Sugar Apple Fairy Tale is one of this season’s sweetest treats. Based on the light novels by Miri Mikawa and aki, it follows a young sugar sculptor named Anne Halford as she aims to win the kingdom’s highest honor for her art. Along the way, she buys a warrior fairy named Challe Fen Challe as a bodyguard. Most of the drama of the series is between these two—but there’s so much more going on.
The series’s story threads run deep, and confront everything from grief to status. As the series hits the ground running, let’s take a look at some of its biggest feelings:
Sugar Apple Fairy Tale opens with memories of happier times. Anne’s mother, also a sugar sculptor, teaches her young daughter about the craft. Too, she teaches her about respect for fairies… more on that later. Importantly, though, Anne loves and respects her mother on many levels. As a mother, yes; but also as an artist she hopes to emulate.
A big part of Anne’s journey to the big sugar sculpting competition is out of respect for her mother. “Pull Soul Day” is coming: the day on which spirits are sent to the afterlife. And Anne wants to send her mother off with a beautiful sculpture and a big win. With this fueling her, winning is about more than just her art… though that is important.
If you’re a creator of any kind, Sugar Apple Fairy Tale will speak to you. While grief motivates much of what Anne does, she also takes pride in her work. She finds herself struggling not to copy her mother’s work and to find her own style… a journey that will have many ups and downs. Ultimately, though, the joy of creating something truly original shines through.
On the flip side, Anne endures the heartbreak of art theft. Quite literally. When faced with the threat of death vs. protecting the thing she made with her own hands, she knows where her priorities are. They’re priorities that confuse Challe Fen Challe—but certainly won’t confuse an artist.
While Anne’s mother taught her to respect fairies, not everyone got that lesson. In fact, fairies are largely treated as subhuman in Sugar Apple Fairy Tale. Humans steal one of their wings and use it to control them. Moreover, fairies are bought and sold as slaves. Anne, taught to respect fairies but still knowing she’ll need protection on her journey, purchases warrior fairy Challe Fen Challe. She promises to return his wing to him once the journey is over… but he’s not about to let her forget that she is, on paper, his owner.
Anne’s desire to be seen as a friend is sweet, and even understandable. But for as long as she holds that wing, the power imbalance is obvious. Her compassion rings hollow for as long as she maintains her superiority, no matter how earnest her feelings may be. What happens when she finally makes good on the respect she was taught?…