To quote my pre-emotive fears for Sakura Wars episode 7 which I made at the end of my review for last week’s episode:
‘It’s a little frustrating that it’s taken 6 episodes for the story of Sakura Wars: The Animation to get going, and I worry for events going forward if the next episode is, as I fear, another week where the central narrative is left undeveloped. I worry that the story, once all is said and done, will simply feel rushed as a result.’
My reason for saying this is at the time was that the series was at a precipice. Having reached the halfway point of the narrative, the series was still yet to fully get going, and the episode preview for this week’s episode looked like the series wasn’t going to capitalize on the interesting developments that occurred at the tail end of that episode. Unfortunately, these fears have been realized.
A Date With Boredom
Do I need to bother reviewing Sakura Wars episode 7? After all, nothing happens.
No matter how much you’re a fan of these characters, there comes a point where idle character interactions must make way for something larger if you’re to be left satisfied on a week-by-week basis. Only so many episodes can place their central narrative on a quest to seek the truth about the new addition to the Imperial Combat Revue only to find their biggest secret is the fact they care for an abandoned kitten.
With half the series’ runtime over and done with, with stories like this providing most of the minimal excitement, it was time to move on, and the series seemed to acknowledge this. That’s why it’s so frustrating that the episode consists mostly of the Combat Revue trying to ruin a planned date between Sakura and Seijuro, the captain of the troupe who returned from a visit to WLOF headquarters.
Sakura is overjoyed at their return and wanted to celebrate it with him, but the others are jealous. They all try and cook a signature dish of theirs to win over his affections on the return before a diplomatic approach of eating together is found. When Seijuro finds Sakura alone later that night they agree on a date without the knowledge of the rest of the troupe, and with Klara in tow, they head out together. Once the rest of the troupe find out about this, they attempt to stalk the trio and ruin their plans.
This childish game of stalking and sabotage takes up the majority of the episode and lacks any consequence to the wider narrative. While previous low-key episodes have at least attempted to find some sort of minor moral for our characters to learn and understand by the time the credits roll, this episode lacks even that.
This issue is only further compounded by the breadcrumbs of lot development the episode does provide. You see, the Imperial Combat Revue aren’t the only people stalking and sabotaging this date. The New Moscow Combat Revue, ever-intent on their mission of capturing Klara for their own gain, are also following the trio, hoping to capture them in the process.
We know they have more nefarious intentions, and the return of Seijuro giving us the knowledge that WLOF may have been taken over by people related to the newly-formed Combat Revue only deepens this suspicion further. The episode doesn’t push on this further, however, and only leaves these ideas hanging.
The New Moscow Combat Revue’s role in the episode doesn’t rely on this new information and only seeks to ridicule and demean them as primary antagonists. Their actions to try and capture Klara are fatally flawed, and they serve as the butt of the joke for most of the episode. A corny line at the very end of the episode forgiving their actions with a ‘now things get serious’ only provides a source of ridicule, not a fear they may become a genuine threat, which could even undermine the narrative if things do, as they say, ‘get serious’.
Sakura Wars: The Animation Episode 7: Running Out of Time
Sakura Wars: The Animation episode 7 is, to be honest, poor. It’s filler content in a series already becoming increasingly pressed for time, without making this filler content entertaining enough that you can overlook the lack of development within the larger narrative.
I feel like I repeat myself on a near-weekly basis when I say this, but I genuinely hope the statement of intent from the New Moscow Combat Revue comes to fruition. This feels like the only thing left that can save the series at this point.