The first season of The Quintessential Quintuplets left us in little doubt that Futaro is going to end up marrying one of his students. The question is: which one? Anime can be incredibly frustrating with this kind of series, when several girls like the main character. The writers are often reluctant to move the story on, because as soon as the main character gets into a relationship the harem anime element is over or at least severely limited, so the moment when the love triangle / square / pentagon / hexagon etc gets resolved often happens right at the end of the whole show. The problem can be that a manga series tends to outlive its anime adaptation, so we are frequently left without a conclusion. I don’t think that is going to happen with The Quintessential Quintuplets, but we have not reached a resolution by the end of the second season, with a movie still to follow. However, the 12 episodes do move the story along considerably, and by the end of the season there have been some confessions of love, so at least some of the cards are on the table.
A mystery pervades this season of Quin Quins: Futaro remembers meeting a girl on a school trip six years ago and falling in love with her. She was obviously one of the quintuplets, but which one? This is clearly going to have implications for which of the sisters he might want to end up with, because the instinct to reunite with his childhood crush is powerful. We do get the answer to that question eventually, and it is tied in very cleverly with the range of emotions the quins feel for Futaro, with only one of the girls apparently not falling in love with him, and only interested in his happiness and that of her sisters.
That becomes a big problem during this season, because the sisters have a major falling out. This is inevitable as soon as they become love rivals, and the writer links it well with their growing independence as they move towards adulthood, weakening ties with their father figure who has provided them with a life of privilege. This remains a show that is excellent at exploring the difficulty for teenagers at transitioning towards an adult life of responsibilities and all the mess of emotions that happen when the slow train wreck of maturity starts to hit. The importance of family is a major theme here, with some of the girls having to learn that unfair and deceptive behaviour will not bring them happiness, and it is important to be supportive of each other even when their goals clash with each other and they are in competition with their sisters. The writer deftly breaks them apart and then brings them back together during the course of the season.
If you have become emotionally invested in this series then the love confessions will be exciting moments for you. Of course, it is only in the world of anime that a girl can confess her feelings to the main character and he is not called upon to respond with his own feelings, so that’s all a bit frustrating, but I think we will get there in the end, and in the meantime Futaro has his own issues to deal with. There is not just the question of his childhood love, and the problem of at least one of the girls being dishonest with him, there is also the problem that he has to be worthy of the love of whoever he chooses, and that means truly loving her back for who she is. The problem is that he is still seeing them as interchangeable, or so he thinks, and a big question is whether he will ever be able to tell them apart (when they aren’t colour coded by their hair, or identifiable by their accessories). He is desperate to find out how their grandfather can tell them apart, and the answer is of course the voices and mannerisms that somebody is bound to pick up on when they love someone. Futaro knows he needs to be able to do that as well.
By the end of the season I think I have a good idea who Futaro is going to end up with, and I don’t think it’s going to be the fan favourite, but inevitably this kind of series is going to disappoint a lot of fans when it concludes. Everyone has their girl they are rooting for. Whether I’m right or not, I won’t spoil things with my thought processes and as always it’s the journey that matters more than the destination. This season showed how life can take family members on their own conflicting journeys, but in the end they were stronger together. RP