A Unique Premise, And a Great Shoujo Fantasy
- Mangaka : YozoranoUdon (Art), Mikawa Miri (Story), Aki (Character Design)
- Publisher : Yen Press
- Genre : Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
- Published : April 2023
The confectionary-inspired fantasy world of Sugar Apple Fairy Tale was something of a surprise hit for us this anime season. Perhaps that’s because this particular writer has an interest in baking sweets, but regardless, there’s something oddly enticing about Anne Halford’s journey to becoming a master candy maker—sort of like a high-stakes fantasy version of The Great British Bake-Off.
Based on the light novels of the same name, the new manga adaptation comes our way in April, courtesy of Yen Press. Does the manga adaptation leave that same sweet feeling in the mouth, or will this confection leave a sour taste on our tongue?
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review the first volume of Sugar Apple Fairy Tale (Manga), Volume 1!
If you haven’t read the light novels or watched the anime, Sugar Apple Fairy Tale’s premise is simple—in this world, there exists ‘silver sugar,’ a magically-imbued sugar used to craft intricate confectionary for marriages, ceremonies, royal events and so forth. Candy makers recognized by the crown are known as ‘silver sugar masters,’ and our protagonist, Anne Halford, is the daughter of a silver sugar master.
With her mother having recently died, Anne intends to honor her mother’s life and follow in her footsteps by becoming a silver sugar master herself. There is, however, an additional wrinkle to this tale: throughout the kingdom, mankind has enslaved magical fairies as their companions, workers, and bodyguards. In order to secure herself on the dangerous journey to the royal capital, Anne purchases a beautiful but sharp-tongued ‘warrior fairy’ named Challe.
Fundamentally good-hearted, Anne attempts to befriend Challe despite his abrasive nature, and ultimately decides she’ll grant Challe freedom once they reach the capital. Along the way, the pair must grapple with the fundamental gap in their relationship, bandits on the highway, and Anne’s troublesome childhood friend, Jonas.
Mangaka YozoranoUdon does a fine job of bringing the ethereal beauty of the fairies to life within the fantasy framework, with some excellent comedic beats. Anne’s kind-heartedness and childish expressions are rendered lovingly, while Challe’s reserved nature and fierce combat prowess splash across the pages with style.
Why You Should Read Sugar Apple Fairy Tale (Manga), Vol 1
1. A Touchy Subject
It feels strange to recommend Sugar Apple Fairy Tale on such a fundamentally dark and difficult topic. Still, its nuanced handling of slavery is quite unexpected, and handled well from all fronts. We see Challe’s resignation to his role, and his deep-seated distrust of humans; Jonas’ cruel and abusive treatment of his fairy, Cathy, along with her warped love for her own slave-master; and of course, Anne’s emotional conflict over wanting to befriend her traveling companion, while quite literally holding his life in her hands.
There’s also the romantic tension between Challe and Anne brewing, along with the dissonance between Anne’s age (just fifteen years old) and Challe (being somewhere north of seventy, but looking twenty-ish according to the magical rules of manga!). Anne wants to become closer to Challe, but the fairy refuses to open his heart, especially not to someone who ‘owns’ him.
Series like Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari (The Rising of the Shield Hero) have stirred up debates over slavery representation in fiction before, and it’s not a topic we can easily discuss inside one review. That said, we think Sugar Apple Fairy Tale handles the subject carefully, never forgetting the importance or gravity of that dynamic.
2. Whimsical, Shoujo Fantasy
There aren’t too many options for shoujo readers looking for a fantasy story—especially if you’re feeling a bit over the villainess/otome-reincarnation tropes. To that end, Sugar Apple Fairy Tale offers a whimsical story with beautiful characters and a magic system that borders on the surreal.
Candy crafting takes center stage quite often, and through Anne’s adventure, we learn about refining the sugar, preparing the confection, and seeing immaculate designs come to life with her craftsmanship. It’s enough to make anybody want to take up candy making—although common household sugar lacks that magical touch!
Sugar Apple Fairy Tale also leans into the creation myths of the fairies (which we won’t spoil here), which adds another layer of fantastical magic to this world, drawing the reader in with every new discovery!
If you’ve recently watched the anime adaptation, you probably don’t need to read the manga—it’s basically a one-to-one adaptation, almost literally for some scenes, without much (if any) additional story.
If you haven’t watched the anime (or simply prefer reading manga!), then Sugar Apple Fairy Tale’s manga offers a unique premise centered around candy crafting, with a surprisingly dark backstory of slavery, loss, and forgiveness.
Are you going to pick up Sugar Apple Fairy Tale (Manga), Volume 1? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!