If the premiere episode of A Couple of Cuckoos is one full of twists and turns – wherein two Parent Trap-style switched at birth kiddos meet, greet, and get thrown into an arranged marriage specifically to satiate their parents’ desire to have both of them as kids – then this week’s episode, “I Won’t Marry You,” shapes them into a foundation for a pretty pleasant blend of tried-and-true tropes.
The central plotline is that Erika is going to cross over socioeconomic worlds by coming to Nagi’s home, which is significantly more humble than Erika’s decadent, rich girl life. And by rich, I mean “her family owns six opulent mansions across multiple countries” rich. It’s almost obscene how wealthy Erika’s family is, and I definitely vibed with Nagi the entire time he was touring her house because like… Christ on a cracker, I am very poor compared to this 2D child.
This, of course, also means that Erika has absolutely no common sense when it comes to how the majority of people live. She’s so accustomed to luxury that she calls Nagi’s home a tool shed, which is hilarious, but also in a “shake my head” kind of way. It’s a dynamic that’s established in the premiere but really gets room to grow here, and it’s shaping up to be the hook that really gets me invested in the series.
I’ll admit to finding Cuckoos‘ premiere kind of lukewarm overall: not bad, but not necessarily re-inventing the romance wheel in a way that had me shouting its praises in the street. But episode 2 honestly has me feeling like there’s a lot going on here, largely because of the dissonance between Nagi’s rather humble (read: everyday) life and Erika’s unbelievably lush existence. I’d really like to see the show explore more of this as our protag’s lives get intertwined. I think it’ll lead to something really powerful as Nagi and Erika come to terms with the childhoods they had with parents that genuinely love them, the childhoods they could have had, and the lives that they’re attempting to lead in light of finding out that they lived apart from their biological families unawares for so, so long.
A lot of Nagi and Erika’s relationship is going to be proverbial bridges. Despite being integrated into each other’s families, they’ve got a lot to do before they’re even close to being friends, nevermind a couple that is able to understand and empathize with one another. There are worlds between them, and I’m intensely curious to see how these cuckoos overcome them in future episodes.
A Couple of Cuckoos is shaping up to be pretty enjoyable in light of all the hiccups this episode introduces to its central relationship. It’s still too early to tell whether this will become a standout series in a season jam-packed with rom-coms, but as of now it’s a perfectly solid story with a lot of earnest heart.
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Mercedez is a JP-EN translation and localization light novel editor & proofreader/QA, pop culture critic, and a journalist who, when not writing for ANN, writes for Anime Feminist, where they’re a staff editor. They’re also a frequent cohost on the Anime Feminist Podcast, Chatty AF. This season, they’re falling in love with Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie and A Couple of Cuckoos. When they’re not writing and reviewing, you can find them on their Twitter or on their Instagram where they’re always up to something.