Amu meets a super-peppy transfer student at Seiyo Academy Elementary School named Hiiragi Rikka at school one day. Not only can she see Guardian Characters, but it seems she has some other, mysterious powers as well. When she sees the work that Amu and the other Guardians do at school, she's awestruck.
Each 24-25 minute episode consists of a series of variety show style shorts (including Shugo Chara! Pucchi Puchi) totaling approx. 9-10 minutes, followed by the main 11-12 minute animation titled Shugo Chara!!! Dokki Doki which is the actual continuation of season 2 and comes with it's own opening animation. The remaining time is occupied by live action padding between each section and capped off with the opening/ending themes at the beginning and end of the episode.
I consider myself someone who believes in reason and poise in his reviews, and therefore I will try to hold myself to such decorum and not break down crying like a 5-year-old girl who skinned her knee.
Oh who am I kidding. THEY CANCELLED SHUGO CHARA!!!! T____T
I knew the very moment I was asked if I was "shugo-genki" that hell had found one of my favorite magical girl series to date and placed its icy grip around its throat mercilessly. I watched in horror as the main character was reduced to an obligatory stand-in. I watched as Ikuto disappeared entirely. I watched as the Guardians followed
in suit. I watched as those hellish cosplaying twits sucked up the airtime. And I watched as Pucchi Puchi became what I looked forward to more than the actual series. I knew Shugo Chara, and this was not Shugo Chara.
Laying blame will do no good, as we all know by now that blame deserves to go to a variety of sources. The existence of Rikka and Hikaru is most notable and seems a good launch point. Obviously, Shugo Chara is a show for children, but one of the show's biggest strengths was that none of the characters seemed to pander toward children. They tackled age-appropriate issues with a surprising amount of respect and understanding, and most notably without any condescension or beating the moral into the audience. Rikka and Hikaru did everything in their power to subvert this into oblivion. Cliched as they were at the start, they wasted no time beating the lesson of the day into us every week, were childish to the point of pandering, and just overall irritances who seldom grew as characters. This would not be so bad if the cast I had grown to adore was there to pull me through it, but they were all systematically removed and never heard of again. By the end, there were episodes that only had Amu, her Shugo Chara, Rikka and Hikaru. I weep.
The story... what story? This was pure filler and not even good filler like the Lulu arc in Doki!... yes I liked the Lulu arc. It dragged, but I've seen much worse. Case in point, Rikka and Hikaru. This wasn't so much a story arc as it was just episodic nonsense, often covering ground that the series had already covered, just with younger and more irritating characters. This was offset by the somewhat enjoyable Pucchi Puchi segments. Miki's Laboratory and Shugo Bomber were two recurring stories in Pucchi Puchi I was always happy to see. Shugo Bomber especially, if solely for the Commissioner, which single-handedly made Su my favorite of the charas. But I digress.
What held this sloppy execution together was the young girl singing troupe, Shugo Chara Egg, and make no exaggeration when I say this is the go-to con point for anyone who suggests live-action and anime can coexist in the same series. The four girls are annoying, uninteresting, and Spade at times looks like she's thinking she's made a terrible life decision. Newsflash, honey. You did.
Shortcuts in art appeared incredibly early when opening sequences turned into clip shows. Frozen imagery moved around like Satelight had suddenly inherited the budget of an early Shinbo Akiyuki show. The vibrant world of the series became increasingly dull to the point that they just couldn't hide it by the end. A shame, really.
The soundtrack was still enjoyable, but I had grown to love the songs throughout the series. Even the Guardians 4 OPs in Doki!, but by the end everything felt painfully generic to the point of terrible, Nana Mizuki's last song, while pretty, was not the Utau we had come to know, and Buono! is pretty much gone outside the final ED for each episode.
In one episode of Party!, Amu told Utau that doing something different could be good. If Party is any indication, Amu lied. Party took the formula of the series, tried and true through two seasons, and ruined it with live-action and horrendous filler. The only redeeming point here is Pucchi Puchi, and only then, mostly for Shugo Bomber. Why I'm giving this the rating I'm giving it is both because of Pucchi Puchi and out of respect for the series I loved and the characters it mercilessly tossed to the wolves. Only the diehards will make it through this, and then, only they will be the ones to weep for the commercialization and utter mistreatment of such a wonderful little show about growing up and being yourself.
Why, Shugo Chara? Why did you unlock my heart only to rip it out of my chest, throw it to the ground, and tap dance on it?
I remembered when I first watched Shugo Chara. I discovered it when it was about in episode 80. I fell in love with the show. It was cute, funny, magical, and adorable. This was the very first anime that really did encourage the romance of a young girl and a older guy.
As each episode went by, everything started changing, and getting worse. As soo as Ikuto was gone and the show became a filler-marathon. I was pissed!
In my opinion, Ikuto made the show. He made it interesting!
I dont want to spoil anything else, but, the worst part about this show is that.
THEY MADE THIS SHOW
START SO GOOD, AND MAKE IT END SO BAD!
After the complete fail ending they gave me in Doki, I was originally looking forward to Party. Maybe they'd fix it. Maybe they'd manage to bring back the scenes that were supposed to be there in the first place and actually try to follow the manga somewhat.
It did not occur to me that they would only make it a million times worse.
Even aside from the cosplay and Puuchi-Puuchi...which, in essence, succeeded in turning this once awesome anime into a show for preschoolers...the anime itself is the most disgraceful excuse for a Shugo Chara season I've ever seen. It is made up entirely of filler. It's
as if the writers all said, "Alright, fans want more. How can we give them more and still do as little and crappy a job as possible?" "Hey, how about we bring in a totally new random character, bring back old story arcs from the original series and compress them into meaningless ten minute episodes, and make the entire season about something that has no impact on the storyline whatsoever? They'll never notice the difference!"
People have been complaining about Ikuto leaving. What they don't seem to get is that him leaving isn't the problem--it's how he left. And the main difference here is in how the manga did it, and how the anime did it.
Manga: Amusement park scene. Airport scene. Where Ikuto actually explains where he's going, Amu gets UPSET and runs off, catches up him later at the airport.
Anime: Ikuto: "I have a secret to confess." *kiss* "See ya!" *leaves*
Amu: "There he goes." oh well, too bad. *smile smile*
me: .....wtf was that.
And then he's just gone. And Amu is still standing there watching him leave. Nope, no problem here at all.
Does anyone else find something wrong with this?
Okay, fine. So I get over this shock, start looking forward to Party. Maybe they'll have him come back temporarily and bring the right scenes back.
Why on Earth would they do that? That would make sense!
Instead, they decide to bring in a PHONE CALL--for NO APPARENT REASON except to make fangirls happy. Which they did, very much so...with a line that has unfortunately been burned into my mind as one of the most horrifying things they could do to this character.
Ikuto: "I'll kiss you and hug you and everything else."
Could they have made him say something else more out of character? I dare anyone to try. The worst part of it is, fangirls are so happy to see him again for a whole two minutes that they're eating it right up. Never mind the fact that this line makes him seem like exactly the perverted pedophile that Party seems to want him to be. Which is just not true, and if anyone bothered to read the manga, they would know that too. What that line does is give Tadamu fans an excuse to CALL him a perverted pedophile. And now it's not even possible to argue with them, because Party's just given them the proof they needed. There's a reason why he never says anything like that in the manga.
Alright. I get over that, or I try to. Then I hear the very last episode is coming out, with Ikuto in it, and something about him taking Amu to the amusement park. Could Party finally, finally be redeeming themselves???
Yeah. Guess again.
Where should I start? The fact that Tadase makes his sudden appearance right in the middle? The fact that Ikuto STILL didn't confess to her in the anime at all, but poked her instead and repeated his "grow up faster" line (which, thanks to that phone call, people have now interpreted as a desire to do "stuff" to her...)? The fact that Amu didn't get upset to his leaving at all, AGAIN, and said some bullshit line about "I'm pretty much used to him disappearing by now"? The fact that TADASE kissed Amu instead? How about the fact that Party had Ikuto wearing a shirt that said "FREE HUGS" ON IT!?!?
I wish I could give a visual image of what they're doing to his character right now. Does ripping a piece of paper up into miniature pieces help? How about burning them? Maybe pouring water into the sink and watching it go straight down the drain...
Actually, that's a pretty good metaphor for Shugo Chara in general. Party has now officially killed it.
And poor Hikaru...they killed HIS character before the manga even got a strong hold on it. Maybe the writers missed the crucial part of the last story arc, but Hikaru has gotten his heart's egg BACK. His emotions are all BACK now. He's trying to understand them better, not acting like an unfeeling robot. He might be a little more reserved than most other kids, which is understandable, but Party takes this to the extreme.
The graphics and music are the only thing which keeps me from giving this anime an overall 2 rating instead of a 1. And even those aren't that great. It's nothing next to the original series. But they're not completely abominable, and I've seen/heard worse before. So I'll give Party credit for that.
Basically, what Party did was take the manga, original season, all the character development, put them in a big pile, and stomp on them. I have no idea what the writers were thinking, and I truly wish that Party had never existed. I can't even recommend just watching Doki and stopping there, because the end of Doki is such a fail that it gives watchers the wrong impression. The only thing that saves Shugo Chara at this point is the manga. Party seems to have been made only for commercialism and giving fangirls what they want, and if that means flinging all character and personality down the drain, they won't hesitate to do so. Which is pretty much what they did.
Everyone familiar with Shugo Chara! probably already know about the abomination know as Shugo Chara! Party! so I'll just get to the point:
This. Is. AWFUL!
To begin with, there's no story whatsoever. Only episodic filler that really didn't have to be made and it's incredibly disappointing. The characters meet up, shenanigans ensue, and that's about it. Nothing important or exciting.
The art is pretty much the same as the previous two seasons, which is a relief. One thing they didn't manage to screw up!
The music... what music? I don't remember any music, which is funny considering they have two opening songs! One for the live-action segment, Dokki
Doki (which takes up about 15 minutes of screen time by the way. No, I'm not kidding.), and the other for the actual anime (which only gets 11 minutes of screen time). None of the four (they change both songs midway through) are very memorable. The two ending songs by Buono! is better, but by then I was already so pissed off I couldn't appreciate it.
The characters are the worst thing about this whole season. Kukai, Utau, Nikaidou, Yukari and Kairi are almost nowhere to be seen and Ikuto disappears completely, only to show up in the last episode but vanish just as quickly again. I'm not a major Ikuto-fangirl, but I was still angry about his absence, mostly because of the unsatisfactory way he left.
Of all the Guardians, in the end only Amu appears consistently. Yaya, Rima and Nagihiko get little screen time and Tadase don't exactly fare much better himself. Instead they bring in Hikaru and this annoying, obnoxious, spotlight stealing Mary Sue named Rikka as "Guardian Apprentices".
Needlessly to say, this was a mistake! None of them get any development and stay just as unlikable as they started out. Hikaru actually go backwards in development, appearing emotionless even though he got over that in the end of Doki!
Come to think of it, Ikuto's character also gets mercilessly botched the few times he appears.
Of all 25 episodes only three of them is mercifully Rikka-free. Episode 7 is about Nadeshiko "coming back", Rima giving Nagi a hard time trying to keep up the "Nadeshiko-and-Nagihiko-are-two-different-persons" facade, and Amu being none the wiser. It's also my favourite episode this season because of two reasons, besides Rikka’s absence:
1. Nagihiko running back and forth changing clothes, Rima doing her very best to torture him and Amu not getting the picture is HILARIOUS.
2. The slight RimaxNagihiko teasing at the end. Yes, I'm a hardcore Rimahiko fangirl, your point?
The other two Rikka-free episodes are ep. 12 and 19, and even then both those episodes are pretty much "meh".
In conclusion, no matter if you're a fan of Shugo Chara! or not you shouldn't watch this. There's nothing redeeming about it at all and it's all just a waste of time. If Doki! didn't satisfy you and you want a real end to the story you should go read Shugo Chara! Encore! instead. Much more fulfilling.