OP2: 「Lupinus」 by (K)NoW_NAME
「国王の断罪」 (Kokuou no Danzai)
“The Queen, Convicted”
We can brush the sweat off of our foreheads. One, because it’s hot as crap outside, and two, because Yoshino was on a bus to her hometown for summer vacation. She hasn’t given up yet, but this vacation offers quite the dilemma for most of our cast. As Yoshino reflects at her fishing village hometown on why she was invested in the work she did in Manoyama, Sanae and Maki are reflecting on the work they’ve been doing, and what it all means in comparison to what their old friends in Tokyo are up to. Naturally, Ririko and Shiori are still hard at work in Manoyama to figure out how to create B&B’s from vacant homes, but have to deal with a random Spanish cult that is said to have trespassed in the property they’re looking to buy.
I enjoyed how this episode explored Yoshino’s family and hometown as they flesh out her own personal story. It feels like a necessary step to see how she feels as she bounces her own experiences off of her old friends who have since moved on to high-profile government jobs or became parents. Speaking of parents, getting into her parents’ history with their hometown was very constructive in teaching Yoshino about how she can have a personal attachment to a town away from home with the memories, fondness, and sentimentality that manifest within that town. While Yoshino’s sister was there to show how long Yoshino’s been away from her family now that she has a boyfriend, she was a nice addition to the show with a funny, carefree personality that contrasts with the worries and stress that come with Yoshino now that she’s graduated.
It’s great how many of her interactions in her hometown play into her development as well with an old friend encouraging her to look into ways to strengthen Manoyama’s tourism by trying to increase the town’s population. This also blends in well with Shiori and Ririko’s plans to establish more B&B’s to gather more incentive to stay overnight at Manoyama, but the cliff-hanger with the Spanish cult members approaching them felt too goofy. It reminded me of the moment in Hanasaku Iroha where the creepy writer ended up kidnapping Ohana to create tension.
What intrigued me the most about this episode, though, was how Sanae and Maki’s trip to Tokyo will affect their futures, and the contrast between their experiences. Sanae showed us how far she came when she rejected her friend’s offer to help head a lucrative start-up in favor of the work she’s doing now. Her resolve to see Manoyama’s growth through to the end starts off the second half of the show with a more confident, less boggled Sanae who feels more at-home doing stress-free work at Manoyama. On the flip-side, I’m extremely curious about what Maki will do next since she’s still as confused as she was before. Moe, who is surprisingly an amazing bro for a breakthrough actress in the competitive entertainment industry, offered her a lucrative audition for an award-winning director’s film. Maki might still be up-in-the-air about whether she wants to continue acting or stick with working in Manoyama, but I’m on the edge of my seat over her decision since I’m also indecisive on how I feel about this. If she takes on acting again, she’d have a chance to get her spirits back up about the passion she used to have for acting. If she did take on acting again, however, what would that mean for all the work she did in Manoyama? Would it have been for nothing, or did she learn something along the way? Whatever the result is, it’s great to see Sakura Quest start out its second half so strong.
ED2: 「Baby’s Breath」 by (K)NoW_NAME