What’s the show? The Quintessential Quintuplets.
And what’s it about? Futaro Uesugi is a genius high-schooler who comes from a poor family, in order to help pay for the families bills he takes a job as a tutor to five flunking sisters–quintuplets to be precise–whose father demands they all get a passing grade otherwise his job will be no more. It’s a romantic comedy series that’s bookended with the ‘revelation’ that Futaro’s going to marry one of the girls but that’s a long way off narratively speaking as this season is about the comedic hijinks that ensue as he tries to get them all to study while dealing with their various character differences and emotions.
A harem about quintuplets huh? You must have loved this show! It was my third least favourite anime of the season.
Oh, well that’s unexpected… you’re usually “all in” on this kind of stuff? What went wrong? Nothing “went wrong” so to speak. I ended up giving the series a total score 74 out of 100. So it’s still firmly in “it’s good, I like it” territory–it’s just compared to the hype that surrounded (and still surrounds) this show and compared to almost every other harem anime I’ve watched, it’s just so underwhelming by comparison.
Okay then. So can you pinpoint exactly what it is about the series that’s so “underwhelming”? I thought on this for a while–why, despite having five beautiful and interesting girls as a part of this ‘harem/romantic/comedy’ did I not connect with the show the same way I almost instantly do to other series of this ilk. And you know what answer I ~initially~ came up with? Not enough fan service.
*facepalm* Why am I not surprised. Settle down, that was my “initial” answer, one born out of finding an easy answer to the problem. After some more thought what I realised was it’s a more broader problem in that this anime is too ‘safe’, and ‘mainstream’–compared to the harem anime I like. It’s very Western, to the point where I’d not even bother to call this a harem anymore but rather a sitcom. That’s not to disparage US sitcoms–I’ve enjoyed some in my times–but I feel like ‘The Quintessential Quintuplets’ bares more in common with a show like ‘How I Met Your Mother’ than it does literally any other harem anime. And that’s a problem–at least for me it is.
Don’t like ‘How I Met Your Mother’? No, it’s good, I like it. But harem anime–as I’ve discussed in the past–exists in a world of entertainment outside the norm and some of the best anime subverts what is societally acceptable and makes it larger than life entertainment. Being comparable to a US sitcom on the other hand, is almost the opposite.
I mean, I think I understand what you’re saying. Doesn’t mean I agree with it, but I at least understand it. So what were your favourite things about the series? The girls. They were the bright, shining spotlight that shone from the dimmest places. Yotsuba was my favourite–gotta love a genki girl–but all of them had such character and life to them. Also the show was funny on occasion, even if a lot of its comedy came from predictable places. Also, the OP and ED both featured high in my lists of best anime songs from the Winter 2019 season so there’s that.
And the things you didn’t like? More specific than the general ~feeling~ of the anime. To start with I didn’t like our protagonist Futaro, and while I still don’t understand what (most) of the girls see in him, I’ve at least come to appreciate him as a character. One thing I found odd was the show’s multi-episode arcs for events that really didn’t seem like they needed multiple episodes. The fireworks festival and final ski-trip arc being especially egregious examples–their pace was at times so slow I sometimes wondered if I’d accidentally put the same episode on twice. Also, and this is probably a nitpick–but the show had occasional animation issues with characters appearing off-model and soft to a distracting but not destructive degree.
Okay then. So how do you recommend ‘The Quintessential Quintuplets’? If you don’t like your “run-of-the-mill” (a.k.a my preferred) harem anime, you may in fact find more to like about this show than I did. It’s proven itself plenty popular amongst your average anime viewer so there’s always that chance. For me–with the exception of the titular (pun-intended) quintuplets themselves, this was a pleasant but not very memorable experience. 74 out of 100.
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