Quintessential Quintuplets ∬
Episode 7

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 7 of
The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬ (TV 2) ?

Alright Quints, you got me. Decades of shonen romcoms had me conditioned to buy Nino's misheard confession hook, line, and sinker. By the time she was walking out of that kitchen, I was resigned to another 50 episodes of her and every other sister teasing the audience with the possibility of a real confession, only to back off at the last moment or be interrupted by a baseball or for somebody to develop sudden amnesia. But then Nino turned back around and kicked the entire harem anime genre on its ass and actually confessed. And god am I thankful for it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy some blushy crushy bullshit, but one of the strengths inherent to harem anime is that you can use your wide selection of love interests to explore different forms of and approaches to love. And like Marika in Nisekoi, Nino being not just open with her feelings but actively pursuing Futaro opens up a whole new world of comedy to work with.

Also just as a personal preference, Nino taking the initiative here catapults her even further ahead in the Best Girl race. After several episodes of Ichika and Miku wavering over whether to confess, their aggro sister just throws down her challenge and walks away from the wreckage. It's surprising, it leaves Futaro reeling, and it comes right after a stupidly romantic image of the two riding through the night on Futaro's (boss') motorbike. That's some quality romcom writing there. Plus Nino's awkward declaration of “too bad for you” is legendary. The other girls can't even begin to compete.

Though both Nino and the show run into an issue that's been stewing for a while: Futaro has not a single romantic bone in his body. The boy's priorities are to feed his family, survive each study session, and that's about it. So when suddenly confronted with a person being in love with him, Futaro has zero idea of how to react, and it's hard for me to think of a realistic way for him to respond besides stonefaced silence and pretending it never happened. Which is basically what happens this episode, and that's frankly a little frustrating. This is theoretically the biggest status quo shift Quints has offered in its run, and to have the cast all collectively ignore it is pretty disappointing. Futaro fumbling through asking Miku for romantic advice is all that really comes of it, but that's so adorable that I'd happily watch a whole episode of it.

Instead though, the rest of “Begin the Offensive” indulges in that most classic of anime cliches: the hot springs episode. Though in line with past instances, the fanservice is pretty minimal. You get Nino in a towel offering to wash Futaro's back, and then an awkward shot of Itsuki's underboob, but otherwise the episode focuses on its central mystery about how and why the sisters are suddenly back on speaking terms with their father, and why one of them imitates Itsuki to try and fire Futaro from his tutoring. If that sounds like a blatant repetition of previous stories, that's because it is, and I gotta say it's a real bummer. Right as it seems like things are fitting to change, the show inexplicably dips back into conflicts it already pulled just this season, and if there's any new twist to spice things up it hasn't shown up this episode.

So yeah, this is far from a stellar outing for Quints. There's potential here to expand the story and take us in a new direction, or at the very least set up some new jokes, but right now that doesn't seem to be happening. Maybe next week will prove me wrong – this season certainly moves fast enough that we could be on to a whole 'nother arc by the next eyecatch – but for now this feels like the series spinning its wheels at the worst possible time. It's also a bizarre combination of pacing and writing that makes for an episode where it feels like too much happens and yet nothing happens on the whole.


Quintessential Quintuplets ∬ is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and FUNimation Entertainment.

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