If nothing else, Bottle Fairy looks to be a fun series to sit back and watch. Slice-of-life series are hard enough to comment on, and there may be even less to say about this series. It’s not meant to have a storyline, or a strong cast.
There’s no explanation as to who the Bottle Fairies are, where they come from, how common they are in the human world, or why Senseisan has four of them living in his house.
While the Bottle Fairies are trying to learn more about the culture of humans, what they actually learn is comical rather than reflective of Japanese culture. If a viewer hopes to learn more about Japanese culture, however, this series looks to give a lot of starting points on what to research. Just make sure ghosts don’t appear while reading up on the entrance ceremony!
The first item on the agenda for the Bottle Fairies is to learn about the entrance ceremony. In Japan, the school year starts in the beginning of April, so this is when the entrance ceremony takes place.
At the entrance ceremony, older students are able to welcome newer students. There was something like this back when I was in fifth grade, near the end of the school year, where classes would tour the middle school (sixth through eighth grades) to get to know the layout of the school and what it was like going there. Not as big and fancy,of course.
The Japanese entrance ceremony typically takes place in the school gym, which is a common place for ceremonies in USA schools as well (unless the school has an auditorium as my middle school did). In the auditorium, the senior students will be seated before the new students enter, and the principal may also give a short opening speech, words for the new students joining the school. Teachers are also introduced. After various other events, new students receive their textbooks, and class photos may by taken.
For the hyper Kururu, spacey Hororo, stoic Sarara, and proper Chiriri, however, the entrance ceremony is anything but this…
“No wonder it’s called a ceremony.” The scene where Chiriri falls in the line of duty, and pleas for Sarara to go on without her, it seems to be quite popular. The same happens (as a running gag) with Sayo and Misato in SuperGALS.
The scene where the fairies learn about Oborochan is why I like shows such as this. The innocence of not even realizing Oborochan is a stuffed toy, the hope to provide assistance to him on his quest. A Little Snow Fairy Sugar has a similar feel to it when the fairies believe Mr. Bear in a play really died. As for Oborochan, doesn’t he have a Neco Coneco feel to how his face looks? (Azumanga Daioh)
The bottles appear to be a source of magic for the Bottle Fairies. It’s a bit scary to consider what these childlike characters may be capable of.
After watching episodes of A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, it’s nice to see fairies who take small bites, and don’t eat four times their size in food. At least, until Kururu works her way through the sandwich. Hororo’s spaciness is even more dangerous than what the fairies may be able to conjure up their their magic. It is Kururu’s own fault for being between two slices of bread.
I am simply amazed at how well the hanami joke was translated into English. hanami is “flower viewing”, from hana (flower) and miru (watch). However, hana also means “nose”. The fairies hear “hanami” (flower viewing) and think of “hana mi” (nose viewing). So, how does one take the English “flower viewing” and end up with “nose viewing”? The dubbers lucked out, thanks to the Yoshino cherry tree.
Cherry trees are well known as the tree for hanami in April. When Tamachan says “It’s time for flower viewing. Look a the Yoshinos,” the fairies are able to hear “look at the Yoshi nose”. “Whose nose?” asks Kururu, sending her and Chiriri off on a nose viewing event. A well played translation, I must say. While Tamachan does explain that “Yoshinos are big trees”, a pamphlet with translation notes would have been a nice inclusion with the DVD, to allow more in-depth explanations.
Hororo mentions karaoke, which I understand actually is something some people do while flower viewing. Naturally there’s drinking sake as well, meaning drunks. (I noticed Kururu’s dialogue as a drunk was changed for the English dub, but somehow I don’t seem to mind, as the subtitles properly translate the Japanese, and the English flows smoothly.) Between the karaoke and the drinking and other events, flower viewing is more of a social gathering by night, a party among the people there. As long as the fairies had fun, then perhaps their flower viewing was a success. Poor Senseisan, though, having to come home to this. It’s nice to see him remain mellow about it.
Another cultural bit to note is when Tamachan has her boots on, then switches between kicking them off and putting them back on. Culturally, Japanese do not wear outdoors shoes indoors, and the boots are Tamachan’s outdoor shoes. She takes them off before stepping on the house floor.
A few notes on the names: Senseisan comes from sensei (one more knowledgeable than you in a field, such as a teacher) and the name suffix “san”. Likewise, Ororochan has the name Ororo with the name suffix “chan”, a name suffix shared by Tama, thus Tamachan. I’m assuming Tama is nickname, possibly short for Tamae, Tamaki, Tamako, or Tamayo.
I can understand keeping the “san” and “chan” in names since it shows those in the names during the opening theme. What caught me off guard was when Chiriri tripped trying to get through the ceremony, and she called Sarara by the name “Sarara-chan”. Most dubs wouldn’t include this suffix on the name. In fact, the only one I recall keeping it in was I My Me Strawberry Eggs, and they took things a little too far.
My only complaint so far is the pronunciations of names in the dub. Sometimes it’s difficult to make out the name said. I’m sure this won’t be a problem once I’ve actually learned all their names, and don’t have to look at a quick chart I made up listing the name and hair color to know who’s who. It shouldn’t be too difficult to learn the names. They all have a double r letter in them, and I have Kururu and Chiriri learned already. Sarara shouldn’t be too hard, but Hororo will be the tough one for me to learn.
I think this commentary might almost be longer than the episode itself was. My first episode commentaries tend to be the longest, so I’m not sure how following episode commentaries will turn out for this series.