Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Little Snow Fairy Sugar (Episodes 1&2)

It seems time once again for me to start a viewer guide of an anime series, which I haven't done since the Legend of Korra. This time around, I'm choosing Little Snow Fairy Sugar, a show that I began watching before it ever made over her to the states. After it aired in Japan in 2001, I bought the first season in Japanese and watched it with subtitles. This time around, I'm watching the English dubbed versions, which thankfully keep the personalities consistent. Sometimes the dubbed versions inflect unnecessary attitude into the voices to make them more "American" and it really annoys me. I'm happy to say that Sugar and Saga are spared that fate.

The story opens without a ton of exposition, jumping right into the life of Saga, a determined eleven year old girl in a small town in Germany. Saga is an organized girl who has her days planned out to the minute. She knows exactly when she will meet her friends, where they will eat, when she'll be home, and what she will do in the time before dinner. In the first episode she is a lot like Alice's White Rabbit, always running around and seemingly late. The last thing a preoccupied eleven year old needs her in life is a curious little fairy apprentice with little or no regard for her complicated plans.

The two main characters meet on a rainy afternoon. Saga ducks for cover on the side of a building and spots the strange creature groaning with hunger. Both characters are surprised that Saga can see Sugar the Snow Fairy, but while it thrills the younger Sugar, it disturbs Saga. She spends much of the day pretending it is her imagination, worried she has a fever that is creating the illusion. She soon discovers that ignoring the tiny menace that is Sugar isn't as easy as she thinks.

There are a few angles that will guide Little Snow Fairy Sugar throughout the story and build into something bigger. In the second episode we learn that Sugar has a mission in the human world. All fairy apprentices must plant their magic seeds, capture "twinkle", and watch the seeds bloom. Sugar's friends Salt and Pepper are also in the human world, and it is through them and their interaction with Sugar that she is truly defined as the lovable flake that Saga is getting to know. It's not all fairies that are so chaotic, just Sugar. Which makes her the perfect odd couple match for Saga, because as it turns out, Sugar's seed has begun to sprout inside Saga's bedroom, meaning Sugar is there to stay.

Because Saga is the only who can see or hear Sugar, the relationship quickly becomes problematic. With Sugar refusing to leave her alone, school is a disaster and all of her carefully laid plans for after school go up in flames. Saga becomes a girl with a burden, one that starts as an annoyance, but seems to slowly be growing into one of responsibility as the relationship between her and Sugar shows hints of a big sister/little sister dynamic, complete with the ups and downs that come with it.

Like all good anime, the show isn't flat. It has silliness, but combines those moments with bigger, more series elements. Also important for a animated show, the art is wonderful. Look for more to come when the bumpy ride continues as I make my way through all 24 episodes.

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