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Sakura Quest – 17

「スフィンクスの戯れ」 (Sufinkusu no Tawamure)
“The Sphinx’s Antics”

So this is what the elderly population will look like in 60 years? What a scary thought! But the episode tackles what exactly a transition to high-tech gadgets in society could mean for a small town like Manoyama. What shocked me is how easy it was for the elderly people that live near the mountains of Warayiba to pick up on the technology they’re given after they’re shown how to use the internet. More often than not, I’ve had many encounters with older people who were bitter about having to sit down and learn about how to use modern-day conveniences like e-mail or social media. In this anime, they were still open for using the tablets the city gave them, albeit for the wrong reasons like covering their ramen or using it as a flashlight that goes out when it’s creepy owner wants to grope butts. Once the girls show them the wonders of the internet, however, they are very quick to learn about the nuances of using computers and devices. Whether it’s finding shogi apps, uploading their woodcrafting videos, or asking Siri to find butts on the internet, these old people are the most open-minded to modern technology I’ve seen.

That doesn’t mean introducing tech has been all sugar and rainbows, as it does show how too much internet access can create the anti-social network. Skepticism takes hold when the girls find that they accidentally created elderly neckbeards that troll each other, and get up in each other’s faces, not online, to see what happens. On a deeper note, it contemplates what effects technological advancement would have on the livelihood of those in the town. Our bus driver, Takamizawa, spends a majority of the episode fearing for his job as he is told about the advent of self-driving cars. While it’s far from perfect, the tech’s existence gives him a sense of insecurity over his job being easily replaceable, and causes him to get in a verbal sparring match with Erika over his vulnerability.

To emphasize how technology could potentially push people out of their livelihood, the grumpy professor who is secretly hoarding the treasure they need acts as a thorn in the tourism agency’s side over their push for development. As he shoots down every suggestion to improve the bus route between Manoyama and Warayiba before it’s erased, Sanae is hit the hardest by her suggestion to have the Warayiba villagers move to Manoyama. Despite the professor and Sanae being in the same position as city folk who came to settle in the countryside, he picks at her for how it would cause the elderly to abandon the homes and livelihood that they’ve already paid off and settled in only to have to pay off another home and find a new occupation. Although it inspired Sanae to help spear-head the initiative to connect Manoyama and Warayiba through social media, it is still a sore spot for Sanae to handle as she struggles alongside Yoshino and Maki to feel like they can really contribute to the town if they are from cities with better infrastructure and had an easier transition to new technology.

Additionally, it creates further conflict when the professor has his own ideas in mind for how to use social media as a weapon against Yoshino and the tourism agency. While the episode’s focus on Manoyama expanding it’s internet presence is the most fascinating thing about the episode (save for Chitose being tsundere about Kadota’s health or Ririko keeping in contact with Lucia through Facetime), it’s also about the current fetch-quest the girls are on. It might be an unusual RPG-style approach to an anime that’s been a relatively cozy slice-of-life about the quarter-life crisises of working women, but it does justice to the themes the show has been toying around with for some time. Trying to find the treasures allows the show to delve into topics like technological innovation and new media in rural towns, but also forms an end-goal that’s more realistic for the show to approach than something far off in the distance. This particular treasure is the biggest obstacle they’ve faced yet since they’re at the mercy of an incredibly stuffy professor who is waiting for the fruits of his game to emerge before he’ll be open to giving away the treasure he’s hiding. Nonetheless, the end of the episode has created enough of a conflict to have me thinking how on earth Yoshino’s hostage situation will be solved.

Preview

July 27, 2017 at 6:58 am
13 comments »
  • July 27, 2017 at 8:08 amlunascha

    I am surprised at how the elders try to learn technology. Even my parents are very unaware and is not willing to learn but these people from the countryside to show the effort, it really is something.

    • July 27, 2017 at 11:26 amChoya

      True, it completely shocked me. After years of trying to teach everyone how to use and keep up with computer duties, this is the moment when I knew for certain Sakura Quest was in the fantasy genre XD

      • July 27, 2017 at 3:38 pmScruffy

        It’s not shocking at all. In New Zealand there are a lot of community groups that do exactly what was done in this episode and internet use within the aged population has skyrocketed.

      • July 29, 2017 at 10:29 amtheirs

        I know an 80 something year old who manages to find stuff in the internet and post it to social media. I think the slate form factor really helps.

        Of course fear of technology is nothing new. As a kid, I’ve tried to unsuccessfully convince a relative to borrow their desktop. Just to do a minor edit on a report. He was an electrical engineering professor too. Was surprised cause borrowing a car wasn’t a problem. But the PC, nope. To be fair, microelectronics wasn’t really his field. Apparently, the fear of technology is still there.

  • July 27, 2017 at 8:19 amAndreas Hvang

    Oh…oh no…

    He was asking Siri (shiri) for butts (shiri).

    • July 27, 2017 at 8:50 amstarss

      Even in fictional anime, Siri is a smartass.

    • July 27, 2017 at 10:18 amChoya

      So that’s why Siri is giving the response she has when the speaker say they want her XD

  • July 27, 2017 at 8:27 amMagewolf

    This has really turned out to be a fun show. Sanae almost had the professor figured out there at the start but she was too polite to do anything about it.

    Also not enough screen caps of Sanae in that sweater dress.

    • July 27, 2017 at 10:21 amChoya

      It’s always fun to come back and revisit Manoyama every Wednesday. She almost got him, just by this much! I might have some screencaps of it left over, but there’s only so many I can put in. I always have a difficult time choosing which caps to keep and remove. They do a good job at giving everyone a wardrobe that fits their character and mindset.

  • July 27, 2017 at 8:50 amstarss

    They’ve unleashed trolls! Internet trolls!

  • July 27, 2017 at 10:59 amShiranaiHito

    Sanae keeps being best butt… I mean best girl.
    Nothing to see here, move along.

    • July 27, 2017 at 8:27 pmstarss

      It’s telling that of the 5 ideas that the professor easily turns down, Sanae’s is the only one that makes him hesitate. That is because Sanae is clearly Best Girl, and she has the best ass to back it up.

    • July 28, 2017 at 8:09 amChoya

      The writers are too aware of Sanae’s butt. But at this point, Sanae is definitely one of the best girls along with Maki. It makes me happy that they have so many scenes together.

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