It’s time to head out on a quest to the small kingdom of Manoyama, even if you weren’t really the hero they were looking for.
“Off to Magical Manoyama”
The lighthearded fare of choice for the season, Sakura Quest didn’t seem like it would amount to much more than cute girls doing cute things (a super-genre of its own) but this first episode pleasantly allays that fear.
Yoshino Koharu is an immediately likable protagonist. For once not a high school student filling the main role, she is quite relatable to those just finishing school and heading off in to the real world. Looking for work is a tough prospect for someone with little to no experience and a lot of hopes for their future – but never give up! There’s something out there for everyone and Yoshino stumbles, with a bit of luck, in to a new opportunity. This series also does a great service to the idea of country versus city. Some people just want to escape the slow, familiar lives they had grown up with in rural communities and head to the big city. So what happens when you have to go back? Trust me, a lot of people have to go back. She should probably find someone to sublet her apartment in Tokyo though.
The town of Manoyama is a character in and of itself. There are plenty of interesting individuals that populate the somewhat medium-sized tourist destination, but the town itself is a little run-down. The idea of little kingdoms as tourist destinations is a fun concept, and interesting to learn about as a westerner – something that doesn’t really make much sense in North America. Yoshino might not have been the star they were looking for to become their new queen, but coincidence breeds success. Also, their original choice is dead, so there’s that.
8.8/10 (Very Good)
- Watching her put together the last of her food in to a depressing sandwich is just too relatable. What kind of weird combinations have you made?
- Who knows what you might encounter taking the bus late at night. In this case, it was definitely a smart move to find an alternative… and back. away. slowly.
- The Chupacabra (not exactly a Japanese legend) scene with Kadota and Shinomiya trying to keep Yoshino from leaving is just comedy gold. I would have personally taken the sword though, but a bag is probably far more effective.
- Yoshino’s emotional connection to the town is wonderfully heartwarming. It makes me wonder if we’re going to get more of a look in to her past and if there is any greater connection to this town, or if it was just a way to keep her from quitting right off the bat.
The overall character of this show is working quite well so far. As I was saying earlier, the fear was that this would be a heavy slice-of-life series, with not much going on beyond the initial concept. Fortunately, P.A. Works is quite adept at turning a single-idea, possibly mundane, concept in to something vastly more interesting. We’ve seen it before in Hanasaku Iroha (seriously pretty much the same concept) and the emotional fare can be quite amazing as in Tari Tari. There have been some missteps in their productions lately, namely Glasslip and Charlotte, but this seems to be more in the direction of the earlier series mentioned.
The art and style are nice enough, with some pretty standard looking faces and nice scenery. But it’s the timing and delivery that really shines through in this first episode. Hopefully the series can keep up the balance of comedy, heartwarming moments, and possibly some drama. Look forward to the episode reviews throughout the season!