To the other students at Seiyo Elementary, Amu Hinamori is cool, confident, and in control of her life. In reality, the opposite is true. Amu’s intense shyness leads her to be aloof towards the other students, and she wants nothing more than to make friends and fit in. One night she makes a heartfelt wish that she could be her “true self”– and when she wakes up next morning, she finds three Eggs in her bed!
The Eggs hatch into the Guardian Characters Ran, Miki, and Su, who are different aspects of the person Amu wishes she could be. This brings Amu to the attention of the Seiyo Elementary Guardians, who each have a Guardian Character of their own and protect the city from X-Eggs, or Guardian Characters gone bad. The Guardians, who consist of the King, Tadase, whom Amu has a crush on; the Queen, Nadeshiko, who eventually becomes Amu’s best friend; the Jack, Kukai, who loves sports; the Ace and baby of the group, Yaya; and their Guardian Characters, welcome Amu into their group and introduce her to their search for the Embryo, a Guardian Egg that rumors say can grant any wish.
But the Seiyo Guardians aren’t the only ones after the Embryo: The mysterious cat-boy Ikuto Tsukiyomi (who seems to taken an interest in Amu) and the popular idol Utau Hoshina (who Amu’s baby sister Ami adores) are also looking for it. The only problem is that they’re against the Guardians! And the powerful Easter Corporation is also looking for the Embryo, and they will do anything to get it– even if it means eliminating a group of kids. Even with three Guardian Characters and her friends around her, how can Amu win against enemies this strong?
Shugo Chara! is a fabulous shojo manga that centers around the questions “Who am I? Who do I want to be?”, but this doesn’t take away from its sugary-sweet appeal. Amu is easy to identify with as she goes through life trying to come to terms with who she is– and take a few bad guys out on the way, of course– and interactions with the other characters is by turns dramatic, comedic, and downright sweet. And the character designs are cute enough to be the only reason you read it!
As of this writing, there are nine volumes published in English, with more on the way. While you wait, why don’t you check out some other manga?