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AKA: 五等分の花嫁 ; Go-Tobun no Hanayome (according to Wiki, literally "Quintuplet Brides"; this IS a harem, you know)
Genre: Harem Comedy
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by FUNimation, also available on Crunchyroll for streaming.
Content Rating: PG-13 (Fanservice, slapstick violence, mature situations.)
Related Series: Planned second season.
Also Recommended: Love Hina; Hayate the Combat Butler
Notes: Based on manga by Negi Haruba, published by Kodansha.
Rating:

The Quintessential Quintuplets

Synopsis

Futaro Uesugi is a poor teenager (but very good student) who is hired by the wealthy father of the identical Nakano quintuplets to tutor his "problem" daughters.


Review

A dictionary definition of "quintessential" that comes up when Googling is "Representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class." Not knowing any quintuplets (identical or otherwise) myself, I can't really say if that applies here, but if these ARE "quintessential" ones then we should be grateful that there aren't more of them out there.

Stig was exasperated at yet another example of the female-on-male abuse trope (at first, by all five of them at that), but it seemed to me that the girls weren't ALL equally evil; on close examination, I found them easily-distracted, rich delinquents who, unless they have individual reasons to feel otherwise, tend to follow the strongest voice among them, which at first is that of Nino, who harbors a psychotic hatred of Futaro for God knows what reason.

Before I go into any individual descriptions of the girls, there are a few things I'd like to deal with first. One is that the show makes free use of the gimmick of physically identical girls passing themselves off as each other (see Mion and Shion in Higurashi), but the presentation of it here is at times nonsensical. I would guess the girls are given different hair tints as a convention for the viewer to enable us to tell them apart, but things like hair LENGTH would seem more "real", and intrinsic to each girl. Sometimes the show acknowledges this; at one point one of the sisters dons a wig to pass for another. But there's also an attempted gag where Futaro is saying, "There are two Yotsubas?", even though, while both of the "Yotsubas" standing before him have the same sort of hair ribbon, one of them also wear's MIKU's clothes, has MIKU's ever-present headphones, and has MIKU's longer hair!

I might also mention that Futaro's as ambivalent about his relationship to the girls as any harem male lead I've ever seen. He frequently seems to only care about them as a source of income (and SAYS this to exactly the wrong person at one point.) When the show opens, he's figured out that he can order "barbecue beef without the beef" for less than a plain plate of rice (for which you've got to give him some credit for penny-pinching cleverness), but I never could figure out exactly WHY his family was so poor that they had become dependent on his tutoring gigs. (No mom seems present. Dad seems healthy though- and at times even boastful- but seems unable to secure permanent full-time employment.) Futaro's kid sister Raiha also lives with her brother and dad. She's transcended the mere hair antenna, instead sporting a hair PLUME. How she gets this mass of hair to stand up vertically I have no idea, but you could turn her upside-down and use her to sweep floors.

I will also note that Futaro is rather grabby for a teacher, and, while he sometimes seems concerned about the sisters' feelings toward him, at other times he deliberately baits them (particularly Itsuki, who's the show's closest thing to a conventional tsundere; Nino is just completely insane.) And quite frankly, Futaro doesn't seem that impressive in the getting-academic-results-from-his-charges department either.

But on to the girls:

YOTSUBA (orange hair, ribbon): By her own admission the stupidest of the girls, but she's not prideful like the others, and accepts Futaro's help before the others.

MIKU (long maroon hair, always wears headphones and tights): The only one of the girls I actually kind of liked. She's reserved (itself an anomaly in THIS bunch), but Futaro discovers she actually HAS an interest that he can use to reach her. At one point he's surprised at her for casually doing something in front of him (I was a bit surprised myself.) A scene where he tries to persuade her involves quite a bit of both physical and intellectual effort from him, and would not have felt that out of place in a REAL "rom-com" rather than a harem anime.

ICHIKA (short pink hair): The "oldest" of the girls, though not the most "responsible" one (that would be Itsuki.) She has a secret ambition that Futaro can help her with- sort of.

ITSUKI (flame-red hair, star hair ornaments): As noted above, the "responsible" one, who has to clean up the messes created by her sisters. Also the first of the girls he meets in the show, which earns extra points in harems. (She also quarrels with Futaro frequently, ALSO worth extra points in harems, though if the animus is as bad as the one NINO feels toward him, we start having to SUBTRACT points.)

NINO (long pink hair, fan-shaped hair ornaments): She hates Futaro, but it's a harem, so she has to fall in love with him SOMEHOW. What to do? Why, create a particularly stupid plot thread that can achieve comparable results!

The show in fact resorts to the whole catalog of harem clichés: one episode, for example, implies that Futaro knew one of the girls as a child (But WHICH ONE???); we have a scene where a towel-clad sister falls over with Futaro on top of her; we even do the old accidentally-locked-in-a-storage-building-with-the-girl bit. (I've never seen a building "security system" that works quite like the one depicted here.) Toward the end of the series there will be a three-parter with Futaro and the girls in a ski lodge where whatever plot structure the show fitfully had just completely vanishes, and random pointlessness seemed to take over.

The Recommendations are harem-friendly shows that I actually LIKED.

Poor Miku; like Charlotte in Infinite Stratos, doomed to be the "nicest" of the girls in a genre where nice girls finish last. You've seen all this before, but for Miku's sake I went two stars rather than one.Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: The usual fanservice (shower scenes, underwear), not to mention sadism toward Futaro (mostly by Nino.) Not for young kids. Maybe TV-14 or thereabouts?



Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
The Quintessential Quintuplets © 2019 Tezula Productions.
 
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