Can fanservice ever be justified in anime or is it a disturbing and unnecessary aspect of the genre? In this occasional series we look at the rights and wrongs of fanservice and other questionable content in anime. A warning: this series will have plenty of spoilers and sometimes NSFW discussions and images. This week, the first episode of the amusing harem anime The Quintessential Quintuplets.
What’s the deal?
Futaro is a model student who gets 100% on his tests at school, but he has no friends at school and his family is poor. His sister manages to line up a tutoring job for him that could be the solution to their debt problems, but it’s not going to be easy for him because his pupils are a family of 17 year old quintuplet girls who are all failing academically and are completely resistant to studying and being taught anything by Futaro. In a scene from this opening episode Futaro tries to persuade the girls out of their rooms one by one without much success. He finds Ichika in bed, her room a mess, and when he tries to drag the covers off her she is naked underneath.
Why it’s not OK.
So explain this to me. Who comes home from school, takes all their clothes off and then gets into bed? Is it just me, or is that an odd thing to do, especially with a visitor in the house? I realise these girls are supposed to be quirky and individual and… well, trouble, but this seems very contrived for the sake of a lecherous shot of Ichika’s ample chest only barely hidden by what little bedding she can hold on to. Even if we can accept that she has a nap after school and always sleeps naked, wouldn’t she order Futaro out of the room the moment he enters…
Why it’s OK.
…unless she wants it to happen, which can’t be ruled out as a possibility. At this stage the series is working hard to define the characters, and introducing all five sisters and making them each stand out as individuals is clearly a challenge. Some shorthand is needed to make each character different, and that is done by giving them each their own very strong quirks and traits. Ichika is untidy and disorganised, so it’s simply possible that she threw off her uniform and then couldn’t find (or be bothered to find) anything else to wear amongst the tip of a bedroom. Yeah, I know, this is straw clutching. It’s a difficult one to justify. Just about the only thing that can be said in the defence of the animators is that they do show restraint. Many a series would have dispensed with the bedding altogether and just gone with some strategically positioned hair or something. Oh, wait… she’s the short haired one. No, I’ve got nothing here. RP