Although this could be seen as “Girls Who Save the World”, it is done in a more realistic manner, in that they may not have capes and wands or be magical girls, but they are trying to save and protect people and a way of life. This is “Sakura Quest” (“Sakura Kuesuto”).
Yoshino Koharu (down and middle) is a young girl trying to look for a job in Tokyo, but is only met with a series of rejections. And they are rather humiliating rejections. However, she has a seemingly lucky break when she receives a job offer to work with the tourism board of the economically struggling Manoyama village as their “Queen”. With no other choice, Yoshino accepts the offer and travels to Manoyama only to find out that she was hired based on a case of mistaken identity and that her contract term is for one year instead of the one day, as she had initially thought. With nowhere else to go, Yoshino reluctantly becomes Queen of Manoyama.
But her reign is to help revitalize this rather sleepy community. She has no experience in trying to be a booster and having to come up with plans to get this place better known, but she begins to assemble her team (left to right).
Maki Midorikawa, amateur actress and local celebrity, she moved back here from Tokyo.
Sanae Kōzuki, a web site developer, she left Tokyo for the country.
Shiori Shinomiya, a native of Mayoyama, she works for the tourism board.
Ririko Oribe, another native, she wants to leave, but can’t find the nerve.
They all work around Ushimatsu Kadota (open mouth in green in back), who runs the tourism board, but he comes up with a lot of hair-brained ideas that ultimately flop. The series is all the activities and occurrences they do to try and get the town sufficient again. And therein resides the question that underlies the show: What will you lose in order to gain?
Despite it being just 25 episodes, it sometimes felt longer, which is both a boon and a bane. It certainly allowed for all the missteps and mistakes to be better presented, as well as seeing the city and community, but some tales felt forced, as though they needed to do something. We do see the double-edged sword of trying to help and not hurt, but a lot of the merchants seem hell-bent on fading into oblivion. The Gang of Five tries, and I mean, really tries, but it’s hard to remain enthusiastic when your plans are shot down, merely because someone thinks it’s stupid and that’s that. The ending arc of trying to revive an old tradition has the show on its strongest footing, but still rings a bit hollow in some folks’ ‘conversion’.
The ending has a couple of false threats, but it does give an open-end, so we are really not sure what is going to finally happen. In any case, the actual end gives the impression of this being it. But I have been wrong. There is a fourth season of “Symphogear”. In any case, it is a solid “B” List show, when you find yourself between one action-adventure series and another.
As to the binging aspect of it, I feel it would work better for things, as you can see the palpable frustrations in trying this and it goes awry and trying that and it goes awry and trying something completely different (a man with three buttocks) and it still goes awry, but they are not without zeal. But you really need to invest in the show or the binging may feel forced.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Cute girls, strange hair)
Plot 7 (Rather typical)
Pacing 7 (Dragged at points)
Effectiveness 8 (Made some strong, valid points)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingability 7 (works when it helps, drags when it hurts)
Overall 8 (Good story, helped by good characters)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You old hag!