Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Little Snow Fairy Sugar (Episodes 3-6)

(Catch up on previous episodes here)

Life with a little snow fairy apprentice, especially one as energetic as Sugar, can be extremely frustrating as eleven year old Saga quickly discovers. When the third episode opens, Saga has had enough and demands the two go their separate ways for the day so that she can shop with her friends without constantly being interrupted by Sugar. Though disappointed that Saga doesn't want her around, Sugar takes the chance to join Salt and Pepper in the search for twinkle. The only problem is, none of them can agree on what their looking for. Pepper is certain that twinkle is puffy-fluffy, Salt is convinced that it's comfy-warm, and Sugar believes whatever it is, it has to twinkle. 

When Sugar spies something twinkling high up in the bell tower, the fairies' search leads them into the clutches of the angry crow who goes around collecting anything shiny in town. One of those items is the jingle bell that caught Sugar's eye, and when she tries to take it, the crow gives chase. When she ends up trapped in a bird cage, there is only one place for Salt and Pepper to turn...Saga. 

As much as Sugar annoys Saga, there is a growing bond between them. When Sugar is in trouble, Saga is there to help. Even in the next episode, when the three little fairies flock to Saga's school on a rumor told to them by doves that they might possibly find twinkle there, Saga initially snaps at Sugar but eventually they make up. Their relationship is an interesting sibling type dynamic. Sugar desperately wants Saga's approval and attention, while Saga feels this desire to take care of the small fairy. It's a relationship of ups and downs, which truly come to a head in episode six.

After the Elder, the fairy who controls all seasons, tells Sugar she must get more serious about her practicing if she ever wants to be a full fledged snow fairy like her mother, Sugar begins to practice her magic flute at all times, driving Saga crazy. After another incident with the crow causes a lot of destruction at Saga's work, the two friends get into a nasty argument. Later, though both want to apologize, both are too proud. When Sugar finally decides to write Saga an apology note, she inadvertently writes it on a cherished piece of sheet music that reminds Saga of her deceased mother. Heartbroken, the episode ends with Saga telling Sugar that she never wants to see her again. 

The show's greatest strength is the emotional depth in which it examines the difficult moments that occur with friendship. It addresses these in ways that are both humorous and serious, giving the show a heartfelt sincerity that reminds me of Miyazaki's wonderful anime films, with the perfect blend of playful and genuine. 

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