Sugar Apple Fairy Tale
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Sugar Apple Fairy Tale ?
Community score: 3.7
Okay. That was unacceptable. It's not like the writing wasn't on the wall the minute Bridget refused to tell Challe what happened to Anne's silver sugar because she's been a spoiled, entitled little twit almost from her first appearance. But none of that takes the frustration this episode brings and diminishes it. If we didn't have an announcement for a second season, this would have ruined the series for me.
However, it does show that maybe, this series has a better than superficial understanding of its subject matter. Challe's body language here makes it beyond clear that he has closed off his emotions. He's been a slave before, so he knows what it means to be treated like chattel. Bridget is still immature enough that she doesn't understand the difference between Challe being emotionally present and simply carrying out orders. She thinks she won because he gave her his wing and kissed her. She doesn't realize that he'll never be more than an object carrying out her orders in his heart and mind. Quite frankly, it's a level of understanding I didn't expect from Sugar Apple Fairy Tale, given the surface-level treatment of slavery in the first third of the show and what they cut out from the second. It isn't perfect, but it's also more nuanced than what we initially saw.
Challe's sacrifice feels especially cruel because anyone with half a brain would have been able to guess that Sammy was behind the theft of Anne's silver sugar. I mean, come on - who was against her entering the Radcliffe Workshop to help in the first place? Who repeatedly suffered from terminal misogyny and hit Anne? Who tried to maim her to remove her from the running for the title of Silver Sugar Master? Forget rocket science; this isn't even arithmetic. Sammy's the first person they should have suspected. It would have been reasonable to realize who the culprit was and then be concerned about him being supported by the workshop's master because last week, and again this week, we saw that Sammy had his undying support. But that they needed Bridget seems contrived, and the price paid far too high.
It's nice that Anne won. She deserved to; as the king said, she was the only person who truly understood the assignment, although Kieth did a good job. It would have been nice had Hugh stood up for her, though. Yes, his position as the Silver Sugar Viscount does put him in a potentially awkward situation. It's also undeniable that he's seen Anne's skills first-hand and knows her honesty and talent. What's the point of having power if you don't use it for good? The king certainly seems to when he permits Anne to remain and offers her a chance to prove herself. But he's also in a more stable position than Hugh, who sometimes seems stuck between the king and Lord Downing. Perhaps I'm not giving him enough credit.
There are plenty of ways Anne could resolve this situation, first and foremost being making Bridget an offer she can't refuse. But maybe Bridget needs the chance to grow and realize that she's the problem in this case. I dislike the idea of Challe being the plot device that forces it, but we aren't going to get an easy fix, and slavery narratives only have so many ways to showcase its evils. But I'm not happy with this ending, and it may take until the series returns in July to get its unpleasant taste out of my mouth.
Sugar Apple Fairy Tale is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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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