How would Miku feel about “Sengoku Basara”, I wonder…
Futaro tries weeding out which of the sisters is at risk of failing with a test that just needs 50% to pass. Luckily for him, they all get 100!…when all the scores are combined, that is, so he’ll still have to tutor all of them. But it’s still going to be an uphill battle as none of them want to be tutored, so he starts trying to work them individually, starting with Miku, since she answered the first question correctly. Turns out that’s actually not something she wants getting out, but for a totally different reason: She’s obsessed with Sengoku period warlords and is too embarrassed to tell anyone.
Futaro tries using this as a way to connect her love of those historical figures to her studies, but she won’t listen to anyone who doesn’t know as much as her about that period. So, he studies up and challenges her to quiz HIM on it…which she responds to by making a break for it. Eventually he catches up and gets to the heart of the matter: Miku is worried that neither her nor any of her sisters will ever amount to much in their studying. Through this, Futaro has a revelation: not only did the quintuplets get a score of 100 combined, they got it because each of them answered certain questions right that the rest got wrong. As such, if one of them can learn these things, maybe the rest can too!
With this, hope is ignited in Miku to start joining him and Yotsuba at the study sessions. Though Yotsuba thinks this might be the beginning of something more…
And just like that, Miku takes the lead! My money’s still on Ichika to win it all, but this is a good first move.
Across every story genre out there, from horror to sci-fi to romance, what the key component comes down to is the characters, which this episode shows that this series is committed to developing with that first test. The results each sister got all show an aptitude for a different subject that they gravitate to and we know now that they’re all just as capable of learning it if they put the effort in. So, while this story is ultimately about which of these five girls gets with this male lead, it’s definitely not going to be a slouch about building them as fully developed people along the way. It also shows that Futaro is going to connect to these girls through personal connections and getting to know them instead of occasional niceness and being an accidental pervert. This seems like it should go without saying, but I’ve seen plenty of stories that don’t even bother coming close, so already, this is a really reassuring sign for me.
It’s also important that, for a story where the main way of progressing to the main goal of graduating high school, we see that studying and smarts aren’t seen as being a hard line between smart and stupid. Everyone’s a genius in something, but that doesn’t always correlate to what a school subject will ask of you, so to line up with what’s expected there, some students need to find a link between what they love to what’s on the homework, much like Futaro helps find that link to history with Miku’s love of the Sengoku period. I know I’ve had to make connections like that to get better in school, particularly in how I like to over-analyze shows I watch and connecting that to understanding assigned literature that I normally would never even glance at.
There is one thing that I don’t think translated so well from manga to anime, however, particularly in how Miku tries pretending to be Yotsuba by tying her hair up. In a black and white manga, would be easy to miss, but I was more expecting it to be the other way around with Yotsuba pretending to be Miku as a diversion. Basically, I don’t see this show doing more “Orphan Black” style shenanigans very well if this is any indication. But overall, I’m still continuing to be impressed by how solid this show is.