was she the super positive, we can do it, kind of protagonist that just kind of gets on your nerves after awhile.
Realistically, Shugo Chara is kind of average in every respect. It is completely watchable and if you are in to the genre it is very binge worthy, however it is also quickly forgettable save one or two minor plot lines. It is cute and adorable and if you want a show where love, friendship, and dreams will eventually win the day, it is well worth checking out.
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15 thoughts on “Shugo Chara Series Review”
Sometimes it’s just nice to have something cute and familiar.
Also, for some reason, I’ve always liked that unlock my heart gesture.
It’s kind of catchy, though when she makes theheart shape with her fingers, I still can’t imagine that actually working with real hands.
I watched this anime during my high school days. Definitely one of the magical girl series I enjoyed the most, aside from Sailor Moon. It was pretty entertaining, and it motivated me a lot to express my true self. I liked the character of Amu. She isn’t the type of mahou girl who is dependent on others’ views. She has a strong will as a young girl which made her character more engaging than other leads in the show.
The theme songs are cute. They really blend perfectly with the ambiance of the series.. and I couldn’t ask for more. 🙂
I never thought that Shugo Chara would be one of your watch list. I rarely see you making your thoughts on such cute-sy shoujo-feel anime like this, though you can talk about Sailor Moon as I’ve known you for liking Usagi and the squad. 🙂
Ones like this are a throwback to my younger days but this show I revisit periodically when I just need a dose of cute. I will admit though, the theme songs get stuck in my head and I go a little bit crazy because they are so obnoxiously cute.
Lately I’m willing to try out pretty much anything. I have honestly never watched a real Magical Girl type anime (not counting School-Live that I’m currently watching along with D’s blog, but I guess that’s technically not a series that falls into that category anyway). That said…I might watch this one at some point. As I said, I’m trying out different types of anime lately, abd the story for this sounds pretty okay I guess. Great review as always 😊
If you are going to try a real magical girl type anime, I’d have to recommend the original 1990’s Sailor Moon. Yeah, it will do your head in for an episode or two but by the third episode you’ll probably be humming the theme song. If you make it to the third season, you’ll find a really fantastic story waiting for you. At some point I will review all five seasons and the movies of Sailor Moon (seperately or the post will take forever) but I keep putting it off because I’m pretty sure it is mostly going to come out as an extended love letter.
I have heard a lot about Sailor Moon, and I know you are a big fan of it. It’s one of those classic Animeseries that I still haven’t gotten around too. But looking forward to those reviews if you finally manage to get around to them 😊
I’m thinking that might be a year end project or something similar. I really don’t want to be rushed when writing them.
No, I can really understand not wanting to rush this.😊 Looking forward to it, whenever yiu eventually publish it 😀
I used to love this show when I was still in elementary school. Somehow in a way it really gave me the motivation to do something.
It is a very motivating and up-beat kind of show.