「ユグドラシルの芽生え」 (Yggdrasil no Mebae)
“The Budding Yggdrasil”
This week’s Sakura Quest confronts the indecisiveness and loss of passion that Sanae temporarily has for her work output by gradually giving her small nuggets of encouragement and letting her issues resolve naturally. There’s something comforting about how the girls wanted to let Sanae have some space so that she can soulsearch without being shouted at or given a dramatic lecture. Yoshino does help her think about what her individuality would be able to bring to her work, but ultimately, Sanae is given more room to grow by giving her a personal investment in shifting the wood-working project towards renovating the train station with ranma.
Although a flag once dropped for Kazushi and Sanae, Tatsuo is now in the lead for winning the Sanae Bowl. While her conversation with Tatsuo about her fascination with train stations gave her the inspiration for the first stages of the town’s renovation, their bonding over stressful train rides inspired him to get invested in crafting wooden shoes out of both an interest in working alongside Sanae on a project and an appreciation in fine works of art. Even Angelica ships them by giving them a drink with two straws as he gives her the shoes he made. This episode has made it easy to ship Tatsuo and Sanae together as well, and they look like they’d be a very cute couple.
I really enjoyed how even with Sanae’s temporary resignation, the girls didn’t put their projects on hold until she got herself together. Yoshino and her friends actually made a huge effort in doing their research, and learning about the town’s history and passion for wood-carving. Yoshino was even proficient enough to throw it back in Kazushi’s face by knowing what wood he was working with to carve ranma. Seeing Sandal-san, the odd blonde guy, contribute more to the story this week was also a treat since it shows that Sakura Quest is more than happy to give the characters they introduce some development no matter how small or minor their roles are.
They also provided Sanae with a basis for her return by introducing Sakura Pond Familia, the renovation campaign spearheaded by Yoshino to remodel Chupakabura and parts of Manoyama with an elaborate, unique flair. It sounds like it would be very tricky, especially with the many blueprints Yoshino wants to use as the projects foundation as well as the inspiration it takes from the Sagrada Familia (as of this episode, it’s been 135 years ago since it broke ground, and is projected to be finished around 2026-2028). With the girls mentioning that maybe their children and grandchildren would see the day that Sakura Pond Familia would be finished, it’s not the most reassuring project. Nonetheless, Sanae’s quick thinking to redirect their current project towards train station renovation gives some hope that they’ll be able to fix things up within everyone’s lifetime. Now that they have a more centralized goal in what they’d like to do for the town, it’ll be interesting to see how they will go about it from here.