The Silver Guardian is a cute show
There’s one moment in the first season of The Silver Guardian that gets to me. The protagonist is a penniless boy who pines after a rich girl who is way out of his reach. She is kind to him, however, and they even play an MMORPG together. Their relationship is the stuff of fiction, built upon a series of too-good-to-be-true coincidences.
One day, seemingly, their fairytale comes to an end. The girl is kidnapped by debtors who plan to extort her dead father’s money from her. But yet again, another convenience rises for the protagonist in the nick of time. It turns out that the dead father left him billions of yuan in game currency because he is the man’s true son. Thinking that he can save the girl by paying off the debtors, the boy rushes to convert the game money into real money.
It is only then that his lucky streak comes to an abrupt end.
As the boy loses the strength in his knees, he stares up at the ceiling with blank eyes. Reality stares back at him in the face. It fully hits him just how powerless he is as an individual.
But even though he’s powerless, he still wants to save the girl. The debtors drive away in a car, but he pursues them all down the highway on a pushbike. Yes, a pushbike. It’s ridiculous, it’s implausible, but the boy makes it happen, not through lucky outside coincidences, but through the strength of his will.
No matter how screwball the story gets after that point, I still remember this moment and think: This is a cute story.
The Silver Guardian is based on a Chinese web comic written by Ling Meng and illustrated by Ming Xung. The Chinese and Japanese titles literally mean “The Silver Gravekeeper,” but the English title deliberately changes this to “Guardian.” I think that this is a nod to the fact that the story is about protecting people and not just graves. It’s a classic boy meets girl story, but the eventual separation between the boy and the girl is foreshadowed in an earlier episode, when he fails to protect her from a dire battle inside a game. There may not have been physical consequences then, but the fact remains that he did not protect her.
I’m sure that there are some of you thinking that the boy meets girl narrative is cliché by this point. You may even be thinking that it is especially passé in this day and age to have a story where only the boy protects the girl. However, I feel that this narrative core is presented with a lot of earnestness. It is a wish-fulfillment story in the sense that the boy gets a lot of his wishes fulfilled through no effort of his own, but at the same time, his dearest wish is hopelessly out of reach. The ironic thing is that at any point before she was kidnapped he could have talked to her and she probably would have accepted him. What stopped him was his gnawing sense of inadequacy. Even when life is convenient, it’s not always easy. I think that the anime did a good job conveying that idea.
The second season continues the story from the first season, only with full-length episodes instead of half-length episodes, so more of the story has time to breathe. This is a good thing, especially for fans of the comic who want to see it get the anime adaptation it deserves. But so far, the story of the second season hasn’t been about the boy meets girl romance. It has been about the boy’s adventures in the game world, which is an integral part of the plot but not the emotional core.
So I wrote this article to remind everybody what The Silver Guardian is about. It is a cute story about a boy and a girl. It also has a really cute cat, named Wanchoi. You’re free to watch this show just for the cat. He is worth it—he gets the whole ED to himself in the first season.
Conclusion: Give The Silver Guardian a try if you like cute things.
Kim Morrissy (@frog_kun) is a freelance writer and Tokyo correspondent for Anime News Network.