Sugar: Note to Saga

By Shamus
on Apr 12, 2006
Filed under:
Anime

I’m thinking back to disc 2 of Sugar, A Little Snow Fairy. In one episode, Sugar writes a message in crayon for Saga and shows it to her. But she writes on a treasured piece of sheet music that belonged to Saga’s deceased mother, so Saga gets upset and doesn’t read the message right away. She carries the paper around with her, and looks at it later, and yet she still doesn’t read it. She’s old enough to read a message this short without any problem, just by glancing at it.

Later she shows it to Salt and Pepper and they look right at it and read it to her. They tell her it says ” Sorry Saga “, which she should have been able to read herself.

I can only conclude that the only reason she didn’t read it is because she couldn’t, and the only reason for that is that it isn’t in her native language.

Looking at the letters, they are not German (the story takes place in Germany, I think) or indeed any other European language. They don’t look very Japanese, either. In fact, they look kinda… made-up. So, is it:

  • A pretend European language, or faux-German? (Like the way Americans might make fake Japanese by drawing squiggles that look Japanese to them.) Unlikely. It shouldn’t have been hard for the animators to translate a two-word message into German. They went all the way to Germany to do research for the series, so I don’t think they would glaze over a detail like this.
  • A language I don’t recognize? I don’t think so. The language looks quite pictographic, but it also looks much too long for the information it contains. Also, the message seems to change shape a bit and is always partly obscured, so I expect we aren’t supposed to examine it too closely. In any case, this doesn’t explain why Saga couldn’t read it.
  • A special made-up Fairy language? This would explain why Salt and Pepper could read it and Saga couldn’t. This seems most likely, but why would Sugar expect Saga to be able to read Fairy writing?

BUT: Then I get to disc 5 and Elder has a cookie for Ginger:

So what we have are characters who live in Germany, speak Japanese, and write in gibberish on paper but use English when writing on cookies. I’m sure I’m just reading to much into this, but I can’t help feeling like I’m missing something.

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7A few comments. Call it seven-ish.

From the Archives:

  1. Pixy Misa says:

    I assumed that it was fairy-writing, and Sugar didn’t realise that Saga wouldn’t be able to read it because, well, Sugar is an airhead.

    Pepper knew what the problem was right away, of course.

    Can’t be meant to German, because the audience is too familiar with the Latin alphabet, even if mostly for English. I don’t believe it’s a real language either, based on the time I’ve spent messing about with Unicode fonts.

  2. Shamus says:

    Makes sense. And that would explain Elder and his cookie: He’s not an airhead and so he knew better.

    (Er, he’s USUALLY not an airhead. I don’t think he’s been at the top of his game since he met Ginger.)

  3. Pretty-boy Turmeric is kind of an air-head, by definition of his job.

  4. Shamus says:

    Speaking of Tumeric, in the English dub the characters all call him “tur-mer-ick” but I’ve always heard people pronounce it “too-merick”. Very strange. I don’t know if the version I use is part of a local (western PA, near Pittsburgh) accent or if it’s the prevailing pronounciation. It’s not a word that gets thrown around a lot, so it’s hard to judge. My version omits the first “r”, which suggests that the version I use is less correct, but there is no way to know how common either usage is.

    The Dictionary has both but there is no way to know how widespread either one is.

    Everyone in the English dub says it the same way.

  5. Dan says:

    If you even care, sentences of this article are all blotted out in pink on my compy

    I’m pointing my finger in YOUR direction Mr. manassgrabber

  6. Shamus says:

    The pink stuff is spoilers. Click and drag over the text to read it and ruin the story for yourself.

  7. Dan says:

    oooooooooooo… ya i read them anyway (click and drag is no secret) and i would hardly call reading about a story i have very little interest in, a spoiler

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