It’s not a double exhibition, nor is it a triple exhibition, but it’s a quadruple exhibition – the first of its kind on this blog!
Following on from last week’s exhibition on Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power and in keeping with the Japanese animation theme, today we’re looking at Shugo Chara. (Warning: This post will go into quite a lot of detail about the show, and so spoilers will be ahead, especially if you haven’t read the manga or seen the anime.)
What is Shugo Chara? It’s the story of Amu Hinamori, a 12-year-old girl who may look cool and chatty on the outside, but is in fact shy and unwilling to open up to other people on the inside. She wishes to become more open-hearted and sociable, and her wish is granted… although not quite in the way she expects it. The day after making her wish, she finds three coloured eggs at her home, and each of them hatch into three “Shugo Charas” or ‘guardian characters’ (which is the literal translation of the series’ name) which represent a part of her inner selves: Ran the red cheerleader representing Amu’s ‘sporty’ side, Miki the blue artist representing Amu’s artistic side, and Su the green chef representing Amu’s ‘foodie’ side. Later on, a fourth Shugo Chara, Dia the yellow pop singer, hatches, although at first she seems to have been imbued with some dangerous dark energy…
So now that you’ve got a basic gist of the show’s storyline, let’s go ahead and look at each of the four fan-artworks I made!
Here’s the main human characters of the series – Amu, Tadase and Rima. Tadase is a boy who is around the same age as Amu, and initially acts as her first love interest (a cat-boy, Ikuto, later becomes the second and true love interest for Amu). He likes to think he’s royalty by dressing up as a prince – complete with golden crown – and his Shugo Chara, Kiseki, takes the form of a tiny king, representing his desire to rule across the world. Rima is a girl who is also around Amu’s age, but she lacks in athletic strength and is still picked up by her parents after school because of a kidnapping incident. Her Shugo Chara, Kusukusu, takes the form of a clown and represents her wish of making others laugh at her jokes.
Ran, Miki, Su and Dia are Amu’s Shugo Charas. (I wonder why she gets four and everybody else only gets one?) Dia is drawn in her ‘true’ form here, but before she had a much different, darker look, which I like to call her ‘bad version’. She became like this after Amu expressed a strong dislike in all the changes that were happening around her, and the resulting dark energy drained people of their good intentions. Amu soon regretted this, however, and when her confidence finally broke through, Dia turned into her ‘good’ form and they both transformed together for the better.
Whenever Amu needs the help of her Shugo Charas, she undergoes what’s called a ‘Character Transformation’ by literally unlocking her heart and allowing her to carry out tasks which would otherwise be out of her league when in her ‘normal’ form. In transforming, she gains an outfit which is stylized like those her Shugo Charas wear, and gains abilities appropriate to what they represent. Amulet Heart (red) is the transformation using Ran’s energy, making her more athletic and speedy. Amulet Spade (blue) is the transformation using Miki’s energy, increasing her artistic talents such as drawing and making music. Amulet Clover (green) is the transformation using Su’s energy, making her better at cooking and cleaning, and also a little too ‘girly’. Amulet Diamond (yellow) is the transformation using (true) Dia’s energy, but she does not seem to do anything in this form other than sparkle brightly and smile happily, much to the other Shugo Charas’ disappointment.
OK… so this one needs a little bit of explanation. Eru and Iru are two Shugo Charas resembling an angel and devil respectively who belong to the school singing idol, Utau. Her band ‘Black Diamond’ used dark music imbued with bad energy to suck the good intentions out of other people, turning them into rebellious sorts. Eru represents her good side, while Iru represents her meanness. While Dia was in Utau’s possession (as X or ‘Bad’ Dia), Eru and Iru temporarily turned up in Amu’s possession, seemingly feeling ignored by their true master. They would cause her to transform into Amulet Angel (using Eru’s energy) or Amulet Devil (using Iru’s energy), which simply serve as ‘joke’ transformations that gain no real powers and often embarrass Amu and her friends. (Although Amulet Devil can play the electric guitar with great force!) Eru and Iru eventually returned to Utau after Dia turned into her ‘good’ form with Amu gaining her confidence.
So that’s the whole world of Shugo Chara via pictures! But I’m not done with the anime themes just yet…