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Sakura Quest – 22

「新月のルミナリエ」 (Shingetsu no Ruminarie)
“The New Moon Luminarie”

I won’t mince words, the conclusion of the episode was very rushed. Specifically, Erika’s arc seemed like it resolved because they had to get it over with so it wouldn’t interfere with finding the golden dragon. The only reason she returns to her family is because her little brother, Anji, ran away for her sake, and it made her feel guilty for making him upset by leaving. Erika still has to live with the grudge she has for Manoyama, and hasn’t changed in her resolve to leave to establish a clothing shop when she decided to return. As soon as she reunited, she let loose on everyone about feeling trapped in the town, ranting about how her dreams of branching away to create such a shop would languish if she was stuck living in such an unpopular town. However, once she goes back to her house, it’s not like anything on her end has changed other than wanting to visit Tokyo when she’s ready. I guess the main takeaway is that she’s too young to have any serious thoughts about leaving so she has to stay until she at least graduates, especially since Nobe could run his dream book store without having to be born into it.

But is it really okay for Erika’s story to be left on that note? Should she continue to have that claustrophobic feeling of being trapped in the isolated prison she sees Manoyama as because everyone who’s lived in Manoyama all their lives are too uncomfortable to talk with her about her feelings? It’s that level of neglect that would obviously harbor a deeper resentment of her family and elders who didn’t bother to try and level with her. It surprised me that Angelica learned the least from all of this since it was her poor choice of words that gave Erika the push to run away in the first place. She was frightened and upset when her kids kept running away, and was tearful about how much Anji wanted Erika to make her dreams come true in Manoyama. When Erika snapped on everyone and returned, however, it felt like Angelica didn’t even apologize to Erika. When she leaned in to hug Erika and Anji together, I was like “excuse you!”

If this was Shiori’s time to re-evaluate her place in Manoyama, it was also a development that didn’t seem as well-executed as the other girls’ conflicts. It wouldn’t be too fair to come down on her about that since her troubles are less dramatic than leaving behind the city life or a dream career to settle down in the countryside. Nonetheless, the extent of Shiori’s development all this time was being alright with visiting Tokyo with Erika, and that seemed like she only did it to pacify her. Otherwise, her resolve is the same as always with that stubborn push to stay in Manoyama, and block out any of the concerns that people have about the town’s stagnation. It would make sense for Shiori’s resolve to ultimately be about staying in Manoyama regardless of whether it’s thriving or perishing, but I feel like most of her interactions with Erika that challenged her point-of-view about Manoyama often ended with “Well, I like it here,” and didn’t do much to change how Erika or Shiori think about the town.

One thing I enjoyed about Erika and Shiori’s arc was that they reflected on the recurring theme of aspirations and their place in reality. Maki’s challenges and resolutions brings much more insight into the theme, and are actually more helpful to Erika’s train of thought in relation to seeking out her dreams. Maki’s outline of how dreams are challenged constantly by the obstacles that make them unrealistic to outright accomplish, and that it takes more than willing yourself to have a dream in order for it to be a possible outcome in the future. Erika wants to own a clothing company in Tokyo, but trying to rush it wouldn’t help her get from Point A to Point B, and it takes more work and resolve to be able to get to the point where she could open up a store in the city. Sometimes, you have to start out small or gain experience elsewhere before a specific dream can be actualized, and sometimes dreams might even be impossible to make a reality. However, while this resonates well with how far Maki, Yoshino, and Sanae have come, it would’ve been nice for Erika to have learned something from it other than pushing back her plans to go to the city for a little bit longer.

To me, my favorite parts of the episode are the small details that emerged along the way. It was cute to see Chitose comfortable enough with the agency girls to willingly giving them advice on offering pain relief for Erika’s toothache either through reflexology or children’s pain killers that are available from the town’s pharmacy. I also liked how Yoshino’s trip to the pharmacy gave them the idea to light up more lanterns across the streets to give the shopping district some life. It was a very minute addition to the episode, but it does do some good for the agency girls in hindsight to breathe life into the district, and raise awareness in a useful yet neglected part of the town. There wasn’t as much screen time dedicated to the dragon or the three friends, but it was funny for them to realize that all this time they’ve buried a toy dragon. Additionally, they gave an equal amount of insight on how their dreams came about where Nobe mentions inheriting the bookstore from a stranger who was leaving with his family, or how the other two guys had their dreams come around, but with differing results. I am curious though how the dragon will be sorted out though now that we’ve learned that the guys only unearthed a toy they had in their possession.

Preview

September 1, 2017 at 8:59 am
18 comments »
  • September 1, 2017 at 9:04 amTepenga

    I cannot believe I am typing this but I did not like this episode at all. It was too rushed and nothing was settled. The problems still exist, Erica and her family are still at the same point they were in the start, and nothing at all happened to further the main plot forward. I love this show so very much but this episode? Not so much. Erica’s story could have been a major point with the main plot. Young ideas versus the old and leaving versus staying. Tsk…

    • September 1, 2017 at 9:08 amTepenga

      Ah, I forgot the constipation joke! That was one of the funniest moments for me in this season so far. Randomly thrown in and the cut to Erica’s face at the end was perfect. I half expected an “uh oh” result to have happened….

    • September 1, 2017 at 8:02 pmsadamitsu0

      Well the show has been true to how down to earth and real it is. It would be pretty bad writing if they somehow revived the town in the short time spent there. I am going to guess that the town gets some visitors, but it won’t be enough to save them in the end and Miyamori decides to stay and help further.

    • September 3, 2017 at 7:30 amChoya

      I feel like the resolution was an afterthought when it could’ve easily integrated itself into the on-going plot. It looked like that’s how they’d set it up, especially since she could’ve bounced her ideas off of the other girls who have experience in Tokyo, but it felt like this episode just wanted to get it over with, and that’s too bad.

  • September 1, 2017 at 12:21 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    Sad, but true – this episode was rushed and ended on a very weak note where nothing feels truly resolved given the reasons for why this happened still exist and no one has really learned anything.

    • September 1, 2017 at 9:00 pmsailor80

      You could call this a “filler” episode, but I would be let down if there was anything resolved.Show Spoiler ▼

    • September 3, 2017 at 7:34 amChoya

      Everything didn’t need to be solved right away, but it feels cheap that we’re left off with the show pressing a reset button when the anime has shown itself to be capable of resolving conflicts without the problems magically vanishing. Like retain Erika’s bitterness, but have her realize she needs to wait it out for reasons other than my little brother is crying, and have Angelica learn something other than how much she’s just doesn’t want her kids to run away.

  • September 1, 2017 at 1:04 pmWorldwidedepp

    I dod not watch this, but from these 2 comments here, i think the very bottom reason is on both sides, and it called: self Proudness

  • September 1, 2017 at 9:45 pmstarss

    If there’s one of the many stories I get choked up on, it’s the “little kid would runs away and learns a lesson when she returns”. ;_; I’m glad Erika got some input into this adventure for once.

    • September 3, 2017 at 7:35 amChoya

      As much as I ragged on it, it was great that Erika still has the resolve to leave, but has put her plans on hold for when she’s ready after taking in some of the advice that Maki and Yoshino gave her along the way.

  • September 1, 2017 at 10:50 pmOnion warrior

    Still remain a mystery in S.Q: whos Erika’s father :o

    the way i see Angelica as a mother and Erika’s behavior almost makes me feel like her dad is already gone.

  • September 2, 2017 at 1:10 amJJ

    “But is it really okay for Erika’s story to be left on that note?”

    It’s not ideal, but I think a quick resolution in order to leave enough time for the Dragon Quest would have been far less realistic. The central conflict here is one that’s repeated in small towns everywhere with no quick fixes or easy answers.

    Sometimes you just need to vent, even if it doesn’t change anything at least you know you’ve let someone know how you feel. While this is not healthy in the long term that can be enough at times to stave off more impulsive decisions. And, loathe as I am to repeat the obvious, Erika is too young to be making these types of decisions yet.

    Having said that, Angelica really dropped the ball here. I know not upsetting the group/standing out are big deals in Japan and that more or less explains Shino’s single-minded response, but even then what exactly has Angelica been doing to be so utterly blind to her daughter’s reasons for leaving town until now? It’s beyond the scope of the series now, but I hope in time Angelica tries to find out how much Erika wants to go to Tokyo and how much she wants to leave Manoyama.

    • September 3, 2017 at 7:42 amChoya

      True, I wasn’t expecting for Erika to make too much of a 180 in how she thinks about heading out or how she talks with people. She’s too young and stubborn to need to make serious decisions about leaving, but I feel like they didn’t wrap it up as well by having her venting go unacknowledged, or at the very least have someone who overheard it try to level with her about understanding why she feels this way, and what they’ve learned from having the same thoughts.

      At most, I was mostly waiting for Angelica to show Erika that she reflected on why she ran away from home. It’s been about a day or so, and you’re still going about like business as usual, solely focused on having your kids come back instead of asking yourself why they left?

  • September 2, 2017 at 5:00 pmAvalon

    While I enjoy this show as a whole, I just can’t get myself to like Shiori. All of her issues from the beginning have stemmed from “I like this town.” That’s it. The part with the movie and finding a house to burn down. The owners themselves ok’d it, but Shiori was the one that made things complicated for no real reason. Her trying to talk with Erika was nothing constructive with her just saying the same things over and over.

    She’s so bland compared to the other main cast and her worries feel so selfish and petty in comparison.

    • September 3, 2017 at 8:15 amChoya

      That I can agree with. Of the main cast, they made Shiori shallow in her mindset and troubles. I did figure it’d be unfair to put high expectations on her since she does act as the control. To even out the main group that consists of three outsiders who are beaten down by rejection, stress, and displacement, a local who wants to leave after years of shutting herself in, and an old man who still fights to revive a stagnating town even though no one accepts his efforts, there had to be one local whose happy with the town regardless.

      However, when it comes to writing out the conflicts Shiori has to contend with, the writers have trouble thinking of something for her. Sanae has workplace stress, Maki has to face her past ambitions, Yoshino has to find out where she belongs, and Ririko wants to discover the world around her as she tries to overcome her social anxiety. For Shiori, they have a hard time creating a conflict about what she thinks of her town other than wanting nothing to change.

      They worked well with her being an impediment to change after the issues she raised when she lied about the owners being cool with their home being burned down for a movie, but she doesn’t really have any goals or resolution as far as the work she does. They don’t have her reflect on her role in the tourism agency where she has to associate with people who are going to be talking about the town being stagnant and in need of drastic changes in order to stay alive.

      I wouldn’t have a problem with her being petty and selfish about her needs if they gave her some kind of evolution, but she’s the most static member of the cast, and any time her point-of-view is under conflict, she either continues the circular reasoning of Manoyama being perfect because that’s how she sees it or lashes out on everyone for trying to change the town so much because they keep saying it needs to change for it to survive.

      I get that not everyone can be perfect and it’d be boring if there wasn’t a character that wasn’t stuck in their ways regardless, but she really didn’t need to be involved this heavily in Erika’s issues. Yoshino, Maki, and Sanae at least have the experience to handle Erika’s ambitions realistically, and are actually talking with the townspeople to come up with ideas on what to do about the town. Shiori provides little to nothing to the group’s ideas and Erika’s mindset other than acting offended when they find out everyone thinks their town blows and Erika really hates it here. If you’re only input this whole time was “HOW CAN YOU SAY THIS TOWN IS DYING!?” or “I don’t agree with you, this town is special to me anyways,” then you really don’t need to be pretending that you’re offering anything constructive to the group.

  • September 2, 2017 at 6:40 pmserbii

    I didn’t like the guilt trip laid on Erika at the end. ‘Oh, we’ll just make the town more appealing and then she can stay and find here dream here!’ No. She has every right to want to leave, yes she’s too young to make it on her own for now and has to wait until she’s older, but everyone felt totally unsupportive of what she wanted, more worried about finding a way to make her want to stay than wanting to help her find her dream. No ‘You’re too young for now, but we’ll help you prepare for Tokyo, I’ll teach you how to run a business’ or whatever just ‘but yeah, what if the town was fun! We have that old school to do up!.

    • September 3, 2017 at 8:29 amChoya

      True, she is too young to make a decision on the matter, but instead of listening to what she’s saying and talking to her about how she feels, most of the cast resorts to trying to shut her up by saying that they’ll magically make the town hip enough to make her want to stay. It’s only going to make her harbor more resentment by trying to shut her argument down every time while the small town still remains a small town, and she’s stuck serving curry to people she hates in a town she hates until she runs away again or moves out for good the next time her mom loses her temper.

  • September 3, 2017 at 9:34 amlunascha

    I can totally relate to Erika in some way, wanting to go out and do bigger things.. but when she was sick and when her brother got lost, the townspeople all helped and cared as if it was their own kid and concerned. Everything has its pros and cons and even though there weren’t any immediate solution to Erika’s concern, it all sort of worked out in a way because there isn’t much that can be done right now. She’s too young to go out to the city.

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