There’s nothing wrong with being strange. In fact, “I like it when people are… unique.”
“The Dragon’s Soft Spot”
It seems we’ve come to the Ririko arc of this series, and I couldn’t be happier. Her backstory contains the most interesting interactions and ties to Manoyama next to Shiori, and benefits from not being so boringly straight-laced. Her consistently neutral disposition will feel quite relatable to many viewers who fall under the umbrella of this character archetype. It might be a little too dramatic of a display here, but the point is made clearer by it. Sometimes you just don’t mind leaving earlier and sitting out from activities. Ririko seems extra introverted, but that may be due to the sheer number of examples given to us in a single episode.
The title of this episode also fits in quite well to the story at play here. The dragon is of course brought up as a part of Manoyama’s past, but is also a coy reference to Ririko’s grandmother, Chitose – and Ririko is her soft spot. It’s quite nice to see this mean old lady be humanized in such a heartwarming way, and the extra level of character complexity and resulting chemistry between characters is sorely needed at points in this series. It will get mighty boring if Chitose is just mean and traditional all the time, while Kadota battles her fiercely.
Speaking of battles… love! Well, a matchmaking tour set in Manoyama for girls from the city. It’s kind of strange, but also kind of intriguing. No matter how you feel about its merits, it sure is fun to watch. The events originally lined up were kind of crazy, and these new ones really aren’t that much better, but I could see myself enjoying some of them. Fireflies definitely don’t count as bugs, right? Anyway, the mix of comedy and tourism info here is pretty much exactly the style this series should be aiming for, and this is the best of it so far. Sakura Quest is definitely missing out on some emotional weight that featured in other similar series like Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari (and pretty much every other P.A. Works series). Perhaps this love trip could stir some drama within the main cast and some of the denizens on Manoyama. Kousuke and Sandal-san are great catches, and don’t forget about bus driver Takamizawa!
8.4/10 (Very Good)
- This is Ririko as her more cheerful self? Well then.
- Yoshino clearly has the best moves.
- Ririko’s smile puts a smile on my face. Just look at how cheerful she is! The moral being, don’t make someone smile if they don’t want to, no matter how hilarious the results.
- Erika wins the episode once again with her quiet jab at the single ladies. Keep away from her Kousuke!
- Once again, what the heck is Sandal-san talking about? Seriously, all of the time. At least his voice is cool.
- What a cliffhanger! Who the heck is that guy climbing out of the water!?
Next time: “The Forgotten Requiem”