Sakura Quest | Anime Universe
The idea of taking a young girl to a new place with a big responsibility on their shoulders strikes intriguing. I mean, the idea can even be relatable like the time when you had to bear a big responsibility like being the class president or organizing a sports event. For Yoshino Koharu, she reluctantly becomes the Queen of Manoyama after a case of mistaken identity. Now, she bears the responsibility to help reinvigorate Manoyama, a town with an economic struggle. Following this coming age adventure, I can safely say that Sakura Quest intelligently crafts its story with its cast of characters.
A main part that attracted me to this show is the five main characters – Yoshino, Maki, Sanae, Shiori, and Ririko. They come from different backgrounds with different personalities. However, they all share the same goal and that’s to help the tourism agency reestablish Manoyama. Now I have to admit, it took me a little time to accept these characters. They each have their own personal problems. These range from graduating without a job or money, job depression, a rootless goal of a dream career, dealing with a town that gradually fades away, and living a life of isolation. In many ways, these social issues are very relatable. Think about it. Ask yourself the question: “have I ever faced one of these problems before?” Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you know someone or heard of someone that does. I can honestly confess that this problem exists in my life at one time. The bottom line is, Sakura Quest’s realism in exploring social issues is very realistic and we can all relate to them in one way or another.
The storytelling itself brings promise from the first few episodes. It establishes the setting, objectives, and reasons for the characters’ roles. It has a plot that follows a well-crafted pacing to make us appreciate its themes and emotions. At many times, I feel connected to the episodes’ intentions as it interconnects them with the characters. Even the characters themselves often question about certain purposes and the actions they take. The most noticeable character is Yoshino as she is the leader and surprisingly enough, she does possess leadership skills. As the leader, Yoshino wonders about her purpose as Queen of Manoyama and carries a big burden on her shoulders. What impresses me about Yoshino is that she always wants to improve. Whether it’s success or failure, Yoshino is a girl with a determined attitude and gets back up when life knocks her down. And that’s what it takes to be successful in life. On the other hand, the overlay of the plot sometimes feels lacking with anticlimactic resolutions. I also have to admit that the sub-plots in this show could need more work for improvement.
The other characters in the show each have their own distinctive roles as well. Shiori is a member of the tourist board so compared to others, she has more knowledge about Manoyama. Maki, the inspiring actress, struggles to secure a job and in some ways, I think her role in the show is very relatable to others. The idea of trying to obtain a dream job is something I’m sure most of us can relate to. Then, there’s Ririko, an isolated girl that locks herself away from society. She has low self-esteem and serves as the antithesis of a tourist. Finally, I have to admit that Sanae’s role in this show is perhaps the most mature among the main cast. With her experience from working from Tokyo previously, she can be seen as a de facto leader. In essence, these characters’ roles individually define them and amplifies personalities. It also does a neat job with clever background storytelling. Even some of the minor characters outside of the main circle gets spotlight in this show. For instance, Ushimatsu Kadota, the board and director of Manoyama often makes Koharu and the others perform difficult tasks. Erika, a sharp witted girl brings in a lot of the drama in the latter half of the show. Among the tourists, it’s also rather intriguing to see their interests.
On many different fronts, I think Sakura Quest delivered its entertaining values just right without missing its mark. The comedy comes out naturally and doesn’t feel like it’s forced down viewers’ throats. This is accomplished with the usage of the show’s mascot, the chupacabra. Entomophobia also becomes a source of humor with certain characters. In addition, I think it’s important to realize that the tourist attractions themselves contain entertainment value as the main cast tries to make the most of them. Whether it’s success or failure, it’s how we see these characters strive to improve themselves and make Manoyama a better place. It inspires hope and the show has a strong attitude.
The studio does it again. P.A. Works’ production quality is sharply appealing with its effective coloring, character models, and backgrounds. Manoyama is actually based on Nanto city in the Toyama Prefecture in Japan so it come as no surprise that some of the buildings and backgrounds look similar. Character designs looks mature for their age and doesn’t rely on cheap cardboard fan service to bring them to life. In addition, the show also decoratively make the characters look attractive as many of the female cast wears diverse clothing each episode. Character expressions aren’t over exaggerated but instead reliable as it’s cleverly timed.
Even the soundtrack for the majority of this anime makes sense and invites attention whenever it’s used. Theme songs has a very coming of age feel and rhythm. The OST is cleverly paced that matches each scene to bring the most out of them.
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This series is grossly under appreciated in my opinion. It came out during a really stacked anime season and kind of got pushed aside. I really enjoyed the grounded themes that the series tackled. It’s not too often you see any piece of media tackle the subject matter that Sakura Quest did and I found it to be refreshing. It worked so well because the cast of characters were so interesting and fun to watch. I always get excited when I see people talking about this series and you nailed the reasons why it is so good. Thanks for sharing this with us!
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