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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shugo Chara!

A rather popular anime in Japan from 2008-2009, Shugo Chara!, is not your average magical girl series (but, it still is). The story revolves around Hinamori Amu, a 5th-6th grader at Seiyo Elementary who's struggling with a rather backwards problem—the kids at school think she's "cool and spicy," but alas, that is not her true self. After wishing to be her "would-be self" one night, she wakes up the next morning with three patterned eggs in her bed of three colors: red, blue, and green. The eggs hatch into Amu's guardian characters (shugo kyara): one a sporty, peppy cheerleader, one a soft-spoken artist, and the other a girly, housewife-like girl. When Amu is invited into the Guardians, her school's student council, things get interesting when they reveal their own guardian characters to her, and Amu is named the Joker, as the only member of the guardians with the ability to perform a character transformation (sort of a fusion with a guardian character) and purify X-eggs, children's eggs of the heart that have been tainted by sadness or by forced means. And so Amu and the Guardians fight Easter, an evil organization bent on finding the Embryo, the legendary egg that will make one wish come true.

Aside from a slightly repetitive storyline, the plot focuses on Amu's relationships with Tadase (the King, leader of the Guardians, and the boy Amu likes), and Ikuto (a loner, and member of Easter that constantly bugs Amu). Although rather obvious who Amu will end up with, the anime's romance is actually quite enticing, if you're into rather cute-ish love stories (XD). The fanbase takes very radical standpoints. Either you're a diehard Amuto fan (Amu x Iktuo) or a diehard Tadamu dan (Amu x Tadase), and there are much more Amuto fans, much to my dismay. Yes, I am a Tadamu fan. In fact, Tadase is my favorite anime character. But anyway...

Overall, the manga is much much better than the anime. After season one, the anime strays very far from the manga and gets extremely repetitive. I suggest reading the manga if you were to dive into this series. It really is a good series, combining elements of magical girl, innocent romance, comedy, and a pretty good storyline (the whole concept is really great though). I would rate the anime's first season a 7/10, the second season, Shugo Chara Doki!!, a 5/10, and the manga a 9/10 (but I'm kinda biased). The theme songs are extremely poppy, and all are done by Hello!Project units formed specifically for the purpose of the anime. All of the endings are by Buono!, a 3-member H!P unit, and all of them are simply amazing in my opinion. I'm into the cute-pop songs though (although Buono! adds some rock), ahaha.

I recommend this manga series strongly. It ended, and is only about ten volumes long, so it's a quick read that is definitely worth it. 9/10.


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