I love Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat. I have all of the episodes on DVD and VHS, from both official releases and recordings off various TV channels, and have a promotional poster on my house's wall. I once met Holly Gauthier-Frankel and had her sign my mug with the Miao family on it, hell I even started a message board called The Clubhouse where fans can interact. The educational PBS show about Siamese cats having adventures and learning life lessons puts on a smile on my face even though I'm 18 years old. I even started a Sagwa-themed rap/nu-metal band called "The Alley Cats", in which I do the rapping and my girlfriend DJ Sheegwa (her real (first) name is Clare) did the clean vocals. The other band members are Lik-Lik's Boi (his actual name's Mason) on the guitar, Ching Chang Chow (most people call him Teddy) on bass, and Super Miao (I call him Zick in private) on the drums. We have been performing gigs at comic cons up and down the East coast and we even got to perform at AthensCon in Greece, whilst waiting for some weird-ass anti-consumerist DIY record label to sign us.
When I say I’m a fan, I mean that I go out of my way to collect anything Sagwa-related. I was at the Rietta Flea Market in Hubbardston, Massachusetts on vacation, looking for, well, anything Sagwa-related. I was checking out a vendor's table. He had three Sagwa VHS tapes. The two VHS's I identified were Best Friends and Feline Festivities, but the third one was mysterious. It was just a recordable VHS with a piece of red duct tape stuck to it with written on text that said "SAGWA YOU'RE MY BEST FRIEND". I was puzzled about this, but I purchased the three tapes from the man operating the table. He said that he got the three tapes from a job lot, and the guy who gave him the lot seemed glad to have the third tape over with, and he told me that the man said that the tape felt like it was cursed. I did not heed his warning as I believed it to be a simple joke. Boy was I wrong.
When I arrived at my home in Agawam after a very long drive home, I waited until it was the morning to watch the tapes. I ate breakfast and then wondered what the tapes were as I looked over them. I got out my VCR and hooked it up to my TV, and then played through the first two tapes. They were normal as I have seen them before, as I have at least 5 copies each of them. The "Sagwa you're my best friend" tape was strange. I popped the tape in the VCR, and when I hit "play", the tape showed a screen which said "This tape contains content that may be frightening to younger viewers. PARENTAL DISCRETION IS HIGHLY ADVISED." I jokingly thought "Well, it was nice enough for the demonic entity that may or may not have conjured up this tape to include a content warning." to myself.
The tape then showed the Sagwa intro, but it was highly different. The animation was a little choppy in some bits, and some of the notes of the part before the singers starting singing the Chinese lyrics of the theme song seem to have been hit off. After the intro ended, the screen stayed black for about 10 seconds before showing a bird's eye view of the village. The title read "I Hate You Stupid Dogs". I thought this had something to do with the sleeve dogs. It then cut to Sagwa goofing around in the garden with Dongwa and Sheegwa. The Sleeve Dogs appear and gave chase to the cats. Suddenly, Sheegwa passed out and fell down. Everybody stopped and looked at her. Dongwa yelled "SHEEGWA! ARE YOU OKAY?" at the top of his lungs, but no response came. Suddenly, Sheegwa coughed up her own blood. I was shocked to see this happening in what is normally a kids show! I knew I needed to take the content warning seriously.
Then it cut to a blank screen, and showed clips that represented death such as: a dead body being dumped into a river, a cat playing with a dead bird, and footage from various disaster films. You can hear Dongwa crying the whole time.
It then cut to Sheegwa's funeral, with the entire cast there. Most of them were crying, and Mama Miao was in severe distress. I was dry-eyed as I felt crying was not needed right now.
But then again it cut to the most disturbing thing I've ever seen. It showed Dongwa staring at the brutally attacked, and also murdered, Sleeve Dogs. Ping had his stomach torn open and his intestines everywhere, Pang was covered in blood and was trembling in fear, and Pong was beheaded with blood everywhere. I did not throw up as I have a thick stomach, but I felt kinda... weird at the sight of Pang covered in blood. Dongwa was about to finish off Pang, when the screen cut to the color bars TV stations used to use when they signed off for the night.
It cut again to black, but this time for 30 seconds. Then it cut to a What About You segment with only Sagwa, who was talking about... death rituals! This shocked me. At the end of the segment, she was about to do the What About You end screen, but then she went up to the camera and said to us "You know... I've never felt loved all this time. Only friends like me... and my parents are strict to me. I... I... I can't feel love. I can only project it. But, I can say this to you... thanks for being my friend." Then it cut to black again.
Then it faded to the pond, but Sagwa's body was deep in it. She committed suicide by drowning. A title came up saying "Former Best Friend". It then faded to a funeral for both Sagwa and the Sleeve Dogs, with everybody once again crying and mourning her loss. Tai-Tai was very sad and her makeup was running thanks to her tears. It then cut to a newscast about the loss, with the reporters saying "The magistrate has lost 5 of his animals over the past week. We will miss them deeply in our hearts." The odd thing was that the news reporters, which were a man and a woman, sounded just like Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons from Family Guy.
It then cut to the normal credits, but instead of clips from other episodes, it showed a black screen. Instead of the CineGroupe and Sesame Workshop logos, a message saying "Vous devez trouver l'amour avant qu'il ne soit trop tard." was displayed. I ran it through Google Translate and it stated that the message meant "You must find love before it's too late."
I ripped the VHS to my computer and emailed it to CineGroupe, saying that it was horrible that such an animation could be made out of a beloved but forgotten children's cartoon. They replied and told me the following:
"Dear [NAME REDACTED]:
What you just saw was a unaired episode not meant for broadcast. For a planned season 2 of Sagwa, we were intending to turn it into a "more mature" cartoon for PBS Kids' in-planning PBS Kids Go! lineup. We asked a man named Zach Goldman to help us write the premiere episode of the season, of which he edited and storyboarded as well. When the episode was screened for test audience, the audience members were quite horrified and appalled by it's nature. A few of the people who viewed the episode unbelievably went into shock and had to be rushed to the hospital immediately. Zach was fired and we passed the copy the test audience viewed onto a private collector. We thank you for writing to us about the episode.
I posted about the tape on The Clubhouse, and many members showed shock at it's content. A few days later, two men appeared at my door. One introduced himself as Charlie "Banzai" Stephens and the other as Ted Goldman. Ted informed me that his brother Zach had made the episode, and they needed the tape in their hands for safe lock and in order to research it for a project on discovering the origins to all of the "Lost Episodes" of various TV shows, as Ted had been involved in one before, but was now working for "the good guys" as a researcher of lost episodes. I made a DVD copy of the episode and handed it to them.