A Couple of Cuckoos is this season’s most promising harem anime. Of course, I use the term promising loosely because, as many know, the genre isn’t exactly known for its narrative quality. However, this anime’s premise managed to grab my attention. While it isn’t exactly groundbreaking, its premise is unique enough to pique a potential viewer’s curiosity, and the first episode did a good enough job holding my attention despite some of its incredibly mundane tropes.
The anime follows Nagi Umino, a second-year student at the Meguro River Academy. Nagi has lived a relatively normal life with his sister and ex-delinquent parents. He is intelligent, studious, and serious, so nothing of his attitude or demeanor is exactly noteworthy. However, his life gets significantly more interesting when it’s revealed that his parents aren’t actually his parents as he was switched from birth. This is the anime’s one spice and its primary plot point.
The first episode picks up after this has already been revealed to all characters (but assumes the viewer read the synopsis beforehand). On the day he’s scheduled to meet his real parents, Nagi meets rich kid Erika Amano who promptly blackmails him into becoming her fake boyfriend in order to stop her arranged marriage. After spending a day and growing a bond, it’s shockingly revealed at the end of the episode that Erika is, in fact, the switched daughter of Nagi’s birth parents, and he’s the guy she’s being forced to marry.
While not much happens in the first episode, there is quite a bit to unpack. First, is how incredibly derivative the anime is, seen chiefly with its use of done to death tropes like “innocent” blackmail, the not-blood-related sister having an obvious crush on the protagonist, and arranged marriage between teenagers, the last of which is apparently going to be a permanent plot point in the anime. Couple all these tropes together, and you, unfortunately, have a typical modern harem anime. This isn’t to say all harem anime are inherently bad, as they are usually easily consumable and lighthearted. However, A Couple of Cuckoos hasn’t given the viewer the impression that it’ll provide a unique story so far. So while there is enjoyment and entertainment to be found in the anime, I don’t expect much depth from it.
Though I will admit that the anime isn’t all bad, as there are aspects I genuinely enjoyed. The first is how well it adapted the scenes with Nagi and Erika, as they did an excellent job of displaying the great chemistry between the characters. The other noteworthy aspect is the impeccable animation. The crisp character design, fluid motions, and incredible backgrounds made the viewing experience a lot more enjoyable and made the anime stand out as one of the better-looking shows of the season.
All in all, despite not providing anything particularly new as a harem anime so far, A Couple of Cuckoos has still proven to have things to offer viewers, especially die-hard fans of the genre.
A Couple of Cuckoos is streaming now on Crunchyroll.
Abdul Saad is a seasoned entertainment journalist and critic who’s been writing for over five years on multiple outlets. When he isn’t writing or playing the latest JRPG, he can be found coding games of his own or tinkering with something electrical.