Quintessential Quintuplets: Breaking Down the Contestants [Guest Post]

The Quintessential Quintuplets is easily one of my favorite shows this winter. With a charming cast of characters and its own enjoyable twists on the classic harem formula, it’s tailor-made for fans of romantic comedies. Not to mention anyone who enjoys shipping wars, because the series reveals in the first scene that our main character, Futaro, will marry one of the five Nakano sisters, and actively encourages viewers to pick sides. Of course, we don’t know yet which lucky sister will capture Futaro’s heart, because what fun would that be?

quintessential quintuplets guessing

To help untangle this romantic Gordian knot, I present my objective, utterly unbiased, and strictly scientific analysis of each sister’s chances of becoming the lucky bride, along with some bold predictions for how their stories will end, win or lose!

Disclaimer: this is based entirely on the first seven episodes of the anime, and contains mild spoilers for those episodes. I haven’t read the manga, but I intend to start as soon as the anime is over.

Ichika

Eldest sister Ichika is a playful flirt who cares a lot more about her family and friends than she does about studying or cleaning her room. With a dream role as Futaro’s wife up for grabs, can this aspiring actress play her part perfectly?

quintessential quintuplets library

Working for her:

  • Observant and empathetic; it looks like she already sees Futaro’s good heart under his abrasiveness
  • Has emotional maturity that some of her sisters…lack
  • Futaro isn’t too bothered by her sloppiness and disorganization, aside from how it affects her grades

Working against her:

  • She’s ambitious and clearly has a bright future ahead of her, with or without Futaro. In harems, sadly, that’s usually a bad thing if you’re trying to win the guy.
  • Flirty girls don’t have a great track record in harem stories either
  • Might be too selfless for her own good, with the way she’s already playing Miku’s wingwoman
quintessential quintuplets teasing
Let’s see if she’s still happy to do this in episode 36

How she wins: She accepts Futaro’s confession, but learns afterwards that her agency slipped a “no dating” clause into her contract without her knowledge. After a protracted battle she gives up her career to stay with Futaro, but the injustice of it inspires him to become a lawyer, and together they become crusaders for reforming the Japanese entertainment industry.

How she loses: Once it becomes clear that Futaro’s fallen for Itsuki, she copes with it by throwing herself deeper into her acting. She eventually lands a recurring role on a prime time TV drama as a wealthy heiress with an unrequited attraction to the leading male; viewers and critics rave about the authenticity of her performance.

Prediction: This audition is destined to end with her playing the matchmaker instead of the romantic lead, but she has too many other things going for her to let that keep her down.

Odds of marrying Futaro: 10-1

Yotsuba

Fourth sister Yotsuba is cheerful and sociable, and the only one to immediately accept Futaro with no reservations. But can an easygoing friendship eventually fan the flames of love? History says it won’t be easy, but don’t count this Energizer bunny out yet.

quintessential quintuplets grades
Yotsuba fans better hope those test scores don’t equal her chances of winning

Working for her:

  • Absolutely unselfconscious
  • If you believe in “opposites attract,” then she might be your odds-on favorite
  • Has already bonded with Futaro’s little sister, Raiha
quintessential quintuplets sister1
Because you can never have too many

Working against her:

  • Absolutely unselfconscious
  • Possibly too flighty for someone as serious and intense as Futaro
  • No friction and no tension with him means no sparks yet, either

How she wins: With Futaro utterly unable to make up his mind about which sister to choose, the girls decide to settle things by a contest. Yotsuba’s choice, a game of basketball, gets pulled from a hat and she makes short work of her sisters.

quintessential quintuplets scoreboard
Ms. Nino is a better cook than Ms. Yotsuba, but Ms. Yotsuba can really cream her in basketball!

How she loses: Yotsuba decides it’s time to confess to Futaro and calls him out. Unfortunately, Futaro already confessed to Miku two weeks earlier, but Yotsuba hadn’t noticed and no one told her because they all thought she knew. Miku convenes a sister trial accusing her of trying to steal her man, and things are tense for a while, but everyone eventually clears the air and she later goes on to win an Olympic bronze medal in women’s basketball.

Prediction: Futaro’s kids will absolutely adore their Aunt Yotsuba someday, and she’ll dote on them like crazy in return.

Odds of marrying Futaro: 8-1

Itsuki

Youngest and possibly most stubborn sister, Itsuki is known for her tsundere attitude and large appetite. She’s also been squabbling with Futaro ever since they first met. Is a “slap-slap-kiss” in their future, or will familiarity just breed contempt?

quintessential quintuplets question

Working for her:

  • First girl wins
  • If you believe in “Like attracts like,” Itsuki and Futaro’s personalities are an awful lot alike
  • Scientific studies have proven that 2D protagonists find redheaded tsunderes simply irresistible
quintessential quintuplets redhead
There’s no other way to go

Working against her:

  • Her own stubborn pride (and Futaro’s too)
  • Unpopular; if the mangaka bows to fan pressure, her chances are toast
  • Slight risk of eating herself into a diabetic coma before graduation

How she wins: Under intense lobbying from his dad and Raiha, Futaro finally admits that he actually enjoys arguing with Itsuki, and one combative confession later, they’re officially dating. They go on to enjoy a healthy marriage, and it soon becomes a family in-joke for the other sisters to calculate what the date will be in nine months whenever they start bickering.

quintessential quintuplets headbutt
They had lots of sex afterwards

How she loses: She makes a valiant charge to the front and briefly takes the lead, but another round of butting heads with Futaro leaves her with a severe concussion that knocks her out of the race. Futaro marries Yotsuba instead, while Itsuki eventually becomes a professional food critic and a regular guest judge on Iron Chef.

Prediction: Itsuki already getting to know Futaro’s family and his circumstances gives them a great base to build on if they can ever both swallow their pride enough to mutually admit they want to be friends (or more). That’ll happen eventually, but two other sisters might be too far ahead by the time they both figure things out.

Odds of marrying Futaro: 6-1

Nino

The second sister is currently ice cold towards Futaro, and her attitude is one of the biggest obstacles in his quest to help the girls graduate. Will she ever learn to appreciate him someday? (Hint: If you just said “no,” then this must be your first harem anime.)

quintessential quintuplets devious nino
Oh my, you really don’t know how harems are made? How cute!

Working for her:

  • Her relationship with Futaro frankly has nowhere to go but up, which means tons of room for character development
  • She’s pretty bold, so she’s more likely to be open about her feelings than someone like Miku; always helpful when dealing with dense harem protagonists
  • The only sister with any household skills whatsoever, even if her cooking is wasted on Futaro

Working against her:

  • Deliberately drugging someone the first day you met tends to ruin your chances with them
  • Clearly needs to work through some personal issues before she’s ready for a healthy relationship
  • Besides a psychologist, she might need an exorcist too
quintessential quintuplets scary
Five shillings for the possessed waifu

How she wins: Not long after they start dating, a freak kitchen accident involving six kumquats, a spatula, and a toaster oven lands Futaro in the hospital. Nino insists on nursing him back to health, and realizes along the way that she can’t imagine her life anymore without him in it. Once he’s recovered, she wastes no time proposing to him.

How she loses: Nino accepts her defeat to Ichika with seeming good grace, and moves on with her life. Four years later, the Nakano family is rocked by scandal when Nino is arrested on suspicion of being “Emetic Mari,” the perpetrator of a string of drink-spiking incidents that left single men all over Tokyo covered in vomit and mortification. She insists it’s a case of mistaken identity.

Prediction: Because she’s the boldest, most proactive sister, Nino will be among the last to fall for Futaro; if she fell for him first, the contest would be over before it began. But you can be sure she’ll join the race eventually, and she’ll be a force when she does. It won’t be surprising if she wins; it’ll be a shock if she’s not one of the last two in the chase.

Odds of marrying Futaro: 4-1

Miku

The classic middle child, Miku is quiet but keenly observant, and probably the best student of the five (which isn’t saying much). She’s already totally smitten with Futaro, but will her devotion be rewarded? Her legions of fans fervently hope so.

quintessential quintuplets miku
The Miku fan’s mantra: Love and Sengoku warlords conquer all

Working for her:

  • Already earning Futaro’s respect thanks to her newfound commitment to studying
  • Likes older men, so she should get even more attracted to him as he matures
  • Dat pout
quintessential quintuplets pout
Her pout game is over 9000!!

Working against her:

  • Negative self-image could lead her to believe she’s somehow unworthy of Futaro
  • Warming up to him so quickly may backfire if he takes her too much for granted
  • Four serious rivals pushing the pace of romantic developments will be a challenge for an introvert like her

How she wins: Love and loyalty carry the day. Her sisters not only step aside for the sake of her feelings, before her first official date with Futaro they grab her and give her a stunning makeover. The poor boy never stood a chance, and six weeks later he proposes by hiding a ring inside a soda can and saying the words she’s dreamed of hearing.

quintessential quintuplets no snot

How she loses: Seeing Nino and Futaro get closer and convinced that she’s already lost, she pulls herself out of the race, joins Tinder, and starts liking photos of older bearded men. One of them is the founder of a large tech conglomerate who likes quoting Musashi’s “Five Rings.” When they marry a few years later, their joint finances make them one of the wealthiest couples in Japan.

Prediction: Either she wins outright, or she makes a heroic sacrifice at the climax like Kansuke Yamamoto at the battle of Kawanakajima and steps aside for the sake of Futaro and his chosen bride’s happiness. Either way, she’s the clear early leader after the opening skirmishes of this war, but the die isn’t cast yet.

Odds of marrying Futaro: 2-1

Agree with those odds? Disagree? Share your thoughts down in the comments, and let us know which sister you’re rooting for! And if you’ve read the manga, no spoilers past episode 7, please!

15 thoughts on “Quintessential Quintuplets: Breaking Down the Contestants [Guest Post]”

  1. “First Girl Wins” is a huge advantage, and I’m already seeing the slow gears grinding. It’s going to be Itsuki. Itsuki is so far the only one where I see the initial chemical reaction in Fuutaro (you need the harem genre as moderator). [Love Hina horoscope: Naru]

    Miku is obvioulsy already smitten, and that’s a bad sign. The first girl to be aware of her crush rarely wins. The only way Miku stands a chance is if the show pulls a Shuffle, and this is rare. Regular romcom Miku would have better chances, but harem Miku is too obvious too early. [Love Hina Horoscope: Shinobu]

    Nino‘s a possibility, but there’s too little masochism in Fuutaro. If this were a VN adaption, her chances would be better. Alas, it’s a manga adaption. That reduces her chances (as there are no toggle questions in a manga to make up for main-character deficiency). [Love Hina horoscope: Motoko]

    Neither Ichika nor Yotsuba are really on the map, which gives them a better likelihood than Miku actually, IMO, but still low, with Yotsuba’s chances being better, as she’s not positioning herself as the nee-chan, even though they’re all the same age. [Love Hina horoscope: Ichika – Kitsune, Yotsuba – Su]

    The Love Hina horsocpe predicts Itsuki or Nino, but the stars might have shifted.

    Fun post.

    Like

    1. Thanks! It was fun to write.

      I actually saw a chart someone else had made (think it was on reddit) drawing parallels between the Quints girls and the Love Hina girls, so you’re not the only one who’s thought of that comparison. Unfortunately I can’t find it again right now, or I’d drop the link. That said, Naru was always THE central female character in Love Hina – regardless of whatever development the others got, so it would’ve been a major curveball if Keitaro didn’t end up with her. Quints, OTOH, has the feel of a series that’s going to keep all of its girls on relatively equal footing without tipping one as “the” main girl above the others for as long as it can, more akin to something like If Her Flag Breaks.

      Like

      1. I don’t think it’s nearly as obvious as Love Hina (and Love Hina isn’t nearly as obvious as Clannad), but I also don’t think the girls are on equal footing. They insert Itsuki in key postions and key scenes (first girl, first to meet the family, present when Daddy calls and following fall-out…), while the others tend to get either their own episodes or ensemble scenes. They’re also building up Nino and Miku, but Miku goes to fast and Nino might just be the last hold-out at this point.

        Aside, there was also this picture we saw on a cell phone during the festival/fireworks arc, where they all still had the same hairdo. One idea I have is that they met him earlier, but didn’t reveal they were quintuplets, and ran into trouble with each other because of that, and developed in different directions because of that, so not to cause problems (not sure how to vary that; it’s way too convoluted and contrived to be true just like that). If anything like that is close to the truth, I’m thinking that Nino’s going to be axis on which that reveal turns. Not sure, though.

        If I had to bet, I’d bet on Itsuki, but I’d rather not bet. Too risky.

        Like

        1. Interesting theory. From the previews it looked like that photo may come back into play in this week’s episode, so I guess we’ll learn more about it soon. “We met as kids but don’t recognize each other now” is a common enough harem trope that it wouldn’t surprise me, though I think it’s more likely he would’ve met just one or two of them in that scenario rather than all five.

          Like

          1. The childhood friend theory comes from an avid childhoodfriend romance fan over on the animesuki forums. He’s at it longer than some people watch anime and really has a good antenna for childhood friends. When his radar starts beeping, I listen. Much like you say in your reply, he’s assuming one of them met (but called my all-of-them theory quite possible).

            My theory is very specific, and the more specific my theories get, the more likely they’re wrong, and it’s all a game of “how close?” This is my theory:

            First, there needs to be a reason why they had similar hairdos back then, but are more individuated now (in terms of hair). In real life, simply aging is a sufficient explanation. In a harem anime? It’s most likely significant.

            Here’s the theory. One of them, most likely Itsuki, met him first. Others then checked him out, pretending to be that quint, and that sort of turned into a situation where suddenly revealing that they’re quints is an awkward thing. More than that, though, there’s the danger that Fuutaro would like one of them more than the others, and that’s something they’d be afraid of. (They share everything.)

            As things go on that way, they’d all grow fond of him and start fantasising of having him for themselves, and that’s the key here. They’d start to both feel guilty for how they feel, and to feel suspicious and jealous of how others feel. Now that’s a horrible first for them, and so they cut Fuutaro out of their lives. (Depending on how dramatic the show turns out Fuutaro could have viewed that as betrayal, and hence forth focussed on his studies rather than social life, to prevent similar disappointments.) But the seed is set, and they grow apart. They grow up and regain their closeness, but retain a healthy dose of individuation.

            So, now Itsuki meets him again and recognises him (her early “fate” comment takes on additional meaning, if that’s the case), but he doesn’t recognise her. It’s not so much him turning her down that bothers her, but also him not recognising her. He meets the others. I suspect they probably all recognise him. Ichika and Yotsuba have an easy time to let it go: Ichika being easygoing and avoiding commitment makes it easy to “leave him to others”, and Yotsuba is such a community person that she instinctively puts others above her own (“the one who’s always cheerful”). Miku is difficult to read in this respect, and her behaviour is, in my mind, the biggest weakpoint of the theory. It’s possible that she doesn’t recognise him, but I don’t know.

            That leaves Itsuki and Nino. Itsuki strikes me as fairly straightforward: whoever he chooses, if any at all, is fine. It’s a matter of personal pride. But Nino’s greedy. She wants Fuutaro for herself, but she also wants to keep the relationship between the five of them as it is. She knows that’s impossible, so she chooses her sisters (in her mind, it’s an either-or situation). Having him around hurts her the most, and so she wants to get rid of him. There’s a sense of projection: he’s driving a wedge between them, he’s the evil interloper who distrubs the peace (it’s really how she deals with it inside that’s the problem and at some level she knows this, which explains her phonecall with Daddy. It’s not a change of mind, but an ad-hoc decision influenced both by Fuutaro’s behaviour in the scene and her sisters’ confusion/behaviour).

            That’s my current inner narrative, simplified into something solid for presentation’s sake. I expect something like this, which is why, for my take, it’s between Itsuki and Nino, really. From Fuutaro’s side it’s so far Itsuki, mostly because anime romance is almost never as straightforward as, say, Miku’s crush.

            Like

  2. Great arguements!

    I am torn between Miku and Nino,but for reasons only known to us manga readers rn, I am FULLY in the Nino Gang.

    Nino is what I wish more romcom characters were like.

    Like

    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

      Nino is one of the reasons why I haven’t firmly decided on my own best girl yet. I am leaning a certain way (and it isn’t Miku), but something about Nino has intrigued me from the first episode despite her antagonistic posture, so I really want to see more of her character arc before I officially declare for anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Have to admit I smiled all through reading this… Partly because it was funny (“Oh my, you really don’t know how harems are made? How cute!” – comedy gold!). Partly because you seem to have underestimated Yotsuba as Best Girl.

    Though the real dark horse in this race is Ichika, so far she seems to be the only girl taking Futaro seriously as a person.

    Like

    1. It’s very possible that I have – being book dumb doesn’t mean someone can’t be smart or cunning in other ways, and whether it’s accidental or deliberate (or some of both), Yotsuba’s played her hand pretty well so far.

      If this was a horse race, then Ichika’s setting up as the stalking horse. She’s not going to set the early pace or run up front, but she’ll stay close enough behind the leaders that she’ll be in position to make a move if she ever gets the opportunity. She has my favorite personality among the sisters and I’ve enjoyed her scenes with Futaro, so I wouldn’t mind being wrong about her odds of winning at all. I just don’t see it happening.

      Thanks for letting me play in your sandbox again, and I’m glad you liked it! I’m enjoying the heck out of this series and I’m happy I got the chance to have some fun with it.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Dawnstorm Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s