The Quintessential Quintuplets – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: Uesugi Fuutarou, a high school second-year from a poor family, receives a highly appealing offer to work part-time as a tutor… but his students turn out to be girls from his own class! What’s more, they’re quintuplets… and all five are beautiful, but happen to be problem students who have borderline grades and hate studying! Looks like his first assignment will be to win all the sisters’ trust?! Every day is a wild party in this rom-com centering around the quintuplet sisters of the Nakano household! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: There’s a limit to how many shows we can effectively cover every season. There’s also a limit to how many series we can follow that we simply don’t enjoy before we lose our sanity. Trying to keep things pared down to shows we see potential in, I fought hard for us to follow The Quintessential Quintuplets past episode one. It was a bit generic, not terribly clever, but I believed that with a little bit of creativity it could take its well directed start and make something worthwhile. Oh boy was I wrong. Starting on the surface, that modest start crumbles with its art direction. Frequently we get long shots that produce wonky character models, stiff animation and flat colors, often amounting to little more than a bland visual experience. But that’s not even the series’ truest problems.
Linny: I caved in to Tom’s fervent appeals to keep Quintuplets because the first episode played itself as mostly a comedy, giving off the vibe that there would be plenty of funny moments as our protagonist struggled to try and educate this group of stubborn academically under achieving girls. Yet a fair chunk of the ensuing episodes are devoted to the various personal hang ups and melodrama affecting the girls to the point where we even get a two episode storyline about the specific drama revolving around one of the sisters’ secret profession. To make matters worse, Quintuplets also quickly devolves into a generic harem, employing some of the most common tropes such as breasts growing several sizes depending on the shot, accidental groping, clothes randomly coming unbuttoned even though they were perfectly fine a second ago, etc.
Tom: Basically Quintuplets is little more than a standard harem. It’s got a lot of the classic gags, the typical set ups, but little original to amaze anyone overly familiar with the genre, and who isn’t a die hard fan of the genre’s expected tropes. But problems run deeper as so much of Quintuplets comedy hinges on the Quintuplets being easily mistakable for each other. While I imagine that worked quite well in the manga (what with it being black & white and all. Heck even in the color pages they all have red hair.) here they’ve given each girl a uniquely distinct hair color, making them all too easy to tell apart. It makes any scenario of mistaken identity feel painfully obvious to the viewer. The humor of the scenario then falls flat as you’re being asked to really and truly suspend too much disbelief for the gag to work.
Linny: As Tom just explained, Quintuplets’ big running gag about the girls being mistaken for each other falls flat in anime form, which means its greatest gimmick becomes nonsensical. Not only that, it does little to feel truly unique otherwise and doesn’t manage to soar above being labelled as yet another harem series even with its female characters being ‘identical’ quintuplets. If you love harems, then the steady employment of classic tropes from the genre should keep you engaged but for anyone seeking anything remotely more substantial, The Quintessential Quintuplet does not offer anything to be considered a must watch.
Tom: As we hit the mid season Quintuplets tries to up the stakes by threatening an end to Fuutarou’s tutoring job if he can’t get the girls to pass Mid Terms (which at 30 points passing you’d think would be stupidly easy.) The trouble is this development feels far too early. We’ve barely had time to meet each girl, let alone develop a strong bond to the entire cast. It’s not exclusive to the anime. The manga only has one or two chapters skipped over, neither of which really focuses on Fuutarou actually getting study time with the girls. Without stronger comedy and hijinks, the threat feels lame and unearned. The same goes for heartfelt moments, where characters grow closer almost as soon as they get a second alone. Episode 2 did this well, with Fuutarou’s efforts to woo Miku’s interest in studying feeling relevant. But since much of the comedy is so forgettable and bland otherwise, you struggle to feel all that absorbed even when things take a shift towards the romantic. I don’t think Quintuplets is terrible, but its the typical generic harem that really doesn’t hold significant appeal beyond the die hard fanbase. If you’re looking for a harem title that stands out, I don’t think The Quintessential Quintuplets is it.