Fate is a major theme that runs across these two episodes, which are best taken together as a miniature arc of sorts. The focus is on Hiro Segawa, a girl trapped by her own fate to marry someone and take over the family shrine. Much like Nagi and Erika, the adults in her life have decided how her life will be shaped, and as a “good” daughter, ascendant, and future wife, she’s not supposed to complain. It’s a familiar story that any kid who’s ever been expected to be capital-m More understands. And while my parents never expected me to marry, I felt the same pressures Hiro did to excel and represent my family, which is why I’ve really taken a shine to her.
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.
Episode 4 is a decidedly light-hearted fare: Segawa continues to be literally the nicest girl in Nagi’s entire school and gets set up as a somewhat dramatic love interest despite her own pending nuptials, Sachi is just the cutest little sister ever, and the cast continues to become more and more fleshed out as individuals collectively thrown into a topsy-turvy situation.
Overall, episode 3 is pretty darn good on the characterization front: Nagi and Erika have grown quite a bit more likable, enough that I’m earnestly looking forward to their romance eventually beginning. Of course, a potential plot wrench has been thrown in with the “will they, won’t they” of Segawa, Nagi’s classmate and test exam frenemy. Still, this is yet another couple I kinda wanna stan as things get complicated and a bit more curious between those storked kiddos.
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‘ premise is unrealistically wacky in a pleasant “lean into it” kind of way. The cast is likable enough, and it’s a genuinely pretty show. It’s also actually funny in a way that reminds me of Wotakoi and Tonikawa—you’ll hear me reference both of these for my coverage of Shikimori as well—the blend of tropes from that shared genre all combine to make Parent Trap, but in Japanese and with no familial blood between our would-be couple.