Suuuuugar Baaaaaaaby-dolllll

well, that’s how every episode of Sugar: A little Snow Fairy opens. My almost-four year old says this about a dozen times a day now.

Overall, the series started out slow, and then kept layering on the character development piecemeal until by the end you really felt you knew them, without consciously realizing how attached you were. This is different from Haibane Renmei where the main characters are immediately captivating – in fact, for the first 30 minutes of disc 1, I rather disliked Saga.

This post is kind of a compilation of some of my observations from throughout. Continues below the fold…

The series really is a kawaii overdose on first viewing, until episode 6. In retrospect though I now see that everything really was needed to make the characters’ behaviors at the end seem both realistic and appropriately surprising. The real queen of the series – far more a sympathetic character than Saga – was Greta. She started out as pathetic, then evolved to needy and sympathetic, and then became an outright heroine. The assumption (carefully cultivated by the series initially) that she was desperately seeking attention is totally negated when you meet her doting parents in the last arc. Ultimately, her bravado about needing a “worthy” challenger to compete with are really the most accurate – she needs a peer, and Saga is the only one in town who can serve. I am keenly aware of how kids need peers given the experience of raising my own daughter. Greta is in some ways more mature than Saga in that she is willing to seek out what she needs and instinctually recognizes what she is missing. The way the series leads you on and then reveals the real Greta is nothing short of masterful.

Vincent is the other character of primary interest – it is strongly hinted that he can detect the fairies even thouhg he can’t neccessarily see them outright. The Summer special underscores this and pretty much establishes by induction that Vincent had a season fairy companion in his own youth. But you don’t know any of this when you first see him – and in fact, without that knowledge, his first meeting with Saga in the coffee shop is downright creepy! Saga’s crush on Vincent was perfectly handled, however. That more than anything humanized Saga for me.

Can humans who used to have season fairy companions hear fairy music? I don’t think so. The only suggestion of this was Vincent watching Ginger’s rain, but it wasn’t convincing to me.

Clearly, Sugar’s mom saved Saga as a child. But does that imply that Sugar’s mom was a pair with Saga’s mom? I actually think it unlikely, primarily because it is established in Saga’s flashback that they had just moved to that town. Would a season fairy as an adult follow their old human around like that? It just seems more plausible that Sugar’s mom, like Sugar now, was assigned to that German town and happened to be around when Saga and her mom were moving in.

[UPDATE: see comments below – Ingrid was moving *back* to the town, where Regina had raised her. Vincent also comments to that effect in episode 10 that Ingrid was raised in this town. That makes the Ingrid/Sugar’s mother pairing much more likely]

However, it is still possible and even likely that Saga’s mom had a fairy in her childhood. The correlation of seeing fairies as a child with musical ability is not subtle – Saga, Vincent, and of course music being the mode of fairy magic mechanics. And Grandma Regina seems rather used to strange goings on. But then again, Im used to strange goings on with my daughter too, so maybe Grandma was just getting on in years – and deaf. The only real evidence that Saga’s mom may have had a fairy was Regina’s knowledge about fairies when Sugar was sick, but even that requires the assumption that Ingrid told Regina all about it. Wouldn’t that be a no-no, somehow? One might argue that some fairy knowledge is commonplace – after all, the Hammond group play and later Saga’s school play had very accurate four-wing representations of fairies. All in all, it is not neccessary for Ingrid to have had a fairy, but it certainly makes for a neat parallel.

The Elder totally set up Sugar on the field trip. I didn’t catch that at first but when it was pointed out to me, it became obvious. What a clever meddler 🙂

Random thoughts: Was turtle-dove love really neccessary? Greta’s monolouge to herself about the piano. You really feel for her. She’s the unsung hero of the series by far. And Pepper playing the evil witch in the fairy play? Hysterical!

The nutball rolling piano bit went on for way too long, and the ending was indeed contrived. But I think they needed to put some action in there for the benefit of the kids. How much of moping Saga and crying Sugar can we take, after all? There must be balance…

And the final emotional ending? Saga’s cry of anguish said it all. We really needed the Summer Special for closure.

6 thoughts on “Suuuuugar Baaaaaaaby-dolllll”

  1. One comment occurs to me immediately: when Saga and Ingrid were moving into that house, Ingrid was returning there. It was Regina’s house, the one Ingrid had grown up in. She’d moved away, got married, had a kid, and eventually returned to her home village (after a divorce or when she became a widow?) to live with her mother again.

    So if Ingrid and Sugar’s mother had partnered up, that’s the house where they would have done it.

  2. I was just about to edit my post – I finished reading your exhaustive episode summary and saw that you’d mentioned Vincent’s comment that Ingrid was raised in that town. I had completely forgotten about that.

    That information does change my opinion – it does seem more likely now that Ingrid and Sugar’s mother may have been a pair after all. My main concern was the geographic one, but that’s pretty much answered.

  3. Just finished watching Sugar myself. I was entranced the first time I saw the opening credits, back before it was even aired in Japan, I think, but then I ran aground on the early twinkle episodes. A shame, as it really picks up a couple of episodes later.

    I agree that the Summer Special is a perfect and necessary coda to the series. Oh, and I’m glad I finally got to find out what the first epsiode opening was all about.

    By the way, it’s Sugar Baby Love. 🙂

  4. Pixy, just read your post via Steven. It’s true – my wife even acknowledged yesterday that she wants to rewatch the whole thing because when she watched the first few she was dismissive. The series just grows on you. Even the hostile audiences!

    The best thing for me was the experience of watching the series with my three year old (actually, she turns 4 monday). I plan to watch the series again every year with her – I think there’s something in there for her all the way to adolescence.

    She also insists it’s “Doll” and not “Love” – who am I to argue? My women control my life 🙂

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