Life Lessons From Shugo Chara
While the concept of Shugo Chara is a Mahou Shoujo(magical girl) anime show, there are plenty of cute moments that make the show worth watching. It’ll make you laugh, make you cringe, but most importantly…it stays with you.
What’s it About?
Amu Hinamori is a student at Seiyo Elementary, where she has a reputation for being “cool and spicy”. However, her real personality is that of an extremely shy and easily intimidated girl. One night Amu makes a wish that she would have the courage to be reborn as her “would-be” self. The next morning Amu finds three brightly colored eggs on her bed. Each egg eventually hatches into a Guardian Character: Ran, Miki, and Su. Guardian Characters are angel-like beings that aid a person into becoming their “would-be” selves and fulfilling the person’s dreams.
The Guardian Characters accomplish this by giving encouragement and advice, but they can also temporarily change a person’s personality and abilities. With the Guardian Characters, Amu’s life becomes much more complex as she now struggles to deal with her new personalities and the Seiyo Elementary Guardians—a student council group where each member has their own Guardian Character—who recruits Amu to search for and seal the X Eggs and X Characters, corrupted forms of people’s dreams.
I found this series to be a breath of fresh air. As I mentioned earlier, there is a mirage of emotions that you’re going to feel when watching this anime.
The story moves along nicely early on, introducing us to the world and the characters while explaining origins and backstory. What was maybe the most surprising to me was the depth of the romance and relationships part of the story. Considering the ages of the characters, I was initially a little wary of watching. But I was surprised to find Amu to be a very complex character with a lot of emotional depth. She grows tremendously as a character from the beginning to the end of this season.
But it does have a nice message and some good romance. It’s not just about blasting away the enemy, it’s about a young girl’s confusion over her true self, something that a lot of people can probably identify with. It’s one of the best life lessons that Shugo Chara could teach us, and the anime shows it in tremendous ways.
What’s Wrong with It?
However, It’s not without its faults. One of the most glaring is the number of recap or filler episodes throughout the series. Stories that did nothing to advance the overall plot in any way. For filler, they were not bad stories and a lot of them did serve to let us get to know the series’s huge cast. But really the most annoying was the amount of it after the main plotline from the second half was concluded. It felt a bit anti-climatic and was disappointing to have to sit through 7-8 episodes before the season finally concluded with something involving the main storyline.
The cast is enormous. Normally I would say this is a major drawback but in this case, it really wasn’t. The key to the whole series is Amu and her guardians. For me, Amu has already moved into my favorite anime characters of all time. She is someone I think every girl (and boys too I think) will find something to relate to themselves. I think her internal insecurities and her outside persona and the struggle to be accepted by society yet still be true to yourself is something that will resonate with viewers. Her conflicted heart over her romantic feelings for various boys and her own lack of confidence over her own “true self” I believe will also strike a nerve. In a lot of ways, I think she is the most “real” anime character I’ve ever seen.
Conclusion for Shugo Chara!
Overall, it’s a good anime to watch. It’s been compared to great anime like Cardcaptor Sakura, and Sailor Moon, and while I wouldn’t go that far, it is definitely the best Mahou Shoujo anime in a while and it does have the appeal to span multiple ages (I’ve encountered fans from ages 10-30).
What did you think? Have you already seen this anime before? Let me know in the comments below!