Shugo Chara Season 1, Episode 1 "A Guardian Character is Born!" Review

"Shugo Chara" gives a first impression of being another cute magical girl series complete with an insecure heroine, her pretty boy crush, her pretty boy rival, some magical MacGuffins that transform her into a fancier dressed version of herself, and mascots whose antics range from cute to annoying. That impression manages to reinforce itself throughout the first episode. Protagonist Amu Hinamori is regarded as a "cool and spicy" girl at school, but in reality it is only a mask for her timid self. Magical eggs arrive that help her change personalities and gain new powers needed to stop someone else with similar egg-induced powers from causing mischief. The first episode fails to explain the purpose of the eggs and the main story involving them as it hopes to hook viewers with its setting and magical elements.

The setting and Amu's magical eggs incorporate traits from older series. The campus itself resembles the one from "Revolutionary Girl Utena" complete with elite student council. The red, blue and green eggs are a throwback to the girls of "Magic Knight Rayearth." The Guardian Characters hatched from the eggs accompany and defend their "eggsperts" like the Stands in "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure." The transformation sequences borrow from "Cardcaptor Sakura" and Amu even makes a reference to that CLAMP series. Probably the only original aspect in the magical girl series is how the Guardian Characters can control or change the personality of its owner.

Even if the series feels like a copy of every other magical girl show, I am curious to watch other episodes at least to see how "Shugo Chara" will differentiate itself. Hopefully the main story will pan out soon. In the meantime, the series suddenly gave me a craving for an omelet.


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