A Little Snow Fairy Sugar Vol. 6: Sugar Baby Love
Sometimes, you just need to give in to your sugar cravings.
I had seen the A Little Snow Fairy Sugar OAV through bit-torrent last year, and enjoyed it for its cute art and refreshingly simple story. So when the opportunity arose to see the series in entirety, I jumped in. My anime picks lately have been pretty, yet serious (Someday's Dreamers, Full Moon Chronicles, Full Metal Alchemist), so I figured it was time for some girlish abandon.
Enter the Season Fairies.
The story is fairly straight-forward. Saga is an ordinary schoolgirl in a modern-day European town, who works part-time at the Little Me coffee shop. One day, she meets Sugar, an apprentice Snow Fairy who soon makes her home in Saga's room. Sugar is in the human world to learn and gain experiences in order to become a full-fledged Snow Fairy. Saga at first hates this sudden total shift in her world, but she becomes best friends with the energetic, but often erring Sugar. As their friendship blossoms, so does the Magic Flower, the symbol of Snow's growth as a Snow Fairy. Apparently seeing Season Fairies is a rare ability, so Saga is quickly introduced to Sugar's fellow apprentice fairies and the adult fairies who control the seasons and weather in her town.
Like in any good children's story, Saga is an orphan living with her grandmother. Her mother was a pianist, so Saga finds consolation in playing her favorite song on her mother's piano, now residing in a music store. A Little Snow Fairy Sugar Vol.6 opens with Saga's sense of abandonment at the sale of her mother's piano and Sugar's determination to find the piano and play with Saga her mother's song, which it played repeatedly as a background theme.
This disc is the concluding four episodes to the series, and the ending did not fail my expectations, though the last episode did feel a little forced in its last few minutes. I smiled and I cried. Yes, it was very cliched, but I was expecting that. Snow and her friends Salt and Pepper finally become Season Fairies, and they must leave the human world now. Snow, however, tries to delay it because she doesn't want to leave Saga alone. Saga tells Snow that she will always remember her through her piccolo-induced snow, and then the snow fairy disappears. Saga finally can let down her stoic face and cry, and she never sees the Season Fairies again. Sappy? Yes, I know, but I found myself feeling moved, and isn't that the benchmark for excellent anime?
I have been really enjoying the trend in recent shows for photo realistic backgrounds, where backgrounds are essentially painted over photographs with slight alterations (Someday's Dreamers being a good example). A Little Snow Fairy Sugar has some of the most gorgeous artwork, both characters and backgrounds, that I've seen recently. Saga's town is based on an actual German town (a documentary extra is featured on an earlier disc), and the characters have an almost super-deformed quality to them, with big eyes beyond the typical anime trope. This is a beautiful visual experience and a great series to share with a special someone.
Music plays an important role in A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, both as a theme and character. Music is how the Season Fairies work their magic, and it's how Saga connects with her mother. The background music guides the audience, giving audio cues of character moods. Saga and Snow each have their own theme music, and when they play together or play the other's song we see them growing closer as friends. The opening song, the upbeat do-wop "Sugar Baby Love" is actually one of the things that first attracted me to this series. The ending song wasn't that much of a favorite, as it is a lot more quieter and somber.
Extras include the original Japanese and non-credit versions of the opening and ending for episode 24, an art gallery of the Japanese DVD cover illustrations, DVD credits, and Geneon previews. Frankly, it was the previews that lowered my rating. Now I know that they were aiming to recommend anime of the same sugary-sweet genre as A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, but the fact that the previews were almost the same on all six discs, and there's only so many times that I can take Cardcaptor Sakura and its movies, Adventures of Mini Goddesses, and Sherlock Hound without pressing the skip button. (I skipped Mao-Chan just because it freaks me out.) The set-up option was the standard single option of dub versus sub. I would have liked to have had separate audio/subtitle options, and watch it in dub/English subtitles for comparison, but I don't think my viewing pleasure was hindered by the lack of options.
This series is perfect fare for the fan willing to confess to having a childish and very girly side, and/or wants to watch anime with school-age children. And let's face it, it's hard to find good anime for younger siblings and children being babysat that you can guarantee that it won't offend anyone. It also makes for a nice break from the darker series that twenty-something fans like me seem to gravitate towards. Open the window and let in A Little Snow Fairy Sugar for a small story on true friendship.