Episode 5 “Can we do our morning study sessions together…?” and episode 6 “I thought you live by yourself” function interestingly as a pair of episodes. By this point, we’ve got a pretty good read on Nagi and Erika: they’ve been fleshed out enough that they’re crossing from two individuals to a pair of people in a shared situation with enough personality to make them worth rooting for. I suppose that’s what makes the very telegraphed twist of Erika transferring to Nagi’s school so enjoyable: it’s obvious that it’d be an eventual part of their dynamic, but it’s still so fun to see play out in episode 5 that I kinda couldn’t help but get drawn into the messiness of it all.
Nagi’s confession to Segawa adds a juicy nugget of tension: I mean, now he’s got to juggle his future wife being in the same class as the girl he kinda genuinely likes a lot, and wow, it’s like the Real Housewives of Anime up in this piece, and I’m living! It’s the exact kind of drama I was starting to crave from this series now that all the infodumping is done, allowing for the story to open up and show us just how it’s going to stretch across two cours.
A lot of episode 5 is comprised of gags derived from Nagi having to get used to Erika being at school while Segawa gets close to Erika as a secret fan of hers. It’s perfectly love triangle-ish, but doesn’t feel disruptive since Erika and Nagi are still in the “won’t” part of their relationship. What does start to butt up against the lightheartedness is the reality of the plot coming in: that is, the fact that now, Nagi and Erika have to hide that they’re living together.
This is where I think A Couple of Cuckoos has the potential to really upgrade itself: there’s this tension lingering beneath both episodes, but especially in episode 6 where it builds to the very natural-feeling resolution hinted by the title after Nagi and Erika stumble all over themselves trying to keep Segawa from noticing that yes, the two are shacking up. The whole sequence is tightly telegraphed and scripted, with this satisfying slapstick comedy as Nagi has to sneak around in the most delightfully cliched way.
I find it interesting how A Couple of Cuckoos is starting to balance its plot: it’s found this really nice dynamic between humor and tension that makes for a really delightful romcom romp. It’s definitely about to trip into some tropes – the OP hints at Nagi’s non-biological sister flirting with him and I do not like it – but by and large, it’s really found its stride, making these episodes satisfyingly easy to devour, like digital kettle corn.
That said, trouble is on the horizon for our deuteragonists: the plot is as thick as homemade ice cream, and grows more and more twisty by the episodes. While it’s clear that Nagi and Erika will most definitely end up together, I’m sensing there’s gonna be some missteps and hiccups and foibles before any nuptials even come into play. The will they won’t they doesn’t really exist here because of the nature of the overarching plot: it’s a matter of when, if anything, and I sense that something in this cour will firmly push them closer to a “when” than a “what if” by the time we reach the end of June. I’m just curious about what it’s going to take for Nagi and Erika to become A Couple of Cuckoo’s OTP ship.
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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.