The Quintessential Quintuplets (Spoiler-Free) Review

It’s actually been a few weeks since I finished The Quintessential Quintuplets, also known as 5-toubun no Hanayome.

I knew I couldn’t NOT write about this one, but I also had trouble thinking about what I even wanted to write about it. I’m still not sure, but maybe something will come to me as we go, so let’s just go for it.

Brief Synopsis

A very smart and studious boy is given the opportunity of a lifetime – to make a great deal of money (which is family desperately needs), and all he has to do is tutor someone. Or maybe I should say, five someones. And so, our protagonist, Futarou, begins in trying to rein in five very different quintuplets that each have their own issues and hangups.

Cue the comedy, or romance… or harem?

Slice of Life?

You know, I went into The Quintessential Quintuplets thinking it was a slice of life anime, but now I’m not so sure.. it is a slice of life, right? Yes. It must be, what was I thinking..

I think the best way to describe it is a slice of life anime that has ascended past a regular slice of life anime. The power to go even further beyond, if you catch my drift. Essentially, it’s a slice of life anime where a lot happens, which is uncharacteristic of many slice of life anime, where nothing really happens. Is there an actual definition for this?

It’s Fun, But Not Educational

Exactly as the header says. This is a fun anime about Futarou tutoring 5 high school quintuplets, but don’t expect to learn anything like I did. Sure, there are some scenes where they all sit down and study together, or Fuutarou will point at someone’s paper and say “No, do it like this..”, but there are no real hard hitting learning moments. What can I say, why not take advantage of the opportunity to throw some interesting tidbits of information out there?

To be fair, there was some Japanese history trivia at one point, but not enough for me to sink my teeth into. Is it weird that I want to learn while watching anime? I pick up words here and there as I learn the Japanese language, but an explicitly educational anime would be great.

It’s Fun, But Spoils Itself

This will be my attempt to criticize an aspect of the anime without spoiling it, so that if you haven’t watched The Quintessential Quintuplets, you too can be puzzled by this decision.

There’s one moment later on in the anime where they decide to do a flash-forward. If you know me, you know that I hate flashbacks. Flash-forwards? Not a huge fan of them either. Most stories can’t seem to use either of these tools effectively, and that’s the main reason I hate them.

So we get a flash-forward in this anime, and for some reason, they decided to spoil a critical detail involving the harem. It completely changes everything, and I’m not too sure why they thought it was a good idea. It sort of defeats the purpose of the show being a harem, in many ways. I guess they wanted us to be aware of some sort of serious undertone while watching the anime, that this wasn’t a regular harem anime… but I just didn’t like the decision to include it at all.

There Are Five Of Them

But only one is best girl.

Yep, that’s right. Best girl time. While all of the quintuplets have some aspect or another to them that makes them a good girl, only one can be the best.

Let me lay down my criteria for a best girl, that may be overridden by me at my own discretion because some girls are still good even if they don’t meet these criteria.

First, hime cut (black hair preferred but not required).
Second, tsundere.
Third, pouty face.

Who could it be?

That’s right, it’s Nino!
Nino was the best girl from this anime, without question.

I didn’t see any pouty faces from her, but she does have the best hair in the anime as well as a great meddling tsundere attitude. The pouty face criteria is actually relatively new, so it’s possible that Nino did actually make a pouty face at some point and it just wasn’t on my radar at the time.

Rating

Have I rambled enough to start closing out this review yet?
What, you still have no clue what the merits of this anime are?
I’ll try my best to sum it up here.

First, The Quintessential Quintuplets gets a 7.5 / 10 rating from me.

It’s a fun anime that manages to develop all 5 quintuplets and their relationship to Futarou very well. There are some comedic moments, some interesting moments, and some un-interesting moments, as well as some flash-forwards that I didn’t appreciate.

If you are looking for a harem slice of life anime to watch that isn’t heavy on ecchi content, this is a great pick. I wouldn’t call it relaxing like I would with many other slice of life titles, but it is fun enough that you shouldn’t get too bored with it. All of the girls are cute in their own way, and there are some cute moments as well.

Slightly above average, it’s good for what it is.

I’ll also give The Quintessential Quintuplets the Variety Is The Spice Of Life award, for managing to create such a diverse cast of girls, despite them all being sisters with similar hair colours.

And that’s my review of The Quintessential Quintuplets!

Until next time,
Thanks for reading!

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4 thoughts on “The Quintessential Quintuplets (Spoiler-Free) Review

  1. Ah, so you did finish this one! Easily my favorite new series of the year so far – the day the anime ended I bought the entire manga series, as much as was available of it. I love this entire cast of characters, and that’s 90% of the battle for me with harems right there. I’ll respect your “spoiler-free” standard here, but I will say that you’re looking at it kinda backwards. This is basically “How I Met Your Mother the Anime,” opening in the present day and spending almost the whole series telling an extended flashback story of “how we got here.” Most of the time the distinction doesn’t matter, but there are a few places where the benefit of hindsight (or forgetfulness because of time and distance) is coloring Fuutarou’s memories. And it was the mystery angle of trying to figure out the situation in the present that got me intrigued enough to watch it in the first place – had this just been a straight harem I probably would’ve skipped it, but the mystery turned out to be an irresistible hook. I like mysteries, and this one’s been really fun to try to solve. I have my guesses of course, but even in the manga we don’t have all the answers yet.

    Also, if you like Nino, then you’re probably going to really enjoy season 2 next year, because she has a lot of character development coming. Season 1 covered through chapter 32 – the manga’s up to chapter 96, and it’s gotten better as it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I get that it’s a “How I Met Your Mother” type storytelling, and I completely dislike it. I’d prefer that all options are left open, including the dream harem ending or combinations or whatever.

      Last thing I want to do when watching a show is have to wonder how what I’m watching will lead to the predetermined future set out in the story. As you say, it makes the entire story a giant flashback, and I really dislike flashbacks. And if this is also a case of an unreliable narrator, I’m not sure how I feel about that either. I’d just prefer a straight story instead of all this, a nice harem slice of life free from flashbacks, flash forwards, etc.

      Nothing about it really felt like a mystery to me, just like with How I Met Your Mother… it just becomes slice of life / sitcom with a vague overarching predetermined future that isn’t really relevant to the day to day scenes.

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      1. Ah, then we just have irreconcilable differences here. Knowing from the start that there was going to be a definite ending and a clear winner was the other half (along with the mystery) of what attracted me to it in the first place. The only thing I like less than a harem resolution is no resolution at all, so I was very happy to know that I wouldn’t have to worry about either of those.

        Also, it’s not so much “unreliable narrator” as much as it’s just about parsing the characters’ interpretations of certain scenes. If you aren’t actively engaging with the mystery anyway, though, then it’s not really that important. But I’ll say that the mystery element has been a big hit with a lot of people. I’m active on the Quints’ subreddit, and people are constantly posting theories and guesses and predictions. The author’s even said that’s the kind of fan engagement he was hoping for when he started writing it. Which tells me he ought to try a pure mystery next after this series is done, because I think he’d be very good at it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t even know about the whole flash forward business until the second to last episode I believe, or maybe it was the last episode, because I missed it at the end of the first episode initially. So I went through the entire anime pretty much thinking it was a regular harem anime. Finding out the entire thing was a flashback was a big disappointment for me.

        Like

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