When Saga—now 15 years old—arrives at her home after a day of errands, her grandmother Regina discovers an old dress in the attic. At this point, Saga recalls the time her elementary class participated in a play titled "Princess and Fairy." She volunteered to play the role of the Princess while her rival Greta played the evil witch. The production of the school play reminded Sugar and the other fairies of the time "The Bear Pianist" played in the town not too long ago.
To tell you the truth, this is a series that I watched very recently. It’s been out for around fifteen years, and I really only knew about it from it’s infamously sugary name and occasional appearances in the first few AMV Hell videos, but I never really picked it up until I saw it for 15 bucks in the Sentai filmworks holiday sale, and I wound up watching it as part of my January vacation from work. I was expecting a dumb, pandering, diabetically sweet series meant to keep little girls quiet while entertaining them with as little effort as possible, but I
was surprised to see that it was actually one of the best children’s anime I’ve ever seen. And the OVA at the end was even better.
I won’t spoil the framing device that the OVA uses, because it actually is a pretty big spoiler, but it does feature an event that apparently took place in the timeline of the series. Saga’s class is putting on a play, which was written by one of her classmates. The fairies also put on a play of their own, despite having only recently learned what the concept of a play really is. Their play winds up being a sort of distillation of the original, named Princess and Fairy,” and while we don’t get to see the play from start to finish, we do get to see the Fairies’ interpretation of it, as well as just enough material to tie up the various plot threads of the episodes.
As highly as I regard Sugar, it had a couple of flaws that made me back off from giving it a perfect score. It had a vaguely pedo-ish story arc involving an actor in a bear costume, and while Saga talking to her invisible fairies in front of people made her look crazy at first, the story seemed to drop that piece of logic very early on, so she could have entire side conversations with them and nobody would notice. The OVA manages to avoid both of these problems, despite the fact that it brazenly references the bear storyline at several points. It acts as a call-back to many characters and events, but at no point does any of it feel forced or contrived, and everything works into the plot perfectly.
These special episodes really are a representation of everything that was great about Sugar, with no noticeable drop in quality either for the animation or the writing. True, it doesn’t really represent the more emotional moments in the series, but there are feels to go around in the bookend sections, and the fact that it was able to combine so many elements into one short story while remaining true to everyone’s personalities and dynamic means that it must have been put together with a deft hand by someone who loved and understood the original material.