Shugo Chara! is a shoujo manga by PEACH-PIT, serialized in Nakayoshi from 2006 to 2010. Compiled in 12 volumes, it won the 2008 Kodansha Manga Award during its run. Shugo Chara! received its own anime adaptation that began in fall of 2007, available on CrunchyRoll under the accurate but somewhat cumbersome title My Guardian Characters. In addition to its success, it was also adapted into a musical in 2009.Amu Hinamori is a middle-school kid whose cool and cynical exterior has made her one of the most popular (and unapproachable) girls in school. Yet beneath this "Cool and Spicy" image lies a shy, clumsy and lovestruck girl who wishes that she had the confidence to express her true character.One night she prays to her "Guardian Spirits" for the strength to be more honest to herself, and is shocked when her prayers are answered by three magical eggs. These hatch into her three Shugo Chara, or Guardian Characters, each one representing a different facet of her hidden personality: her sporty and energetic side, her artistic side, and her domestic side. With the aid of her Guardian Characters, which can bring her buried personality traits to the surface (sometimes against her will), Amu slowly learns to embrace and accept her Hidden Depths.But Wait, There's More! Amu soon falls in with her school's "Guardians", an Absurdly Powerful Student Council whose four members each have their own Guardian Character. She discovers that her multiple Guardian Characters make her The Chosen One, able to transform into a Magical Girl with three different forms, one for each Guardian Character she has. With her new powers, she must hunt down the mysterious "Embryo" and battle against the agents of the Easter Company, who are creating Monsters Of The Week from her classmates' deepest insecurities.note Which has less of a focus in the manga than it does in the anime.
Aesop Amnesia: Averted during one of the last episodes of the second season: A noticeable amount of said season contained the aesop of telling somebody about your problems and believing that they would not make anything worse. Therefore, when the Guardians decide to infiltrate Dream Egg Land, they also decide to call their parents to tell them that they will be home much later tonight, rather than actually tell them what happened and ask for their assisstance... Except for the fact that Amu, having learned this aesop the hard way earlier, is hesitant to yet again not inform her family that something is wrong. She eventually does do it, but only after rationalizing that this time, her family might actually be in danger, unlike the incident involving Ikuto freeloading.
Air-Vent Passageway: Kiseki and Yoru pull off an escape this way in the Easter building in episode 81. Justified, since the Chara are small enough to fit in normal air ducts, and can fly to avoid making noise or being too heavy.
Alpha Bitch: Yamabuki Saaya, played for laughs, since when compared to Amu, she's nowhere as popular.
Ambition Is Evil: Averted constantly, consistently, and absolutely. Even with Gozen, it was less the fact that he was the CEO of a large company, but rather the emotional detatchment caused by it. This is shown fully when Hikaru decides to stay as head of the company, but, this time, starts becoming more honest about it.
Annoying Younger Sibling: Played straight in a number of respects with Ami, but also subverted: Amu can and indeed sometimes wants to take care of her well, but Ami's boisterousness, as well as their parents' tendencies becoming amplified within regards to Ami, can be rather anger-inducing. This pretty much sums it up:
Big Eater: Utau Hoshina might not look like it, but she can eat three big bowls of Ramen in less than 20 minutes... and still isn't satisfied.
Bishie Sparkle: This is a magical girl show, so every single male gets a sparkly scene. It's even lampshaded, when Nadeshiko returns as Nagihiko. As an attempt to change his mind, Tadase sparkles, but it doesn't work. Later, when Amu encounters them and is told about Nagihiko being the new Jack, she sparkles as well, and the rest is history.
Bishōnen: Nearly all the boys, mostly Ikuto and Tadase.
Bridal Carry: Quite a few times, Ikuto has ended up with Amu in his arms. Even once in an outfit that resembles a wedding dress!
Broken Aesop: Well, not so much "broken" as "badly written". Episode 21 of Party/Dokki Doki tries to remind the viewers that it's okay to make mistakes. However, it places too much focus on the "importance" of making mistakes, going so far as to say that mistakes are "treasures". As a result, it comes off as implying that making mistakes is the "only" way to learn.
The Cast Show Off: All members of the idol group Shugo Chara! egg (who sing at least two of the Opening Theme songs of the anime's second series) make an appearance in The Musical. Yuuka Maeda was cast as Amu, the leading role, and Kanon Fukuda was cast as Nadeshiko. The other two girls played generic female students and the X-eggs.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Suu. Who instead of worrying about what Nikaidou was going to do with her, was more worried that his place was messy. Also, she thought he was going to eat them.
El counts, big time.
The Collector: You know those 100 + episodes of Shugo Chara, in which Easter did horrible evil things to capture the Embryo for an assumedly just as horrible and evil goal? Well, turns out The Boss is really just a collector of shiny objects, and wants to add the Embryo to his Trophy Room.
Played with within the fact that he's not just doing it for shiny objects: They're meant to be a substitute for actually feeling anything, which doesn't work. That and it's played up that somebody did all of that for something so petty, saying that doing that for what is essentially nothing is even worse than somebody who would do what Gozen did for larger goals. Contrast with Tadase, who wants to take over the world, but is one of the friendliest boys you'll ever meet until the word "prince" comes up.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Kazuomi Hoshina, plain and simple. He isn't at all above ruining children's dreams and using his own stepson Ikuto as a puppet to do his evil bidding, including such things as forcing Ikuto to transform with a black egg filled with evil energy that can kill him (not like he cares about Ikuto's well-being) and making him attack Amu, the girl he loves. Such a nice guy...not.
Creepy Cool Crosses: Ikuto and Utau. They wear so much of them that it's more of a fashion statement than a religious one.
Dating Sim: The first NDS game have a minor example of one. Hunting X-Eggs and playing mini-games gives coins to Amu, which she can use to buy things and give to boys. Each one have a favorite color and type of item, and while Amu doesn't end with anyone, the game unlocks some romantic scenes. The avaiable boys are Ikuto, Tadase, Kuukai, Nagihiko and later in the game Nikaidou.
Defeat Means Friendship: Mr. Nikaidou, who became the teacher at Amu's school again after she defeated him and foiled his plans. It does help that he got to see his long-lost Guardian Chara again, plus some dose of Epiphany Therapy. Also, Amu and Utau.
Special example. Amu and Lulu already start becoming friends before they have to fight, but that's because Amu doesn't know Lulu's secret.
Detached Sleeves: Kairi's Character Transform "Samarai Soul" and Amu's transformation with Miki and Dia
Disappeared Dad: Utau and Ikuto's father, a prominent violinist, disappeared after he was going to be forced to give up playing the violin and run the Easter company. It is never revealed what eventually became of him.
An instance of Amu and Ikuto licking the same ice cream should be innocent, but the pose, sound effects and music invoked the trope. Especially since the ice cream cone they're licking is Tadase's.
You can't mention this trope in this series without recalling when Ikuto recovers Amu's stolen Humpty Lock. Before giving it back, Ikuto decides to hold it up to Amu's chest and stick his Dumpty Key in Amu's Humpty Lock in an act strikingly similar to intercourse, with the background literally going magical, softer music begins playing in the background, and Amu blushes wildly as Ikuto gets closer and closer to slowly inserting the key into the lock. Literally, of course. Amu gets startled halfway through, crushing the moment and revealing that the key is too large for the lock for now....
Double Standard/Lolicon/Selective Squick/Values Dissonance: Averted for the most part when it comes to Amu and Ikuto's relationship (Amu is 12 while Ikuto is 17) considering that outside of a few of Ikuto's classmates who teased him about it briefly, nobody in-universe seems to care (Well, Tadase does, but thats less because he's 17 and more because he's Ikuto. When he reconciles with him, he's completely fine with it.). In fandoms though; of course, since the older one is a male, the fanbase is really divided.
Much of the fanbase think the Amu/Ikuto relationship is cute and legitimate like any other couple. However because of the Double Standard, some viewers (especially new ones) might be turned off by this series because of this. Debates about this situation tend to get pretty serious.
Eigen Plot: Sometimes has shades of this to give Amu a reason to Chara Transform with with Miki and Suu instead of her 'standard', Ran. It's not too noticeable, but there certainly seems to be a lot of artists and cooks with broken hearts around for some reason...
Epiphany Therapy: Nikaidou-sensei's Heel-Face Turn is encouraged by Suu's Remake Honey making his Shugo Chara that he thought was gone come back and talk to him. It leaves, but it is pointed out by Suu that he had said "See you again," and was therefore not gone forever.
Hair Decorations: Amu has her X-hairclips, Yaya wears pigtails with large bows and Rima has a hairband.
Excited Title! Two-Part Episode Name!: Such as "Remake Honey! The Person I Want To Be!" Many feature a character's name in it, like "Nadeshiko! Goodbye Despite Spring!?", "Rima! Unlock the Heart!" and "Utau Hoshina! The Last Battle!".
Expy: Probably at least part of the reason for Nana Mizuki being cast as Utau, but her singing voice can't hurt.
Filler: Yes. Shugo Chara is a MONTHLY manga, it's primarily aimed for kids, and there's not much TV Tokyo can do about it, seeing that the manga releases are SLOW. It didn't help that Peach-Pit was also doing Rozen Maiden and Zombie Loan at the same time they made this.
Shugo Chara Party is an entire filler season. And after that they decided to just stop production with no indication of any plans to adapt the last arc of the manga.
Forgot I Could Fly: At one point, Amu gets scared by a silhouette of what appears to be a giant centipede. Turns out it's the Chara, standing on each other's shoulders trying to reach a high place... until Miki points out, "Uh, guys? We can fly."
Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Nikaidou-sensei. He manipulated his innocent students so he could destroy their hopes and dreams to try for a promotion. It's eventually subverted when he becomes a good guy. Yukari also probably counts. Again, post-redemption subversion.
Four-Temperament Ensemble: Ran is Sanguine, Miki is Phlegmatic, Suu is Choleric, and Dia is Melancholic. By extension, Amu is Supine.
Frilly Upgrade: A partial example with Amulet Fortune — while it's not based on a previous outfit, it's still simultaneously the most powerful and the frilliest outfit Amu gets in the series.
Full-Name Basis: Tadase insists on calling Ikuto by his full name every time they meet.
Yamabuki Saaya insists on using her full name everytime she appears.
Fusion Dance: The Character Transformation mechanics are of the Power Booster type.
Future Badass: Of ALL the people, Tsukasa may or may not be Tadase in the future. Which will bring up TONS of Wild Mass Guessing since Tsukasa is known as the first Guardian President.
That's more or less still debatable and open-ended. There's no outright confirmation that Tsukasa is the future "Tadase". Amu questions if he really is "Tsukasa", and even Yoru says that it wasn't the guy who gives him sardines. Even KISEKI stated to "Tsukasa", or Tadase, really, that Amu and the others are behind him, but that he'll join them soon to go back to their time. Not to mention, that the real Tsukasa is the brother of Tadase's mother. Unless he brainwashed them, how is that possible? It's in Chapter 48 as a whole. Shouldn't we wait until it's more clear before we jump the bandwagon? Obviously, this isn't the end point.
Genki Girl: Ran (Amulet Heart as well, to an extent), Yaya and Rikka
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Episode 51, Amu has a shirt on that says "Rock Your Body". She's 11. Of course, it is in English, so a lot of the Japanese watchers might not understand it anyway. But still...
The Glasses Come Off: Subverted. Nikaidou originally only wore his glasses as a disguise to look like an innocent teacher and took them off when he was away from the school. After he leaves Easter he wears them almost all of the time.
The Glasses Gotta Go: Supposedly, Sechiro is a "Bishonen" without his glasses, but the way It's spoken makes it seem like it means "Handsome".
Gratuitous English: One of the first X-characters, and Amu's Dad. Though not gratuitous, Rhythm and chara-changed Nagihiko spout random English.
El has been known to fall into this.
At the theme park in episode 99, you can see "Well Come" instead of "Welcome". Of course, since the park was built by Easter, it could be a way of saying "Well, come here if you think you can stop us".
Growing Up Sucks: As people grow up, they break their heart's egg and become a corporate zombie. And even if you do gain a chara and achieve your dreams, they still leave you at some point.
Only if you stop believing in your dreams. You see, it's not a definite thing, so this trope can potentially be a subversion (or even an aversion) depending on the person.
Definitely the believing part. Tsukasa may or may not be the future version of Tadase and you can still see Kiseki with him, plus the fact that Amu's Shugo Chara returned to their egg form.
Tsukasa is the exception, though. Kiseki still mentions that he can't show up outside the Road of Stars. Nor can Yoru now that Ikuto has succeeded in his dream, for that matter.
Half-Identical Twins: Subverted with Nadeshiko, who pretends to be twins of opposite genders in front of Amu.
The Heartless: The X-charas are pretty much the same as the original heartless, but on a smaller scale.
Hello! Project: Buono!, Shugo Chara Egg, and Guardians 4 were all created for the purpose of doing theme songs for the show. The first two OP's were done by Buono!, who did all of the ED's. Beginning with Doki, Buono! began to only do the ED's. Meanwhile, Shugo Chara Egg did the first two Doki OP's, with Guardians 4 doing all other OP's after that, although Shugo Chara Egg would return in Party to both "host" the show, as well as do the two "Dokki Doki" OP's (G4 did both of the Party OP's).
Instant Fan Club: There are actually several of these, with overlapping memberships; they're formed prior to the start of the series. The Guardians as a whole, the boys individually, and Amu and Rima even before they join, each have fanclubs. Each fanclub is based on the target's outward character, not the inner one.
Invisible to Normals: Only people with a Shugo Chara of their own, and a few select others, can see Shugo Chara.
Actually, normal people can see the charas, but they have to believe in them to see them. Almost no sane person would believe it if someone told they had a little versions of their would-be-selves hatch from an egg, and it can give you special abilities and transformations.
Magical Girl: Amu, and to a lesser extent, the other female Guardians. Also, Ikuto and the male guardians qualify as Magical Boys.
Magic Music: Utau's singing has various magical effects inside and outside of battle.
Magic Skirt: Season 1 gave Amu a perfect example- covering even though it appears to be at right angles to her body. Then season 2 goes the opposite direction and chucks a Panty Shot into the intro. Then again this may be the animators trying to point out that Amu is wearing some kind of cheerleader shorts under there.
Utau's skirt when she transforms into Lunatic Charm does this as well.
Malaproper: Ami just adores her sister's "shugoi chara" (a pun on "sugoi" which means "awesome", or "great" or similar expressions, and on "shugo" from "Shugo Chara"). Also, depending on who you ask, this could also be an example of an Incredibly Lame Pun.
Nikaidou-sensei is an inversion, since he deliberately refered to Amu as "Himamori-san" ("hima" means "to have free time") in order to belittle her. He ceases to do so after his Heel-Face Turn.
Meaningful Name: Utau's name can mean "sing." Another possible example is Ikuto Tsukiyomi and Yoru. Tsuki can mean "moon" and Yoru can mean "night." Ikuto has several scenes on the backdrop of the night moon.
Motifs: Traditional playing cards. The Guardians all have titles relating to the Jack, Queen, King, Ace and Joker, and Amu's three (later four) Chara eggs are decorated with hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds.
Amu actually does seem to have a lot of "good luck" symbolism going on actually. As well as the playing card example mentioned above (Within certain varieties of card games where it is used The Joker can be a very good thing to draw.), there would be the fact that all of her Character Transformations are titled "Amulet (Suit)", With the sole exception of Amulet Fortune, the latter word of which, again, denotes good luck (Whereas, nowadays, an "amulet" is more seen as any piece of neck-based jewellery, earlier it was generally viewed to mean a piece of said jewellery that brings excellent luck.), the Humpty Lock (And the Dumpty Key.) has an intentional resemblance towards a four leaf clover, and, after the anime's final battle, the last portion of Amu's mental speech afterwards would be "The four leaf clover... In the language of flowers, it means, "Shinjitsu no Ai". True love."
Monster of the Aesop: The X eggs, and later the ?, Mystery, or Riddle Eggs, whatever you want to call them.
Mood Whiplash: Maybe it's because this series is aimed at children, but the mood switches from serious to comedic many, many times. One particular case was when Amu didn't have her charas, couldn't transform, and had to face off against Utau - but then Ikuto showed up, which prompted Utau to switch her attention to Ikuto, glomp him, and start whining about how she hadn't seen him for days.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Mr. Nikaidou frequently trips over his feet and can't spell Amu's last name right in the beginning. After his Heel-Face Turn, he cuts back on this and merely becomes a very relaxed teacher.
Oddly Named Sequel: Anime-wise: Shugo Chara! Doki! and Shugo Chara! Party. Manga-wise: Shugo Chara! Encore!
Arguably, the puppets representing the charas in the stage musical could be considered this. Specifically, they have "bivalve" mouths (to their credit, they ARE voiced by the anime seiyuus).
Only Known by Their Nickname: Dia, which is the "nickname" (derived from "Diamond", her symbol) Amu gave her since Dia became an X-Egg and left Amu before Amu learnt her name. It stuck, and Dia never bothered to reveal her real name even after getting purified. Peach-Pit did mention, however, that Ran, Miki and Suu were named after members of a certain band, and that Dia's true name has something to do with said band as well.
Playing Card Motifs: The guardians' positions are King, Queen, Jack, Ace, and Joker — the Joker in particular is a Wild Card, as it can only be held by someone with at least three charas. Amulet's charas are also named Amulet [Suit].
Recap Episode: Four and a half so far, including the first two episodes of Doki.
Remember the New Guy: Parodied for us (the audience), but Played Straight for Amu and her Guardian characters.
Kusukusu greets Temari as if she's met her before. She has, but Amu and her Guardian characters aren't aware that Nagihiko and Nadeshiko are one in the same.
Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Borderline and one-sided, actually. Rima gets really really jealous when anyone else gets close to Amu. Other than these times, she doesn't show actual romantic interest in Amu.
Yaya and Rima seem to got this in Episode 44 of Shugo Chara! Doki!! when they were trapped in a secret underground base.
And Rima and Nadeshiko, who she is noted as being much warmer to than Nagihiko. Their combination egg healing move is called Queen's Waltz.
School Idol: The Guardians in general and Tadase in particular.
Sexy Discretion Shot: In episode 7 of Party, when Nagihiko goes into an empty room to change into his Nadeshiko clothes. He grabs onto the collar of his shirt... and the scene cuts to his clothes coming off, perhaps to keep the PG rating. Watch the scene here.
Ship Sinking: With the words "I'll get mad because we're siblings!", the Love Triangle collapsed. Of course, since it's a shoujo series, another one sprung up after it.
The chapters of Shugo Chara Encore! also sank some ships, especially Yaya x Kukai. Any hopes of them getting together even after he moved onto middle school fell flat.
Ship Tease: Pretty much every time Amu and Ikuto meet each other. Also whenever Amu has fantasies about members of her harem. And with Nagihiko during his first episode. And a few times with Nadeshiko too. And (borderline) did we mention that Utau is seemingly Tsundere for Amu as well? (this is getting out of hand)
Her harem does love to tease her, when you think about it.
Even in the last chapter of Encore! Tadase and Ikuto both catch Amu when she nearly fell after catching a wedding bouquet. The boys also insist the other one let go of her. Of course, even Peach-Pit couldn't sink the manga's main love triangle in the end.
Well, Encore does heavily imply that Amu will get together with Ikuto when she gets older in said last chapter, courtesy seemingly time-traveling lookalikes.
Even without official sources, Il and El make sense on an intuitive level: Enjeru -> Angel -> El and Debiru -> Devil -> Il. Furthermore, "el" is a common suffix for angelic names.
Spoiler Opening: Quite a few times, mostly to the viewers who don't seem to read the manga. Omigod, there has to be a new Jack's Chair! We can't leave it empty after Kairi got Put On A— Wait, is that Nagihiko wearing the Seiyo Academy uniform with the Royal Cape?
Stealth Hi/Bye: Tsukasa makes a habit of suddenly appearing wherever the Guardians may happen to be. Even if they had to go through hell to get there.
Stripperiffic: Several of the Character Transformations. Special mention goes out to Amulet Heart (very short Magic Skirt and halter top), Black Lynx (a male example of Bare Your Midriff with very, very short pants), and Amulet Devil (a batwing-shaped top and small, tight shorts that hardly qualify as a bikini).
Stock Footage: The openings of Shugo Chara! Party are made nearly entirely from thisnote Otherwise, they mostly consist of the live-action music videos for the songs, making it looks like a bad dub opening.
Those Two Girls: Amu has seemingly befriended two girls, Wakana and Manami, yet they never seem to do much.
Transformation Sequence: In the anime, Amu's first transformation happens in midair, leading one to believe in an instantaneous transformation. Of course, the roughly 15-second conversation during the fall would put her about half a mile underground, so maybe physics doesn't play a big part in this show.
Or at least six feet.
Transformation Trinket: The Humpty Lock and the Dumpty Key for Amu and Ikuto, respectively. As the rest of the Guardians and Utau show, Character Transformation doesn't always require having something to use it.
Arguably, the Shugo Charas themselves are the trinkets, as the characters transform by merging with their Charas, and become a different kind of Magical Girl depending on which Shugo Chara they use.
Two-Teacher School : Pretty much the only adults we see at Seiyo Academy are Nikaidou-sensei and Tsukasa. And Tsukasa isn't even a teacher. Not only does Nikaidou teach Amu both years, but he also teaches her in gym and seems to be the only person seen in charge during assemblies.
Verbal Tic: Ikuto's guardian chara constantly adds "~nya", the japanese equivalent of "meow", to all his sentences (see "catboy" above). Su constantly adds "-desu" to hers, but she's probably just speaking keigo.
Pepe also has one, it being "-dechu."
Warrior Therapist: There's nothing to get someone to give up evil schemes, follow their dreams, and generally be an all around better person in the future than crossing paths with Amu.