We’ve finally arrived at the end of the series, and I’ve chosen Sakura Quest to lead us into the next year—not because it was the best of 2017, or even necessarily my favorite. Sakura Quest had its ups and downs. There was a time where I was worried the plot wasn’t going anywhere. With enough failures, and never ending communication, Yoshino grew along with Manoyama and found a new purpose in life. That’s the message I want to take to heart and relay to you now: learn from the mistakes of this past year, speak openly with the people around you, and strive to improve in the future. Whatever your belief, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and new year.
I really don’t want to include Sakura Quest in this season wrap, because it means that the show is over and I’ll have to move on to new places. But here we are, with three more summer shows completed and my heart in a better place than it was before. Each one of these series inspired me differently—they inspired me to seek purpose in whatever I do and wherever I am, to dedicate myself fully to any given task, and to always improve no matter the achieved success.
“Permanent resident population: In contrast to the temporary resident population, which comprises of visitors to a region, this describes the number of residents that have permanently settled in a region” (Yoshino, “The Queen, Convicted”).
My entire time growing up in Kenai–a coastal town in Alaska with a population around 6,000-7,000–I knew I was going to leave. Having moved there at the age of five and being one of the few Asian Americans in my school and surrounding towns, I never felt quite like I belonged. I had friends, yes. I was involved in many community activities. Yet through the books I read and the cultures I felt a part of, I felt an irresistible draw to travel elsewhere and live more connected to the big cities where exciting events occurred. Concerts. Festivals. Museums. Art. Food.
When the time finally came, I up and moved to Seattle and took a job downtown among no-nonsense lawyers and harried office workers. I had fun for a year, using my lunch breaks to wander the nearby streets and buildings and scheduling dates and events after work and on the weekends. Then I realized that I was over it. The increasingly trafficked commute and cement buildings wore me down. I started looking to nearby towns to live, and reconsidered my job. Like Sakura Quest’s Koharu Yoshino, I left the sticks for the city only to send myself straight back to small town life. Now I live and write from home about a thirty-minute drive away from Seattle, eating and taking breaks at my discretion, and feeling more a part of my chosen hometown than I ever did hanging out in the city. This quest for a place to call home didn’t come about from any grand plan, but instead from a series of small decisions that pointed me to where I am today.
In Sakura Quest, Yoshino struggles to survive in Tokyo after leaving her seaside town with the determination to never again live in the country. Call it misfortune or fate, a mistake leads her to signing a year-long contract to act as Manoyama’s “Queen,” where she works together with the tourism industry to try and revive the population. The task already sounds daunting enough even before considering the fact that Yoshino herself is part of the generation running to the cities and leaving rural hometowns like hers to literally grow old and, in some cases, die out completely.
What have I gotten myself into? Don’t, just don’t, count the number of new shows I’ve picked up. It’s a bit ridiculous. It’s a lot ridiculous.
There are many wonderful sequels airing this spring, and I am also pleased with the amount of interesting new series. Below are my choices four weeks into the season. Let me know what you think of these shows, and to what you’re most looking forward!
- Alice to Zouroku
- Atom: The Beginning
- Boku no Hero Academia Season 2
- Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
- Dungeon in Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria
- Fukumenkei Noise
- Granblue Fantasy The Animation
- Hinako Note
- Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys
- Love Kome: We Love Rice
- Natsume Yuujinchou Roku
- Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine
- Sakura Quest
- Seikaisuru Kado
- Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul
- Shingeki no Kyojin Season 2
- Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?
- Tsuki ga Kirei
- Uchouten Kazoku 2
- Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho