Amu seems cool and collected on the outside, but inside she yearns to become someone different. Someone who can honestly admit her feelings and cheerfully run at life at full speed. One morning she finds that this wish of hers may actually have been heard and granted! Three eggs lay in her bed. Her guardian characters, images of who she wishes to become one day.
As expected from a more kid focused show, the violence in this is extremely low. Aside from some basic cuts and bruises, there’s not much to tell. One character is being controlled at some point and is often seen in some form of pain and another instance we see a dog die. It’s not bloody or violent really (old age in the dog’s case), but those subject matters might be too heavy for all ages.
This is the weird part. There’s really no bad language. Except one or twice during the full one hundred twenty-seven episodes. And one instance is God d-mn. In broken English. I honestly doubt the Japanese fully understood those words. In any case, these things happen so fast and only twice in over a hundred episodes so it’s not a large concern. Aside for the obvious concern on who on the Japanese staff thought they were needed.
A bit of typical “light” fanservice, mainly in Ikuto (a male character) being shirtless or providing awkward innuendo that younger kids shouldn’t know, but around the show’s target age might be starting to know, but it’s still awkward as heck for the rest of us. Yeah, the repeating deal where Ikuto ends up sleeping next to Amu in her bed for some reason or another is a real gem. Really makes you question your own childhood and how fast the apocalypse will be upon us all. In any case, aside from those instances, some costumes being a bit… risqué (stomachs showing, short skirts, etc) and one character that is a boy, but dresses and acts like a girl, it really is tame.
Compared to the PG14 stuff anyway. Still not really all ages. And I’m really trying not to think too hard on the age difference between two paired characters. Peach-Pit really needs to stop taking cues from Clamp. It’s creepy as heck.
Alright, so if the magical girl stuff bothers you (girls transforming into superhero characters), right off the bat this show will bug you. That said, the theories for the “why” behind the guardian characters is pretty heavy fantasy fare. You wish to be someone else and BAM! you now have a guardian character. Which only other people with guardian characters can see. Oh, and all children have eggs inside them with their would-be selves, they just don’t always… uh, hatch. Yeah, that never really gets a full explanation. But whatever. It’s all just one big excuse for having super powers and being all moe on your screen. There’s also the typical ghost story episodes and fortune telling junk that Japan is so fascinated with.
Oh! And there are one or two episodes in the final season that joke on Japanese ghost stories and some guardian characters get “possessed” and do weird dances. It’s meant to be a joke only and not serious, but it’s worth mentioning.
This show really could have done something amazing. It could have used its setup to encourage kids to truly be unique. But from episodes one, the main character’s wish to be “just like ordinary girls” kills that hope soundly. Amu and all her character transformations are stereotypes with little to no independence and no real aspirations.
That said, I honestly wasn’t surprised it turned out as it did. Although it had the chance to do something shocking, it makes sense that it wouldn’t. Few kid friendly shows do anything big these days.
The only reason I mention this at all is because the very end of season two attempts to do something amazing. They try to make Amu into some kind of strong female empowerment symbol. And they fail. Epically. Honestly, I have no idea why they attempted such a thing. It’s a magical girl show aimed at teenyboppers. Making too big of a wave means you don’t get broadcast during a good time. Meaning less viewing. Meaning less money. We all know what’s going to win out during the plot committee meeting (assuming there ever was one, epically in the case of season three. Which was really just a glorified variety show). The art and music is just as mediocre to boot, so don’t get your hopes up in that sector either.
But if you like traditional monster-of-the-day magical girl fare, this is up your alley (and sometimes it’s truly what one needs after seeing the mind twisting anime that gets featured these days). Just don’t come crying to me when you get to the freaky and meaningless live action parts in the third season. I have no better explanations for that than your run-of-the-mill YouTube troll.
Personal Rating: 10+
Episodes: 127 (this review includes all three seasons)
Official rating: PG
Genre(s): Magical girl, adventure, comedy
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll