Image source: TVアニメ「サクラクエスト」出勤中!‏ on Twitter

Sakura Quest is the story of a group of people trying to revitalize a rural town. Behind the scenes, however, there’s something bizarre going on. The main character’s sense of taste is messed up.

[Note: This article contains minor spoilers for Sakura Quest.]

The story of Sakura Quest centers around its main character, Yoshino Koharu, a young woman who, after getting turned down for over thirty job applications, is mistakenly hired to be “king” of the rural town of Manoyama for a year as part of a publicity stunt by the town’s tourism board. The series follows Yoshino and her friends as they try to help boost the town’s popularity through various efforts.

Yoshino herself is bright, lively, and enthusiastic. After an initial kerfuffle, she accepts her role as king and works to learn more about the town and come up with ideas on how to increase tourism and revive the town. However, ever since the first episode, there’s been something going on that I’ve noticed.

In the very first episode, right before Yoshino receives the phone call about the job offer in Manoyama, she can be seen making a weird meal. It’s umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums) wrapped in toast. It’s not enough that she eats it, she takes a bite and then comments that it could use some mayonnaise. No. Just… no.

Image source: Wikipedia

One could make the assumption that she was making do with what limited ingredients she had available—the previous scene showed her bank balance at 980 yen (roughly USD $9). However, in the second episode, after a failed day of trying to sell chupacabra manju, Yoshino can be seen eating pickled beets with potato chips. And it’s not like she eats a pickled beet and then a potato chip; she takes a pickled beet slice, puts it on a potato chip and eats them at the same time.

Throughout the series, if you look closely, you can see that Yoshino’s sense of taste is a little… off. In episode five, she’s seen trying out a kakiage (fish and vegetable tempura) pizza toast. In episode seven, the pickled beets are back, this time not only with potato chips but with other snacks like sweet Pocky and salty senbei.

In episode eight, Yoshino’s messed up taste buds are in full force when she and her friends are forced to think up new menus for the town. Her first idea is croquette and peanut butter chow mein.

Image source: TVアニメ「サクラクエスト」出勤中!‏ on Twitter

Her second is a tropical skewer with spit-roasted meat, pineapple, banana, kiwifruit, carambola, and mango, which doesn’t sound that bad until you realize that the skewer is going to be roasted over an open flame.

Image source: Wikipedia

In episode nine, Yoshino’s entry in a town competition to decide the best sōmen recipe is to turn the custom of nagashi-sōmen—where noodles are placed in flowing water that the diner catches—into an amusement park attraction. While it’s not an indictment of her taste buds, it does emphasize the strange relationship she has with food itself.

Image source: Wikipedia

It’s not as though Yoshino doesn’t recognize delicious foods. Time and time again she can be seen commenting on the flavor of the local cuisine of Manoyama. She can perceive when something tastes good. It just seems like her ability to instinctively comprehend that some food combinations might be a bad idea is malfunctioning or nonexistent. Her food filter is broken. Then again, this almost childlike innocence of hers may be just what the town of Manoyama needs. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy watching Yoshino’s further experiments with her food alchemy.

Image source: TVアニメ「サクラクエスト」出勤中! on Twitter

Sakura Quest can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll and with English dialogue on FUNimation.

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