Here comes another boon for Maki fans!
(Spoilers in this review) So Maki ends up not getting the part. I guess it makes sense but it still hurts Maki (and me). The woman returns back to Manoyama, determined to quit acting, but she is welcomed back with open arms by Yoshino and her minions. Unfortunately, the lunch party turns out to be a failure.
After noticing that the abandoned middle school had a lot of facilities that were still in good condition (as well as Maki explaining that there were no closing ceremony, or an official event to celebrate that the school was shutting down, held for said school), they ask permission to hold a closing ceremony where the girls will hold a play about the rumored Bloody Santa (with the help from others, of course – this ain’t Hinako Note where sloppy plays reign supreme).
Maki does a great job as both director and main lead, so the play was a success! After the encore, the Fab Five announce that they will be keeping the school as a center to help spread Manoyama’s culture (think of it as a super recreational center) so the Manyama Second Middle School Closing Ceremony becomes an opening ceremony!
As the girls celebrate their success at home, Maki says that she plays on starting a theatre trope (maybe I spoke too soon about Hinako Note) and that she plans on adapting the Dragon Song into a play. The episode ends with the Board of Tourism being surprised over how some mysterious benefactor, who signed under a punny name that pays homage to Santa Clause, paid to have the Mizuchi treasures fixed. It’s heavily implied that Maki’s dad was that mysterious guy (since Maki plays the daughter of Santa Clause in the play).
Ririko’s recording of the Dragon Song has been floating around since last episode and I was pleasantly surprised to see how said aspect was treated. In fact, the play itself will probably play a big part in the Mizuchi Festival, which will seemingly play a key role in Sakura Quest‘s final episodes. After all, the song is about being accepting of other cultures, which ties in too well with the repurposed middle school. And for once the girls have the public’s support, so it seems like they’re truly representing the desires of the town’s population.
Everything may have come together a bit too smoothly compared to these sequence of events usually occur in real life (Maki’s dad is a pretty swell guy, it turns out), but it also actually serves to make the Mizuchi Festival seem to have an actual chance at reviving the town. I’ve been doubting how the revival of the festival will help, but now I’m starting to believe. That’s all you gotta do sometimes as you try to make things happen. Well, the Board of Tourism had been running on that ideology for far too long, but Yoshino and her friends seemed to have turned everything around by actually considering others.
With only 5 more episodes left and 1 treasure missing, Sakura Quest continues to move towards the finish line with grace and tact. And it seems like Erika is finally getting some characterization beyond being a snarky waitress brat next episode. I’m looking forward to it!