Yoko HikasaToshiyuki MorikawaRyohei KimuraKaito Ishikawa
A Couple of Cuckoos
Also known as: Kakkou no Iinazuke
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Hiroaki Akagi, Yoshiyuki Shirahata
Writer: Yasuhiro Nakanishi
Original creator: Miki Yoshikawa
Actor: Akari Kito, Kaito Ishikawa, Konomi Kohara, Nao Toyama, Ryohei Kimura, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Yoko Hikasa, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yukiko Aruga
Keywords: anime, harem
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 24 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=24241
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 6 June 2024
Couple of Cuckoos
It's technically a harem anime, but so far it's resisted the genre's ickier tendencies and it doesn't feel harem-y. The boy (Nagi Umino) is a dork with lots of book knowledge and an endless supply of aghast faces and social incompetence. In other words, he's the show's butt monkey. He's funny and I liked him a lot. He's as amusing and scene-stealing as anyone else here and certainly no "insert your face here" fantasy protagonist, even though three girls (so far) have shown some degree of interest in him.
She and Nagi were born on the same day in the same hospital. There was an error and they both got raised by the wrong parents. The Amanos are studious, rich high-achievers who could be called sinister if you disliked them. The Uminos are loud, happy-go-lucky ex-delinquents whom you'd regard as The Most Embarrassing Parents In The World if they were yours, but they're also good, lovable people. They're also dirt poor.
Anyway, Erika's a social media star and a bubbly rich girl without Nagi's brains. Thoroughly nice, mind you, and probably the girl I'd choose from this line-up. On learning about the cuckoo switcheroo, the Amanos and Uminos decide on an arranged marriage between Erika and Nagi.
She's Nagi's little sister, but she's about to learn that they're not blood related. Yeah. She's conflicted about that too. She's always bad-mouthing Nagi like any other bratty sibling, but she'll get scary if her friends join in. No one else is allowed to talk to him like that. (Unfortunately for Sachi, though, Nagi still regards her as his sister and he doesn't think the baby-switching thing really matters. Family is family. Your entire life trumps an accident in a hospital.)
Nagi's nemesis. She's always number one in school exams, relegating him to number two. You have no idea how much that bugs him, although she's even more competitive than him. She's hot, nice and excels at everything she does... but personally I wouldn't choose her. Firstly, she's had her chance. Nagi confessed and she said "no", with a million opportunities later to take it back. Secondly, there's something weird about her eyes. There's no life in them. She's like a clever zombie.
Is this show great? No, but it's likeable. It bubbles along amusingly and avoids the traps of bad harem shows. Crucially, the relationships are plausible and I could believe in what I was watching. I can buy them as mismatched friends, especially since the girls aren't throwing themselves ridiculously at Nagi. Erika supports his pursuit of Hiro, who in turn has been saying "no" for 24 episodes and counting. Sachi's the one whose feelings are the clearest, but her obstacles (age, personality, etc.) probably rule her out. Incidentally, one of my favourite things here was the mix of nature and nurture in Nagi. Physically, he's a clone of Souichirou Umino. Mentally, he's nothing like the frivolous Uminos, being a brainbox who's devoted himself to study, study, study. Nonetheless, he's absorbed their philosophies and mottos. It's oddly wonderful to see him and Sachi having brother-and-sister reactions to their embarrassing family.
The show's fun, with plenty of laughs. I like the cast. Nagi's sometimes a "pause the episode to take a break" twat, but never for long. Everyone means well and I wish them all the best. These 24 episodes have the minor problem, admittedly, that they don't resolve anything. The original manga's still running, so the finale doesn't resolve the love quadrilateral and instead sneaks in two important characters whose mysteries are left dangling at the end. (What's happening with Sousuke? Who's the unknown girl in the Umino family photos?) I assume they'd like to make a Season 2, which I'd expect to be a step down if the harem's about to expand from three girls to four. I'd probably watch it anyway, though. This season was decent and even on a good day charming. If I had to score it out of ten, I'd give it a respectable eight.