「マリオネットの饗宴」 (Marionetto no Kyouen)
“The Marionette’s Banquet”
Poor Yoshino. Just when she was starting to get used to her job at Manoyama, this festival did a number on her. For every step forward that came with greeting a large crowd of people at the festival, there were large leaps back to where they all started. Unfortunately for Yoshino, the fact that a majority of the crowd and the TV station saw the festival as a stepping stone towards hyping up a Ptolemaios concert made her question her sense of purpose.
The last episode proposed the idea that Yoshino would have to reflect on herself to find what sets her apart from normalcy, but from the end of this week’s troubles, her fear of being seen as average looks to stem from feeling too complacent. Whereas the other girls take the crappiness of the reality show’s emphasis on the girls booking a huge rock band with stride, the empty streets, the vacant shops, and the trash bags full of coupons shook Yoshino.
The odd thing is that it was a bittersweet affair for the rest of the townspeople. Despite the trashed coupons and the crowd’s attention towards the concert, many of the regulars didn’t mind it as much. Chitose and the vendors had some enjoyment out of gathering paying customers, Kadota was gracious to Yoshino for bringing the most guests to Chupakabura he’s seen in years, and the shop owners go back to their regular routines after the dust settled. That last part would also explain why Yoshino’s broken up about the festival’s reception; even with all the effort and enthusiasm that everyone had for the event, it barely made an impact on the town’s notoriety nor did it leave the villagers with any impression other than it being a nice distraction.
I am curious about those who took issue because Yoshino wasn’t alone on this. The tourism agency was peeved at the reality show’s focus on Plus Minus, but Amamiya was furious at the stunt. He seems to share the same passion about Manoyama that would align him well with Yoshino in the belief that Manoyama is worth elevating to something higher than being used by a reality show to cast a negative light on how abandoned it is.
Sakura Quest‘s use of the reality show does come off as self-aware of Yoshino’s character flaws. Yoshino’s having a difficult time finding her calling, but the show has also had a difficult time gauging what exactly Yoshino stands for when we’ve seen her as a relatively successful problem solver. Ultimately, that difficulty might be what she has to hone in on when she goes soul-searching next week.