「淑女の天秤」 (Shukujo no Tenbin)
“The Lady’s Scales”
This episode was as sweet as the French toast that Kumano went to France in a misguided attempt to master the non-French dish. It leaves off on a nice continuation of Kumano and Sayuri’s relationship with Shiori reuniting the two after realizing Sayuri wasn’t able to meet Kumano for his trip because her outdated calendar slipped her up on the date. I initially thought there’d be some kind of tension between the Shinomiya’s over Kumano, but everyone was quickly on-board with the idea that Kumano was interested in trying to reconnect with Sayuri, and not that he’s eager to move on to Shiori. At first, I was so accustomed to how emotional and explosive the love triangles in Hanasaku Iroha were that I thought P.A. Works might be tempted to have some of that in Sakura Quest, but it’s great to see this show handle character relationships on smoother sails. It helps that they built such a cute dynamic between Kumano and Sayuri with their bond over the French toast he made in school, and share a clumsiness that makes for some adorable chemistry.
Speaking of adorable, everything worked out so well for Shiori in her first major role as a project leader. As shaky as she was over having a leadership role, her solutions came very quickly, and she even repaired Kumano and Sayuri’s bond along the way. The burning house and her family’s pressure pushed her to her emotional limits, but it was nice to to see Shiori happy with how everything came together more pleasantly than she thought. Additionally, the effort she put into the project helped bring the community closer, and gave us opportunities for fanservice shots of somen for the foodies in the audience.
This is also true about characters outside of the central focus of these arcs. The efforts the tourism group made to incorporate the town committee into their plans for a competitive somen festival had us see the often-grumpy Chitose actually enjoy herself, and the competition it created between her and Kadota. Additionally, we see Yoshino become fonder of her research on the town’s creative circles such as her plan to demonstrate a somen bar made from an old arcade racing game machine and other contraptions Busujima constructed on the fly. Even a small bit of development is given to Erika, who warmed up to trying somen in a bid to impress Maki’s brother. I’m liking the trend where I come out of these specific character arcs appreciating them and those around them more than I did before. What also makes Sakura Quest so enjoyable for me is that heavier episodes are handled well, but lighter ones like this episode are still equally gratifying. It makes me optimistic on how they follow up with it in the next arc.
NOTICE: Next week, I will be out-of-town for the next episode of Sakura Quest, so a post on Episode 10 will come from a special guest. No worries though, I’ll have a post on Little Witch Academia done before I head out, and I’ll be back to continue Sakura Quest the week after for Episode 11.