「国王の帰還」 (Kokuou no Kikan)
“The Queen’s Return”
I knew the cult people would end up being drawn in by the chupacabra! It was an odd way to end the last episode, but it’s cleared up very quickly by placing the Cryptids cult in the center of their B&B plans for Manoyama. Sakura Quest‘s approach to foreign language is interesting since many of the Cryptid members use pretty decent Spanish, and Sandal’s voice actor Vinay Murthy speaks fluent English. Some of the Cryptid members, however, speak with a heavy accent over their English, which is shown at its thickest as members argue over sushi and sukiyaki. The English isn’t too consistent with the stellar dub voices they got for the anime, but it was cool to follow people who were genuinely interested in what the town offered even with their eyes being drawn to the supernatural.
It also introduced Lucia, one of the Spanish members who speaks with a Latin American accent and travels the world. For a character who might not stick around too much, Lucia builds a meaningful connection with Ririko in this episode. Her desire to travel around the world, and her photos highlighting everywhere she’s been are a major contrast to the women of the Tourism Agency as they are either bound to their hometowns or have only traveled to other prefectures. Lucia’s travels offer the most significant development for Ririko though with her adventures inspiring Ririko to start considering what life is like outside of Manoyama.
This also feeds into what appears to be the theme of the second half; residence. The first cour had the women question their identity as they try to figure out if working for Manoyama was something they wanted to do, or if they missed a better opportunity somewhere along the way. Starting with the last episode, there is much more contemplation on what it means to settle or travel. If a house is really a home, as Luther Vandross once pondered. Although Yoshino has her parents as an example of how one can build a home away from their hometown, Ririko has been stationary most of her life. Lucia’s excitement over her travel diary planted the seed in her head to consider traveling, but I can see Chitose trying to hold her back to protect her from the outside world. It is great that Sakura Quest is digging deeper into this theme by giving Ririko more to consider. Of the residents that live in Manoyama, Ririko has been the most curious about finding new discoveries, so she’d be the best candidate for looking from the perspective of one of the Tourism Agency girls who is just starting to become fascinated with moving beyond Manoyama to maybe consider traveling the world.
The latest episode hints at a much deeper, darker secret lingering in Kadota’s past. Whatever’s lingering under the draining river is about to be uncovered, and Kadota is hellbent on getting rid of it, even if it means almost drowning. From the preview images and the conversation the agency’s guys had alluding to his past river experiment, the next episode is looking to have quite the bombshell about what he tried to bury underneath the river for Chupakabura.