Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Shugo Chara, v. 1

by Peach Pit
Published in the U.S. by Del Rey Manga

Slugline: Amu recieves not one, not two but count'em
three guardian character eggs, simply by wishing for them. Nothing unusual about that, is there?

Well, of course it's unusual. Who'd read a manga about
a girl with just one guardian character, like everyone else?

And not only does she get three guardian characters who
can power her up (complete with costume change), they're an athelete archetype, an artist and a domestic goddess. I suppose that's as feminist as we're going to get in a Japanese elementary-school drama. Amu's new alternate personalities qualify her for the elite cliques of private elementary school politics and guardianship -- yes, this story is a direct descendant of Revolutionary Girl Utena, and I'll admit it could be worse.

While there are a lot of typical magical girl elements
in the story, some of the characters show signs of growing beyond their initial impression. The art is a bit better than your average tweener shojo and while the artist's chibis are roughly sketched, they are used quite effectively to convey shock and anger.

There are, of course, also overtures of romance. I'm not quite sure that I believe they've cured boy-
cooties in fourth and fifth graders yet, but this is Japan. Who knows?

Shugo Chara! vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Miranda

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