Alright, since episodes are going to be a two-episode format. Well, I figured I should test it out and cover two episodes in one review. Of course, this is only a test, there would also be more focus on my thoughts on the episodes (hopefully). If I think I can make it work more, well, reviews might keep the format. Who knows. Still, if you prefer individual episodes over multi-episode review format, please say so, since that too is a deciding factor. Note, this one is longer since it will probably take me at least one more episode to get used to this new format. Anyway, let’s get started.
Episode 8 Plot:
The start of the Shiori focused episodes. I honestly did not think she would be the next character. It also brings up the question, since I know what episode 10 and 11 focus on, if they focus on Riri. Anyway, the girls dress up as a ninja, beekeeper, and Bruce Lee to help out Shiori’s farm. Turns out it was just to watch.
After meeting Shiori’s rather kind Onee-san, it turns out the focus to revive the town is turning towards food. The girls try different things. Like Riri’s disgusting looking bug thing or Sanae’s cheap insta-noodles. But Shiori’s food is the best, only downside is it is boring to look at.
Over dinner, of just Shiori’s family, the Onee-chan pretty much sees her future husband since it is pretty clear the two really like one another. But, keep in mind, he just returned from France, and Shiori’s Onee-sama is moving away soon for work.
The following day, Shiori gives Sakura Squad the idea that maybe they should only use ingredients found in the town. They also meet Shiori’s future Onii-chan. Who, also makes it clear that he likes Shiori’s Nee-san. Too bad everyone else thinks Shiori likes him.
More food testing with a somewhat same result, only everyone but Shiori used ingredients not found in the town. Shiori’s is both good but boring once more.
Now Shiori’s dad thinks Shiori likes the chef guy. But, talking to him gets her thinking about her future. Also, she tells her Nee-chan that the chef liked her. Both also seemed to mention something about the other not meeting at a certain place. Clearly there was more to them.
Then the huge problem happens. They sort of forgot to tell the Merchant Board about an event they planned for the same day as the festival. Kind of important thing, considering they were already nearly about to go to war. I mean, maybe the unspoken rule should be known to newcomers to always double-check with them.
They go to apologize, well, the old man’s new Manju is also getting the Merchant Board angry, he sort of plans to use ingredients not found in Manoyama. So, due to the huge blunder of the event, Shiori steps up to the plate with the ultimatum that she will find something that both parties can enjoy and agree on.
Episode 9 Plot:
So, continuing exactly where the previous episode left off. Turns out Shiori was thinking of Yoshi, and sort of took up the leadership role, which was made note of a lot in the previous episode that she is not cut out for it.
Anyway, after a few things, mostly Riri getting the OK from her grandma to be an official member of the team. Shiori’s plan involves Somen, a contest where the people of the town can all participate, and the winner, as chosen by the town, gets to have their food be on the menu for the Kingdom. Of course, the Board of Merchants goes on with this, that and they want to win too.
Remember Deku, from that wood arc, like 3 episodes back, well he is back, and well all old people know one another. Yoshi went to him to make the stalls for everyone. Also she gets a crazy idea.
Meanwhile the girls see Kumano ago. A flashback reveals that Shiori’s Nee-chan (already used them all going back to basics) really liked his French Toast. What does any guy do when a girl tells him something like that, pack up, move to France to perfect his French Toast skills. Problem is he found out French Toast was made by a guy in America. Also he says that she never met him on that day.
Later when the two meet, well, it turns out both waited on that day for the other. Neither showed up. They did not get the train station wrong, since well, there is only one in town. Something else is up.
Shiori also gets an idea for their Somen, to combine it with kombu, which is also a popular dish in their town. But that comes up later.
Yoshi does her evil plan in a bathing suit, which again we don’t find out until later.
Shiori also finds out her sister, who is also an airhead, had the wrong year on the calendar. Seriously it is summer and they are only now figuring this out.
So, the day of the contest arrives. It goes great. Shiori also gives something to Kumano. Yoshi’s plan was a somen video game real life experience, which went horribly but the kids loved it. And the Mama team won the contest.
Later Shiori played matchmaker so the issue between her Nee-san and Kumano were resolved. Yeah, she was looking at the wrong date, since she had an old calender.
The episode ends with Shiori being declared the Minister of Mediation, which they all don’t like the name of.
Kind of went into the mindset of a normal review, so this one was a lot longer. Still, feel free to comment if the two episode format for reviews would be better, next time it will be shorter.
Thinking of both episodes, back to back for once, I really liked the arc. I sort of was hoping something could go wrong in episode 9, mostly with Yoshi’s plan. It really felt like they solved that issue way too soon. Honestly, it was in the first 3 or 4 minutes. But I think any longer would have just been a drag. This episode was a lot about Shiori, and also the sub plot with her sister.
I think the subplot was a rather nice touch, since for once it was close to home. I think this subplot, worked better for Shiori compared to the house one in episode 6 and 7. It had much more of a connection to her. Sure, it honestly felt like that one was more of a lesion for Yoshi, this one may not have had a lesion for Shiori, but it started with her as a focus, and stayed with it until the end.
I do like the fact that everyone but Shiori knew that Kumano liked her sister. I mean, everyone saying Shiori is an airhead and her sister is an airhead, well, it was nice to see everyone else being the airhead for it.
The Board of Merchants also played much more of a role in these episodes. Maybe not as heavy as I would have liked. Hopefully they are super important soon. This was easily the biggest case with the Tourism Board screwing up their plans. Before it was never like that, they just seemed like the angry grandma and that is about it. At least this time the anger was well placed. Plus, it was nice to see the festival turning into a mini competition.
I think to now, this arc worked rather well for Shiori as a character. I think the major downside, it feels like it will have the least impact on her. The other two, they did have focus, and it could be said it did change them for the better. Maki does still have some room to improve, not so much for Sanae. I only say this since Sanae is not from the town, where Maki is and does not have a good relationship with her dad. Shiori could easily have more room to improve, but I doubt we will see her taking a more leadership role later in the series. I think being a good foil to balance Yoshi’s quick to act goes well with Shiori’s reserved and thoughtful nature.
I do think this show will be in for a change in the second half. Out of all the girls Riri has not gotten her time to shine. After that, then well, who knows, maybe some drastic changes will come to the town. I really do not get why it is only occurring to me now what the second half could be about with the current set up. Anyway, nice two episodes. Worked out well, and they both complimented one another nicely. The second half could have had something else done for a little extra, still, much like Shiori, nothing too amazing needed to stand out.
Overall Enjoyment: 90/100
Sakura Quest is streamed by Crunchyroll.
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Until next time.