If Shounen had a rival when talk comes to popularity numbers, it would probably be the Isekai genre, specifically relating to the recent years. As far as we can remember, Mecha was huge back in the day too, but an occurring familiar face to everyone is Harem, a genre that makes a boom every once in a while before it dips down and loses notice against the endless seasonal charts which says a lot about the genre itself. It is hard to sell, hard to come by, but when a good, solid Harem show drops in, it occupies a big spotlight in the seasonal scene. Although every show has to have a defining selling point to have an audience (Taking apart your usual guilty pleasure trash), a Harem show can't really screw with the formula or it might end up being way too hung up on what genre it identifies as and eventually get caught up in the unfortunate loophole of “what the heck is this show even is”.
Thanks to the daunting constant five-set rules of thumb that a Harem show is most likely composed of; (1) Plain and relatable (In most cases poor) main character, (2) drawn-out drama that feeds off of misunderstood out-of-context happenings, (3) competitive love interests, (4) a beach/hot spring episode (Although a lot of unrelated shows also love to borrow this one out), (5) and finally a highschool setting. Pretty much, most of the related shows out there are just a reskin of the same plot, only with different names, and sometimes (putting in the work in the “copy my homework but change some things so they don't look similar” deal) quirky backstories. 5-toubun no Hanayome goes beyond that in not only abiding by the “five” rules of thumb of what makes its genre but also (being overly proud to its identity) having it in its name. But as they say. Don't judge a book by its cover, or an Anime by its title, genre, description... you get the idea, judging way too early can pass you off some pleasurable entertainment in the Anime scene, and that goes also for the 3 episodes rule, it's not justifiable in this Anime given its special setting, but hear me out...
Given its genre, it's pretty apparent what type of predictable plot this show has, it's in its DNA, an unescaped curse that was bound to it the moment its author came up with the idea that is the “5-toubun no Hanayome”, or at least, that's the impression it gives off. We're at a point where even the industry-defining phenominal known as “Shounen” is evolving into something new and refreshing, and thankful, a lot of aspiring works took that wise note and made slight changes to relate to the present days.
First, we start off very basic. A hardworking smart student that has his own daily run due to his family's terrible financial condition is assigned to tutor a group of classmates that happen to be quintuplets, already mixing a welcomed surprise to the formula. Of course, all of them take an average first impression on the guy, until they all start to realize the feelings they have grown for him, but what really pulls everything together is the lack of fighting between them, sort of what happens between every other love competitors in other shows, as their sisterly side makes sure they are all perfectly tied and holding hands at all times. But what shall they do, when all of them are identical quintuplets, where every sister puts the others before herself? That was the biggest theme that the plot makes hints at occasionally. As they picked awareness that not only themselves but also their loved siblings are developing the same feelings towards the same guy, should they be longing for the charming prince, or should they consider one another, and raise a supportive flag instead?
The story progress at a considerable pace, making sure that the development is apparent, even on the episodic level, which makes comparing the same characters with what they were an episode ago very rewarding and satisfying at times, that is of course, speaking more about their love quest, and less about their academic progression.
I would say, artwise, it is definitely not the strongest point this Anime has going for it, but it does the work done. For a 2019 animation, it left a lot to be desired, but the average looking art doesn't hurt the eye so bad like some of the shows did this year *cough* Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou *cough*. For the most part, it makes it easier on the visual side to follow the plot, the shacky consistency with the quality does sometimes throw the viewer off, but it's at least very rare that it doesn't matter anyway. However, and that's a big pause to my squared rant. Sometimes, the visuals strike a steep raise in quality, that you're almost looking at a high-quality premium wallpaper that entice you to stop the episode and have an extensive stare at how good the visuals look like. It's a day-and-night comparition that knocks you off your senses, back to the average-looking animation that honestly wouldn't look so poorly inconsistent if it wasn't for those sudden visual drugs the show strikes you with occasionally.
My first reaction wasn't a proud one, especially after I loke the show the way I do after finishing it. I was very unimpressed with how clunky the main character's voice sounded to me, the enthusiasm wasn't there, the face of the protagonist and his voice did not match up for me, it was as listening to a performance of an overworked amature that's half-asleep after a lengthy day of work. The girls' performances were very catchy and daring, even though they had the same appearance from a third perspective point, their voice speak a lot about their varying characteristics and treats.
I'm always welcoming a good score in my daily playlist, and this show was made it there from the first episode. Both the opening and ending theme songs were amazing. Remaining on the same atmosphere that the show drives.
I wasn't very charmed when I first started watching this show, but as I considered the quintuplet gimmick that it embarrasses, it got me very interested in knowing more. They are quintuplets, after all, that is, their bodies are similar, but nothing gets in the way of them not leaving a different and memorable vibe. There is Ichika the big sister, that speaks with a more mature tone, and emits a strange, almost motherly aura whenever she's in the spotlight. There is Itsuki, the stubborn, honest and caring one. Yotsuba, the over-active hyper-energetic, hardworking athletic type that adds in fun and laughter whenever she's there. Miku (My favorite one), being the shy and socially awkward one, and finally (My least favorite), the violent Tsundere that hates to admit defeat and her overly protective side would go as far as drugging you to sleep if it meant to save her sisters. All of them leave off a distinguishable, lovable (in the same ways) treats that leave the fans in constant wars on which one IS the Mary Sue that should finally marry the protagonist some day.
For once, I never expected to get this much of an attachment with the show, as I only started it after picking it up on a whim to binge watch in the weekend (Ended up watching it my pace the entire week which I do no regret). It has sincerely been a long time since a show has filled me with uncontrollable chills that kept me swinging my body left and right at some points of the story, the likes of which I never imagined a Harem show would give me. Definitely one of the best Harem shows I watched. I can't wait for the second season to air.
Yes. That would be my answer if you were to ask me ”Should I watch this show?”. It is genuinely that good. Refreshing and faithful to what it set out itself to be, I really can't stress how much of a great Harem is in simple words. Here I am writing this review only minutes from finishing watching session, and already thinking about what would be the right time for a re-watch before the second season airs, which happens to be around a month from now.