Sakura Quest – 05

Making improvements everyone can get behind

winter15-highw After last week’s smackdown from Kazushi, can our characters, and especially Sanae, bounce back and raise their spirits? Let’s see how they handle it.

Putting In The Effort

Yoshino’s trying to learn, but Sanae is reflecting

With her efforts rebuffed last time, Yoshino takes the criticism that she doesn’t know anything about Manoyama woodcarving to heart and spends some time to learn what she can. That includes trips to various houses to see installed ranma, helped by Mr. Kodata. But more than just sightseeing, she’s trying to learn more of the basics of woodcarving, what types of wood are used, what tools are used, and the different types of wood carvings that are made. And she’s also encouraging the other women to learn what they can about the subject as well.

Yuri couple spotted

And that learning in ‘self-study’ shows some interesting differences between the different ladies. Shiori and Ririko are paired up in whatever they do, with Ririko taking her more occult path to learning, while Shiori tries to learn earnestly. Meanwhile, Maki takes a more hands-on type of tack, actually trying some woodcarving, and learning that it can be dangerous and painful. And the learning pays off, as they’re able to get a lot more up to speed about what they’re trying to do, and are able to approach Kazushi with more confidence and authenticity.

Studying Your Self

Reflecting on meaning

Meanwhile, Sanae is still trying to come to terms with the harsh light that Kazushi shone on her life, and the acknowledgement that she is at least partly running away from her previous life, where she didn’t feel special. A conversation with Tatsuo helps her feel like she’s not the only person in the same boat, but she’s still feeling like she doesn’t belong where she is, and that she just doesn’t know what she can do about it. So it’s interesting that it’s Tatsuo who helps pull her out of the funk she’s in, when he also is thinking about how he can improve himself. He knows he’s not as good at woodcarving as Kazushi, but is able to find some inspiration in some everyday items, starting with shoes.

Yoshino gets philosophical

And the final push out of the hole is provided by Yoshino who, in acknowledging that just about any person can have someone else do their job, still thinks that an individual can make a difference, and will do the job somewhat differently. Even if it’s not praised, even if it’s not specifically acknowledged, what you do makes it done by you. And those little changes and decisions all add up to make it something only you would do. I think it’s good to keep that kind of perspective, and it helps Sanae to bounce back and get back to helping with Yoshino’s idea.

Getting some help from the mystery artist

A concept for the future

And that idea is grandiose and unrealistic, but unlike the other ones that they’ve had so far, at least this one has vision, and has a chance to inspire people. Wanting to turn the “palace” into a long term art project featuring Manoyama carving is a good idea, but Sanae’s amendment of starting with the station brings more meaning and possibility to it. And rather than the corny ideas they tried to integrate the woodcarving into the future, placing the ranma in the station is both future-looking and respectful. I think that the overall scheme isn’t bad, but I do hope that it doesn’t totally dominate the rest of the series. As a framework to hang things on, that would be good, but I hope that the time frame that they all realize it will take will keep it from being the dominating activity.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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3 Responses to “Sakura Quest – 05”

  1. HannoX says:

    Decorating the station with traditional wood carving and eventually having it covered with them is an excellent idea. As they decorate it more and more with the carvings travellers will start to mention it when they return home. Train otaku and others will want to travel to Manoyama to see the station (and spend money locally). At some point you can be sure a TV program will do a piece on it.

    All this will provide the advertisment needed to introduce Japan at large to Manoyama traditional carving which could lead to the Internet sales I mentioned last time.

    But one of the most important things to come out of this episode is the realization that Manoyama carving has changed in the past and that it must change again to keep up with the times. It must not be a static art form, but a constantly evolving one. There will always be room for the traditional forms, but there must also be ones relevant to the present time.

    • skylion says:

      Oh yeah, the Japanese are super encouraged to travel their own country these days. “Please, take a day off, take two, go on a day trip to this place! Shake the city off of you!” It’s beneficial on a lot of levels.

  2. Joojoobees says:

    If the focus of the show turns to carving large wood sculptures, they will run into a problem, since it takes so long to make each one.

    One possibility is that we cycle through each of the girls, “healing” each in turn. They just did Sanae, and Maki is another obvious candidate. The noodle detective has been drifting, and some dorama could surround her as she faces up to her past or who she wants to be.

    The problem with this theory is that, besides the Queen herself, the other girls appear fairly well adjusted.

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