Sakura Quest Review

sakura questStory:
Yoshino has failed countless job applications for the entertainment industry. So when she gets a call to be a town’s queen for promoting tourism, she jumps at the opportunity. But the town she ends up in is far from what she expected… It’s small, country and slower than the fast life she envisioned for herself.

Violence:
Besides characters getting scratches from falls and the occasional rare nose bleed, nothing to put here.

Language:
Very low. There’s one character that can have a foul mouth, but even then actual cursing isn’t common.

Nudity:
Occasionally we hear an old man say something creepy, but nothing much beyond that. Even outfits remain pretty conservative. Not much to worry about here, thankfully.

Theology/mythology:
We don’t see anything mythical, but this show does have a decent amount of folklore and shrines in it. As this show focuses on cultural traditions being passed on and respected, this isn’t unusual. So if Japanese folklore makes you squirm, this isn’t a show for you.

Personal impression:
This show was surprisingly good, especially how it ends. It’s for sure a bit of a slow burner, but the entire adult cast and good message about pursuing one’s ambitions and finding joy in your work make up for that. Mostly.
Again, this show takes quite a long time to pick up speed. Around 12 episodes of mediocre, actually. It’s only in the second half that things pick up and we see significant character growth and the stronger messages of the show shine through. When it does kick in, it’s a pretty good run. But due to how long it takes to gear up… I wouldn’t be quick to recommend this one.
The animation and story are nothing unique either. The music is also… pretty forgettable, honestly. I can’t recall it at all right now.
But I gotta say the messages of ending up in jobs you might not like, but have to do to pay rent and yet finding joy where you can- of not being in your industry, but continuing to work towards it despite constant failure- of moving onward with your ambitions, even when it’s hard to leave those you love behind – these are all great messages, especially for adults. We’re often told as kids that we need to find our industry and get into it right away. But that’s just not often possible. It can take years to get where you really want to be. The reality of being an adult is that you often have to keep moving onward and upward, sometimes zig-zagging quite a lot, to eventually get to where you want to be. And this show’s second half was a great presentation of this reality.
But still… it’s slow… So it’s probably nothing to jump into if you like fast paced content.

Personal rating: 10+

Episodes: 25
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Slice of Life, drama, comedy
Studio: P.A. Works
Company: Toho
Official streaming: crunchyroll

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Orange Review

orange2b1Story:
Naho lives a pretty standard existence. She’s the incarnation of shyness itself, is blessed with a very supportive group of friends and together they enjoy their high school years to the fullest. One day, Naho receives a strange letter in the mail. It’s supposedly written by her future self and instructs her to save the life of a boy who enters her school the very next day.

Violence:
A few scrapes and such, but nothing serious. However, one character commits suicide off screen, another attempts it more than once and the topic of death comes up a lot.

Language:
Some sh-ts and a few instances of the b-word being used.

Nudity:
We’re in the clear here besides some shirtless scenes from the guys.

Theology/mythology:
Going to a shine on New Years is the only thing to put here.

Personal impression:
This series is pretty clean, yet I’ve decided to rate it for young adults simply due to the heavy themes within. Not going to lie, this show was really hard to get into and, once I did, I had more than a few moments where I wasn’t sure how I felt about the show overall. I still don’t.
What this show seemed to be doing at first was set up a fantasy world, but have the characters act as if the strange and totally impossible things were normal, aka magical realism, in a sense. It rubbed me the wrong way, as did the numerous times Naho’s shy behavior was used to an extreme for drama and/or she was blamed for other characters’ actions. However, as the show progressed, it started to become clear that this series was trying to tackle another issue all together.
Depression.
A weighty issue that few who don’t experience it personally can understand, depression is a mental illness that can be deadly. Seeing a counselor and possibly taking medication can be the difference between life and death for some. And the case of dealing with the death of a loved one who committed suicide, well, that’s even more complicated.
Once I understood what the show was actually trying to portray, the viewpoints of the characters began to make far more sense.
Even so, addressing depression is a hard path indeed. Where support is a requirement for those suffering from depression, it’s also vital that those around know that there’s no magic combination that can cure or “save” someone permanently from depression, and thus it is no one else’s “fault” that the person who is depressed has, ya know, depression.
As someone who has anxiety, I’m happy to see mental illness being tackled. At the same time, I know for a fact how slippery the slope is. See, my main issue with this show, and what still puts me a hint off, is this series’ constant trend of characters blaming themselves and cross examining themselves on every little, tiny issue, to try to keep Kakeru from committing suicide. Because the reality is, everything around someone can be fine. Everything can be perfect, even. And someone might still be drawn dangerously to suicide because depression is a mental illness and not always triggered or sustained by outside forces (sometimes, but not always).
On the other hand, I understand why his friends feel like it’s their job to do what they can. They love him and want to help. That’s good. But I still believe you should be careful when discussing what to do to help those with depression because there’s really only so much you can do. Unfortunately, it’s a demon only the depressed party can personally fight head on. All those on the outside can do is constantly offer support and encouragement. You can’t take that burden away,  no matter how much you love them. If someone with depression closes off, refuses to talk to you and even verbally abuses you, it is not your job/duty to force help upon them. You don’t have to abandon them or anything, but you also shouldn’t blame yourself for their behavior.
See how much of a slippery slope this is? The issue is a complex one and while I appreciate the show for addressing it and I do think it captures depression very well, I also feel some wrong conclusions can be drawn from it.
Overall, this is not a bad show. Not at all. It’s actually very good, considering the monster of a topic it took on. But if you watch it thinking about how someone you know behaves exactly like Kakeru, you need more than just friendship. You might need to do some extra research on depression and possibly seek the help of a good counselor. Depression is serious and can be life threatening.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 13
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Drama, slice of life, fantasy
Company: Toho
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Himouto! Umaru-chan Review

Story:
Umaru is the ever popular, much envied, “perfect” girl at school. At home, however, she’s a lazy, self-absorbed gamer otaku with a soda addiction. Her older brother really has his work cut out for him….

Violence:
There’s a lot of slapstick stuff flung around, which includes bloody noses and bruises, but nothing is taken seriously and the “injuries” are gone in the very next scene.

Language:
Besides some sh-ts and such, nothing too bad, actually.

Nudity:
This section is actually pretty clean. There’s one girl that has large breasts, but it’s not capitalized on too much, thankfully. Also, in one episode Umaru jokes about sticking some leeks in her brother’s butt to cure him from a fever. But I honestly don’t feel like it came off as sexual, nor was it meant to. I have a feeling it’s some weird “home remedy” joke over there. Not sure. In any case, it doesn’t last long, but just throwin’ it out there.

Theology/mythology:
Besides the usual going to the shine at New Years, there’s nothing to say here.

Personal impression:
This is one of those shows where I think it’s ok, but nothing at all to write home about. In fact, it’s kinda boring overall. The comedy elements are lukewarm as are the “endearing” scenes. Also, Umaru is supposedly portrayed as cute, but to me she just came off as horribly spoiled to the point of being completely obnoxious. I just felt bad for her brother (but also a hint mad at him for always enabling her).
If this show has any good points, it’d be in the fact that there’s no sick romance going on between siblings, an element I am always weary of in anime these days. Thankfully that was never an issue. However, considering how there’s no character development in this show, it’s largely pointless.
If you like slice-of-life shows, this will be a nice watch. It has some comedy, but it pretty much sticks to a chill feel overall. However, this isn’t a groundbreaking series. It’s quite plain, so don’t expect much.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: Comedy, slice of life
Company: Toho
Official streaming: Crunchyroll