「マンドレイクの叫び」 (Mandoreiku no Sakebi)
“The Cry of the Mandrake”
After three episodes, some of the shows this season are starting to break into their new shoes. This is especially true with Sakura Quest as it shows progress on Yoshino’s part, and makes the show exciting to come back to every week. While the first two episodes were wonderful, it was hard to gauge whether Yoshino was going to be dead-set on doing everything in her power to go back to Tokyo. As she grows accustomed to the town and her friends, however, Yoshino becomes genuinely concerned for the town’s decline. It’s here where she becomes a much more enjoyable character, who is determined and willing to go out of her way to try and find the answers she’s looking for. She even makes an effort to hold her own in tough situations like having to adlib answers. It was a refreshing change of pace to see Yoshino taking notes on what makes the town move out of a desire to see Manoyama grow.
It’s also one of the first times the show got invested in the setting as a character. As Yoshino tries to interview villagers on the state of Manoyama, they build the image of the town as a place that is lush yet static. Even on the verge of collapse, the older residents feel so set in their ways that they are content with how they are. Numerous fish-out-of-water stories have that cling to small town ideals, but the show makes it more evident that it will take a younger pair of minds to be able to make some kind of effort to revive interest in Manoyama. Throughout the episode, it’s emphasized the importance of needing young blood to come up with a fresh, revolutionary ideas, creating a nice duality between old school and new school in the series. It helps that the art captures the town well from its more beautiful sights to the barren fields.
This was mostly Yoshino’s time to shine, but the supporting cast still had some wiggle-room to glow. We learn that Kadota had the same mindset of wanting to revitalize the town when he changed it’s amusement park from a dedication to Manoyama’s famed kabura turnip to a capitalization on the late 90’s sci-fi boom. It gives Kadota more of a sympathetic take as an older man who’s efforts of reviving interest in the town were met with apathy from the villagers and scorn from Ririka’s grandma. What it also does is pass the baton off to Yoshino by giving him faith in someone younger to be able to help him realize what dreams he had aspired for back when he renovated the amusement park. Yoshino’s friends were also supportive, but Ririka and Maki had the most to do of the four. Ririka’s slowly gaining independence and coming out of her shell by joining the girls in their activities. Meanwhile, Maki is contending with the pressure her family is giving her to move back to Tokyo, and applying her prop skills to sow the kabura mask back together.
Seeing Yoshino wanting to open up to learning more about Manoyama, and happily recruiting her friends to help her focus on improving the town’s standing is a good start for her growth in the future. Knowing that the show will be 25 episodes long, I’m curious about what direction Sakura Quest will go in, and optimistic about seeing the characters’ stories fleshed out.
I like how much Ririka’s grandmother relishes in trying to one-up the old man.
I had no idea there was a trend in sci-fi in 90’s Japan, although I wouldn’t be surprised given how much of my first favorite anime titles were sci-fi and they were mostly from the 90’s too. Which presents Yoshino’s conflict all the more troublesome. Revitalizing the town with a new trend has been TRIED already. What can she do that’s different?
Went there in ’96 and I didn’t notice it either. Star Wars was popular and it still is it seems. Then again everything there looked sci-fi to me. Except for the subway.
Didn’t really go to any small towns, but didn’t see anything like it on TV. The only sci-fi I saw on TV was Star Wars (watched it cause it was in English) and G Gundam. So it probably isn’t common knowledge to outsiders.
The show maintained that Kadota reinvented the kabura park as Chupakabura in the late 90’s because of the mythos behind the chupacabra attacks, which emerged around 1995. Ririka got deep into the lore’s emergence, but it was also around the time that X-Files and MIB were here in the States, so alien mythology reached a high point during this time.
Each episode seems to be more and more realistic. You can’t achieve something good just by doing your best. These 3 episodes our main characters experienced failures such as failing to sell manju and mascot design that makes no sense. But from failures they learn something new and maybe will become more successful in the future.
The best news is Sakura Quest is going to be 25 episodes! Meaning more time to flesh out the characters and no need to rush the plot.
That’s also refreshing about the show. Even though everyone came together and everything turned out better than expected, they aren’t instantly accomplishing every goal right away. At the end of the day, it’s the positive encouragement that helps them out rather than a successful outcome winning the hearts of millions.
I have a feeling that it won’t be JUST the girls who will eventually end up revitalizing the town, but rather them and the entire town itself as the residents see the girls’ efforts (even if they fail overall) and start getting inspired to take action themselves and/or help out until it all snowballs into one giant event with everybody’s help.
Quite enjoyable and interesting. Do not know what they are going to do for 25 episodes but that will be interesting. As these are adult women this anime so far is following a trend I have noticed. Except for mentioning one boyfriend we have no clue what each women sex life was or is. And their is little indicator of romance. The Trend is High Schoolers date and are horny but tales about young but legal people often drop the romance and sex life part totally. I believe in Japan part of this is culture in that publicly you are not to show you are sexually active or interested unless you marry. The vast majority of women are sexually active they just keep it on the down low and we have no clue for Yoshino.
I can see some flags being dropped for the former prince that Yoshino met as a kid and maybe Maki’s brother. There seems to be a stigma towards older women being sexually interested in anime, especially when the focus is on teenage love/sexuality. HanaIro, at this point, had been establishing some of its pairings. I think Sakura Quest has potential to explore their love lives with anyone they left behind in the city, but with a town full of grandpas, it’d be hard to find a pairing for them unless one of the girls likes jiji’s.
Here’s what I’d like to know: where did Kadota find a ’59 Cadillac convertible in Japan? There can’t be that many there.
It was brutally realistic and that makes me want to watch the next episode even more. Never understood how those types of things can work, and strangely amusing seeing that it doesn’t. But it does make me wonder on how they’ll turn things around.
This series sums up my love for anime perfectly! You go in without any expectations and find the gem of the season.