The situation they’re facing
|Sometimes shows focus on one story at a time, and do either a good or bad job at that. But it’s much rarer that a show will throw 4 or 5 stories up in the air and continue to juggle them all for multiple episodes. But that’s where I’m hoping that Sakura Quest is going after seeing this week’s episode.|
Shiori always deals with the bugs
Inspiration usually comes in unexpected places. This week, Yoshino sees the exquisite ranma that’s in Sanae’s old house while they’re moving her to the dorm house that Yoshino and Maki are living in (I don’t know if Shiori has moved there yet, as hinted last episode). And the fact that Manoyama carving is considered a national treasure is something that, now that the newcomers know about it, they think it’s a good avenue for the promotion of the area. It’s not something that hasn’t been tried before, but I like the way that Mr. Kodata is defending the girls’ autonomy to try whatever ideas they want to try. It’s an attitude that you would think is rare in a show like this, and I wonder how much is due to the speech that Yoshino made last episode, and how much is just the way he usually is. He hasn’t seemed to be someone who needs to be in control, just someone who gets an idea and wants to see it through to the end. And I don’t think he’s ever argued that he has had the best ideas, just that he wants to keep trying things, rather than succumb to the attitude that things are fine and why bother changing them.
This crazy guy’s things actually work
Intersecting with the tradition of wood carving is the future-looking encounter with Doku, the local mechanic / inventor. His hobby is apparently making very future-looking things, like a “real” exoskeleton that he lets them use for moving, after fixing their truck. And the girls tend to get a little focused on this “mixing old and new” thing and come up with the idea of taking Doku’s mechanicals and putting wood carvings on them, to promote Manoyama. And while this gets some support from some of the locals, it really ticks off a few other ones, including Kazushi, the apprentice wood carver.
It looks cool, but not very practical
Running To or Away?
A difference in perspective
But more than just being upset about their use of the wood carving, Kazushi is the representative of the kind of person that they are actually trying to appeal to. He has actually moved to the town to participate in something specific to Manoyama. He chose this place for a different reason than the people he’s angry at: Yoshino and Sanae. And his entreaty about that difference really hits home with Sanae, who has been the one who could most be said to have “run away”.
Sanae takes it harder than the others
Sanae’s recollection of her circumstances for Yoshino shows that she was working herself ragged in Tokyo, to the point of getting sick and ending up in the hospital. And when she got out, she found that the work that she felt she was so important to getting done had gotten done anyway, by someone else. That really hit her with the idea that she wasn’t nearly as special as she had thought she was, and in an effort to try to reclaim some of that feeling of being special, she moved to Manoyama. But she feels like she’s not actually giving her all in what she’s doing, with her fake blog and her made up ‘minister’ position. So she can’t really say anything in response to Kazushi’s dressing-down, and ends the episode with telling Yoshino that she is going to quit.
The constant fight
Like I said in the opening, I love to have the multiple stories that this show is keeping warm on the back burner. Things like Kodata and Oribe’s ongoing disagreement about what is best for Manoyama, or Maki’s attempts to recover her pride after being “chased back home” from Tokyo, a mindset in Japan that is highly prevalent: that the big city, especially Tokyo, is the land of amazing opportunity, and if you are not able to actualize your dream there, then you are a failure. Even if you don’t have a dream. We’ve seen this same attitude in other shows, like ReLife or Shirobako, and I like the way that Sakura Quest has positioned Yoshino, Sanae, and Maki at different stages of that personal arc.