Sunday, 6 May 2012

DVD review #1: Shugo Chara (to ep 31)

Before you wonder whether you're on the right site, don't panic! This is still a book review blog. It's turning into a dvd review blog too, just because I watch so many and it frees up space in my Nayu's News posts. 
There will be spoilers in dvd reviews. Just so I can possibly have someone understand why I'm so flabberghasted at particular plot changes. Please do comment if you enjoy the same dvds!

Shugo Chara Season 1 up to episode 30

 This week has been pretty exciting, as I made good progress watching Shugo Chara Season 1. Season 1 is a misnomer, because there are 51 episodes, and the way chapter 26 ends and 27 starts with a new opening tune it might as well be 2 individual seasons. But it isn't, so it remains season 1 for all 51 episodes.

Here's a brief summary I've found on Anime News Network
Every child has an egg in their heart, unseen at first, an egg with the would-be self of their dreams. Hinamori Amu, part of a group called the Guardians, protect those eggs from becoming x-eggs, eggs filled with resentment and resignation that gives children troubles. Amu's job is to capture and restore x-eggs to their orginal form. She does this with the help of her three Shugo Chara (guardian characters or her would be selves), Ran, Miki and Su. Thanks to them she can change her character and abilities, and so fight against the mysterious organization Easter which aim is to find a special egg called Embryo using the x-eggs.

To say I love this anime is an understatement. I adore it! It's on a level with Winx, which is really saying something. The moment I started watching it I just knew it was for me. (I had seen a clip before I bought it). 
 (Amu, the heroine with Ran (red, sporty chara), Miki (blue artistic chara) & Su (Green, cooking & all things cute chara) 
The graphics are predominantly bright and cheery, which makes a nice companion to parts in the story that are less cheerful. The charas can provide Amu (and anyone else with charas) support by changing their character - something about the character changes: for Amu it's her hair slide which changes to the suit of cards each chara represents. There are character transformations (in line with other Magical Girl genre anime shows). These are incredible. I love the video sequences in the transformations, and the music. It's so easy to imagine being Amu and merging with her Chara's.

Changing with Ran - Amulet Heart
This is the first transformation which Amu experiences. Ran brings out Amu's sporty side. It provides her with great atheletic skills to outsmart enemies. In partial changes Ran gives Amu wings on her shoes to help her fly in the air - with an acommpanied 'Hop, Step, Jump'. It's in Amulet Heart mode that Amu can neutralise X-eggs, turning them back into chara eggs so their owner can pursue their dreams. The video sequence for that is very wow! Only recently in the episodes I've been watching has Amu received a staff to help with her attacks. Just as when she first transformed, initally she doesn't have a clue what to do. I suspect she'll learn more tricks with it soon.

Over the next few reviews I will put the spotlight on the other charas Amu changes with. I'm trying to keep this a reasonable length without getting carried away with all the detail that's involved in Shugo Chara. 

Why I love Shugo Chara - the messages conveyed to the viewer
One of the biggest reasons I like Shugo Chara beside the transformations, charas & graphics, is the focus on people improving themselves, always striving to do their best. In the beginning Amu is at risk from having her own charas disappear because she doesn't believe in them. She is understandably confused by everything that happens, and doesn't 100% enjoy the world she finds herself in. Slowly she becomes happier and her confidence increases as she helps protect other charas. When the episode focuses on a character who endures the process of their chara egg turning into an x-egg, Amu and her fellow guardians are usually on call to help battle against the character's negative thoughts into positive ones. The observations are really insightful, and are very relevant to all viewers. 

Plot changes so far - episode 30

It was a huge surprise to discover Nadeshiko was actually a guy, whose family requires he lives as a girl while learning traditional Japanese dance. I was quite bowled over by that.  More bowled over than discovering that Ikuto and Utau are siblings. 
(not seeing the similarity) 
I miss Nadeshiko - just as Amu is now missing her/him (Amu doesn't know the truth - all she knows is Nadeshiko is studying abroad). Amu is struggling a bit with herself, but something about her is changing because another chara egg appeared - the diamand chara. Such a shame it became an x-egg and has now bonded with Utao
(Utao (right) & Da) 

Tonight I'm watching some more Shugo Chara. I hope that the new Jack guardian gets revealed as the bad person he is - he's an Easter Agent! Slowly the new Queen guardian is thawing out. I honestly thought she might become the joker, just because Rima's character was more like Amu's when the series first started - before Amu had her charas and was more standoffish to protect herself from looking stupid.
I'm sad that Amu won't be united with her tainted egg for many, many episodes (yes, bad me I lookd this up online, such was the horror of Amu not having her fourth and rightful egg). But I do like the little box she has to keep her chara trio in when she's out and about. 
It took me over 30 minutes to find this image. It seems to be hard to find one of Amu with her bag! Below is Amu in her school outfit minus the bag.

I hope you've enjoyed today's review, I'm hoping to stick to a similar style for all DVD reviews. Stay tuned - there will be more Shugo Chara  soon!

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