Shichiri Tasuke breaks the number one rule in any good anime. Never touch what your archaeologist father sends home from China. First, he recieves in the mail a mystic ring called the shitenrin. Naturally, all Tasuke has to do is look into the thing, and, voila, a goddess appears out of thin air, scaring Tasuke into ruining his dinner. And the moon goddess, or Shugogetten, named Shaorin, not exactly clued into the modern world and its accessories, promptly creates a mess in the name of protecting Tasuke, by summoning her friends, the hoshigami (star gods) to do her bidding. What's worse is that Tasuke gets another artifact, the wand kokutentou, which summons the Keikonitten Ruuan, whose idea of pleasing Tasuke is ruining his "relationship" with Shaorin by animating inanimate objects which converse like Pokemon. All that stands between Tasuke and utter oblivion at the hands of his would-be protectors is the utterly cute hoshigami Rishu, which would be fine if she weren't only two inches tall.
And the poor guy didn't even call for takeout!
I had great hopes for Mamotte Shugogetten. The moment the opening song, "Saa!" launched, and the opening sequence played, we were dancing right along with the characters, and we'd found a new karaoke victim of a song, too. (The main characters lip-synch the themes. Ain't that cool?) We were sure this series had to be at least as good as the opening, right?
Unfortunately, we were proven wrong within the first five minutes of the show.
This series has been described by various THEM staffers as "an obvious rip-off of Oh My Goddess, but not as charming." And that's about right. Mamotte Shugogetten is just loaded with every cliche in the genre, from the hapless loser hero, the high-powered, misfit-causing goddesses who don't have a clue how to deal with modern Japan (in this case, obviously patterned after Belldandy and Urd), various mascots and critters, and even bad cooking! What's worse is that the further you go throughout the series, the more you realize that Shaorin and Ruuan must share one brain between the two of them. One or the other has to be a moron each darn episode! Bleh ...
And the first episode doesn't even have that much. Shaorin is akin to a lobotomized Belldandy with far more destructive capability (but actually even worse that that!), and she muddles throughout the show thoroughly convinced that modern appliances are demons, and school is a prison camp to be destroyed by her hoshigami. (And she doesn't learn very quickly, either.) And Ruuan's introduction is just as ridiculous. Sure, we like slapstick, but this was extreme, predictable, and really, really stupid. I personally could've lived without seeing an animated model of Mount Fuji exclaiming, "Fuji! Fuji!" while grappling with a giant Chinese warrior hoshigami who can only say "Honsa!"
Fortunately, after the first few episodes, the show does pick up a bit, and things more or less normalize (as much as they can, anyway), but I don't seem to have gotten far enough to actually reach a plot. (There is a plot, right?) So far, it's just the innumerable love interests and new characters that keep getting introduced, and it's getting a little old.
What's sad is that the art is slightly above average (at least for the time period anyway), and the animation is certainly better than, say, Fushigi Yuugi. Again, the music tracks are absolutely wonderful (though the BGM is standard synth stuff), and there are, in fact, strong characters to be found in the lead, Tasuke (who is decisive and intelligent, but nonetheless beleaguered) and, oddly enough, Rishu, who is ostensibly just there to be cute and to lisp ("Tash'ke-shama!), but shows the most genuine affection of any character in the show. In fact, Rishu alone saves Mamotte Shugogetten from being a truly bad show.
But she really can't carry Tasuke, much less a whole show, by herself. Though outwardly quite cute in design (and a lot of the art for this show is quite beautiful), Mamotte Shugogetten is trite, overdone, and mind-numbingly unintelligent, and a real waste of talent and animation. Though there are a couple of interesting twists with the use of the hoshigami, the characters and plot really don't live up to the expectations of any serious anime fan. Sure, you can turn your brain off and enjoy the mayhem, but should we have to do this for every single new anime that comes out, especially if it's as predictable as this one?
I sure hope not.
Rishu is actually worth one of those stars. If you want to see Kouda Mariko (Shaorin) in a far better voice role, try Marmalade Boy instead! Points for the most luxuriant usage of sweatdrops to date. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: There's oodles of slapstick violence, and Ruuan does try to turn on the heat with the fan service, but there's nothing particularly offensive, but there is a lot that's really stupid. Not for the Oshii Mamoru crowd, but definitely fine for the Saturday morning crowd who this was clearly intended for.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Partial (8/22)
Mamotte Shugogetten © 1996 Sakurano Minene / ENIX / TV Asahi / Dentsu / Toei Animation
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