From the creators of Shirobako comes another in what hopefully will be a long line of cute adult women doing cute adult things, Sakura Quest, this time with a small town rejuvenation spin on the genre instead of the previous “how to make anime” series.
Trust me, it’s more interesting than it sounds at first glance, and I’ll tell you why below the break!
If there’s one thing that P.A. Works does well when dealing with adult women doing cute things, it’s telling a compelling story about what otherwise would be dull in every regard. Somehow Sakura Quest manages to be both entertaining and cute as we follow Yoshino Koharu’s new life in a small town not unlike the one she grew up in and escaped to Tokyo from in order to become something special.
The first thing that you might notice when watching this show, especially if you’re around the same age range as Yoshino, is how relatable the anime tends to be with its characters. For example, we join Yoshino as she flunks through her 31st interview in the big city, an unfortunate rut in life most young adults will instantly find comparable to their own situations.
Even the want to escape from the small town life to the bustle of the big city is a trait shared by many who grew up in the same circumstance, because we always want something bigger and better than what we already have, at least when we’re young.
Yoshino is a bundle of positive energy, though, and it’s constantly enjoyable to watch her stumble, fall, and struggle to continue on through the plot of the anime so far, a symbol of courage in the face of adversity that I admire.
However, she still does fall, often fails, and isn’t that great of a speaker, but being supported by her friends does make the lackluster situations she finds herself in at least a little bit better until they can find a way to compromise with life to make the best of whatever problem they’ve been faced with. And speaking of Yoshino’s friends, so far every character in the show is just as relatable as our main protagonist.
Sanae Kouzuki’s situation, especially, resonated with me on a level I didn’t expect the show to hit me with, as her subconscious desire to run away from her problems when faced with the fact that her existence isn’t necessary in the grand scheme of life causes her to retreat to the small, failing town the anime takes place in.
The resolution to this side-thread of the story, which I won’t spoil, is honestly a realistic take on how to accept the problem and move on to function in life going forward.
The other characters, too, have their own side-threads to explore, and while we haven’t reached some episodes where the other girls’ characters have a chance to shine in the B-plot, small threads poke up from the story’s overall tapestry that you can notice and pick at until we reach the point of plucking and examining it in greater detail.
To put it into a less metaphorical sentence, evidence of their issues exists in the background that will lead to their episodes in an organic manner rather than bringing it up as if at random like most anime do with the backstory of their characters.
In many ways, this show is less about saving a town and more about coming to terms with the way life treats you and trying to continue on in some fashion that makes you at least a little bit happy. And while the anime will no doubt eventually end with happy times and a flourishing, burgeoning town, I do want to make a note here that this anime still tries to tone down the traditionally, and dare I say, unrealistic happy endings in a satisfying way.
This anime’s strong suit may be making you feel good with its cute characters, but underneath that outward adorable appearance, there are depths that I can only congratulate the writers on conveying. In a few words, I would call this anime the adult experience.
Still, while I could heap praise on this show all day, it isn’t all perfect, and the melodrama in this series is the spark by which problems arise. While I can enjoy and even compliment the show on its use of melodrama in some cases, it’d be completely understandable if you couldn’t deal with what seem like exceedingly simple issues being thrown out as speed bumps for the character’s arcs and overall story.
There is no real conflict to this story beyond the challenge of trying to convince its populace to help out, and the inner dilemmas that the characters themselves have, so if you were expecting anything beyond that, you may leave unsatisfied.
Fortunately, this anime does most of what it tries to accomplish very well, and one thing that I love the show for is its willingness to show the main characters in different outfits from day to day, an above and beyond the call of duty accomplishment that few studios would bother doing because it costs money and time to redo the entire models of the characters basically every episode. Plus, the outfits are all really cute and suit the age and emotional wavelength the characters display.
In the end, if you’re not watching this show because you’re put off by the lackadaisical storyline established in the first episode, or you’re unsatisfied with the jokes that can sometimes hit just off the mark, I heartily recommend you give it one or two more episodes to experience the relatability and strengths of characterization this anime puts on display.
The animation is continually gorgeous when it wants to be and ugly when it needs to be, like when it shows the worn and bleached castle of Chupakabra. And one of the characters that does the ending previews speaks Japanese and still manages to pronounce English words perfectly in a sexy-ass voice.
But regardless of your decisions, predilections, and other words I could use a thesaurus for, I hope you enjoyed this small look into why I enjoyed this show and why you should be watching it every week! You can leave your comments about the show, what anime you’d like me to cover next, and anything else you can think of down below and I’ll try to respond.
If you want to contact me directly, you can always find me @Croswynd on Twitter or if you like what I say and want it in a more verbal format, you can take a look at my YouTube Channel for my perspectives and thoughts on the anime I watch.
And as always, remember to enjoy the way you watch anime, because as long as you’re having fun, that’s all that really matters.
See you next time!