The Bear Pianist
The name of Saga’s home town is revealed: Muhlenburg. I imagine its roots are mühlen (plural, mills) and burg (fort). So, “Fort Mills”?
This is the first episode where it’s felt to me as if many things happened, and yet it may be the one with the least events, as most of the episode consisted of the wonderful play.
As another first, I believe this episode is the first to show a vehicle. I don’t know anything about cars and trucks, so I don’t know if the design is based off of a real German truck from the past, or if it’s a completely fictional design.
For a short bit early on, it looked as if maybe the episode would give Norma a lot of screen time. While her character does stand out, she’s still a bit player in this one, only slightly above Greta’s role. Phil on the other hand stayed nicely out of the picture after getting his chance in the spotlight in the prior episode. I’d like to know if he and Saga knew each other before sharing this class together, as he was the first she asked about joining her group to see the play. It’s only natural he’d want to spend more time with his research and experiments, and I can understand him completely. I’m not sure whether Greta wanted to see the play, but I don’t expect she’d waste an afternoon just to look good in front of the other students.
Pepper had some good parts, such as her showing off the bear’s roar, and her big, teary-eyed face near the end. Sure, both actions are the same as Sugar’s, but that’s expected of the playful Sugar. Due to Pepper being so polite in her speech, it’s easy to forget she’s also only nine years old. By the way, I read on the pamphlet with this DVD about how the fairies were drawn at a reasonable size, and scaled down via computer. This is obvious by looking at the animation, of course. I really would love to have the original-sized artwork of Sugar, Pepper, and Salt with their arms up, going “Rawr!”; wouldn’t that just make the most adorable desktop image for ones computer?
My eye was on Vincent, the man who stopped by for coffee, and wore the bear costume, this episode. The way he looks around the coffee shop, he seemed very much out of place. It almost seemed as if he wasn’t supposed to drink coffee, so he was glad to find a place where he could. As he took so long looking at the menu, I wasn’t sure if he enjoys reading that much, has trouble deciding, or can’t read and was trying to hide it. With his piano-playing skill, and his acting like a coffee connoisseur, he’ll be sure to appear before Saga more times.
He watched Saga carefully as she prepared the coffee. Does Vincent know Saga from somewhere, wondering if she’ll remember him? Or was he watching carefully how she prepared his coffee? Maybe he thinks she’s cute and kept an eye on her. Whatever the reason, his blunt truth about the quality of the coffee just knocked Saga’s 80 point coffee back to a 65, then down to a 50, and maybe even as far as a 45. Vincent can only become Saga’s new obsession: she must not stop until she makes him a perfect 100 point coffee.
Some of the ways Vincent moved around in the coffee show before sitting down, I almost wondered if he’s blind. He sure does to take his time. Not so good for Salt, though, impatient as ever. Also, Sugar’s proving she’s a child again, as she cheers on when “Salt’s in trouble”. Silly bunch of kids. Even more-so as the cheer Saga on as she moves sugar cubes into a bottle. “You can do it! One more! Just one more!” Crazy kids. What was with he focus on his eye after that final shown sip of coffee?
Now it’s known, Jan is the taller of Phil’s friends, and Alan is the shorter, with twin kid brothers who both resemble him. This is one family which might be better off saying “no” to a few Hachez’s. What I find interesting is one of Alan’s brothers just let Norma keep poking him in the cheek. He looked worried, but otherwise didn’t react. And she just kept poking and poking at him.
One of these days I need to write up a culture page on sneezing. In Japan, when you sneeze, it’s said someone must be talking about you. When Anne mentions Phil by name, this is why he sneezes. How long might Phil wait before realizing his best friends won’t make it to help out? If he’s anything like I expect him to be, he’ll become so enraptured in his work he’ll forget he’s working alone, and he won’t be one bit mad at the two for abandoning him.
When Greta criticized the play for being predictable, I was on her side. At the same time, I knew something unpredictable would happen, which would catch Greta off guard. Thankfully, I was caught off guard, as well. I thought for sure the bear pianist was shot, which made his wedding arrival seem a bit too happy ending for my tastes. When the bear pianist and the piano lifted off, and I realized what happened, I was very much satisfied. That was one good play. This time around, Sugar’s big eyes were quite appropriate. They seemed a bit silly when she cried prior after learning Saga’s mother had died, but seeing her crying this way after the bear pianist died gives the look more credit as how she handles death.
If Anne and Norma think Greta’s twisted, then what do you say when Jan says the things he said to Greta? Obviously he was taking the initiative to prove she really was moved by the play, but he still deserves the title of “at least a little twisted”.
I’m really liking Anne’s English voice. I think her voice might be the best in the dub. Greta’s is very well done, too.
I’m eager to learn what Saga’s two blushes at the end is about, the first being after Vincent removed the bear head, and the second being while taking a bath.
Sometimes it’s nice to have one episode transition into the next, rather than each episode being 100% independent. It’s sort of a catch, really: episodes which begin and end within one episode are perfect for re-watching a favorite episode, but such episodes loosely tie together. Episodes which transition from one to the next keep the story closely together, but re-watching a single favorite episode leaves you a little empty as it leads you into the next episode, which might not be on your favorites re-watch list.
The cast this time around lists Vincent (whose name was used at the end of the prior episode), Hammond (the troupe’s leader), Cheryl (which was she, the forest fairy?), and “a young girl”, from the play. This excludes the young lady and man from the play. It’s obvious Vincent will have a larger role, and Hammond surely will. The forest fairy will probably as well, so I can see her being Cheryl. I’m left wondering why “a young girl” would be in the credits and not the others from the play, unless they were voiced by actors who play greater roles already listed in the credits.
I take it Saga never determined what her dream for the future was from the end of the last episode.