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Sakura Quest – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Morning Glory」 by (K)NoW_NAME:NIKIIE

「魔の山へ」 (Manoyama Eh)
“Off To Manoyama”

Sakura Quest isn’t a show I’d recommend to everyone, but I must admit that there’s a spunky charm to it that managed to capture my attention before its first episode came to a close.

General Impressions

Before I get into the parts that I liked, I have to address the elephant in the room — I think there are a lot of people who won’t enjoy Sakura Quest all that much unless it manages to click with them. At first, I thought I’d be writing a rather negative post about another P.A. Works show that was about to go down the same route as Glasslip. The main heroine didn’t seem like she was fit for the role, the story of someone being tossed into a situation they’re trying to escape has been countless times before, and the characters all seemed a little too strong in the personality department (as in strong overbearing characters felt extra overbearing and timid ones felt really shy).

However, somewhere between the halfway mark and the end of the end of the episode, everything magically clicked for me. Our main heroine Yoshino started showing us that she’s more than just a recent grad who whines a bunch and is instead a rather thoughtful human trying to make the best with the cards she’s been dealt, the story established itself not as a sob story but one of a rural village trying to recapture its former glory and hopefully the economic stability that comes along with that, and the characters all started to show more depth with not only their words but through their actions and body language. All things that I’m not sure how P.A. Works managed to fit into less than fifteen minutes, but boy am I glad that they did. In addition to that, I think what really pushed the show from okay to good for me was how the story connected Yoshino with Manoyama village. I personally was wondering how the story was going to convince me that a girl like Yoshino who hates the idea of living in village would accept her role as “Queen of Manoyama”. But lo and behold the storytellers managed to connect things in a way that I didn’t see coming and was pleasantly surprised to discover. You can call flashbacks, nostalgia, or memories an overused trick but when it works boy does it work.

Overall, I think Sakura Quest has a lot of potential to be a great slice-of-life or maybe even coming of age show. With the setting in the perfect place for it to occur and characters who are all mature enough to understand the deeper issues that plague the world, I really hope that this show can become a somewhat serious one that uses that slice-of-life style of storytelling to really create a world that we can become engrossed in. And while there are definite issues with some parts of the show like the insanely quick pacing as well as a ton of more characters just waiting to make their debut, I think the overarching storyline and plot can keep things going strong.

In any case, I’ll probably catch you guys again next week for episode two of Sakura Quest. See you then!

 

Preview

April 6, 2017 at 9:10 pm
23 comments »
  • April 6, 2017 at 9:46 pmstarss

    This reeks of first-episode dulldrums, but hey that means the rest of the show will be exciting right?? RIGHT?? That aside, I’ll be following this anime for at least a few episodes to get a sense of what it’s like, as it’s way too early to make a judgment. Hell roughly half the cast hasn’t even appeared, from the opening. I still adore the character designs (same designer as SHIROBAKO) as well as the same studio, and the premise is giving me the impression of a less comedic Amagi Brilliant Park. I am attracted to shows about artists trying to deal with their differences to reach a common goal in a world that has left them behind or doesn’t understand them (a variety show for The Muppets, an anime production for the aforementioned SHIROBAKO, etc), so this is an automatic pick-up for me right now.

    I thought the theme of “fantasy kingdoms” they keep referring to was a bit forced, until I realized “oh it actually ties in to the premise”. A slightly-eccentric leader was bent on giving the town a medieval fantasy theme, which definitely makes him entertaining to watch. I suppose I’ll have to research the era of Japanese “mini-towns” to get some context in why they ran out of business.

  • April 7, 2017 at 12:35 amOne Pinch Man

    http://randomc.net/image/Sakura%20Quest/Sakura%20Quest%20-%20OP%20-%2009.jpg
    That was a good first episode! Yoshino reminds me so much of Aoi from Shirobako. I have high expectation on this one.

  • April 7, 2017 at 4:05 amsaltyotter

    I’ve personally been to some of these rural towns (Ayabe near Kyoto and Oshamambe in Hokkaido), and it really is lonely, but the few that still live there are some of the nicest you’ll meet. It isn’t lonely in the sense that there’s not a lot of people around, but rather (for me, anyway) it’s like watching a flower slowly wilt away. You get the feeling that there’s a ton of history and memories in every nook and cranny, and the loneliness kicks in when you realize that much of it will disappear when the elderly that live there pass away and their children (who have gone to live in the urban areas) start to stop remembering their roots.

    In Ayabe, it’s full of picturesque, lush greenery dotted with a lot of empty houses. It gets absolutely pitch black at night and the few lights that are around are crowded with bugs and frogs attracted to the illumination. Probably the one point in my life where there wasn’t some sort of machinery or low traffic humm going on in the background the whole night: just a breeze, some rustling of grasses and leaves, a quietly flowing stream, and nocturnal critter sounds.

    In Oshamambe, a lot of the buildings and storefronts were shuttered up, which was a stark contrast to the expansive coastline a very short walk away. I remember going inside one of the convenience stores and the two ladies working there were very warm people and chitchatted amongst themselves with little reservation, which was very different from the sterile and muted manner of the store clerks in the urban establishments.

    Anyway, I’m rambling on at this point, but I’d just like to say that the premise of shows like this and Non Non Biyori, which prominently feature rural towns and villages in either a nostalgic or revival-movement-esque fashion, are not arbitrary or come from a lack of original material: they are reactions to a greater dilemma that’s been getting the spotlight in Japan in recent years, which are the growing pains of excessive urbanization, the resultant loss of culture and values, and the difficulty of coming up with and executing sound solutions.

    I haven’t been back to either of those places since then and can only hope with all my heart that things there are better now. They and many others like them are very special places that I think Japan would benefit greatly from in many ways if they were kept alive and well.

    • April 7, 2017 at 8:33 ammac65

      How long ago were you there (just to get a perspective)?

      • April 7, 2017 at 12:44 pmsaltyotter

        It’s been five years since then.

    • April 7, 2017 at 1:16 pmRedRocket

      First hit was Green Revolution as way less farmers were needed for the crops.
      Next the bust trampling tourism.
      Next point I hate as I never wanted kids and if I did so with a women near my age I really don’t want to live in the world I now observe must be.
      And the final nail that will eventually result in the extinction of the human race if everyone adopts our modern view of children as optional or try to have them in late twenties early thirties when chance of having them way down along with way higher defect chance. For stable population every woman must have 2.something children and men must support and raise 2.something children. Unfortunately there are just not enough people willing to have 4.something children or 7 something children and so on to make up for people having none one or two. And many of those wanting children cannot naturally have them because of the myth that women can wait to have them. Unfortunately every year after puberty the chance of having a child drops and chance of genetic defect from oxidation and radiation rises. A man who considers children important probably should marry as young as legal and look for lower marriage age even to have the greatest chance of having them. (yuck but them the facts)
      The result a population shrinkage that is starting to occur all over the world in developed areas and in all these places the loss of population both directly shrinks rural areas and indirectly crushes the economy especially tourism that keeps rural areas economically viable now that so few farmers are needed.

      • April 19, 2017 at 5:03 pmDar

        It’s not going to result in any extinction, because “everyone” will never adopt that view of children. Natural selection works not just with biological attributes but for cultural ones as well. Cultural groups that favor large families will grow and supplant those that favor small or no families. Those groups will eventually dwindle and die out or be absorbed into the cultures that favor large families. When entire nations or regions subscribe to the small/no family philosophy, they will eventually have no choice but to supplement their populations with mass immigration from regions that subscribe to the large-family philosophy. It’s already happening all over the world, some regions are just resisting it longer than others but will eventually have no choice.

  • April 7, 2017 at 7:36 amChoya

    This was a very cute first episode. Kinda reminded me of PA Works’ Hanasaku Iroha, except with a small town theme park instead of a rural inn. I think that Sakura Quest is straightforward enough in its premise that it won’t have the problems that Glasslip did.

    I was concerned, however, about the idea of the Kewpie umeboshi sandwich that was about to happen.

  • April 7, 2017 at 8:23 amGoukaRyuu

    I liked it. I can certainly emphasize with not being able to find a job. Given how most of what i wanted to watch seems to be a wash, I am glad this seems to be good.

  • April 7, 2017 at 8:26 ammac65

    Good thing she didn’t pick up that sword!

    Pretty fun watch for some comic relief with could be a story.

  • April 7, 2017 at 10:22 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    I do wonder if/when some of the older townspeople will end up recognizing Yoshino or if she’ll tell them about being the “queen” as a child after seeing that photo.

  • April 7, 2017 at 11:28 amtheirs

    An anime about the tourism industry? If they put as much care as SHIROBAKO, it may end up pretty good. I’ve seen some similar schemes in real life, and I really don’t see how it’ll work. But it’s not my field anyway, so who knows. Never hung around long enough to find out. Maybe Sakura Quest will show in a more entertaining way how they go.

    http://randomc.net/image/Sakura%20Quest/Sakura%20Quest%20-%20OP%20-%2009.jpg
    Two more ladies yet to be introduced.

    http://randomc.net/image/Sakura%20Quest/Sakura%20Quest%20-%2001%20-%2026.jpg
    What the heck is that thing? Didn’t something similar show up in Hibike Euphonium?

  • April 7, 2017 at 11:37 amWorldwidedepp

    Well, i can see the hadwriting of Shirobakos charaters, but i wonder what story this here want to tell

  • April 7, 2017 at 12:03 pmArche

    You can definitely feel PA Works is aiming for another Shirobako here, but with a different enough premise and a comparatively stronger first episode this show’s feeling optimistic so far

  • April 7, 2017 at 1:24 pmRedRocket

    Chupacabra first reports came from Porto Rico and is a central and southern America myth how they pick that one in Japan? Well that funny.

    I thought it a cute slice of life.

    • April 7, 2017 at 2:44 pmFaolin Eye

      Chupacabras were also mentioned in Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin, so these mystic creatures might be somewhat popular in Japan. And the Japanese also have a soft spot for UMAs, like Tsuchinoko, so this maybe could answer your question.

    • April 7, 2017 at 9:57 pmKarutaku

      Kabura means turnip in Japanese. Pretty sure that turnips are the town’s most famous product and the theme park was originally just “Kabura Kingdom” or “Turnip Kingdom”. Someone added the Chupa- later to make it more interesting

      The green thing above the park entrance is clearly a turnip. The changes to make it a monster came later :D
      http://randomc.net/image/Sakura%20Quest/Sakura%20Quest%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2013.jpg

  • April 7, 2017 at 1:57 pmJeffers

    Well we all know how PA works produce anime that build so slow but once it reaches climax all you can say is either WOW or W.A.W, ”What A Waste“… My point is PA works’ unpredictability makes it hard to drop this anime. Shirobako is a good example of WOW. Folks who want plot right on the bat would of course find this anime boring and drop this anime after their 3 episode rule. In my case, I see a strange light at the end of tunnel though whether its a Wow or Waw, we dont know.

  • April 7, 2017 at 11:05 pmPeanutbutter

    It’s an interesting town name they use there, Manoyama, Maou no yama, the Devil Mountain.

  • April 9, 2017 at 8:10 pmDavid

    It was a much more enjoyable episode than I expected. In particular, the ending theme reminded me of the theme from Shin Sekai Yori, which is one of my all-time favorite credit themes.

    Overall, I’m expecting this to be enjoyable the way Shirobako was.

    • April 13, 2017 at 4:01 amHanabira.Kage

      Which? SSY had two EDs (and no OPs).

      I’m going to assume the second one due to the tone. :x

      • April 20, 2017 at 10:33 amDavid

        No, the first. I suppose I should specify that it’s the music, not the video, that I was referring to.

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