Sakura Quest Episode 1 [First Impression]

We Myaamori Quest now. 


Huh. Sakura Quest. I’m not quite sure what to think of it for now. I went in, fresh off my post-Maid Dragon depression, expecting something along the lines of Shirobako or Hanasaku Iroha. You know, because this whole tourism industry plot is another one of those shows by P.A. Works inspired by under-represented, obscure industries like anime studios or hot springs inns. But it ended up feeling like a countryside version of Amagi Brilliant Park or, if you want a real-life comparison, We Bought a Zoo, with the crown from Joukamachi no Dandelion and production values lower than Tari Tari. Which is not that great insofar as P.A. Works is concerned. I remember swearing off them after Glasslip a few years ago, and I’m still rather cautious. It’s almost like most of the studio’s resources this season were diverted to Uchouten Kazoku 2, which I’d honestly be perfectly fine with.

Yoshino is cute! Or Pink Myaamori, as I’ve been calling her in my head this entire time. I can’t figure out whether I like her for being her or just because she looks like Myaamori. I do sympathise with her job hunting, although as far as I know it’s a huge no-no to tell an employer that you’ve applied to 30 other places (or at least be honest about that fact) as well as that you’d be okay with accepting a lower role or position than the one you applied for, not least of all because you wouldn’t have any legit reasons as to why you’d want it as you would have literally just heard of it. It’s also almost unbelievable that Pink Aoi never looked at her contract properly before signing it, even more so if she was aware about how much she was being paid by her agency for the job. Maybe it’s different in Japan. Whatever the fee was, it’s a lot less than she thought it was as it’s supposed to cover a year and not a day.

As for promoting a rural town and helping to revive its tourism industry, it’s a little ironic that that’s the plot line of an anime for a place that doesn’t exist (at least, a quick Google search reveals that Manoyama isn’t a real location). That’s because anime series are often directly or indirectly used to promote their real-world settings, like what happened with the town of Ooarai from Girls und Panzer, or the town in A-1’s Anohana. Even films like Shinkai’s Keit-Ai had their settings inspired by actual locations in Japan. So fans make pilgrimages and it really helps to boost the economy of a town. I’m based in the UK, so a local example, for me, would be Kiniro Mosaic. Alice’s house was based off the design of a real inn in Wiltshire. Ever since the Kinmoza anime aired, lots of Japanese tourists have headed there to visit, stay over, take pictures and so on. The inn’s owner has taken full advantage of this and has put up big cardboard cutouts of Alice and Karen, as well as lots of other Kinmoza memorabilia. A similar thing happened with the various locations visited by the K-ON! girls in K-ON! The Movie. So it’s actually a little surprising that Manoyama isn’t real, since Sakura Quest looks like the perfect anime to promote a real-world location. Or maybe it actually is inspired by something, and I’m just not aware of exactly what.

The rest of the cast is pretty eccentric. Sort of like with Shirobako, and not in an annoying way like in Amaburi (although the Elementario were top-tier waifus). There’s that dodgy bard, a small town girl named Shiori who reminds me of a meeker Chisaki from Nagi no Asukara, and old man Kadota who’s probably the most entertaining of the bunch so far. It’s a good enough group to work with, but what I really want to know is exactly how these people will revive the town, and what sort of projects will be involved and whether their work will turn out to be something interesting. Hanasaku Iroha was about coming-of-age and self-improvement as much as it was running the inn, and Shirobako had a clear goal of finishing whatever anime they were working on, but Queen Myaamori didn’t really want to be here until the last few minutes of the episode and we don’t know what she’s supposed to do quite just yet. Is she supposed to just be a face for the town, given that they were initially after a model, or something else? What does it mean to be the Queen of the Kingdom of Chupakabura?

On the whole, it’s entertaining enough, I guess. But whether it’s entertaining enough for me to cover is a different question entirely. It’s also true that Shirobako wasn’t amazing right from the outset, and sort of grew on me over time. For now, I’ll give it another episode or two and see whether I want to take this up in the long-term, especially as there are other things (e.g. Sword Oratoria, Eromanga-sensei) that I’d be able to replace it with if I end up deciding otherwise. At least Okada Mari isn’t involved. I’m really not in the mood for her right now.

Possibility of Watching: High 
Possibility of Blogging: Moderately High


I love cute things.

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6 Responses

  1. kinghumanity says:

    I like the idea of city girl reluctantly takes a job in the country side (although not exactly a novel idea).

    Many places in the world are experiencing a rural decay as new industries and employment opportunities are increasingly concentrated in large cities, leaving only elders in rural towns, with schools closing left and right because all the young families have left (think Non Non Biyori). Whatever you think about the cultural and political aspect of this, I think we can all agree it will be a shame if little towns and villages all over Japan and the world were to left to die.

    If Pink Miyamori can find a way to use tourism to revive a formerly prosperous town, I’m all in. I hope this will be covered weekly.

    • Vantage says:

      It’s a bit like Hanasaku Iroha in that regard. I have no idea why people who grew up in rural areas think that city life is amazing, because I’ve never thought of it in that way. You overwork yourself every day (especially in Japan) and come home to a house or apartment that takes a fortune to rent or buy. I’d love a peaceful, slow-paced life in the countryside, it sounds comfy. Grass is always greener I suppose.

      Yeah. Rural towns and villages aren’t where the money’s at. With Japan the declining birth rates and ageing population are also contributing to things like schools closing down. But places like that are an important cultural facet and could use all the help they can get, which is why I was surprised that Sakura Quest didn’t attach itself to some real-world location.

      It’s a cute show. And Pink Aoi is cute. It’s probably more wholesome and rewarding to cover than the other two alternatives I mentioned (Sword Oratoria and Eromanga-sensei) but we’ll see.

  2. Wanderer says:

    I approve of this series so far. Koharu is cute, if, perhaps, a little inattentive to certain important details.

    This has been marketed as a spiritual successor to Hanasaku Iroha and Shirobako, and personally I can feel the similarities. If the people making it have kept those two series firmly in mind, I expect this will turn out well.

    • Vantage says:

      Wasn’t her name Tsubaki? :P

      Either Hanasaku Iroha or Shirobako would be a really high bar to meet. I’m hopeful, but at the same time I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment given how volatile today’s P.A. Works can be, both in terms of production values and general quality. I’m going to proceed with caution.

  3. GoodbyeNavi says:

    I can see how it is a successor to Hanasaku Iroha and Shirobako. Small towns are dying with people moving to busier and bigger towns. There is definitely charm in a small town but the slow pace can be boring to younger people who look for shinier things. I’m going to give this show a shot.

    • Vantage says:

      Glad to have you on board!

      I hope it ends up being one. The last spiritual successor I watched (Seiren, to Amagami) completely fell flat, and P.A. Works aren’t as infallible as they used to be. Sakura Quest having two cours would help to alleviate some of my worries.

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