animefringe may 2003 / feature
Animefringe Coverage:
A Little Snow Fairy Sugar - Maximum "Kawaii" Factor

There is a world beyond ours that we cannot see. Forces beyond the comprehension and control of mankind manipulate the very air around us. Small beings invisible to humanity traverse the atmosphere, shaping the elements with magical powers to control the weather.

Okay. I've got to stop trying to make this series sound more sinister than it is. Those little beings? They're fairies. Season fairies, to be precise. And while they may be beyond the comprehension of most people, there is at least one young girl that has the ability to see them, though she isn't too thrilled with that prospect at first.

Saga is a very organized young lady, known throughout her town as a trustworthy and levelheaded person. Her friends rely upon her to plan their day, her classmates look to Saga as a standard-setting student, and her "house-blend" coffee is a town favorite. She plays the piano with a skill unmatched by most adults, and she's unfailingly optimistic despite being orphaned at a young age.

In short, she is a perfect little girl.

At the beginning of the show, her life is running as smoothly as her incredible planning skills allow. She has plenty of friends, respect from the townsfolk, and a loving grandmother. Her grades are good, and everything is going according to her plan.

That is, until a little snow fairy named Sugar enters her life.

She finds Sugar on a rainy day, looking pale and worn out while resting on a trashcan. Saga has plenty of self-confidence, so she believes her eyes at first and hands a waffle to the little fairy. Sugar's condition immediately improves as she consumes the waffle (which is easily the same size as the diminutive sprite), but eating tires her out and she promptly falls asleep.

Somewhat in a state of shock, Saga takes Sugar back to her house, unaware of the consequences of her act of kindness. Saga eventually convinces herself that she's hallucinating. She's a very pragmatic girl, and the idea of little fairies doesn't mesh well with her very solid very structured worldview. However, Sugar isn't one to be ignored, and she soon makes sure Saga is very aware of her existence. Sort of like a small child, save with the ability to fly, Sugar buzzes around Saga constantly. She has the attention span of a gnat, the appetite of a sumo wrestler, and a completely endearing naiveté that only the cutest child imaginable could possess.

By a stroke of fate, Sugar ends up living with Saga, and Saga discovers that the little fairy is actually a Season Fairy-in-training. She's living on Earth for the time being to complete her education so that she may become a full-fledged Snow Fairy. A couple of episodes into the series, we meet Salt and Pepper, two other Season Fairies attempting to end their apprenticeship and become masters in their own right.

Koge-Donbo, the well-known artist and character designer for Di-Gi Charat, created the original concept for Sugar and it shows. I suppose now would be a good opportunity to warn potential viewers of the incredibly sweet nature of this series. It may be too cute for its own good. While I've enjoyed it immensely, I've already heard plenty of complaints aimed at its saccharine tone. This is a series that transcends the word cute and skips straight to the Japanese word "kawaiiii" (with added i's for emphasis). So long as you know what you're getting into--a show with no fan service, no deadly explosions, no cursing, and a generous dose of sparkly magic--then this can be a very enjoyable experience.

The technical aspects of this show are far beyond average for a television series. The art style is beautiful, the animation is very fluid, and its presented in a widescreen format. The music is catchy and almost as cute as Sugar herself, and the first volume is available in a disc-only or disc + artbox format.

One thing that I haven't qualified before is the quality of the artbox. Thanks to an observant reader, I realized that many other readers out there might wonder if the artbox is worth getting. I think Sugar's box is very well made and attractive. It's made of thicker cardboard than the Evangelion or DNA2 boxes, even if it isn't as unique as the .Hack or Rayearth Memorial Collection boxes.

So long as you can appreciate something that's incredibly cute, then you should really get a kick out of A Little Snow Fairy Sugar. Its production values are high, its characters are endearing, and it possesses some of the cutest action ever before witnessed in anime form. We should have a full review for the next volume after it arrives, but for the time being, don't be shy to pick up the first volume of the super-cute Sugar. It'll have you happily exclaiming "Waffo!" in no time.