This is a story about an elementary aged school girl named Hinamori Amu. She’s known as the cool girl, or the tough girl in her school because of her non-nonchalance and tough-guy attitude, but really, Amu is very different from her exterior. One day when she wakes up, there are three eggs in her bed, and one by one these eggs hatch into little guardian beings the represent who Amu would really like to be. Amu is recognized as a ‘character bearer’ and is asked to join an elite club at school called The Guardians, the members of which also have guardian beings of their own. As the plot progresses, Amu finds out that there is something or someone out there trying to take the dreams of children away and turn them into negative self-doubt, for some unknown and evil purpose. It is up to Amu, with the help of her new friends, to save the dreams of these kids and stop whoever is behind the attacks.
The basic premiss of the show is that all children have dreams and hopes and desires in regards to who they want to be when they grow up. Some may want to be really good at baking, some may want to be really good at art, some may just want to make other people happy. In the show these dreams are represented by eggs, which is nice in theory, I mean you give birth to this wish but don’t know what it is until it hatches into something. But I have to very honest, it’s only after watching two seasons of the show that I was able to stop cracking up at the whole egg idea (yes? yes.). To top it off there are these magical items in the show, a lock held by Amu, and a key held by one of her love interests, and these are called, wait for it…. the Humpty Lock. And the Dumpty Key. I laughed my way through the first ten episodes. I mean the episodes were good… but sometimes the execution was just ridiculous. Oh Japan, how I admire and love you.
Aside from some funnier elements of the show, the story was actually really well done. The plot, while dragging in some places (as do most in the magical girl genre.. what with the capturing and everything), was surprisingly well thought out and intricate compared to others in the genre. The show is basically playing with the idea of having a dream or a goal, or even an idealized version of yourself that you’d like to one day achieve. But of course, everyone has doubts and fears, especially when what they’re dreaming for is very important, and sometimes that fear or that lack of self-confidence can get the better of you and make that dream seem impossible. One of the main objectives in the show was that Amu cleanse all of the ‘x eggs’ or the eggs that were consumed by self-doubt. While this got a bit tedious by the second season, for the most part a little lesson about the human psyche was learned with each cleansing. Sometimes through the dialogue of the characters, sometimes just by observing the situation. This is coming to me at a time in my life when I’m also struggling with these issues, so I might be over-playing the whole ‘finding yourself’ theme.. but it’s good.
The characters were also well done. None of the characters were one dimensional… which can sometimes happen in animes. There was at least one episode devoted to developing each of the side characters to augment the personality they usually display. I won’t go too much into character development because one of the best things about these kinds of shows it the anticipation of wondering when certain things will happen, and the surprise when they throw you something from left field. If you’re familiar with manga and anime, the surprises won’t be entirely shocking, but if you’re not… they might be. And if you’re not I suggest you get into it!! If you are willing to go there, I don’t know what it is, but the Japanese are some of the best when it comes to emotional turmoil, both romantically and not. Anime/ manga or tv drama, it is definitely something to experience.
But yes. All of the characters are pretty strong, each in their own way. And what I enjoy about Amu (in terms of personal strength) is that when the show opens she has this tough, ‘strong’ exterior that she almost hides behind, and many people might consider that exterior to be true strength, but as the show progresses she finds a new kind of strength. If I were to relate Shugo Chara! to anime’s that have come before it, I’d say that it’s a combination of Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. It’s like Sailor Moon because of the purifying souls idea, and the team of helpers that can all transform, but unlike Sailor Moon, Amu is very self-confident and doesn’t rely on some guy to fight her battles, nor does she enter into any unhealthy relationships. And it’s like Cardcaptors because the show is really about personal development and inner strength, but there it more magic and transforming than Cardcaptors.
So again, though some parts of the show might be hard to swallow at first, if you stick with it you’ll be rewarded with cute story about personal strength!
And just to clarify, the Guardian Characters aren’t technically faeries, but they look close enough… and some people could say that faeries are a representation of your hopes or wishes… and fairies are mentioned in the story!!!
Here’s the intro I watched the whole thing on crunchyroll.com. No this hasn’t been officially dubbed in English yet. Yes the manga (where the story originated) may be obtained and read in English.