Sugar Apple Fairy Tale
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Sugar Apple Fairy Tale ?
Community score: 4.1
Isn't it amazing how easily people fabricate stories to support their exclusionary practices? They always seem to have something to point to in order to explain their bad actions away. “Oh, no, you see, fairies and women are bad, because the first woman preferred a fairy man over a human, so obviously we need to make both of their descendants chattel. It makes perfect sense!” It's the same garbage spewed in our own world and history, and I am sick of it. It's nothing more than an excuse to keep the same people on top and to stomp on those who seek to change things. No wonder Jonas is such a miserable excuse for a human being – long before he started spewing his bile, he was raised on a steady diet of misogyny and human exceptionalism. All he had to do was say that Anne wronged him and all of his fellows were primed to believe him.
Sugar Apple Fairy Tale may struggle with its thematic elements, but you can't accuse this episode of not trying harder than its predecessors to put them out there. Between Anne's treatment at the hands of 99% of the men at the Radcliffe Workshop, the internalized misogyny of Miss Bridget of the Paige Workshop, and Bridget's blatant objectification of Challe, the story's points are on full display. Bridget is one of the most troubling, but real, parts of the whole. When she sees Anne working, dressed in men's clothes, her first reaction is to wrinkle her nose in disgust, unable to understand why a lady would want to do physical labor in practical clothing. Her fiancé is quick to note that Bridget herself is there to “help” in the kitchen in the most nominal of senses, and Bridget takes his head-patting condescension as both normal and acceptable. She looks down on Anne for both daring to work and for “using” her fairy to help her in that work; Bridget goes so far as to twice proposition Challe in a way that, he points out, she would never do to a human man. Because Challe is less than human, and, to her eyes, property, all of her fine manners aren't necessary. She just wants him because he's pretty and Anne doesn't “deserve” him.
Equally notable is that no one stands up for Anne after Sammy hits her. Although we don't see the blow, we hear it, as well as him yelling at her for trying to make too high-quality of a product; when we next see Anne, she's on the ground where she's clearly fallen. She's objectively in the right – they should be making proper silver sugar – but no one is willing to admit it or to tell Sammy where to get off. Yes, Kieth (that spelling hurts me) steps in to take Anne out of the situation, but he doesn't stop Sammy. He doesn't actually stand up for her. Yes, he's outnumbered, but he's also the person with the most power in the room, the next in line to head the workshop per Jonas' uncle, and it really comes across as him not wanting to jeopardize that. He could make people listen. That he doesn't even try feels damning.
Is this a way to show that women and fairies are, as far as human men are concerned, equally disposable? While original light novel author Miri Mikawa's ambitions often outshine her ability to depict her themes, that does feel like what she's indicating here. It once again feels like antebellum novel quality, where the heart is in the right place, but the execution isn't capable of showing it fully. If nothing else, we have a clear picture now of why Anne's mother raised her as she did, because why would she want her daughter exposed to the toxic traits of a world that would judge her abilities based solely on her sex? Anne can speak up because, unlike Bridget, she knows that she's a person deserving of respect, no matter what.
It's almost easy to lose sight of the two other major developments this episode, the dreaded Shoujo Love Triangle™ and Challe finally admitting aloud how much he cares for Anne. The former, thanks to the scant amount of episodes remaining, should be blessedly short. The latter? I'm looking for a hopeful ending.
Sugar Apple Fairy Tale is currently streaming on
Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.
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