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Sagwa is the name of a cat in the children's book Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat by author Amy Tan. Sagwa's popularity with children prompted an educational animated series of the same name on PBS Kids. In the series, which is set circa 1900 during the Qing Dynastymarker, Sagwa has fun in her day-to-day life while learning and teaching valuable life lessons. The show is notable for its setting and messages about familial obligations and loyalty.

Plot

Sagwa resides in the palace of a Magistrate in China, part of a royal family of cats who have the ability to write with their tails. She and her siblings, along with various other cats and Fu-Fu the Bat partake in adventures that are usually accompanied by moral lessons, as is typical with most children's shows. However, one aspect that sets this show apart is its display of various aspects of Chinese culture, which helps promote awareness and understanding of other ethnicities.

Characters

The cast of characters

  • Sagwa Miao-- Sagwa (傻瓜 shǎguā, "silly melon head") is the middle child of Mama and Baba Miao. Kind, curious, quick thinking, creative and often bossy, Sagwa, according to a story told by Nai-Nai in one episode, was born in the Year of the Dog. She was originally pure white in color, but (again, according to a story told during an episode) gained her current Siamese cat markings after falling into an ink-pot. Sagwa is very talented in calligraphy, and is said by her parents to have the best artistic skills in the Miao family.
  • Sheegwa Miao--Sheegwa (西瓜 xīguā, watermelon) is Sagwa's younger sister, born in the Year of the Rat. Curious, friendly, cheerful and full of energy, Sheegwa is also very optimistic and ascribes good intentions to almost every creature she meets. She is pure white in colour, except for a pink tinge on her cheeks, and has a folded right ear.
  • Dongwa Miao--Dongwa (冬瓜dōngguā, wintermelon) is Sagwa's older brother, born in the Year of the Monkey. Intelligent, competitive, and sometimes stubborn, Dongwa is independent and often prefers the company of the Alley Cats or solitary martial-arts practice to playing with his sisters. He is the only male child of the family. Dongwa is cream colored and has the traditional Siamese markings.
  • Fu-Fu--Fu-Fu (福蝠 fú fú, "lucky bat") is Sagwa's best friend. A cave-dwelling bat who wears round glasses, he is an extremely clumsy flyer and often crashes into trees and other objects. He acts as the voice of Sagwa's conscience, warning her against taking unneeded risks, and then rescues Sagwa from the consequences of her adventures.
  • Baba Miao--Baba Miao (爸爸貓 bàba māo, literally "daddy cat") is the father of Sagwa, Sheegwa and Dongwa. Baba Miao is strict with his children, and in matters of work and duty, but he has a softer, playful side as well. He and Mama Miao are the official calligraphers of the Foolish Magistrate. Baba Miao, like Dongwa, is cream-colored and has typical Siamese facial markings..
  • Mama Miao--Mama Miao (媽媽貓 māma māo, literally "mommy cat") is the mother of Sagwa, Sheegwa and Dongwa. Like Baba Miao, she can also be a strict parent, but she is usually more lenient and gentle than Baba. She and Sagwa have similar coloring and markings.
  • Nai-Nai--Nai-Nai (奶奶 nǎinai, paternal grandmother) is the grandmother of Sagwa, Sheegwa and Dongwa. Grey in color, she is old-fashioned, patient and full of wisdom. She often tells the kittens stories, and the family treats her as a respected ancestor.
  • Yeh-Yeh--Yeh-Yeh (爺爺 yéye, paternal grandfather) is the grandfather of Sagwa, Sheegwa and Dongwa. Like Nai-Nai, he is wise and patient. He tends to enjoy food that tastes good but smells terrible (i.e. "stinky" fermented tofu). He is a good storyteller, and the kittens treat him with great love and respect.
  • The Foolish Magistrate--The ruler of the province, the Foolish Magistrate is a large and rather absent-minded man. He occasionally makes rules without reason, or makes ill-conceived decisions under pressure from his wife, Tai-Tai, but for the most part he is portrayed as a just and reasonable ruler. He is very fond of his cats, both for their calligraphy skills and for their ability to keep away mice and rats, of which he is deathly afraid.
  • Tai-Tai--Tai-Tai (太太 tàitài, wife) is the Foolish Magistrate's wife. She is a very irritable, status-conscious woman who needs to prove her superiority to the "common" people of the village; however, she has flashes of kindness and reasonableness, in which she sees the consequences of her actions and apologizes to those she has wronged. She is very attached to the Sleeve Dogs who live in her robe, and values the cats only when they can bring praise on the family.
  • The Daughters--Bai-Do (白豆 bái dòu, literally "white bean") is the Magistrate's oldest daughter, who wears pink. Of the three daughters, Ba-Do is the protagonist. Luk-Do (綠豆 lǜ dòu, literally "green bean" or "mung bean") is the Magistrate's middle daughter, and usually wears yellow. She is the more athletic of her sisters. Huang-Do (黃豆 huáng dòu, literally "yellow bean" or "soybean") is the Magistrate's youngest daughter, who is taller than her sisters and usually wears blue. She is the more sensitive of her sisters. The three girls argue a great deal, but they are generally loving sisters who support each other.
  • The Cook--The Cook not only prepares meals, but also attends to medical and other emergencies around the palace. He is good friends with the Reader.
  • The Reader--The Reader is in charge of reading the Magistrate's rules to the villagers; informally, he and the Cook often serve as advisors to the Magistrate as well. He also serves as tutor to the three daughters, and in one episode is discovered to be a talented poet as well. The reader is often the victim of mishaps caused by others in the Palace.
  • The Mice--Shei-Hu, his cousin Shei-He, and a large group of other mice live unseen behind the Palace walls. They are close friends of the three kittens and do no harm to the Palace nor its inhabitants. However, the Foolish Magistrate and his family are very afraid of mice in general, so their presence must remain hidden.
  • The Alley Cats--A group of cats who live in the streets and alleys outside the Palace grounds. They include "bullies" such as Jet-Jet and Lik-Lik, who tease the Miao kittens because of their "goody-goody" ways and privileged lives. Others, however, are friends to Sagwa, Dongwa, and (to a lesser extent) Sheegwa such as a female alley cat named Hun-Hun.
  • The Sleeve Dogs--Ping, Pong and Pang are three small dogs who live in the sleeves of Tai-Tai's robe. They antagonize the cats and boast of their superior status, but invariably their taunting and plots cause them to appear ridiculous and get into trouble in the end. They are Pekingese dogs.


Many of the names of the characters derive from the Chinese language. Their spellings are romanizations, and differ from the standardized Pinyin system.

Voice cast



Note: Sonja Ball, Oliver Grainger and Holly Gauthier-Frankel previously worked together on two other animated series; Arthur and Mona the Vampire.

Episodes

  • 101 "How Sagwa Got Her Colors"
  • 102 "New Year's Clean Up" / "Firefly Nights"
  • 103 "Royal Cats" / "Acrobat Cats"
  • 104 "Tung, the Singing Cricket" / "Sagwa's Lucky Bat"
  • 105 "Cat Burglar" / "Sagwa's Good Deed"
  • 106 "Harvest Festival Race" / "The Foolish Magistrate's New Robes"
  • 107 "Magistrate Loses His Post" / "Fur Cut"
  • 108 "Sagwa's Swan Song" / "Tribal Cats"
  • 109 "Stinky Tofu" / "Cat and Mouse"
  • 110 "The Foolish Magistrate's Aching Tooth" / "Sheegwa and the Blizzard"
  • 111 "By the Light of the Moon" / "Treasure Hunters"
  • 112 "Fraidy Cats" / "The Tortoise and the Cat"
  • 113 "Cats of a Different Class" / "Alley Cat Opera"
  • 114 "Fu-Fu and the Whistling Pigeon" / "Princess Sheegwa"
  • 115 "Ciao, Meow" / "Sagwa Rules"
  • 116 "Explorer's Club" / "Time for Everything"
  • 117 "Not-So-Purrfect Patient" / "Comic Opera"
  • 118 "Panda-monium" / "Festival of Lanterns"
  • 119 "Snagged by a Thread" / "Master of Mistakes"
  • 120 "Collar of Time" / "The Birds, the Bees, and the Silkworms"
  • 121 "Invention By Mistake" / "Dongwa the Sailor"
  • 122 "New Cook in the Kitchen" / "Cool Fu-Fu"
  • 123 "Tough Guy Dongwa" / "The Competition"
  • 124 "Lord of the Fleas" / "A Precious Gift"
  • 125 "My Fair Kitty" / "The Favorite"
  • 126 "Tea for Two Monkeys" / "Lucky to Be a Bat"
  • 127 "Sagwa the Stray" / "...And Action"
  • 128 "Ba-Do and the Lantern Festival" / "Fu-Fu's Full Moon Flight"
  • 129 "A Catfish Tale" / "Wedding Day Mess"
  • 130 "Spreading Rumors" / "Up, Up and Away"
  • 131 "The Jade Rabbit" / "Dongwa's Best Friend"
  • 132 "The Zodiac Zoo" / "The Four Dragons"
  • 133 "Lost and Found" / "Three Graces"
  • 134 "All Grown Up!" / "The Cat and the Wind!"
  • 135 "Too Close for Comfort! / Sister Act!*
  • 136 *Sick Day / The Name Game"
  • 137 *Shei-Hu's Secret / Homesick Jun"
  • 138 *The Return of the Rat / Great Balls of Fire*
  • 139 *Catsitter / On the Run"
  • 140 "Cha-Siu Bow Wow/Mutt That Would Be King"


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