Shugo Chara Review: What is Your Would-be Self?

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Shugo Chara – しゅごキャラ

Main Cast

Kanae Itō as Amu Hinamori

Atsushi Abe as Kūkai Sōma

Junji Majima as Yū Nikaido

Mitsuki Saiga as Kairi Sanjou

Nana Mizuki as Utau Hoshina

Reiko Takagi as Tadase Hotori

Rio Natsuki as Yukari Sanjō

Saeko Chiba as Nadeshiko Fujisaki

Sayuri Yahagi as Rima Mashiro

Tomoko Nakamura as Yaya Yuiki

Yūichi Nakamura as Ikuto Tsukiyomi

Saeko Chiba as Nagihiko Fujisaki

Akemi Kanda as Lulu De Morcerf

Guardian (Shugo Chara) Cast

Aki Toyosaki as Su

Hiromi Konno as Il

Hiroyuki Yoshino as Daichi

Hyo-sei as El

Kana Asumi as Ran

Kanae Itō as Dia

Kaya Miyake as Kiseki

Kimiko Koyama as Pepe

Miyuki Sawashiro as Yoru

Nanae Katou as Miki

Nobuhiko Okamoto as Musashi

Ryoka Yuzuki as Temari

Sayaka Narita as Kusu Kusu

Kouki Miyata as Rhythm

Ryoka Yuzuki as Nana

Information

Age: All Ages

Themes: Mahou Shoujo, Romance, Comedy

Season 1 – Shugo Chara

1st Opening Sequence: Kokoro no Tamago by Buono!

2nd Opening Sequence: Minna Daisuki by Buono!

1st Ending Sequence: Honto no Jibun by Buono!

2nd Ending Sequence: Renai ♥ Rider by Buono!

3rd Ending Sequence: Kiss Kiss Kiss by Buono!

4th Ending Sequence: Gachinko de Ikou! by Buono!

Season 2 – Shugo Chara Doki

1st Opening Sequence: Minna no Tamago by Shugo Chara Egg!

2nd Opening Sequence: Shugo! Shugo! by Shugo Chara Egg!

3rd Opening Sequence: Omakase♪Guardians by Guardians4

4th Opening Sequence: School Days by Guardians4

1st Ending Sequence: Rottara Rottara by Buono!

2nd Ending Sequence: co・no・mi・chi by Buono!

3rd Ending Sequence: MY BOY by Buono!

4th Ending Sequence: Take It Easy! by Buono!

5th Ending Sequence: Honto no Jibun by Buono!

Season 3 – Shugo Chara! Party!

1st Opening Sequence: Party Time! by Guardians4

2nd Opening Sequence: Going On! by Guardians4

1st Ending Sequence: Bravo! Bravo! by Buono

2nd Ending Sequence: Our Songs by Buono

Number of Episodes:

Shugo Chara – 25 Episodes,

Shugo Chara Doki – 51 Episodes

Shugo Chara! Party! – 25 Episode

Synopsis

Marimo_and_her_X-EggThis anime follows a young girl called Amu Hinamori, who has a fiery ‘cool and spicy’ personality that is well known by her peers and parents. However under that tough exterior she is just a shy girly girl who wants to wear frilly things and like cute things but is too introverted to act how she wants. One day she ‘gives birth’ to 3 different Shugo Chara each having a different unique personality to who Amu wants to be and they can change her character to be exactly like the Shugo Chara that changed her. At school she joins a group of people called the Guardians who, like her, all have their own Shugo Chara. They’re in a battle against an evil organisation called ‘Easter’ who wants to turn unborn Shugo Chara eggs into X-eggs. If this happen it would cause the child with the egg depression and hopelessness. Amu can turn the X-eggs back to normal and so becomes a vital part of the team. They slowly discover why ‘Easter’ is doing this and the people behind ‘Easter’. They also meet new people, make new friends and discover more about themselves along the way.

Review

With a target audience much younger than me, I wondered to myself how it became one of my top five favourite series. Though after remembering what was good about the series and weighing that up against the few downfalls, the answer came easily. It was a series that made you think a bit for yourself, taught you not to give up on your dreams and to believe in yourself. Which I think was the message they wanted to give, good values for us all to follow.

This anime is a Mahou Shoujo through and through with no real ‘darkness’ behind the series. It’s a very cheery and optimistic anime with a simple theme. Which gives away the target audience as those young enough to still have the naivety to dream about what they want to be, something that most of us lose when we become adults and step into the ‘real world’. Or maybe I say that because I lost the will to follow my dreams long ago and am now settled into a daily routine of work, eat and sleep. Though that’s not to say I don’t enjoy my job, it’s only to say perhaps I saw ‘sense’ a little too early in my life and went for an achievable career path rather than follow my dreams and kept aiming to become something I wasn’t going to become.

So why did I just suddenly go on a rant about how I gave up on my dreams ? Well, that’s because it’s the first reason why I fell in love with this anime as it reminded of my dreams. This anime talked a lot about keeping your dreams alive as a child and it took me back years ago and I asked myself, why didn’t I keep going? Although the anime agreed that most adults lose their dreams, the sense of optimism made me think otherwise. The Shugo Chara were the main demonstration of that which showed you who you want to be, though it may clash with your current personality, it is ultimately a guide in the right direction. The anime’s feel good sensation pulls people back from misery, sure there are bits of darkness that involved side characters here and there, but they ended well and then left a warm feeling inside.

shugo-chara-start-dokiSpeaking about the Shugo Chara now, I quite liked them as a different take on the usual cute little animal that follows a Mahou Shoujo around, e.g. Kero from Cardcaptors, Kyubey from Puella (never seen it), Luna from Sailor Moon etc. Except the Shugo Chara were everywhere and played a vital role in relation to the characters they were with. I found that none of the characters really fell into any overused stereotype due to the Shugo Chara mixing up their personalities frequently which made things more interesting.

The anime was colourful, lively and as you can tell by the Shugo Chara, cute too. Backed with childlike optimism, heart-warming emotion and satisfying feel good sensations, the anime definitely was one I looked forward to watching. This would be what I deem to be the anime’s strong point that dragged my down to earth self into it. The anime also rarely got serious and even then sometimes a bit of light-hearted comedy, although perhaps unwanted, broke the tension and reminded everyone that it’s just a fun loving show. And speaking of the comedy, I thought it was all quite cute, sometimes a bit old but overall it still left a smile on my face, probably because of the execution of the jokes as they seemed to come from nowhere.

The fighting is another area I can comment on. They weren’t overly emphasised with flashy moves or attacks, but more about talking reason into the enemy. The so called X egg that the battles were usually against was what happened to someone’s egg when they give up on their dreams. So reasoning with the egg and the person became as important as anything else that happened in the battle. I really liked that part as I’m not a particular fan of flashy moves, although I don’t mind it, but what I really like are battles fought with words. I always think that if you can win a battle before you get to the fighting, that shows real skill and power. After healing the person’s despair, there was always the textbook Mahou Shoujo ‘spell’ that made everything return to normal, and which Shoujo fan doesn’t love that.

Art

ShugoCharaRAW-29_xvid_001The art was very good in both the anime and manga, with typical bright shoujo-esque colours that fit the enthusiasm of the series. The animation production was handled by Satelight which was actually a surprise to me because I only recently knew about them from being the animation producers of Fairy Tail. However they were involved in huge projects before and took charge of many big names such as AKB0048 (never seen it). A big Shoujo series they were a part of is Fresh Pretty Cure, so needless to say the animation for Shugo Chara was extremely good. Everything was crisp, clean and smooth and made the already colourful story of Shugo Chara more so. Being a fan of peach pit before Shugo Chara, I had nothing to complain about. I loved the always fantastic character and costume designs, I am huge fan of Rozen Maiden if you were wondering, and yes looking forward to the new season. Didn’t particularly like DearS but I overlooked that. Their designs are always gorgeous and stylish, especially for Utau, who was probably my favourite character. Suppose the only outfit design I didn’t like was Clover’s character transformation costume, was too puffy for me… Apart from that, everything was well designed and thought out. Cute when it’s supposed to be, and graceful when it’s supposed to be, but always with a good sense of style.

Music

The majority of the OPs, EDs and BGM were all upbeat and if I had to give it a characteristic, it’d be ‘happy go lucky’. A few broke away from the norm such as my favourite ED theme of the series ‘My Boy’ and the battle theme BGM, which is a variation of the main tune they used for a lot of their BGMs but added a lot of tension and urgency to the tune. All the OPs were the cheery type of J-pop that fit too well with the liveliness of the anime. There were plenty of insert songs seeing as we have an idol pop star in the story in the form of Utau Hoshina voiced by the very accomplished Nana Mizuki. I liked many of her songs before this and her voice was a nice fit for an idol, as you would expect. I became more of a fan of hers because of her insert songs with Utau, still remembered that I really liked Black Diamond and My Heartful Song.

Characters

The show included a huge variety in its cast, even a cross dressing boy, take a guess who, you probably won’t get it, though there weren’t that many girls. Amu had an interesting personality, I think anyone with three Shugo Chara and somewhat of an identity crisis would be considered interesting and that made way for a lot of character development. There was always someone with a less than happy back-story that the main character helps out and ‘guide’ them right eventually. Also being a quintessential shoujo there was of course the ubiquitous love interests, each brought their own uniqueness for the heroine to consider e.g. the ‘bad boy’, the ‘prince’, a samurai, oddly enough, etc… Each character had their own Shugo chara adding an ‘extra’ layer of personality and insecurities that developed as the anime progressed. Every character, being as young as they are, were all interesting on their own, with their quirks that were fleshed out and the endless self discovery. The story followed their discovery throughout to a point where we were connected enough to sympathise with them, understood them enough that gave the characters a very ‘3D’ feel.

Shugo

The Shugo Chara themselves never get developed though. But that’s for obvious reasons, they’re supposed to be already developed, one dimensional and only offering one perspective of what the person can become. If they were to gain multiple opinions and develop character wise, I don’t think they’d be what they’re supposed to be.

The villains weren’t typical extravagantly designed Shoujo villains either, they were a bunch of normal corporate people from a ‘normal’ corporation named ‘Easter’. And you later find out that the reason behind everything and the person behind it isn’t what you would have thought at the very start.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t find much wrong with this series, it was well paced, well storylined, well designed and had a simple but effective concept. All the characters were pretty unique and developed well where it was rare that someone was standing still for too long. The series was fun and a joy to watch. If I have anything to complain about it would be how the series fell flat after the first season, the second and third seasons were filled with fillers.

The first season was amazing, it had a good story and it drew me into Shugo Chara. The second and third seasons were reasons why I didn’t remember to review it until now, because they were pretty bad. Second season wasn’t as bad as the third, it still had some sort of story and introduced a new character that I didn’t mind that much in Lulu.

However it fell completely apart in season three, they even introduced some weird ‘Shugo Chara! Puchi! Pucchi!’ section. It featured Ran, Miki and Su, Amu’s three Shugo Chara, in some weird comic strip type show that made me think they changed their target audience to toddlers… It was kinda cute, but in a boring way that added nothing to the series. The cosplaying at the start of every episode was pretty mediocre too. All that may have appealed to a much younger audience but to me it just made each ‘proper’ episode of the anime nonexistent as I skipped through the opening parts which took up a lot of the episode, not that it mattered as nothing really happened anyway.

500px-Shugo_Chara_Pucchi_PuchiThe only thing the third season was good for was having a laugh now and then. If I’m honest I can’t actually remember what it was all about. I just remembered them introducing an annoying little girl, don’t remember her name, though I’m bad with names so that’s not saying much. Despite that I am still very keen to recommend the series, but in hindsight you probably want to watch only the first and second seasons. If you’re still interested after the second, then give the third season a try, but believe me you’ll probably get bored. Oh and one more little thing that I wasn’t a big fan of was that the repetitive character transformation sequences were a bit long and played over and over again. I can forgive that though as it’s a Mahou Shoujo and that much is expected.

I still felt that this series inspired me to revisit some old dreams that I wanted to follow. Part of the reason I’m blogging is because I felt that I didn’t push my dream to become a novelist hard enough when I was young. So in a way I wouldn’t be blogging if I didn’t watch Shugo Chara. I thoroughly enjoyed this anime, the first and second seasons at least and found it a relaxing watch that would cheer me up whenever I needed it. Most importantly though, it reminded me that I shouldn’t give up on childhood dreams just because I’m an adult. That’s why it’s one of my top 5 anime. If you’re a fan of Shoujo or Mahou Shoujo, you need to give this a look, if you’re not this is probably a relaxing enough series to ease you into both genres. And if you ever lose your way on what you should be doing as you grow up, give this series another watch and see if it can inspire you the way it did me.

Rating:

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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8 Comments

  1. I like some fun and some cute characters etc. That is probably why I manage to watch until ep 10 and might still continue to watch the series. The charcters are not the prettiest in the world and neither are they the smartest. It is a VERY shojo anime, (my cousin watched(he is a guy) and he felt botherline gay) so guys stay away!

    • Lucretia Arkwright

      Yeah definitely not something a normal guy would watch, probably too cutesy for them. Perhaps I’m biased on the art as I really like peach-pit but I still love the designs. I think I remember the first few episodes as just Amu changing x-eggs back to normal and it doesn’t get going on the story for a bit, so I’m glad to hear that you’ll keep watching.

  2. Jordan

    That was an informative and in depth review. Very nice! Sounds like a cute show, is it out on DVD anywhere that you know of?
    It’s funny because I gave up becoming a novelist long ago but now are still pursueing my dream to screenwrite. I figure even if it never happens, at least I can try. You should at least give it a go now that you have a job and can support yourself 🙂

    • Lucretia Arkwright

      Always out on DVD in Japan, unfortunately I don’t think it was ever released in English, all twelve volumes of the manga is if that interests you.

      And that is true, I really should give writing another go, but I keep finding myself too busy with the small amount of free time I have at the moment. Though I should free up in a few years when my workload goes down and I get more used to everything, so I suppose I’ll start fresh then. Now I’ll just do some blogging here and there.

  3. BeccaMurphy

    The third season really dragged it out and made it so boring. I wouldn’t recommend this anime. Great review though Lucretia!

    • Lucretia Arkwright

      Thanks for the compliment, much appreciated :), whilst I agree that the third season was really bad it’s a bit harsh to base a recommendation on one season of the anime. The third season can easily be skipped especially as it adds nothing to the series anyway.

  4. Good review Lucretia!

  5. I actually enjoyed the seasons 1 and 2, I loved the Ikuto arc in the series, It’s my fav. anime!!!! #1 shugo chara! >.<!

    for those who haven't seen it… it's Highly recommended!!

    Great review!

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