Quintessential Quintuplets ∬
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 5 of
The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬ (TV 2) ?
“Why don't you try acting like a father for once!? Asshole!”
Well I'm glad somebody finally said it. Those aren't the exact opening lines of this episode, but they're certainly the ones that set the tone for what's to come. Namely, we finally meet Dr. Nakano, the sisters' distant step-father. Technically we met him at the start of this season, but now he actually has a face and personality, since the story is at last starting to explore the unusual relationship the sisters have (or lack) with their sugar daddy. That begins by flashing back to show us Futaro's conversation with the man when he quit the tutoring job, where he throws down that bolded parting shot and says what I'm sure plenty of folks have been wanting to hear for ages.
Because yeah, this dude's a pretty crummy father. He provides the girls with money and creature comforts, but has seemingly left his teenage daughters, who are surely still recovering from the loss of their mother, to their own devices with not a whisper of emotional support. That the Quints have managed to largely keep themselves together is a testament to their own familial bond, and hearing their supposed guardian shrug off news about two of his daughters running away from home gives us a pretty good look at just how little presence he has in their lives. Telling him off is also a great moment for Futaro – we know from how protective he is of Raiha that family's important to him, and letting him go off on his future father-in-law is both a strong reminder of that, and a great reaffirmation of how much he really does care about his friends. In harem series like this, it's easy for the male lead to fade into the background and become a springboard for the more marketable ladies, so it's also nice that the show is keeping that from happening for now.
That isn't to say this episode is particularly dramatic, though. The middle 80% of this episode is largely fluff, but that's what I come to these series for in the first place. First we get some shenanigans when Futaro visits the girls in their new, all-too-shabby apartment on New Years. It's largely a series of gags, but they're good ones that allow the whole cast to flex their personalities and bounce off each other quickly. It establishes that things have genuinely changed with the girls' decision to move out on their own: Ichika's the main breadwinner with a job, and that leaves her sleeping through much of their study session, as well as them coming clean with Futaro that they can't pay him for his services. We even see Itsuki browsing job listings on her phone in the hopes of helping contribute, which is sweet of her. All told it's not a monumental change to the setup, but it adds a bit more weight to the characters' decisions and makes this shift more than just a new background.
But enough of that, time for a pit stop to watch The Bimbofication of Ichika Nakano. Or at least that's what I'm calling this random sidequest involving Ichika's current acting gig filming a scene in the cake shop Futaro's part-timing at. Quints is typically a pretty tame series as far as fanservice goes, but it pushes at those boundaries a bit by putting ostensibly the most mature of the sisters in a middle-school uniform, pigtails, and have her desu her way through the role of a ditzy side character. Futaro, ever the stalwart young man, mostly just wishes he could show the whole thing to the others for a laugh, but presumably you, the viewer, are meant to get a rise out of this awkward bit of age regression. Like sure, it technically serves the purpose of showing how Ichika is taking on any role she can get to make ends meet, but I've seen enough anime to spot a fetish out in the wild.
After that though, we get what will presumably be our driving conflict for the next little bit. In a condescending trip to Starbucks, Daddy Nakano tells Itsuki to return home with her sisters and stop all this foolish “independence” nonsense, as if he knows diddly squat about the family. He even lays down an ultimatum that if they can't make it work in time for their next exams, he'll have them transferred to a new school, no excuses accepted. Specifically he says it's impossible for Yotsuba to pass, which I suppose fits considering she's easily the dumbest idiot in this cast of morons, but also hints that there's more in store for Miss Bunny Ribbon than just learning to say no last week. I sure hope that's the case, anyway, because she desperately needs the attention.
Overall this is probably the most solid episode of this season so far – it largely sticks to one idea, gives several characters some quality moments, and sets up a strong premise for the coming episodes. There's overall a sense that things are moving forward with the whole cast, rather than just individual members, and that has me excited to see where we go from here. Just...please find better roles, Ichika. I don't want to have to start a dedicated Kink-shaming corner for these reviews.
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