Anime about people working aren’t particularly uncommon, in fact Sakura Quest’s studio, P.A. Works, is somewhat familiar with the genre after releasing Shirobako in 2014/15. Many in the community who had Shirobako have been going a bit crazy waiting to see the exploits of the working women of Manoyama’s tourist bureau and although I haven’t seen the former, after episode one, I can sort of see why.
Our protagonist will not come across as the most original of characters: Yoshino Koharu is trying to find jobs in Tokyo as she prepares to graduate college – having originally come from the countryside and hating it, she wants to find any kind of job in the city. Surprise, surprise, she doesn’t appear to be the most switched on of characters (though applying to lots of jobs and being rejected doesn’t mean you’re a failure kids) and as such isn’t accepted onto any after 30 applications. The lack of originality in her character didn’t particularly bother me, there’s plenty of mouldability with a character like that and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll make good use of it.
To cover so short term costs she takes a job as ‘the queen’ in a rural town. After some scene setting and introduction of some of the other characters, Yoshino has a photoshoot and is crowned the new queen of Manoyama. Here’s the kicker though, as she settles in to the local dorm before the trip back to Tokyo the following day, Yoshino is informed that her contract in the town was in fact for a whole year.
Follow some more silly antics with the old guy running the show dressed as a lizard and a mock sword in the stone which results in her being forced to stay, realising that she had in fact been crowned queen in the town before and sort of coming around to the idea before the episode ends.
This was a promising first episode that I enjoyed a lot. There’s something about the style of P. A. Works’ anime that I like. I guess when take a random screen shot from one of their shows you can often say: ‘This is what anime should look like everyone’. It’s not particularly flash, and Sakura Quest certainly wouldn’t benefit from being so but it’s very clean, traditional and professional.
It’s hard to say from this episode just how good Sakura Quest might be as we’ve yet to meet most of the main cast, who seem to be introduced in the next episode. That said, this has the markings of a good slice of life, seinen, comedy type anime and I’ll certainly be back next week for episode two.
What did you make of Yoshino’s first episode in Manoyama? Some light relief from the fantastical nature of the rest of the season or a droppable, overly generic slice of life?