Fastest Finger First
Episode 5

by Lauren Orsini,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Fastest Finger First ?

Last week's episode wasn't great, but “Buzou vs Miyaura! Ding!” has reaffirmed my confidence about calling Fastest Finger First my favorite show of the season this early on. After last week's misstep, the show has returned to what it portrays best—adorable nerds adorably nerding out. Some questionable production decisions briefly took me out of the moment, but I was thrilled to see a return to action-packed buzzing in, interesting trivia, and plenty of cute team bonding.

What makes the members of Buzou's quiz team so charming is that they're all total nerds. In the opening scene of this episode, it almost looks as if Koshiyama is going to come off looking really cool because he does know his stuff, but he ends up goofing things up even worse! He's rapidly becoming as single-minded about quiz bowl as Fukami. It's a good time for that to happen though, since this week they have a team match against Miyaura (where the extremely talented Mikuriya is from). Even if they're not on their A-game when it comes to paying attention in class, they need to be ready for peak quiz bowl performance.

I really like the format of this week's team match. It prioritizes synergy, making it less about individual smarts and more about team bonding. Aww. It's cute to see Koshiyama, Fukami, and Inou developing a rapport together. It's becoming clear who excels at which types of questions, and I loved watching them boost each other up. When I wasn't entranced by the team building, I was really enjoying the trivia. This show really encourages you to play along, and it was a self-esteem boost to realize I could answer some of the “hard” questions (like the “ocarina” and “salt of the earth” ones) simply because they were about Western culture, which I'm obviously more familiar with than these characters. What I didn't like was the way Fukami glows neon pink (and Koshiyama neon green, etc.) when they were deeply concentrating. It looked like an '80s vision of the future gone wrong, and the glow kind of messed up the lineart too.

“Everyone becomes one in pursuit of the questions,” Koshiyama observes. “That's all there is in this world we build together.” Once again, our protagonist gets all the best lines. I love that even though this was ostensibly about Buzou becoming a more cohesive team, Koshiyama feels camaraderie even toward his opponents, thanks to their shared love of the game. It's something anime fans can certainly relate to—the knowledge that even if we like different shows, we still have common ground through our shared love of a niche interest. What also helps is that there are so few players here that we really get to know both their differences and similarities to one another. From cocky Mikuriya opting to just keep score rather than, in his words, crushing everyone to the Buzou captain covertly clicking a quiz button in class (is that a buzzer in your pocket, Sasajima-senpai, or are you just happy to see me?), everyone is their own flavor of big ol' nerd.

Now that Jinko has been established as Quiz Team Member Number Five—and I did not see her status as the captain's little sister coming!—the team is complete and ready to quiz. I appreciate how the show has eased us into the world of competitive quizzing while developing the personalities of its characters, so I'm ready to root for them next week.

Rating: B+

Fastest Finger First is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.

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