Shugo Chara! is a Japanese shōjo manga created by the manga author duo Peach-Pit. The story centers on elementary schoolgirl Amu Hinamori, whose popular exterior, referred to as “cool and spicy” by her classmates, contrasts with her introverted personality. When Amu wishes for the courage to be reborn as her would-be self, she is surprised to find three colorful eggs the next morning, which hatch into three Guardian Characters: Ran, Miki, and Su.
Peach-Pit uses Amu to explore differences between one’s true self and the self that is presented to others. Like Jun Sakurada in Peach-Pit’s previous work, Rozen Maiden, Amu tackles issues such as alienation and fitting in at school. Unlike most heroines in other magical girl series, Amu is neither the perfect sweetheart nor a complete klutz. Amu gets grumpy and frequently talks back to others in contrast to the polite schoolgirls that fill the genre.
Amu’s Guardian Characters—Ran, Miki, Su, and later Diamond—aid her in her quest of self-discovery. Each Guardian Character represents an aspect of Amu’s true self. Ran represents Amu’s desire to be more honest and athletic, Miki represents Amu’s desire to be more level headed and artistic, Su represents Amu’s desire to be more caring and improve her domestic skills, while Diamond represents Amu’s desire to shine in front of others and be a good speaker. Moreover, the Guardian Characters are more than mere mascots who help Amu learn about her true self. They can also perform a “Character Change” where Amu’s personality is replaced by an entirely different one.
However, Amu is not the only one with Guardian Characters. Each of the Guardians—Tadase Hotori, Nadeshiko Fujisaki, Kukai Soma, and Yaya Yuiki—have their own Guardian Characters. Amu also encounters Ikuto Tsukiyomi and Utau Hoshina(Tsukiyomi), two siblings who also have Guardian Characters and are employed by the Easter Company to search for the Embryo.
Eventually, Nadeshiko Fujisaki and Kukai Soma leave the Guardians and are replaced by Rima Mashiro and Kairi Sanjo, respectively. Kairi later leaves and is replaced by Nagihiko Fujisaki, Nadeshiko’s real identity.
Amu Hinamori , the series’ protagonist, is a student of Seiyo Elementary. Amu’s classmates see her as “cool and spicy” Amu can be identified as a Tsundere (Mean and Cold to opening up to other people), but Amu’s true character is shy and timid. Part of the reason for this misunderstanding is the trendy punk goth clothing her mother buys for her as well as the way she expresses her shyness. However, when Amu wishes for the courage to become her would-be self, three colorful eggs appear. When they hatch, they reveal Amu’s Guardian Characters: Ran, Miki, and Su.
Amu becomes a member of the Guardians, the school’s student council, and discovers that each member has a Guardian Character. Amu’s position with the Guardians is the Joker. Her task as the Joker is to search for and purify X Eggs and X Characters (also, in the second season, she purifies Mystery Eggs, the corrupted forms of people’s would-be selves). Ran, Miki, and Su help Amu with her task through a process called Character Transformation, which is enabled by the Humpty Lock and grants Amu special abilities depending on the Guardian Character. Later on, Amu also creates a fourth egg, known as Diamond. In the second season, when Amu shows her true potential, the Humpty Lock increases in power. Thus, new transformation scenes are used…
Amu’s main love interests are Tadase Hotori and Tsukiyomi Ikuto. Throughout the first half of the series, Amu had a crush on Tadase and blushed every time she was in his presence. She initially regarded Ikuto as a jerk and pervert, but she grew close to him as he aided her countless times. When Ikuto first confesses his love to her, she thinks he is teasing her and dismisses it. When Tadase asks Amu if it is okay for him to fall in love with her, she is thrilled at the progress in their relationship but soon finds herself drawn to Ikuto. She was saddened when Ikuto decided to leave in search of his father. Because of this, she realizes that she truly loves Ikuto. After he confesses to her and kisses her close to the lips, she refuses to admit her feelings for him, which prompts Ikuto to make a deal with her that he will get her to fall in love with him. In chapter 48, Amu confesses to Tadase’s older self that she had liked Tadase for his outer character. Although they have a much better relationship than before, Amu remains stubborn about her feelings for Ikuto. In the final chapter of Shugo Chara Encore, she is happy to reunite with him and is seen holding hands with him at Sanjou and Nikaidou’s wedding. Amu’s primary rival is Utau Hoshina, Ikuto’s younger sister, who is jealous that Ikuto shows an interest in Amu instead of her. They soon become good friends after Utau leaves Easter. In the end, she chooses Ikuto in the manga. However, it is heavily implied that she ends up with Tadase in the anime.
Amu gains the Dumpty Key from Yoru and uses it to unlock the Humpty Lock. In some of the later chapters, when Amu opens the Humpty Lock with the Dumpty Key, she and Tadase see more of Ikuto’s past. Their journey ends when Amu Character transforms with Diamond, and she and Ikuto fight briefly. Ran, Miki, Su, and Diamond all combine their powers, making Amu character transform into Amulet Fortune and Ikuto character transform into Seven Seas Treasure.
Amu ventures to the Eggs’ Cradle, a place where unborn and “lost” Shugo Chara reside, in order to search for four colored shards representing each of her Shugo Chara in an attempt to bring Ran, Miki and Su back. In chapter 44, Diamond tells Amu that Ran, Miki and Su have “disappeared” and that she will help Amu find them as her “navigator”. Diamond becomes Amu’s guide in the Eggs’ Cradle in Amu’s search for the four coloured shards. She finally comes to terms with the loss of her Guardian Characters at the end of the journey, however as she returns she realizes that she has Ran, Miki, Su and Diamond back in Egg form much to her relief and later joy as they are born again later in Shugo Chara Encore.
- Ran is the first to hatch from Amu’s eggs and represents Amu’s desire to be more honest, confident and athletic. Ran is frequently cheering Amu on. During Character Change, Amu gains, thus, and increased her athletic abilities. During Character Transformation, Amu becomes Amulet Heart, with a cheerleader inspired outfit. In chapter 38, Ran undergoes a new Character Transformation, along with Miki, Su, and Diamond; becoming Amulet Fortune. In chapter 44, she disappears along with Miki and Su, and later Diamond as well when Amu no longer needs them. In Shugo Chara Encore at the very end of the last chapter, she and Amu’s other Shugo Chara emerge hatch again at Sanjou and Nikaidou’s wedding much to Amu’s joy.
- The second Guardian Character to hatch is Miki. Miki represents Amu’s desire to be more sharp, level headed, and artistic. Miki is also the one to help Amu make fashion choices. Reflecting Amu’s love interests, Miki has shown an interest in Tadase’s Guardian Character, Kiseki, Ikuto’s Guardian Character, Yoru, Kukai’s Guardian Character, Daichi, and Nagihiko’s Guardian Character, Rhythm. During Character Change, Amu gains increased artistic abilities. During Character Transformation, Amu becomes Amulet Spade. In chapter 38, Miki undergoes a new Character Transformation, along with Ran, Su, and Diamond; becoming Amulet Fortune. In Shugo Chara! Doki, Miki is the only one out of Amu’s Guardian Characters to be able to sense Mystery Eggs clearly. In chapter 44, she disappears along with Ran and Su, and later Diamond as well when Amu no longer needs them. In Shugo Chara Encore, she returns along with the others and together catch the wedding bouquet for Amu who accidentally threw it back in the air again.
- The third Guardian Character, Su, represents Amu’s desire to be more caring, sensitive and improve her domestic skills. However, Su is prone to silly mistakes. She is very fond of Amu’s teacher, Yuu Nikaidou. Amu gains an improvement in cooking and cleaning skills during Character Change, as well as becoming “too girly”. During Character Transformation, Amu becomes Amulet Clover with an outfit just like Su’s. In chapter 38, Su undergoes a new Character Transformation with Ran, Miki, and Diamond; becoming Amulet Fortune. In chapter 44, she disappears along with Miki and Ran, and later Diamond as well when Amu no longer needs them. She and the others make an unexpected return toward the end of the last chapter of Shugo Chara Encore as they appear to be reborn again from Amu’s feelings.
- Diamond is Amu’s fourth Guardian Character. Diamond represents Amu’s desire to be more calm and optimistic. Unlike most Guardian Characters, she is supposedly the most powerful. She becomes an X Egg when Amu dislikes all the changes that were happening in the spring. While collecting X Eggs with Yukari, Utau finds Diamond’s egg inside the box. She soon hatches into a X Character. Unusually, she is not shaped like the usual X Character; she looks like a normal Guardian Character, but with a white X-shaped clip covering her black diamond-shaped clip. Because of this, Amu doesn’t know Diamond’s true name. In the Japanese versions, Diamond’s name is shortened to Dia. Utau uses X-Diamond to extract heart’s egg of other people by character changing with her. X-Diamond can Character Transform with Utau, becoming Dark Jewel, however, the transformation does not last very long. When Amu is finally able to prove to Diamond that she does have enough confidence to shine she reverts into her true original form. Together they undergo a Character Transformation, becoming Amulet Diamond. Afterward, Diamond returns to her egg until she sees that Amu “shines again”, but secretly comes out as a spirit at times. Diamond is shown to be an air-headed character. In chapter 38, Diamond comes back when Amu “shines”. After character transforming and fighting with Ikuto, she, Ran, Miki, and Su combine powers with Amu; becoming Amulet Fortune. In chapter 44, Diamond tells Amu that Ran, Miki and Su have “disappeared” and that she will help Amu find them as her “navigator”. Diamond becomes Amu’s guide in the Eggs’ Cradle in Amu’s search for the four colored shards. Coming to terms with herself and the future, Amu accepts the loss of her Guardian Characters and Diamond disappears as well, guaranteeing that the four of them will always be watching over her. In Shugo Chara Encore, Diamond and the other three have hatched again and save Amu’s catching of the thrown bouquet. When Amu Character Changes with Diamond in Shugo Chara Party’s Shugo Chara Dokki Doki, Amu doesn’t really do much but smile and sparkle, disappointing Ran, Miki, and Su.
Tadase Hotori is a boy in the same year as Amu and serves as King’s Chair of the Guardians. Like Amu, he is actually a shy person and is not good at public speaking; instead, he Character Changes with his Guardian Character, Kiseki. Although he is popular with the girls, when a girl confesses their love to Tadase, he will have Kiseki reject her. However, whenever he hears the word “ouji”, or anything resembling the word “ouji”, he Character Changes into an egotistical king who seeks world domination. Amu develops a crush on Tadase soon after she transfers into the school. His love interest is Amulet Heart, Amu’s Character Transformation with Ran, but it later becomes Amu herself. In episode 39, Kiseki’s egg turns into an X Egg because Tadase lost his self-esteem by not being able to find the Embryo. With the help of Amulet Heart, Tadase turns back to normal. Tadase has known Ikuto and Utau since childhood, but he does not talk about it in detail until the Guardians are about to face Utau in their final battle. Amu and Tadase reconcile soon after, though. Later on, he agrees to help Amu save Ikuto from Easter. Tadase confesses his love for Amu in chapter 28 (episode 74 in the anime) behind Amu’s house while Ikuto was hiding in Amu’s closet. Ikuto overheard and made fun of Tadase, only to protect him, which he knew nothing about. When Tadase was facing against Ikuto in chapter 35, his staff becomes a sword called Royal Sword in episode 99. Tadase ventures into the Eggs’ Cradle with Amu, but subsequently gets separated from Amu due to a meteor shower. The future Tadase, who looks like Tsukasa helps Amu and reveals himself to be Tadase. In episode 127 of the anime, he kisses Amu on the cheek and tells her that he’ll always be by her side.
- Kiseki is Tadase’s Guardian Character. Kiseki was born for a combination of Tadase’s desire to be stronger and the dream of world domination. Because of this, Kiseki is extremely egotistical and often demanding, and doesn’t like obeying others. He frequently calls other Guardian Characters to go on “Special Secret Meetings.” A running gag is that the other Guardian Character will almost always ignore him when he starts up a meeting. Kiseki is aware of Tadase’s crush on Amu and acts the same way as Amu’s Guardian Characters whenever Tadase seems to be confessing to Amu. Kiseki holds a grudge against Ikuto’s Guardian Character, Yoru. During Character Change, Tadase gains the confidence to overcome his shyness. However, sometimes Tadase will become an egotistical person who seeks world domination. Although Tadase could not Character Transform with Kiseki at first, they later gain this ability with the help of Amu after Kiseki’s egg gets tainted with an X, becoming Platinum Royal.
Ikuto Tsukiyomi is a teenage boy in high school, contracted by Easter to find the Embryo. He often helps Amu even though he works for Easter. Ikuto actually despises Easter and tries to wrench himself free from them by trying to find the Embryo to grant that wish. He possesses the Dumpty Key which pairs with Amu’s Humpty Lock which at first did not fit in the keyhole. Like his father, Ikuto is a skilled violinist. He is the current owner of the Dumpty Key, which originally belonged to Aruto, his father, although Tadase’s father had it for a little while. His father is presumed to be dead, but Ikuto refuses to believe it and has set out on finding him. As her status as the only daughter of the past president of the Easter Company, his mother was forced to marry the company’s director after her husband’s violin was found in a foreign country. From her second marriage, she bound her children into working for Easter. Ikuto’s personality is aloof, mysterious, and a little naughty. He likes teasing people, especially Amu and Tadase. He is also the older brother of Utau Hoshina. As the series goes on, he grows very strong feelings for Amu — he confessed that he loves her in the same chapter Tadase did, although she believes that he is teasing her. He later surrendered himself to Easter, not wanting to get anyone else involved in the mess he made. In the manga timeline, it is shown he character transformed with a new black Guardian Egg to become Death Rebel, shocking Amu. In chapter 38, he character transforms with Yoru and the black egg into Seven Seas Treasure. In chapter 39, it’s said that Ikuto may have two eggs, one is possibly still inside him. In one of the later chapters, Ikuto calls Amu ‘princess’ and she replies by asking him to thank her for making him get back to normal. Ikuto swears that this time he will be the one to protect her. In chapter 43, Ikuto confesses to Amu he will never see her again as he is going to search for his father. Ikuto returns for Yukari Sanjo and Yuu Nikaidou’s wedding. Amu is very happy and relieved to see him. He promises that he would show Amu sides of him that she has not seen, but only when he returns for her when she is older, he then later kisses her on the nose. At the wedding Ikuto and Amu are seen holding hands and Amu says she knows she can reach the future without letting go of his hand.
- Yoru is Ikuto’s cat-like Guardian Character and represents Ikuto’s desire to be free. Yoru often goes out by himself and enjoys causing trouble for the Guardians and their Guardian Characters for fun. When Ikuto and Yoru undergo a Character Transformation, they become Black Lynx. Yoru became hysterical when Ikuto does the Death Rebel Character Transformation in chapter 31. During this time, he also could not track Ikuto because the hypnotizing tuning fork confuses him. Later on, when Racquel and Tadase find Ikuto being controlled by Easter, Yoru takes the Dumpty Key and gives it to Amu. In chapter 38, he along with the black egg, combine powers with Ikuto to become Seven Seas Treasure. In chapter 46, Amu finds a dazed Yoru in the Eggs’ Cradle. He and Amu fall out of the Egg’s cradle and see Ikuto. In chapter 48, when Yoru sees how happy Ikuto is, he comments him for having become a “true alley cat”, and goes back to being a heart’s egg inside of Ikuto.
Utau Hoshina is a junior high student model turned singing idol. She is actually Ikuto’s younger sister, Utau Tsukiyomi. Utau had tried to find the Embryo to release her brother from Easter, but she never succeeded. Utau is very attracted to Ikuto and becomes extremely jealous of Amu because Ikuto shows an interest in her. However, she eventually accepts Amu and they become friends. She becomes good friends with Kukai in the anime and manga, and soon starts a relationship with him.
She was the vocalist of the indie band “Black Diamond” which is produced by her manager, Yukari Sanjo, as a method of using the CDs of their music to draw the eggs out of children and make them into X Eggs. She only sang in Black Diamond whilst in a x-chara change with x-Diamond. X-Diamond was found during one of her x-egg withdrawal sessions. Utau mainly uses X-Diamond to extract the heart’s egg of other people since X-Diamond can withdraw more x-eggs than Il can and El refuses to do anything. X-Diamond can Character Transform with Utau, and become Dark Jewel, however, the transformation lasts only a short period of time. When the plan fell apart, Utau quit Easter with her manager and became a singer on her own, without Easter contracting her.
- The devilish Iru is the first of Utau’s two Character Guardians introduced in the story. Iru seems mean and unkind, but it’s just her character. Sometimes she can be helpful and sincere, but she dislikes nagging. She represents Utau’s energetic and playful side. During Character Transformation, Utau becomes Lunatic Charm, with the attack Nightmare Lorelei and later, Lilin Trident. When Iru felt lonely because Eru wasn’t there for her to tease and when she felt that Utau was ignoring her because of Diamond, she Character Transforms with Amu, becoming Amulet Devil.
- El is Utau’s second Guardian Character and is the complete angelic opposite of Il. El often nags, likes correcting people about their choices that she considers wrong herself, and helps those who are troubled by love. Because El was treated badly by Il and ignored by Utau, she left home and wound up in Amu’s care. El can perform a Character Transformation with Amu, resulting in Amulet Angel, which surprised Utau. However, as Amu is not El’s real owner, the Character Transformation remains powerless with no real abilities. Whenever El performs a Character Transformation with Amu, Amu usually ends up being embarrassed due to El’s over-the-top antics. Eru finally performed a Character Transformation with Utau, forming Seraphic Charm. Later in the manga series, Utau uses White Wing to help the Guardians help Ikuto.