Anime Review · Review

A Cultivating Final (Sakura) Quest

Props to P.A. Works for actually being able to conclude such a messy (by their standard) series. A lot of times Sakura Quest gets compared to the working series’s masterpiece that is Shirobako, and what it actually does for many people is ruling out the true strengths which lie exclusively in the former. Sakura Quest takes on the happenings of your typical individual who, just like many of you, tries to be different. There is absolutely no limit to the setting as Koharu really is just looking for a job in Tokyo.

Who knows, what if Koharu had actually turned into a magical girl halfway in the first episode instead? It would still be Sakura Quest.


 

What the finale has really accomplished for me is revealing the end of a long term progression in the overall story, the hint being Sandal-san who appeared to be drawing on canvas once in a while, since the third episode (he’s also the one to close the book of Sakura Quest). Everything from the characters, their relationships and even the town experienced gradual growth. I’m unsure whether the story progression was meant to be subtle or not because if that was the case then it was rather well done. The tourism board went through many challenges to change the ways of individuals one by one, a few by a few. But it all started from Koharu herself, whom for all this entire time, carried her will to change on top of her braveness and stubbornness. This is actually a ridiculously overpowering combo for hero(ine)s found in many battle shounen titles, making Sakura Quest a very interesting show yet.

Change starts from you; change yourself, change others, change everyone.

 

I find it amusing that Sakura Quest has an underlying theme of trials and errors, something P.A. Works is pretty much doing with each release of their Working Series. The walls of problem faced by characters of the show are only absurd when looked at the big picture. When broken into smallest tasks that accumulate into even bigger sub-tasks, they all seem eligible to be singlehandedly completed. They are fantasized, thrilling and adventurous yet somehow relatable and more grounded to reality. Sakura Quest draws a fine line in all of its plots and separate those parts in a way that I now consider to be very convincing. On one side is that very grounded reality which places the limits of a character–a human. On the other hand are things that we only love to see or hear about once but never too often, things like money (don’t ever think these girls can just go around and do things at no cost!). And the more personal things each characters do; while they are prevalent in slice of life shows, Sakura Quest does not seem to be filled with them.

 

Crap. I’m not supposed to be doing a full season review!
Getting back on track in 3, 2, 1…


A festival like how it should be

 

We have seen it all. School, city and rural festivals in all seasons. We have seen them in working order with only minor hiccups that only have to do with the characters involved. Here in Sakura Quest however, nearly every minor thing that can go wrong in a festival, goes wrong. It gets worse as the show reels in a great amount of narratives in an extremely short span of time, multiplying the mess by large!

If there is anything to learn from watching this episode, it would be to always plan ahead for every little things. Remember that I’ve talked earlier about how (you should attempt) to break down problems into smallest tasks possible, as demonstrated by the show itself. But no matter how small the job, accept all kinds of help anyway.

Satisfaction come in a massive dose when all of the tasks got their attention til’ completion.


Talking about late start

 

How dare does the show drop me with last minute romance?! Ah, this is killing me~

Erika is set on romance
Erika is set on something.

Wise words from a lady, passed through The Dragon’s Song

 

Old lady Chitose has said in episode 24 that, “We have to make it so that the future generations don’t forget, like we did.”

That is the true intention of Ririko’s memory triggering song. The camera work did a grand job of including festival attendees from the elderly to newborns–the trail makers and trail followers of Manoyama.

Scenery animation is also top notch, as if P.A. Works just wants me to be taken away by those beautiful sights.


A year gone by

 

A lot has happened within a year for everyone in the tourism board. It is also safe to say that it happened because of Koharu. If it wasn’t for her mistaken arrival to Manoyama, things would have gone differently.

Let this be a lesson that YOU alone can make a difference in anything, it’s just that most of the time they will be tiny changes. It is the little things that matter because when they add up, big change is bound to come.

Though, they are going to need an entirely new board for pictures of Koharu.

Virtually no difference between the first episode and the finale.

 

The final emotional speech by the Queen Koharu has left me appreciating just pretty much everything that has happened in the past twenty four episodes. I didn’t even care about how messy they were then and I certainly don’t care about how messy they are now because this three minute segment managed to wrap the show up in a miraculous manner.

A bit teary there, Koharu

 


A true departure

 

Have you ever moved places? Changed address? Because this scene is pretty much relatable to anyone who would truly miss their old places. In my entire life, I have relocated seven times and for every single damn time, what Koharu does right here never, ever feels off. It is right on point for what I’d done for every single instances of moving out.

Goodbye, my warm, warm place
The one last look at your own cave — Check!

 

Even a few months can feel extremely quick and at least for me, I tend to look into my to-be-empty room to see differences I’ve made since the day I moved in.


 

I’m not sure if this part of the train station has been shown anywhere in the anime before, but the welcome sign has finally been revealed while Sandal-san does one of his last drawings.

Welcome to Manoyama

歓迎  間野山へようこそ

“Kangei Manoyama e youkoso”

 

I’m going to guess that Manoyama is now ready to welcome outsiders for what it really isnot Chupakabura town. Hence the sign reveal.


 

It has been a quiet yet lovely journey as I tagged along with Koharu to complete a precious chain of quests. Many real life lessons can be learned from this underdog of a show, in which one of them will have me write a separate post on.

Once again, thank you everyone involved and P.A. Works for your unmatched determination!
Looking forward to more slices of my life in Working Series!

 

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9 thoughts on “A Cultivating Final (Sakura) Quest

  1. Glad you had a good time with this. It wasn’t for me so I dropped out in the first episode, but I’ve enjoyed following along as others have discussed the series and it is great to see so many people finished the season with a smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oowh? Dropped out that early?!

      Okay I’m kidding. This is probably why I won’t do a full season review for it. The show is filled with enough flaws to keep even the most loyal fans of P.A. Works out of this one!

      First and probably the most obvious issue is… No tension whatsoever. It is understandable since the show presents itself as slice of life.

      Second is how close to reality it actually is. Unlike Shirobako where half of the things are exaggerated, Sakura Quest has things many people can relate to.
      The issue then? Most of this things either happened to the people you know or you don’t want them to happen to yourself!

      That said, Sakura Quest is practically a collection of bad omen, hence why the finale stands out as being very special because it spells all of those things away, leaving you with only successes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Slice of Life is never my favourite genre, and this one didn’t do anything in episode 1 to make me believe it was going to really hold my interest. I kind of need something with Slice of Life or I find myself getting bored pretty quickly. That’s just my personal preferences though, I know there are a lot of great anime out there that I miss out on because I just don’t have the patience to sit through them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well I know right?! I just binged it out of curiosity buy I’m glad that I did!

        I can’t deny that if I have to go through 24 episodes for a satisfying ending, it’s safe to drop out early. I won’t disagree with you on the first episode either; it really did not set anything major up.

        This is how I’ll respect others’ tastes.
        Do remember that you managed to make it through Sagrada Reset while I didn’t. And judging by your episodic reviews, you had a great time in its last few episodes? 😛

        Sakura Quest for me is just having our tables turned, yo! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, Sagrada Reset ended up being very satisfying but even I haven’t been able to recommend it in my draft review. Asking people to sit through 19 episodes of set up for a 5 episode final that is amazing is kind of too much of an ask for an anime series.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Why watch 24 episodes to get a satisfying ending when you can watch 24 episodes full of goodness complete with an amazing ending? A.K.A Shirobako ;p
    I wanted to watch this show, but when the season started I didn’t even watch Shirobako yet so… I left it to rot.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Is totally argue that Sakura Quest is on par with Shirobako in the feels department. They both share the same idea of advancing experience within work/job!

        While Shirobako had a lot more to do with friends, Sakura Quest in the very end was truly about an individual’s reminiscence!

        Liked by 1 person

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