Saturday, September 30, 2017


To wrap things up, let's look at a forgotten magical girlfriend series from an equally forgotten publisher (...and a later one that I wish we could forget).

GUARDIAN ANGEL GETTEN (Mamotte Shugogetten), by Sakurano Minene.  First published in 1997 and first published in North America in 2003.



Tasuke Shichiri is just another lonely, dorky high school boy with an absent family, few friends, and no girl to call his own.  This all changes when he gets a strange Chinese artifact from his father, from which emerges the moon spirit Shao Lin.  She declares that she will protect him from all harm, but can Tasuke protect her from the modern world and himself from his own growing feelings for her?


Did you ever want a severely watered-down, defanged version of Oh! My Goddess with a vague veneer of Chinese flair?  Any sensible manga reader would say "No!  Of course not!"  After all, why settle for a knockoff when the original is far superior and readily available?  I don't know, but somebody must have have been willing to do so because we ended up with Guardian Angel Getten (twice!).

Like any decent magical girlfriend series, this series would need a strong central romance to anchor the story and give the readers something to root for.  This is completely absent with Guardian Angel Getten.  Both Tasuke and Shao Lin are utterly devoid of personality beyond a general sense of niceness and a whole lot of naivite on Shao Lin's part.  I could barely care about either of them, much less seeing these two get together.  While a few others pop up from time to briefly and ineffectually serve as rivals to one or both of them, they are no more complex nor interesting than our lead couple and thus add nothing to their nothing romance.  The final blow is that Minene clearly ran out of ideas within a couple of chapters.  He ends up falling back on some of the usual fish-out-of-water ideas (they go shopping! Shenanigans ensue!) or the usual anime and manga cliches (they go to the beach! Shenanigans ensue!)  Not even Shao Lin's Chinese origin adds anything to the story other than a handful of exotic-sounding names.  It's just an empty series of events aping some popular or well-worn ideas simply because there was money to be made.


Minene's artwork is cute, but much like the story there isn't much to it below the surface.  Virtually everything here is a cheap copy of either something specific or just a general late '90s anime aesthetic.  The cast is blandly pretty at best, but it lacks any sort of charm or personal style.  Nowhere is this more obvious than with Shao Lin.  She's a pretty blatant Belldandy knockoff; Shao Lin's long hair, her exotic costume, even some of her speech patterns are meant to evoke her.  Yet she comes off like a copy because Minene takes too much from the original without adding in some semblance of charm or detail beyond her Chinese background.  This lack of personality goes beyond the character designs, though.  The paneling, the backgrounds, the comic takes - all of it is perfectly functional but none of it is terribly memorable or elegant.


It's kind of baffling that Guardian Angel Getten got a second chance here when nothing about is good or interesting beyond its vague echoes of another, far superior series.  It's hard to imagine recommending this when it was new, and it is absolutely not worth seeking out now.

This series was published by Tokyopop, and previously by Raijin Comics.  This series is complete in Japan with 11 volumes available.  4 volumes were released by Raijin Comics; 5 2-in-1 omnibuses were released by Tokyopop.  All are currently out of print.

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