Shugo Chara!

sort

Reviews

therik's avatar By therik on Jun 27, 2009

Story

I have absolutely no business liking Shugo Chara!. The series is aimed primarily at an audience with approximately half my age and precisely double my X-chromosomes, and at no point does it betray its target market by veering wildly off the well-trodden mahou shoujo path. As such, the fact that the show found a place deep with in my heart - somewhere between ice-cold beer and mid-week football - is the result of either luck or utter, blinding awesomeness. And I don't believe in luck.

It would serve this review well to point out that the series' allure is not down to it resonating with the mature sections of my cranium or gratifying the unabashedly masculine reaches of my brain. Instead, Shugo Chara! makes a simple but irresistible appeal to my inner child, who is only too happy to leap out at the first mention of the show, and greedily guzzle down its contents like they were vanilla milkshake. There's nothing clever or considered about the plot, the characters or the humour and yet this anime makes me gasp, smile and chuckle just as much as any other you could care to mention.

It may seem an odd thing to highlight, particularly for what is essentially a textbook mahou shoujo romp, but Shugo Chara!'s ability to present action scenes is worthy of praise. Although there are no enormous robots or fancy martial arts moves to be found in the traditional "transform and battle" sequences, the series borrows from the library of shounen tropes in order to augment its combat. As well as a powerful sense of timing, Shugo Chara! has a habit of establishing unspoken rules on how battles will proceed and what capabilities the characters have before breaking said rules with such panache and glee that the only natural reaction is a dropped jaw, clenched fist, and silent mouthing of the word "awesome".

But the fighting is not even Shugo Chara!'s strongest point. Perhaps what makes the show so endearing is the irresistible and irremovable feelgood atmosphere which pervades its every nook and cranny. Of course the anime is every bit as cute and lively as you would expect but it also has an unerring ability to deliver some fantastic moments of emotion. The series is, after all, about attaining one's dreams, and - while avoiding the saccharine sweetness which could have easily consumed it - Shugo Chara! offers many heartwarming moments, which more often than not form a hugely satisfying conclusion to the episode.

Equally ubiquitous is the humour, which tends to make the show an absolute blast to watch. Although many of the jokes are repetitive, there is enough genuine wit on display to ensure at least one honest chuckle per episode. Surprisingly for a show that isn't primarily a comedy, Shugo Chara! has a habit of springing jokes at the most unexpected times, including during serious story moments and intense fights. Unwelcome though this comic intrusion may seem, more often than not it serves as a reminder that this show's primary aim is simple, commendable, and can be summed up just three words: to have fun. There is drama and there is action, but the anime's often rambunctious energy is spent wisely, and it never loses sight of this goal.


Animation

The animation is nothing you won't have seen many times before, but to call it competent would be an understatement. Movement is sleek, details are respected and the character transformation scenes are as delightful as you could expect. The show also makes use of quirky but amusing facial faults to support and enhance much of the humour.

Where Shugo Chara! truly shines however, is its bewitching sense of style. The character designs are absolutely exceptional and strong enough to draw attention to the anime by themselves. Equally, the costumes are verging on perfect. Every character dresses in a believable but eye-catchingly stylish way, in particular the heroine, Amu Hinamori, whose razor-sharp punk-goth fashion sense supplements her character marvellously. Needless to say, the outfits which she transforms into are similarly well-designed, even if the frilly green tulip dress of Amulet Clover doesn't suit her quite so well as the other costumes.


Sound

The anime may not present the most significant acting challenge imaginable, but this shouldn't detract from the fact that all characters are voiced with skill and dynamism. Of note is Yuichi Nakamura's performance as Ikuto Tsukiyomi, with his smooth, casual tones fitting the enigmatic bishounen to a tee. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that - with this being a shoujo series full of floating fairy-type characters - there are some voices which will grate or possibly even annoy. Precisely how many will depend on individual tolerance levels, but even the most venomously anti-kawaii anime fan should be able to put up with these as just a minor irritant.

When it comes to OPs and EDs, Shugo Chara! is nothing if not consistent, with each of the tracks being the work of j-pop outfit Buono!. The fact that I enjoyed all six and still feel a burning urge to dance to them on occasion should be taken with a pinch of salt, as my taste in music is not to be trusted. More objectively, however, the tunes fit the mood of the show like a glove, matching its liveliness and pep with sugary sweet cute pop and a couple of slightly edgier tracks which make good use of the electric guitar. The background music is just as appropriate, and contains a couple of pleasant numbers which help to deliver the series' more heartwarming moments. In addition, there are a few insert songs (as one of the characters is a professional singer) which are worth listening to in their own right and make for a seamless, believable addition to the show's world.


Characters

Because each of the principle characters has at least one "shugo chara" floating around them at all times, it's unfortunate but unsurprising that some members of the cast lack development or complexity. Around half of the shugo charas are entirely one-dimensional, and most of their lines can be accurately predicted some ten minutes in advance. Although this proves frustrating on occasion, they represent but small blemishes on an otherwise colourful and interesting cast.

In addition to her fantastic dress sense, Amu boasts a great personality, which makes her fun to watch and enjoyable to empathise with. On the outside she's "cool and spicy": indifferent, independent and widely respected. On the inside, she's excitable, frequently lovestruck and everything else a magical girl should be. Rather than making her seem schizophrenic, this dichotomy paves the way for humourous and intriguing interactions while also turning her into a compelling and sympathetic figure. However, when it comes to personality traits, even Amu takes a backseat to the smouldering Ikuto, whose sexual magnetism borders on the overwhelming, filling scene after scene with shivering emotional intensity. Although the show never really takes a turn for the mature, Ikuto embodies male sensuality and - almost inevitably - engages in a scene of what can only be described as "metaphorical intercourse". His appearance and demeanour may be hard to look past, but beyond that lies a personality brimming with mystery and intrigue, further adding to his appeal.

The remainder of the protagonists are, almost without exception, pleasant to be around and fun characters in their own right. From Amu's family - comprising an attention-hogging baby sister and hilariously indulgent parents - to her allies - who each have a distinct and colourful personality - there's always room for great interactions and fulfilling developments.

8.5/10 story
8.5/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
9/10 overall
RiceBunneh's avatar By RiceBunneh on Dec 21, 2009

I'll have to admit, I do fall for the cutsey parts of this anime, but the constant replays of the same scenes make it kinda lame.  Even though the UNLOCK HEART part was cool at first, it kind of got a bit annoying, (not to offend any pokemon fans) like jesse and james' catchy poem they say before they get blown off somewhere in shabalaba land.  Anyhow, the whole egg portraying the your inner child's soul is cute, and interesting.  The reason I continue watching this cutesy anime of amateur love is luckily from the artists' awesome creations of the CUTE LITTLE SHUGO CHARAS.  Nonetheless, I do enjoy the varied adventures Ayu goes on, especially Ami's cute wannabe Utau sing-along songs.  The thing that keeps me on edge is the sexual attraction Ikuto always emits.  I MEAN COME ON GUYS, not to be hentai or anything, but that episode where he was JUST ABOUT TO "PUT HIS KEY INTO THE HOLE," and Ayu screaming "NO IM SCARED," LOL seriously; ( I know I have a sick mind if you know what I'm talking about), but I TOTALLY thought that had some sexual representation.  Anyhow, I am interested in what the hell this dam embryo looks like, and what everyone's wish is.  However, i did feel the characters had interesting aspects.  ESPECIALLY NADESHIKO; WHAT....A....SHOCKER...  and of course, Tadase.  At least he isn't just A GOODY TOOSHOO.  I loved his outburst of his wannbe king-a-like.  Other than that, I find it interesting how Ayu battles her inner self image and tries to find her true identity through her shugo charas.  If your looking for some nice, school like stories and innocent romance, with cute adventures and chibi figures, as well as subtexual representations; shugo chara is definitely for you. :)

7.5/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
9/10 characters
8/10 overall
joyfumoffu's avatar By joyfumoffu on Feb 2, 2010

i had wanted to watch this anime but i had put it off for some time till i got a crunchyroll account and began watching it there, so shugo chara! is the best out of all the 3 seasons! i loved the first and second the third just sucks... but shugo chara is so interesting at first i thought it would be lame and boring but i loved right off .. i have watched and rewatched most episode. if you rewatch episodes you know the shows rocks! so i am saying that you have to give it a try and watch it! the plot line is very interesting sometimes you get bored but they make up with the action packed episodes that follow! :)

9/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall
Kuroikarasu's avatar By Kuroikarasu on Jan 25, 2012

This anime was great! It's good for all ages. This is the right anime for people who like comedy school life and slight romance. It has a good storyline and such a good plot twist. I suggest you should watch.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
WittyKatts's avatar By WittyKatts on Aug 16, 2010

Story:

I absolutely loved the story. I don't particurally like Magical Girl type animes, but this is the exception. At the beginning Amu is like any other girl: she wants to fit in and be cool. It's something anybody can relate to, which is definitely a plus. At the beginning, Amu is just a girl who acts cool, but as the series progresses, you get to see how she really is. ^^ There are a lot of events, and a lot of characters in this series.

Animation:

There is nothing particurally bad about the animation. It's rather good actually, with smooth movents. Overall, the animation is great.

Sound:

The voice acting was good. I'm not very good at judging voice acting, but I'm pretty sure that this was considered good. xD I love the opening and ending themes, as they were all absolutely adorable in my opinion. I especially liked "Honto no Jibun" for some reason. Aside from the opening and ending themes, the songs that Utau Hoshina sang were good too. I especially liked "Meikyu Butterfly". I didn't like it at first, but suddenly I just started loving it. Very good song. :)

Characters:

I absolutely loved all the characters. Amu was just adorable after her cool tude was gone, Tadase is your typical shota boy, and I absolutely love him, but my favorite boy in the series was Ikuto. You gotta love your cat boy, nya! xD Ikuto is a very mysterious character, and acts just like a cat. Utau, a 14 year old singer, got on my nerves at first with her almost indifferent attitude, but after finding out about who she loved, my opinion of her changed...completely. xD I love Amus' charas too, Ran, Miki, and Su. The always cheerful Ran, the mature Miki, and the happy go lucky Su, were all adorable. The characters were great all in all. ^^

Overall:

Great anime. Very cute, and I recommend it to anyone who likes shoujo. :)

8/10 story
10/10 animation
9/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall