[Manga Mondays] Shugo Chara!
Title: Shugo Chara!, aka My Guardian Characters
Author: Peach-Put (Story & Art)
Genres: Magical Girl, School Life, Slice of Life, Romance, Shoujo
Published: 2006 – 2009 (magazine)
Volumes: 12 [Complete]
Japanese Publisher: Nakayoshi (magazine); Kodansha (tankoubon format)
English Publisher: Formerly Del Ray Manga, currently Kodansha Comics USA
Available to Purchase in English?: Yes [Indigo / Amazon / Barnes & Noble]
Holy smokes it’s been more than 6 months since my last review! I thought I’d try to get back into the swing of these reviews, so this time around I’ve got a cute little series called Shugo Chara to introduce to you. ^_^v
Shugo Chara features elementary school student Amu Hinamori, and she’s the “cool and spicy” kid everyone admires from afar. However deep down she’s actually rather introverted and lacks confidence in herself. One night as she’s going to bed, Amu wishes that she could be “reborn” as her would-be self. In the morning Amu discovers three colored eggs near her bedside, and they soon hatch into her guardians: Ran, Miki and Su.
Ran (pink) represents Amu’s desire to be more confident, honest and sporty, and when Amu “character changes” with Ran she becomes more athletic. Miki (blue) symbolizes Amu’s wanting to be more focused, level-headed and creative; Amu’s character change with Miki often results in Amu becoming more artistic. Lastly is Su (green), and she represents Amu’s desire to be a more sensitive and caring individual, and to be a better homemaker; character changing with Su results in Amu gaining an increase in her “domestic skills” (cooking and cleaning). Later on another guardian egg is revealed, Diamond, but she only shows up during times of true crisis. It’s important to note that each guardian character represents an aspect of Amu’s “true self” – they are not just random personality changes.
Once Amu has her guardian characters by her side, she joins her school’s student council (called the Guardians, ha ha) where she learns that all the other members each have a guardian character of their own. However, Amu is the only person with more than one guardian egg.
Together the Guardians fight against the evil Easter company, who are searching for the all-powerful Embryo egg. This egg has the ability to grant its owner one single wish, so naturally a bunch of adults are running around looking for it. Nothing new there plot-wise unfortunately, but the holiday pun is amusing.
However as the Guardians are trying to beat Easter to the Embryo egg, they must also work together to purify any “X eggs” they come across. X eggs are other people’s guardian eggs which have become corrupted as a result of people not achieving their dreams. Amu and the other guardians must character change with their guardian egg(s) and cleanse any X eggs (or X characters) they find to help restore the individuals they meet.
This series is a slice of life-turned-magical-girl, but there’s also a romance element too. Amu, as young as she is, has two main love interests: the “King” (chair) of the student council Tadase Hotori, and Tadase’s childhood friend Ikuto Tsukiyomi, who is older and also (initially) working for Easter. Tadase is Amu’s age but Ikuto is a few years older, so you can see how squicky that latter relationship has the potential to get without me going into detail right?
Shugo Chara strikes me as a series geared more for younger readers (I’d say 13 and under might be the target demographic), but if you like a good love triangle or if you’re a sucker for anything magical girl, then this might be a title worth checking out. If you’re looking for more Shugo Chara, there is also three seasons of anime (titled Shugo Chara!, Shugo Chara! Doki ~ & Shugo Chara! Party! respectively) and a musical.
I was super into this series around 2009 when I was introduced to it by a close friend, even going as far as buying a couple of manga volumes when I was overseas in Japan. However it does get a little repetitive and honestly after awhile I was just watching for the love triangle. But as always, to each their own.
My Score: 7.5/10
Do I Recommend This Title?: Yes. It’s cute and there are lots of important messages and life lessons about getting older, discovering one’s “true self” and all that happy jabber jabber.