The legends state"beware of Greeks baring
gifts", but for junior high school student Tasuke Shichiri
they should also include the postman. Especially since his father
is a highly adventurous and slightly eccentric archeologist.
While researching his way through China, Tarousuke Shichiri happens
upon many wonders - the most unique and unusual of these ending
up on his son s doorstep courtesy of express mail.
a less than soaring test of an ancient glider, the last thing
Tasuke wanted was another surprise package. This one contained
a strange ring-shaped object and a short letter. In this letter,
his father writes that the ring is a "shitenrin" and
has a mysterious legend concerning the light that shines within
it. When he looks into the ring, a bright light bursts forth
carrying a beautiful girl. She explains that her name is Shaolin
and that she is a "shugogetten" - a guardian from the
heaven around the moon who s purpose is to protect one who is
pure of heart. Her vow is to protect her "Tasuke-sama"
from any nearby enemy country or anyone who wishes harm upon
him. The problem is, Shao has been sealed in the shitenrin for
the past 4000 years. Due to her lack of experience with the modern
world, the only things that she protects him from are his dinner,
his lack of housekeeping skills, and his television. Sitting
semi-conscious in what is left of his living room, Tasuke is
consoled by Shao that the ones who threatened his life have been
removed and that it's all over now. But Tasuke feels that something
is just beginning...
he is right. Soon, another package awaits Tasuke - another strange
artifact and another letter from his father. He reads that the
strange rod is called a "kokutentou" and, like the
shitenrin, someone with a pure heart can see something in it
if they wish to. Thinking that it would be impossible to receive
TWO great things in a row from his father, Tasuke seems to dismiss
it s potential. But when Shao recognizes it as a kokutentou,
he takes a peek inside. Another bright light bursts from the
rod and another person appears before him. This young woman introduces
herself as Ruuan, a "Keikonitten". Like Shao, Ruuan
is a spirit, but she is a sun spirit and her destiny is to make
her "Ta-sama" happy. Ruuan is quite forward and insists
that she cannot let him go until she makes him happy. The situation
abruptly changes when Ruuan discovers that she is not Tasuke's
one and only spirit. She is surprised to find her long-time opponent,
Shaolin, as her rival once more. Having faced each other 1852
times, Ruuan swears that this time she will get her back for
all that has happend in past. Shao, on the other hand, feels
that they were forced to fight each other because of their master
s wishes and that they should work together this time. When Ruuan
appears to be less than convinced, Tasuke has a sinking feeling
that things are going to get worse. With a moon spirit to protect
him from bad luck and a sun spirit to bring good fortune, what
could possibly go wrong?
Shaolin's power comes from the "hoshigami" (star gods)
that she summons from the shitenrin. These spirits, some small
and some large, each have their own special skill or ability.
Their role is to help Shao fulfill her duty as Tasuke's protector.
most unique and helpful of the hoshigami, as well as the overwhelming
fan favorite, is Rishu. She is a small girl (2-3 inches tall)
with pink hair who s job is to stay with Tasuke and look after
him when Shao cannot. Traveling in his pocket, on his shoulder,
or even hanging from the back of his hair, Rishu is Shao's eyes
and ears in Tasuke's everyday life. Being intensely devoted to
her work, she reports back to Shao telepathically, though with
a slight speech impediment. Because Shao is the only one that
can hear her words, this presents a problem if she has to communicate
with others. To get her point across, she draws pictures or tries
to act out what she is trying to say. Tasuke is not real quick
to decipher her efforts, but usually ends up getting the general
idea. Since she spends so much time with Tasuke, she ends up
in many awkward and embarrassing situations.
Other hoshigami that Shaolin can summon for help are:
a cute flying dragon who carries her on his back for transportation;
two small soldiers in an artillery tank that will attack anything
that Shao thinks will harm Tasuke;
an army of 45 small construction workers who can build or disassemble
anything at lightning speed;
a giant Chinese warrior who battles large monsters and moves
a small "super coach" who helps Tasuke with sports
and looks like a human tiger;
2 small seamstresses who make different outfits for Shao and
others, from kimonos to school uniforms;
and more yet to be seen.
Ruuan's sun spirit power is bringing objects
to life. From vacuum cleaners to school gymnasiums, a call of
"Youtenshin Shourai" and a wave of her kokutentou brings
them to life and under her control. Their main objective is to
bring about her ultimate goal of becoming Tasuke's number one
Both being beautiful goddesses, Shao and Ruuan also end up catching
the eyes of many people they meet. Their charms are not lost
on Tasuke s two best friends, classmates Takashi Nomura and Koichirou
Takashi is continually being rejected by girls, but not for a
lack trying. One look at Shaolin when she shows up at school
as a foreign exchange student is enough to capture his heart.
His ultimate goal is to one day go out on a date with Shao, and
is constantly trying to impress her.
Koichirou, on the other hand, is rather sweet and shy. When he
catches a fleeting glimpse of Ruuan during one of her many "disagreements"
with Shao, he is captivated by her beauty. His love for her becomes
apparent when Ruuan maneuvers herself into the job of teacher
at their school. His devotion to her is unshakable and he is
willing to defend her from any harm.
Tasuke Shichiri's instant popularity with Shao and Ruuan does
not escape the notice of the socially coarse and perpetually
absent Shouko Yamanobe. Branded the class delinquent due to her
aggressive attitude and tomboyish wardrobe, Shouko sees an opportunity
to take advantage of Shao s ability to summon hoshigami. However,
Shao sees through her rough exterior and brings out the kindness
that Shouko keeps hidden. Much to Tasuke's chagrin, Shouko becomes
a friend and a some-what reliable source of modern life information
Never one to miss an opportunity is Izumo Miyauchi, the 20-year-old
priest at the local temple. His blatant womanizing and inflated
ego are unnoticed by the naive Shaolin, making her his number
one obsession. He constantly competes with Tasuke for her affections,
unable to grasp why she would choose such a complete loser over
his own personal magnificence.
Later in the series, another rival for Tasuke s affections arrives
in the form of Kaori Aihara. An underclassman who has developed
a huge crush on Tasuke, she is jealous of the attention that
he receives from Shao and Ruuan. Kaori is continually scheming
to get some time alone with "Tasuke-sempai", but her
plans always seem to have unexpected results.
With the main story revolving around a somewhat normal guy and
two spirits from the past, it is inevitably compared to Oh
My Goddess! , but that is where the similarity ends. Mamotte
Shugogetten veers more toward the "comedy" portion
of "romantic comedy" and the character designs are
aimed toward a younger audience. The fact that Shao and Tasuke
appear to be the same age emotionally keeps her character from
becoming a substute for his absent mother. This is refreshing,
considering the relative immaturity of the more adult characters
in the show.
This anime series is based on the manga written
by Minene Sakurano and serialized in the "Shounen GanGan",
a monthly magazine. The 22 episode series, produced by Toei Animation
aired from 10/17/98 to 04/03/99. With a 6 PM time slot, the focus
of the anime version is slanted more toward comedy, while the
manga is a bit more serious and delves deeper into the relationship
between Shao and Tasuke.
The popularity of the manga and the TV anime
has led to many spin-offs. Twelve volumes of manga have been
compiled, including omake stories that feature a characterization
of the author (shown at the right) interacting with the other
members of the cast. A radio drama program was hosted by the
voice actors for Shao and Tasuke, where they answered listener
questions, read suggestions for new hoshigami, and concluded
each program by playing a song with "moon" in the title.
Drama CDs, soundtracks, art books, and numerous merchandise for
all ages were also produced, many available through anime stores
here in the US. A new OAV series consisting of 5 30-minute episodes
is currently being released and is considered to be more true
to the manga stories. As of yet, no companies in the US have
purchased the rights to either the TV anime or the OAVs.
English web pages containing more information on Mamotte Shugogetten
can be found on the Anime Web Turnpike at www.anipike.com
(Translation notes: There are variances in the English spellings
of original Japanese words and names. For example: many merchandise
items show the English spellings as Syugogetten and Luan, where
translations in other media use Shugogetten and Ruuan.)