In the wake of a national movement during a Bubble economy period, a small town decides to revive its tourism program and hires five women as travel ambassadors. As this series follows them for a year, we learn of the trials and tribulations that come with trying to reinvigorate a small town.
New to the Spring 2017 season, Sakura Quest takes a distinctly adult approach to what you think this anime could be. As one of the more chill shows of the season and the only fan service within being the wide array of outfits worn by these women, if you want to keep that going, try these anime recommendations.
For Fans of Adult Women Working
The five members of the Kaminoyama High School animation club all make a pledge to make their project for the school cultural festival a huge success, then afterwards move to Tokyo and work in the industry. Fast forward two years in the future and two members have made their dream a reality, but making anime is no easy task.
For some reason, Sakura Quest has the exact same feel as Shirobako. While tourism isn’t quite as fast-paced as the animation world, the shows both feature women passionately pursuing things in their careers. With beautiful animation and likable, normal-feeling characters, they are both worth a watch.
Nicoletta is on her first trip to Rome with a mission – to ruin her mother’s life after she walked out on her 15 years ago. She tracks her mother down to a restaurant, but as soon as she enters, everything changes. She becomes enamored by the place, and one waiter in particular. Suddenly, her urge for vengeance fades and her desire to cook starts to grow.
What does a show about a restaurant have to do with a show about small town tourism antics? Not much. However, the similarities between these two shows are not in their plot or setting, but rather in its characters. Both shows are about characters that have (mostly) realistic conversations and focuses on a normal narrative that is phoned in or for dramatic effect.
Working for a magazine company, Hiroko Matsukata is a woman that puts everything into her job. Known as a strong, straight-forward woman, she often goes into Hataraki (working man) mode. Despite her success at work, her life lacks romance, primarily because her boyfriend is as hard a worker as she is.
Hataraki Man used to be one of the only anime series about working women that was really worth watching. Shirobako and now Sakura Quest has changed that. While Hataraki Man is a more exaggerated comedic example of a working woman, Sakura Quest does keep true to a light-hearted atmosphere.
For Fans of Small Towns
Kumamiko: Girl Meets Bear
Young shrine maiden Machi Amayadori has spent her whole life in a small town with her talking bear guardian. However, as she turns fourteen, she decides to take a chance and attend high school in the city. This is the story of her preparing for city life in a small town.
Despite the whole “bear” element, Kumamiko is an excellent look at the serenity of small town life. While it isn’t about tourism like Sakura Quest, both shows give you a look into the finer details of small town life, even if Kumamiko is about getting ready to leave it.
After losing his temper on a critic, renowned calligraphy artist Sieshuu Handa is exiled to the Goto Islands by his father for a period of self-reflection. There he seeks to find new inspiration for his art, but finds that his neighbors and some neighborhood kids keep getting in his way.
There is no more quintessential small town series than Barakamon. While it has an overarching plot to achieve, it does wax philosophical about the island town where he spends the majority of his time. However, you get to see relatively little of the town itself unlike Sakura Quest.
Ohana Matsumae is an energetic teenager that lives with her mother in Tokyo. However, when her mother decides to run off with a man, she is sent to the country to live with a grandmother she has never met. As it turns out, her grandmother is not only cold to her, but runs an inn. Eager to earn her keep and grandmother’s affection, Ohana begins the hard work that makes sure an inn runs smoothly.
Hanasaku Iroha and Sakura Quest have a surprisingly lot in common, from the extremely likable main characters to the serenity of the setting. However, Hanasaku Iroha, while discussing some town issues, does primarily just focus on the inn where as Sakura Quest covers everything.
For Fans of Tourism
Nanko Usami is your average high school girl in the town of Nagarekawa. However, her uncle decides to try and make her a local idol, or locodol. By partnering with upperclassman Yukari Kohinata to form the idol unit, Nagarekawa Girls, they try to use their skills to climb to idol-hood.
Both Sakura Quest and Locodol are almost the same show except they focus on different things and the women they follow vary in ages. Locodol is your typical high school girl show, but it follows these girls trying to become idols, though not in quite the annoying way as other idol shows.
Amagi Brilliant Park
Kanie Seiya, a smart, but narcissistic high school student, believes that the reserved Sento Isuzu has invited him on a date to the amusement park. However, the park turns out not only to be run down, but his date was more of job recruitment. Recruited as the new manager, can he turn this park around in just three months?
What is a town if not a smaller and more boring theme park? While Amagi Brilliant Park is sometimes less about marketing and more about dealing with all the strange shit that goes on, Sakura Quest takes itself a little more seriously. That is not to say weird shit doesn’t happen in that series either, but Amagi Brilliant Park takes it to such an extreme that it is less believable.
Yuugo Hachiken is a hard-working, studious student, but he is tired of trying to live up to the academic expectations that are placed on him. So when it comes time to go to high school, he enrolls in the Ooezo Agricultural High School in Hokkaido. Being so clever, he thinks he will excel in the institution, but soon learns that farming is much harder work, both physically and emotionally, more so than he expected.
While Silver Spoon shows off the glories and challenges of living in a rural area, the similarities between it and Sakura Quest doesn’t start until season two when you learn that a number of the area farms are having financial problems. This is where the main character starts to plot on how to solve said problems.
Did we miss any anime recommendations that, you feel, gave off the same vibes of Sakura Quest? Let us know in the comments section below.