Ever watch a show because you just feel happy watching it? For me, it’s usually a very relaxed slice of life or a mindless action packed show. This season, it’s Sakura Quest. A story about Yoshino, a rural-born girl who moved to the big city to go to college but ended up out of luck finding a job after graduating. Desperately taking the only job offer she received, she winds up in the rural town of Manoyama as the figurehead for their tourism board and tasked with helping the revitalization of a small town.
There isn’t much to the story, to be honest. I basically summarized everything important in the intro. Every few episodes cover a certain event the town is hosting, be it the singles club inviting women from a singles club the next town over, or a festival/farmer’s market hybrid event, or even being used as the setting for an independent film. The show does an excellent job at showing the hardships Yoshino and the crew needs to overcome to successfully set up each and every event, even if some hardships are as trivial as someone disagreeing because of traditions and whatnot. We’re also given small side story glimpses into the background of all the other characters Yoshino works with, which is a welcome addition to the overall enjoyment.
Visually, this show is stunning. I personally love P.A. Works’ art style and character designs. The facial animations convey emotion exceptionally well and the body language is on point. Moreover, the backgrounds are pleasing to the eye because they are not as busy due to the show taking place in the country. Not many shows I watch take place in the countryside so it’s also a very refreshing to see a new setting.
The characters are the best this show has to offer. Yoshino, the “Queen of Chupakabura” (Chupakabura being a pun on the Japanese word kabura, meaning turnip), is a highly inexperienced spokesperson for the town and is constantly learning while on the job. Originally thought to be a one day job, it ends up being a year long contract and she seems to have grown fond of her new home while serving her contract.
Her court members all have their own quirks and flaws making them all feel more human. Shiori is the somewhat airheaded native Manoyama. Maki has a claim to fame she wishes people in Manoyama forgot. Ririko is the eccentric occult lover who is the shyest of the bunch and is also the daughter of the head of the merchant board who usually actively oppose the tourism board. And lastly, Sanae is the IT expert who moved away from the big city to apparently run from responsibilities. All the characters together have great chemistry and each of them brings the best out of each other. Seeing them work together flawlessly brings a smile to my face every episode.
Okra, the vegetable, is what they meant. Not ochre, the pigment.
Overall this slice of life about a small town being revitalized is one satisfying show to watch. If you’re looking for a laid back series this is definitely one. With the exception of what seems like an intern writing the subtitles, the show is excellent quality and definitely deserves a watch if you’re into this style of show. Here’s hoping the rest of the series will keep up the quality.