This is a episode commentary. It is intended for someone who has seen this episode, and will contain episode spoilers.

A Little Snow Fairy Sugar: Episode 2 Commentary

An Itsy-Bitsy Roommate

Collage of A Little Snow Fairy Sugar screenshots.

Poor Saga, her life’s turned upside-down, and all her classmates must think she’s losing her mind. Speaking of her class, Saga’s class size is small considering the number of desks available. It’s refreshing to hear names such as Phil and Elise, rather than Tamazaki and Ryoko, once in a while. It has the double goodness of being foreign names for a Japanese viewer, and easy to learn and remember names for a native English speaker. It’s also kinder to my spell checker.

It seems Greta will make for a running gag of always trying to show off the latest expensive thing her father sends her from abroad, only to have it ignored. After the ring event (with Sugar trying to take the ring as a “Twinkle”), it wouldn’t exactly be difficult for Saga to prove, at least to Norma and Anne, that she’s been befriended by a Season Fairy. Just tell them, “Watch this waffle slowly vanish, bite by bite, into thin air.”

Judging by the name of the opening theme song listed in the credits of the first episode (which had skipped showing the opening theme), I prepared myself for an upbeat, fast-paced theme. I’d say the opening about matched my expectations based on its name alone. The opening sequence shows much larger of a cast yet to be introduced.

Outfit designs for human characters look based on basic present day outfits. The heart on Norma’s outer shirt, as well as the general design of characters’ outfits, suggest certain technologies are available for making clothes. At the same time, the only electric appliances in Saga’s bedroom are a couple of lamps. Likewise, lights are seen from house windows at night. Phil also uses a vacuum. All this makes it difficult to place the series into an era. Maybe early to mid 1900’s in a world where there were no World Wars, nor the events which lead up to them? One of the most telling signs of time would be the design used for cars, but I don’t recall seeing any.

Getting back to the outfits, Sugar’s outfit makes her look very much like a fancy doll, with her frill-like dress, and big bow in the back.

Pepper’s outfit looks more like a simple maiden look, with a plainer dress (especially compared with Sugar’s multi-layered outfit), and head scarf. Her sandals give a very Hermes, wind feel. Her bag matches her headscarf. Is that mistletoe she wears in her hair?

The basic outfit for Salt looks like something expected to be worn by a young boy, with his short-sleeved shirt, and shorts. The boots match his outfit, as well as the gloves. If he removed the gloves and hat, he might even look almost like a common human (only itsy-bitsy, of course). Speaking of Salt, he sure has my sympathies. No one should have to go through being pummeled with kisses like that.

Sugar’s background has been explored, setting up her side of the plot for the series. It remains to be seen if Saga will have any personal goals to achieve, or if she’ll be helping Sugar find Twinkles for her sprouting Magic Seed to bloom into a Magic Flower. Character and plot background exposes are usually a weak point in a series, as the characters are explaining things which should already be known. While I did get a feeling of over-explaining by Salt and Pepper of things Sugar should already know, I can give them a pass as Sugar seems to have slacked off in the paying attention department in class. Is she really the same age as the other two? She must be a very young nine, while Pepper and Salt are older, more mature 9’s.

From here, the next episode may decide to focus a little on Saga and her friends, or on Sugar and her friends. Or both. Or perhaps it will go in a different direction completely.

What has me worried is the characters’ wardrobes. I can understand the fairies keeping the same outfits, as they probably didn’t carry more than they can fit into their pouches for their trip to the human world. Saga and the other humans, on the other hand, and wearing the same outfits on Sunday (episode one) and on Monday (episode two). The only noticeable outfit changes are when a character’s wearing pajamas, and after Saga’s after-bath evening outfit, which has been the same in both episodes. I realize that one outfit means something easier to recognize when marketing toys and other products, and costs more to design different outfits, but if Sailormoon can find out how to come up with new outfits for many characters spanning 200 episodes, I can’t imagine it being too difficult for a 24 episode series. A related observation is that back in episode one (as I look back on it now), the outfit Saga wears when she gets in bed is not the one she’s wearing when opening the curtains in her bedroom in the morning. My guess is she didn’t intend to go to bed with her evening clothes on, and after the scene where Sugar creates a snowflake, Saga changed into her night clothes.

I’d like to learn about how the animation was done for this series. Looking at the outlines around Sugar (and at times Saga) gives the impression that a computer was put to a lot of use for many (if not all) scenes of animations. It’s obvious a computer was used for much of Sugar’s floating in air. That’s not a complaint in itself, but some of the computer work could have been better quality. I do like her “walking on air” as she begins to explain about the Season Fairies. Also, the slow bouncing up and down motion as she’s in the air keeps the look of her actually being in the air, without anything below her to hold her up.

The enjoyable scene of this episode for me has to be Salt’s reaction when Saga responded to what he said. There’s nothing quite like insulting a human who can’t see or hear you only to get a response.

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