Sugar Vol. #6 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Sugar

Sugar Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     February 05, 2004
Release Date: February 10, 2004

Sugar Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
Did you know fairies change the seasons? Saga works extra hard to try to buy back her mother's piano, but Sugar's help only causes her more work. Frustrated, helpless and kicked out of the store, Sugar then discovers that Salt and Pepper have found their "Twinkles" and are going back to the Fairy World! Will Sugar and Saga be able to overcome this emotional time?

The Review!
Sugar's search for the twinkles comes to a conclusion with the final four episodes here that ties everything together with a bow and seals it with a sugary kiss.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its English language dub. The show has a nice if fairly average stereo mix that doesn't use a whole lot of directionality. The music, which has quite a few soft moments to it, comes across beautifully and dialogue is nice and clear throughout, but mostly through the center channel. We didn't notice any dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Presented in its original aspect ration of 1.78:1 and encoded for anamorphic displays, this transfer looks fantastic for the most part. For the bulk of this release, transfer looks gorgeous with bright vivid colors, lots of depth and a complete lack of cross coloration. This was a real pleasure to watch. With the episodes on this volume there is far less panning going on than earlier episodes, which have resulted in the aliasing problem being far less of a problem this time around.

Opting for pink to close out the covers, the background is a soft shade with the bluish white snowflakes falling across it. Saga and Sugar are side by side with their usual big smiles and just looking happy as can be. The back cover features some nice collages of shots from the show. There's a good intro summary paragraph and a listing of the discs features and extras as well as listing the episode numbers and titles. This is useful since volume numbering does not appear anywhere on the package. The insert has another shot of the front cover while the back has the episode chapter listings. The insert opens to provide the sixth part of a series of interviews, with this one talking to series director Kimura.

The main menu is a nice piece that plays part of the instrumental music from the show and has the duo of overactive hyper faeries making their first and only menu appearance. Selections are quick and easy to make and access times are nice and fast.

The extras for the last volume are pretty much all centered around the final episode, and that means variants on the opening and ending sequences. Since they're done different than the rest of the series, this disc has both the original Japanese language versions as well as textless versions of the opening an ending. Geneon did a good job overall of replicating the style and color of text used in the originals for the English version.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sugar manages to bring the entire series to a surprisingly satisfying close by tying up some loose ends that have almost been forgotten from the beginning of the series while getting the regular characters properly into place for their next stage. There's a good mix of drama, comedy and just plain cuteness across all four of these episodes as the final story is told that it balances out very well, essentially hitting every mark it needed to.

After Saga had found out that Greta's father had been the one who bought her mothers piano from the store, she's thrown herself into her job at the coffee shop. All of her spare time has been given over to work there, especially after she just got a raise, so that she can save up as much money as possible to buy the piano back. Her focus on this is so single-minded though that she's begun to subconsciously push away both her friends at school as well as Sugar and the other season fairies in training. When Salt and Pepper eventually find their twinkles, Saga doesn't even realize it because she's so wrapped up in her work that she doesn't know that the two of them have returned home.

Saga's intensive schedule also starts to have an effect upon poor Sugar herself. While there's nothing firmly established, Saga's grandmother relates a tale from her childhood about how fairies are often tied to their human companion in an emotional way. When the human gets stressed or overtired, it causes all sorts of similar or worse problems for the fairy. With Sugar trying to help Saga as much as possible since she only wants Saga to be happy, Sugar ends up causing more problems and trouble than she realizes, especially at the coffee shop, which ends up with Saga telling her to leave her alone. So it's little surprise that it takes awhile before Saga notices that Sugar is not doing well.

What ended up the most surprising during these final episodes is the changes in Greta. Ever sine Saga went into her semi-silent oblivious mode, Greta's lost her sparring partner and her "rival" in all things. While I'm not quite sure that Greta got the real reasons behind why Saga was so upset about the piano being sold, she comes up with enough reasons for wanting to give to Saga to try and make things right again, something that's a big change for her personality considering how she's acted from the beginning of the show. This leads to one of the best looking sequences in this series, which is Greta getting a Saga's male and female friends to help move the piano across town. This sequence plays out a touch longer than it should, but it's so vividly colored and beautifully animated that it's hard to complain. Just looking at some of the colors, such as the blue eyes or the way the animation flows so smoothly as the piano whips down the streets, it's gorgeous.

All told, the series brings to conclusion the obvious part of the story with Sugar and her quest to find the twinkles. Though not entirely unexpected since this is a simple series after all, it's nicely done and gives you that warm feeling that the entire show is trying to get across. What got to me was the wrap-up of the storyline that started at the actual beginning of the series with Saga and the floating piano in the snow. This had gone relatively unaddressed for the majority of the series, so I was very surprised and happy to see that there was an actual reason behind it and it fits into the show very well.

In Summary:
Sugar as a series played out much like expected from the title alone. Lots of over the top cute moments that will drive some people insane in a good way while for others it would be a bad way. For myself, Sugar was a series that worked out very well since it fell so completely under the harmless category that it proved to be a great English language show for me to watch with my older daughter, allowing her to take in the show more completely. Being able to watch it with her and see parts of it through her eyes and how she found things funny or sad added a whole new level to it.

Sugar was in the end a very cute show that was rich with detail, imagery and imagination. It didn't strive to be more than what it was, but at the same time it shone for what it was as they did that expertly. While Sugar isn't for everyone, those who do fall in love with it will have fond thoughts about it for a long time to come and will only reflect on it with a smile.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Original Japanese Ending,Textless Opening,Original Japanese Opening

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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