「結びの伝説 2000日目」 (Musubi no Desetsu: Nisennichime)
“Legend of Fate Day 2000”
And so, Go-Toubun no Hanayome ends on a climactic note as we get a glimpse of what the wedding will look like between Fuutarou and the mystery sister. Although the camping trip ends on a bittersweet note, it does pave the way for the quintuplets’ future with Fuutarou as their decisions and actions lead into how they will act accordingly once they’re all back home.
What this episode does well for the sisters is to help set the stage for the roles they will play in the future as they evaluate the roles that they would like to play in possibly pursuing Fuutarou. Miku was able to have a larger moment to bond with Ichika as she gathered her resolve to not only foregoing the idea of needing to share him but giving the other sisters their blessing in fighting for Fuutarou’s affection as well because she is confident that she will win. It might not be the right message that Miku should send to her sisters if they do become rivals, especially Ichika, who is still coming to terms with her feelings for Fuutarou. However, it does show growth on Miku’s behalf that she gained the confidence to try to reach out to Ichika and let her know just how she feels about Fuutarou. Much of Ichika’s development came during the last episode, but hearing Miku give her the thumbs up to be less ashamed of her feelings does take some of the weight off of her back to directly apologize to Miku for not understanding how important the bonfire’s legend was to her and to hear Miku say that she can try to pursue him if she wishes.
Similarly to Ichika, Nino is left with her feelings on shakier ground with the camping trip. In her case, however, it’s because she developed a crush on Fuutarou’s “relative” and even though his “relative” rejected her to leave early, she still can’t help but feel a little bit of an attachment for him while he’s sick. Yotsuba is more upset about not having noticed that he was feeling sick and thought she was pushing him to have fun when it turns out that she inspired him to lay out a whole agenda for them to have fun together and that it only fell apart because he thought he’d be able to feel better at some point during the trip. Itsuki was given a pivotal role in this episode as she had to face her main concern that Fuutarou could be as cruel as their father. However, the more she hangs out with him and interacts with him in the episode, the more she starts to slowly warm up to the idea of having faith in Fuutarou as she tries her best to reach out to him while he’s feeling under the weather.
With Fuutarou constantly going back-and-forth between whether he should dance with Ichika or Nino, fate ends up making the decision for him. In the end, nobody gets to dance with Fuutarou by the campfire! HAHAHAHAHA… Err, well, actually, he ended up getting too sick to be able to leave his bed to go to the bonfire that night. In fact, he’s been sick this whole time from Raiha’s cold and likely gave Ichika a cold when they were in the shack together. It does conveniently allow Fuutarou to bow out of any controversial judgment calls to have all of the girls come to him instead of having to make a choice. Despite diffusing the scenario so that it’s far more inoffensive, it does a good job at incorporating each of the sisters into the thread of fate that ties them together with Fuutarou as they all hold hands with him and dance around him so that he isn’t left out of the festivities and no sister is left out of the legend.
What this episode does best is foreshadow what will happen in the future as Fuutarou marries one of the sisters. It’s shown abruptly around the point when the sisters come together in Fuutarou’s room but definitely works as a cohesive companion piece to their mutual decision to give Fuutarou their time and attention during the night of the bonfire. With Maeda showing up to the wedding alongside his wife, who happens to be the girl who danced with him by the bonfire, it shows that he was able to decipher that he had also danced with his wife-to-be as well. But most importantly, the anime does an effective job at teasing the details of who the mystery bride could be. There are many signs that the viewers are meant to pay attention to throughout the ceremony such as the charm that Fuutarou kept with him and the mystery bride having an earring on her left ear. How any of these details factor into the future aside from some teasing for what’s to come should be interesting to see come to fruition with later installments. While a second season isn’t absolute at the moment, the manga should have some thrilling and unique developments that take us closer and closer to figuring out who she could be.
You know what? I’m gonna miss it. I did watch much of Go-Toubun no Hanayome with the mindset that it would be a messy harem, but as it turns out, there are many refreshing aspects of the series that set it apart from its counterparts. For instance, the fact that one of the sisters is pre-destined to win the Fuutaroubowl makes it so that it’ll be all the more exciting to see the sisters start to fall in love with Fuutarou. That way, it works against the idea of going for a predictable route when anything goes to make it anyone’s best guess as to who the mystery bride could be. Rather than focusing on which tropey character will win, the fact that they’re all identical sisters makes it so that every new development is fresh and exciting.
It also helps that the characters are genuinely intriguing to learn about. Fuutarou may lack street-smarts, but because he’s book-smart, he doesn’t fall into as many of the obnoxious pitfalls that other harem protagonists tend to do. Each of the sisters also has their own charm, personality, and motivations to keep all of them in the game as far as being the quintessential sister. Itsuki might not have as much going for her, but she does hold the girls together and tries her best to be able to reach her dream of being a teacher by her own merits. Nino might be abrasive, but holds a high degree of significance to keeping the sisters together and making sure that they can continue being strong together. Yotsuba is the one girl who has supported Fuutarou the entire time and shows dedication to making sure that she never takes the smile away from anybody’s face. Ichika is my personal favorite since she helps hold the sisters together through her support as the eldest sister and an actress in spite of the problem she faces when she falls in love with the guy she’s trying to set her sister up with. Last, but certainly not least, Miku ended up being the wild card who stole the show as the shy, lovable, and nerdy sister who quickly falls for Fuutarou when he shows how dedicated he is to help her study and understand her interests.
Go-Toubun no Hanayome helps reinvent the wheel with harems by creating an intriguing yet unpredictable story that bobs and weaves through twists and turns while the five sisters slowly find themselves gravitating closer and close to Fuutarou. It inspired me to read ahead enough to be up-to-date with the material, and boy, do we have quite a lot of spicy material to cover. While the animation could have been as finely tuned as it was in Episode 11, the story itself was interesting enough to make it worth watching. It’ll be exciting to see where it goes from here, if they’ll make another season, and if the dream scenario of having Studio SHAFT take over would come into actualization if it did happen.