A lot of episode 4 is just friendship: there are some romantic moments, sure, but the bigger story is that of friendship, and just how wonderful platonic love can be. It’s nice to see the show open up to that message: while I’m fully here for ShikIzumi, I’m also very much starting to get invested in their friends, and the beautiful simplicity of their joyful, everyday lives.
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.
Like I said in the premiere, I have no clue if this will develop towards actual commentary about gender roles; if anything, I expect that it probably won’t, and it doesn’t need to be – just watching the genuine chemistry between these two teens is more than engaging enough.
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.
I think it’s fair to say that Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is having a conversation with gender norms: how deep that conversation will go remains to be seen, though I’m going to preemptively lower my own expectations to “it’s probably not going to be subversive” which is alright. I don’t think I subverted a single thing at sixteen: I don’t expect these kids, nor the source material it draws on, to be doing heavy lifting on Japan and its entanglement with binary gender expectations.
Love After World Domination reminds us that heroes loving villains and villains loving heroes will always be pretty good to watch.Love After World Domination – Episode 1 — Anime Feminist
I’m not saying that there is a problem with watching the show and liking it. I think there is a difference between liking a show and condoning what it represents: you can like something and still have your own, informed opinion. At the end of the day, this just wasn’t a series for me, and my opinion certainly isn’t the end all be all: media is subjective, problematic faves exist, and if this is yours, it’s neither my place nor my intent to judge you for it.