"Off to Magical Manoyama" (魔の山へ, Ma no Yama e) is the first episode of the Sakura Quest anime series, aired on April 5, 2017. The episode was directed by Tomoaki Ohta and written by Masahiro Yokotani, with storyboards by Soichi Masui.
After many attempts in landing a job in the city, a girl named Yoshino Koharu discovered an unlikely source of work by becoming the queen of a long-forgotten kingdom in the countryside.
Yoshino Koharu is in a slump as she remained unable to land a job after applying in 30 job interviews. Despite this, she refused to return to her parents and insisted on living a life in the city. As she lamented about her last monthly allowance from her parents, Yoshino received a call from a model placement agency about a job in a tourism agency in the countryside. She decided to take the job, which brought her to the town of Manoyama.
Shiori Shinomiya, an employee in Manoyama's tourism office, later revealed that she was mistaken for Yoshino Tsubaki, a celebrity that was eyed for the job of promoting the town. The board director Ushimatsu Kadota was enraged at the mixup and the fact that Yoshino Tsubaki had passed away eight years prior, and the tense atmosphere in the office intimidated the younger Yoshino. But, Kadota eventually decided that the coronation of the "queen" will proceed as planned.
Yoshino was brought by the tourism office to the "palace" of the Chupakabura Kingdom, now dilapidated after the decline of the micronations project throughout Japan. A short play about the "backstory" of the Chupakabura Kingdom was then organized with Ushimatsu taking the role of the first king, followed by the coronation ceremony, all attended by an elderly audience.
That night, a small party to commemorate the coronation took place in Ushimatsu's house. Shiori then took Yoshino for a drive to her new home: a log cabin-style building that served as a dormitory in the past. Yoshino later stumbled upon Maki Midorikawa, a fellow passenger in the former's trip to Manoyama and the cabin's newest manager. Maki revealed that Yoshino will be the queen of the Chupakabura Kingdom for a whole year by contract, and this came as a shock to Yoshino after realizing that she ignored the details of the contract she had just signed upon. Desperate to escape her year-long duties, Yoshino decided to run off and look for a way to return to Tokyo, but the bus and train routes are closed for the night. Meanwhile, Ushimatsu quickly found out of Yoshino's attempt to escape Manoyama and staged a Chupakabura sighting with Shiori. The "encounter" ended with Ushimatsu injured after Yoshino hit him with her bag.
Yoshino apologized for attacking Ushimatsu, but his wife Kinu understood her concerns and permitted her to return home the next morning. Shiori then gave Yoshino a ride back to the log cabin, but as Maki locked the cabin before returning to sleep, Yoshino was forced to take refuge in the palace of the Chupakabura Kingdom. Here, she found pictures of the micronation in its glory days, as well as a picture of her younger self, sitting on the throne as the Chupakabura Kingdom celebrated the arrival of its 100,000th guest.
The next morning, Shiori arrives at the palace to return the props used the night before, and found Yoshino wearing the crown and cape while sleeping on the throne. Shiori understood this as Yoshino accepting her duties as queen of the kingdom, but as Yoshino denied this, she received another rejection letter for her latest job interview. With her options locked in, Yoshino looked with dismay as Ushimatsu, who had been discharged from the hospital after the incident the night before, told her of her first duty as queen of the Chupakabura Kingdom.
- Yoshino Koharu
- Shiori Shinomiya
- Ushimatsu Kadota
- Mino and Yamada
- Maki Midorikawa
- Chitose Oribe
- Kinu Kadota
- Mr. Sandal
Notes & Trivia Edit
- The episode's title is a play on the name of the town, Manoyama (間野山). Here, the term "manoyama" translates to "magical mountain".
- Tsubaki is written in Japanese as 椿, while Yoshino's surname Koharu is written as 木春.