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

Sakura Quest started out as five girls on a mission to revitalize a rural city. Recently, however, it’s become far more RPG-esque.

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

The story of Sakura Quest takes place in the rural city of Manoyama, aka the “Chupacabra Kingdom.” The main characters consist of five girls who are brought together through the forces of fate and who are working together on the city’s tourism board to revitalize the city that has fallen on hard times. From its title, “Sakura Quest,” the series sounds like it could be a fantasy adventure story, but it’s more of a reality-based story on a very real issue that faces rural villages, towns, and cities in Japan.

The series is a lengthy two cour series. The first half was mainly focused on the individual characters and each one finding their place as part of the group through explorative—and in one case, tearful—episodes. There were some symbolic fantasy-esque elements, like the pulling of a sword from a stone, but for the most part, the story was character-centric in nature. Moving on to the second half of the series, the focus has changed and things have begun to take on more of an RPG structure.

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

Currently, the girls are hoping to help encourage tourism by reviving a local annual festival that was disbanded 50 years ago due to the actions of the head of the tourism board, the previous “king” of the Chupacabra kingdom. However, in order to properly revive the festival—the Mizuchi Festival—three ritual items are required; a pike, a drum, and a dragon statue.

The first, the pike, involves a group of disgruntled elderly villagers who attempt to secede from the “kingdom” because the local bus system is no longer including their area in its route, effectively stranding them. After various incidents, the girls are forced to figure out a middle ground solution that will leave all parties satisfied, and as a reward, they obtain the first key item of the three.

With this new mission, Sakura Quest has structurally become much like an old-school JRPG. Looking at how the recent events are playing out, I can’t help but feeling like I’m watching the story of these girls trying to help this rural city overlaid on a fantasy RPG. You have the hero’s party of five girls, each with their own specific field of expertise (classes), on a quest to save the kingdom by reviving an ancient rite. To do this, they need to search the kingdom for three key items, but uncovering each item brings with it another side quest that the characters must undergo. All it needs is an evil overlord bent on destroying or overthrowing the kingdom—although it could be argued that the head of the Manoyama shop association who is openly adversarial to the tourism board is an evil overlord-like character.

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

Currently, the heroes have moved on with their search and located the second key item, the drum. Unfortunately, the damage it appears to have sustained from years of neglect will require a considerable sum of money to repair. Simultaneously, one of their members is going through a “character class event” involving her background as an actress. Hopefully, she’ll be able to successfully complete it and get some “bonus stats” out of it.

Sakura Quest still a lot of adventuring left to go. The girls need to find the third item and then actually revive the festival. And even if they succeed, there’s no guarantee that it will work to help revitalize the city. Still, it’s all making for an entertaining and involving story where everything that happens is getting converted to RPG terms in my head.

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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