This is a series I’ve been wanting to take look at, but one I waited until the final word was written. I said before that while it took me a bit to get around on this series (it not being the ecchi series I wanted). I did admit that its popularity made it a homerun hit that Harem series haven’t had in years. Now that the manga series is concluded, I think there is no better time to dig into this story, volume by volume and see just what’s up. Join me after the cut as we take a dive into the first volume of The Quintessential Quintuplets.
((Major spoilers for the ending of the Manga series. Please read with discretion))
Now I’m going to do something a bit different for these posts. I’m going to be talking about the story in terms of knowing what happens, that I know who Fuutaro ends up picking. Since this is a big hook for the series, there is little point in trying to read the story without that knowledge, and I think it would be interesting to see the story with that decision already in the cards. To see if it was really planned, or a last-minute change that some fans feared. With that said, your last chance for spoilers is right now.
Fuutaro ends up picking Yotsuba.
The first volume of Quintuplets of course sets up the entire story, introduces our lead Fuutaro, a young man who is great at studying, but down on his luck in terms of pocket change. And of course, the Nakano sisters, a set of five quintuplets, who view studying and their grades as the bane of all existence. When Fuutaro is offered the chance to tutor the girls and help the graduate, he jumps at the chance, only to find out that none of the girls want to, and that some even want him as far away as possible. Coupled with the reality that Fuutaro ends up falling in love and marrying one of the sisters, the race is one to see just what Nakano sister ends up being the blushing bride.
As it is the very first volume, most of the characterization of the Nakano sisters is only skin deep. Some get more screen time than others, and most of their wishes and desires are left in the cards. If you’ve been around the manga block for a few years, you’d think that Itsuki, the first sister introduced would end up being the ‘main girl’ but instead the spotlight constantly shifts. We get teases of Ichika’s wish to become an actress, Nino’s love of baking, and Yotsuba’s peppy and upbeat attitude. Most of the spotlight this time is on Miku, the quiet girl with the headphones who has a strange love of old samurai men and seems to be the most reserved. Fuutaro winning her over into the study group takes up the bulk of this first volume, and it is both sweet and humorous, laying the groundwork for the constant gag of the girls disguising themselves as each other, plus those classic harem hijinks that we’ve all come to love.
What really stood out to me though, because of my decision to read the series with full knowledge of who ends up winning, was how resistant the girls are to Fuutaro at first. It makes sense really, because at its heart, Quintuplets is not really about Fuutaro, but about the Nakano sisters realizing that growing up means growing apart. That as they get older and their interests diverge, and they become their own individuals, they can’t always be together. Fuutaro, the only male in their life who isn’t their father, represents the first real wrench thrown into their lives.. As much as we fans might want it, the girls can’t share him. There will only be one winner, and four losers, and how it affects their close sisterhood is at the heart of what Quintuplets is about. Going in with that knowledge, and that it is Yotsuba who ends up winning, is going to make for great reading, regardless of who you wanted to win. (For the record, I was rooting for Miku or Ichika)
Volume 1 of The Quintessential Quintuplets lays the groundwork for what ends up becoming one of the most popular harem series in the last five or so years. With great art, good character designs, some cute humor, and more pouts than you can deal with, Quintuplets dangles an interesting mystery along with some bigger themes of the sisters confronting the truth of life. I look forward to reading the upcoming volumes and seeing where the story goes, with the knowledge of how it all ends. I hope you’ll join me on the ride.
Miku best girl.