No, I’m not exactly bumping The Quintessential Quintuplets out of the Lightning Rounds. I am however trying to exert some flexibility with how I blog. The Lightning Rounds are there for a reason. Sometimes, brief thoughts are all I have to offer for a show I still want to cover. However, on the off chance that an episode does pique my brain enough, I feel that it ought to deserve a full-fledged review. That is, provided that time and energy will allow that of course. And as you can probably tell, that is very much the case with this episode of Quintuplets.
Just so that we’re all clear here: I am enjoying this show, certainly a lot more than I anticipated when the Winter season began. It’s just that the last two episodes have been pedestrian, not uneventful but still pretty easy to breeze through. Maybe I could go on a tangent about how Nino sucks a lot of life out of the show but where is the fun in that? However, I am noticing that this show does have its moments, specifically with Miku’s featured episode and now this one starring Ichika.
At first glance, Ichika just seemed like the super care-free eldest sister and while there is still truth in that assessment, I’m realizing that Quintuplets didn’t entirely show her truest colors. The revelation that she’s an aspiring artist is a great angle to take, an interest in which this character can show clear talent in without undermining her struggles as a student and a need for a tutor. The harsh truth is that unless Ichika hits it big, her future is screwed if she doesn’t have solid academic performance to fall back on. By all means, pursue what you’re most passionate about but at least keep your studies up in the meantime.
While Ichika seems somewhat aware of the risk, the bigger insecurity actually surrounds her relationship with her sisters. Being the eldest and having yet to make a career breakthrough, Ichika is afraid of setting a poor example and thus chose to keep everyone in the dark about her dream. That decision is now proving to be a poor one as her next, most promising audition is on the same evening as her family’s annual plan of watching the summer fireworks. The easiest thing would’ve been to pick one over the other but as it appears to be the case, Ichika didn’t do that and you instead see her running around in circles, even dragging poor Fuutarou into helping her evade her escort. It’s only when Miku gets mistaken for her by the escort that she leans towards doing the audition.
At first, I really did think Fuutarou was about to talk Ichika out of her decision and be with her family. What ends up happening though is that he accepts that she is going through with the audition. It’s the right call. In the grand scheme of things, the possibility of finally making it big as an actress outweighs the need to see a bunch of fireworks. Fuutarou does, however, make sure that Ichika will give her choice 100% of her being. Throughout the episode, he catches on that her smile is inauthentic and covers up the fact that she’s afraid of disappointing herself and/or her sisters. Much like how he’s still trying to tutor the Nakano quintuplets to merit his pay, he wants Ichika to match her desires with her happiness. Evidently, that encouragement deeply affects Ichika as she ends up auditioning with complete confidence, even becoming a favorite among the casting crew despite of her showing up tardy.
It is perhaps on the nose that the script Ichika is practicing with involves a student and a teacher given what the plot of this anime is. It gets even more deliberate when Fuutarou reluctantly rehearses with her while the two wait for the escort to bring the car. I still sort of like the parallel though, especially with the before and after effect. When practicing, Ichika is simply referring to the teacher Fuutarou is playing and not her actual tutor. It’s inauthentic much like her upbeat facade throughout the first half of the episode. When she acts it out again for the audition though, the intent comes across as more genuine. One particular shot shows her drawing off of her recent memory of Fuutarou to better act so when she says she’s thankful to be the teacher’s student, it comes across as her expressing gratitude to Fuutarou himself. All things considered, it’s a neat way to articulate how Ichika feels about Fuutarou over the course of this episode.
The reunion scene where the sisters make do with some senko hanabi at a playground is simply pleasant. It’s especially reassuring to know that everyone accept Ichika’s need to bail for what it is and resolve to brave whatever hardships the future has for them as a family. Some of the others are even willing to admit that they all played a part in messing up their festival plans too. Also, any scene where Nino is able to come across as somewhat likable gets my seal of approval.
Why does Fuutarou care so much about the Nakano sisters? He’s clearly becoming increasingly involved in their lives but the exact reason as to why eludes even him. While he probably should feel comfortable with calling (some of) them friends, his specific choice of the word “partners” is sound. He is technically tasked with cooperating with them and earning their trust and it just so happens that getting to know them personally is his road to success. That said, I’d be careful about using the word “partners” if I were him. Miku quickly got ideas (and not going to lie, I’m still rooting for her) and by the end of the episode, the word might’ve also taken a similarly new meaning for Ichika.
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