Hi, I’m Callum and I’ll be handling these reviews for the next few weeks.
The appeal of A Couple of Cuckoos is still somewhat of a mystery to me. While there can be cute moments, from the plot to the characters to the aesthetic, the show itself has been aggressively plain. At the same time, my nearest convenience store has a load of Cuckoo merchandise on the shelves, so it’s clear that there is a market. Of course, the idea is that fans are meant to argue about who Nagi should end up with, but it’s hard to find much appeal in anyone outside of Erika herself—she’s the deuteragonist, after all.
Episode 9 bounces around a lot, featuring a date with Hiro, batting/bath with Erika and Sachi, and then an impromptu fishing trip. As always, there are some small sweet moments; it was nice to see Erika and Sachi getting to know each other. But a bulk of the runtime was spent with Nagi and Hiro, and despite date scenes in anime usually being a way of getting further insight into characters’ personalities and offering much-needed intimacy, there was very little of that here. All we learn is that Hiro is headstrong (which we already knew) and that Nagi doesn’t like rollercoasters.
There was a point in the awfully-designed mirror maze—seriously, why would you make such a cool place look so boring—where Nagi confesses his feelings after kissing a fake Hiro, but it’s also nothing we haven’t heard before, and Hiro mostly ignores him. I’m not sure if we were meant to laugh at seeing Nagi on scary rides, but it didn’t stop them from playing out the same joke over and over again regardless.
But even if Nagi and Hiro’s relationship is going absolutely nowhere, the biological siblings have been growing on each other. While they are falling into the trappings of harem anime where all the candidates eventually end up moving in together so that shenanigans can ensue, they have taken the opportunity to have Sachi and Erika hang out without Nagi shouting every few seconds. Of course, the crux of the scene is that Sachi is frustrated that Nagi is going on a date while engaged, but it does end with the two of them resolving to value the time they spend together.
For me, the most appealing part of Cuckoo is Nagi’s parents. It’s overplayed to death, but the rough-looking guy with a heart of gold still ends up being fun to watch and it’s been nice seeing Erika match his enthusiasm and energy. The show has been making an effort to prove that these family bonds haven’t been affected by the mixup and that Nagi’s dad will always be there to help out in his own way. Instead of any relationships being broken, it’s like the family has just gotten bigger instead.
A Couple of Cuckoos might not be doing anything particularly interesting, but it’s kept alive by small character moments like these.
Callum is the host and creator of the YouTube channel The Canipa Effect where he explores
topics within the anime industry. You can also find him talking nonsense on Twitter.
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