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File:Sagwa 2051.gif
A PBS series set in 19th-century China about, as the title says, a cat named Sagwa. It was based on a children's book called The Chinese Siamese Cat (later renamed for the series) by Amy Tan. Sagwa and her family live in the palace of an unnamed magistrate and serve as his scribes, being able to write with their tails. The show taught children quite a bit about Chinese culture, legends, and even language. Sadly for the fans, it was Too Good to Last, lasting only from September 2001 to October 2002.
Tropes used in Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat (animation) include:
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Sagwa herself, although as a kitten in a human world, she has to prove herself even more than most children would.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The book is 32 pages long and summed up in one episode (or rather a two-part episode). Everything else is new material.
  • Adorkable: Definitely Fu-Fu and the Reader of the Rules, but Dongwa and the Foolish Magistrate also have cute dorky moments.
    • Sir Richard!
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: The Foolish Magistrate tried to enter his cats into a caligraphy contest. The judge admitted there was no rule against cats entering the contest but the rule limiting the number of entrants to one per province forced him to pick one of the cats.
  • Animated Adaptation
  • All Just a Dream: Used as a Deus Ex Machina to save the characters in the episode On The Run.
  • Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: The Foolish Magistrate and Tai-Tai.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Obviously averted by Fu-Fu.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: The Reader of the Rules, and occasionally the Cook. While Reader is a beleaguered assistant to the Foolish Magistrate, the Magistrate's wife has the real power in the household. (See Politically-Correct History below.)
  • Blind Without'Em: Fu-Fu and the Reader of the Rules.
  • Carnivore Confusion: One episode throws a Lampshade on it when Sagwa is called out for being friends with mice. Then, there's an episode where we see that her aunt and uncle have adopted a puppy who has learned how to meow!
    • All the cats catch and eat fish, including Sagwa's family. Yet Sagwa and her grandfather are apparently "relations" of catfish!
  • Catch Phrase: "I've been inspired!" The Foolish Magistrate frequently says this, usually in an Adult Child frame of mind to the annoyance of all around him.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: All of the Miao siblings, but especially Sagwa. This is a good thing.
  • Everythings Cuter With Kittens
  • Fat Idiot: Played straight with The Foolish Magistrate. Averted with Cook (who, granted, is not nearly as large as the Magistrate).
    • The sleeve dogs could count, too.
  • Gender Flip: In the book, Sagwa had two brothers, but one of them was changed to a female kitten for the series.
    • Cook was female in the book, male in the series.
  • Gossip Evolution
  • Gratuitous Chinese, putting it several years ahead of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan in that the language used was Mandarin. It was in the theme song, "Hao peng you, Hao peng you. Sa Gua shi wo de hao peng you, Sagwa you're my best friend," and also used regularly within episodes. The characters wrote calligraphy, so viewers got to both hear it spoken and see it written.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Some of the characters in the show are actually voiced by actors who originally voiced characters from Arthur. For example, Sagwa = Fern Walters, Baba Miao = Mr. Ratburn, Dongwa = DW Read, etc.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Tai-Tai. Meanwhile, Mama Miao and her sister, Chi-Chi, have still got it!
  • The Ingenue: Sheegwa.
  • Interspecies Romance: One episode told a legend about how the catfish came to be — a cat married a fish. Sounds obvious but no less nonsensical.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Why Dongwa and the alley cats are the darkhorses. Tai-Tai also falls into this trope.
  • No Name Given: The rest of Sagwa's family were not given names in the book, and The Reader of the Rules remains just that in both versions.
    • The Foolish Magistrate and Cook are only known by their titles, as well.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Sagwa is not actually a Siamese cat, as the story explains. She was originally a white kitten but fell into an inkpot, and since that kind of ink isn't easy to remove, she ended up with the markings of a Siamese cat. [1]
  • Only Sane Man: Usually Sagwa for the animal kingdom and Cook for the humans, though the Sanity Ball gets tossed around.
  • Politically-Correct History: The female characters in the series, particularly the Magistrate's wife, Tai-Tai, have a lot more freedoms and influence than they would have had in that time period. In real 19th Century China Tai-Tai would NEVER think of talking to her husband like that, no matter HOW immature he was! (Chinese women were forbidden to speak until spoken to). Not to mention the Magistrate doesn't seem bothered by the fact that he only has 3 daughters, when in real life, he would have probably kept trying for a son, since the Kingdom could NOT be passed down to girls.
    • Also, Tai-Tai and her three daughters have normal-sized feet, which shouldn't be allowed especially for upper-class women. Look up "foot binding" in Wikipedia and you'll see what I mean.
  • Rebellious Princess: Ba-Do for self-assertion, Luk-Do for her own amusement. Neither sister has a huge case of this trope, however.
  • Rich Bitch: Tai-Tai. Thankfully, it hasn't rubbed off on her daughters.
  • Short Run in Peru: For reasons unknown, the final 5 episodes aired on Disney Channel Asia 6 months before it premiered in North America.
  • Slice of Life: Slice of 19th-century Chinese life, through a kitten's eyes.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The Foolish Magistrate loves noodles.
  • Tsundere: Tai-Tai is a rare (socially) mature Tsun Tsun, almost Stepford Smiler variety. Hun-Hun, a female alley cat, is a Dere Dere. Given their positions - pampered wife of luxury versus cat of the streets - one would assume it would be the other way around.
  • Vague Age: Everybody except for the youngest generation.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: The sons of a visiting magistrate gave Huang-Do (a daughter of the Foolish Magistrate and Tai-Tai) this treatment, and Huang-Do's sisters in turn did the same.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Sagwa, Dongwa, and Sheegwa question their parents' name choices in one episode. Their names mean "melon head" or "silly", "winter melon", and "watermelon", respectively, in Chinese. Then their grandmother tells them why they were given those names (they refer to an incident that got their parents together), and the kittens accept them.


  1. This is surprisingly accurate - the drawings depict the cats with very fluffy tails, meaning that their breed is far more likely to be a Himalayan. The Himalayan, also known as a "Pointed Persian", is a Persian cat with Siamese coloring, and so it is certainly possible for two Himalayan cats to produce a fluffy white kitten.
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