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A Roller Coaster Harem
- Episodes : 24
- Genre : Comedy, Romance, Drama, Shounen
- Airing Date : Apr 2022 – Oct 2022
- Producers : Shin-Ei Animation and SynergySP
Other than Action, Romance is arguably the next most popular genre in shounen anime. And if we look even further, there is another subcategory that is responsible for the majority of the attention that this genre has received over the years, and that is Harem.
For 2022, there’s a new Harem anime that is adapted from a manga with the same name. It’s called A Couple of Cuckoos. Lots of people are looking forward to seeing this adaptation simply because the creator of A Couple of Cuckoos is Miki Yoshikawa, the author behind some of the fans-beloved titles like Yankee-Kun to Megane-Chan, and Yamada-kun and The Seven Witches. So now that the series has finally ended, should you watch it? Well, hopefully, this review will be able to help you make that decision.
Nagi Umino and Erika Amano were switched at birth. They grew up and lived their lives without knowing about this fact, until one day, they accidentally met each other on a narrow, nameless bridge in the middle of the city. They began to talk and spend the next couple of hours together not knowing the truth about who each other really are. They seem to hit it off, but alas, all good things have to end. So when sunset comes, they say goodbye to each other and go their separate ways, not knowing whether they will meet each other or not. It was a short but sweet fateful encounter.
Or is it? Because the truth of the matter is, the Amano family and the Umino family have come to an agreement. You see, despite knowing that Nagi is not really a part of the Umino family, and Erika is not really the daughter of Amano, they love the child that they have raised since birth. However, they also wish to be united with their own biological child. So they come up with a genius and convenient idea.
If Nagi marries Erika, then both of them can become the children of both families at the same time. So they set up the perfect scenario so that Nagi would meet Erika that day, and then break out the news to the both of them when the night comes. Needless to say, both Erika and Nagi are surprised by this sudden barrage of information, and they both refuse to be engaged. So their parents decided to let them live alone in the same house instead. And that is the beginning of their hilarious journey of love that keeps getting complicated by the minute.
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1. Tweaking A Familiar Premise
From the engagement between the son of a Yakuza and the daughter of a mafia in Nisekoi to a beautiful alien girl crash landing into the room of a teenage boy in to Love Ru, there have been numerous premises that were created for the sole purpose of forcefully created a RomCom situation. It is a winning formula that almost every RomCom author likes to follow.
While A Couple of Cuckoos can be said to use the same formula as its predecessors, it adds something crucial to the mix: family. Unlike other Harem stories, A Couple of Cuckoos makes it clear from the very beginning that families will be an incredibly important element of the story. After all, the whole reason why Nagi and Erika are engaged is so that both families can have them both as their children.
This one seemingly simple idea opens up countless possible opportunities to involve their families in the story. And for the most part, it turns out great. We have tons of funny and dramatic moments whenever Nagi or Erika’s parents are featured in the episodes, such as when Erika is enjoying herself at the birthday party of Nagi’s happy-go-lucky father, or the tense situation when Nagi has to talk to Erika’s millionaire father.
2. Lovable Characters
The key that makes A Couple of Cuckoos so entertaining to watch is its characters. From the awkward yet overly serious Nagi to Erika’s devil-may-care attitude, Hiro’s passive aggressiveness, and Sachi being a tsundere, the clash of personalities between them resulted in some of the funniest and most dramatic moments in the story. Such as when Hiro challenges Nagi to a race to cheer him up, or when Erika goes to a summer festival for the first time with Nagi.
While A Couple of Cuckoos is certainly not a character-driven story, the characters are still a crucial part of the story. Their relatability, their interaction with each other, and how lovable they are, all are the important keys that make the audience care and root for them.
Bland or overly dramatic characters won’t be able to succeed in a RomCom anime, and thankfully, A Couple of Cuckoos is filled to the brim with characters with vibrant and quirky personalities. And as mentioned earlier, that is one of the main reasons why the series are so entertaining to watch.
1. Slow Pacing
A Couple of Cuckoos may be built from an interesting premise, and it also has lots of lovable characters to develop the story, but that doesn’t mean it’s free from issues. Two of the major problems that you’ll notice in this series are the slow pace, the struggle to create a proper balance between the dramatic romance, and its hilarious comedy.
For the pacing, well, 13 episodes in and the story barely moving forward. 24 episodes in, and we merely get to the start of their relationship. It is clear that this series is set to have two or more seasons. Yes, we know that the original manga itself is still ongoing, so the anime team tries to match its progression.
But that doesn’t mean this series will certainly have a second season. Lots of great anime never have a second season, such as No Game No Life. So it’ll be better if this season feels like a complete story while leaving things that can be developed in the next season. Alas, that is not what happened, and we get 24 episodes worth of a story where barely anything happens between the main characters.
2. The Struggle to Create A Balance Story
The next one is the balance problem. There are episodes where the story feels a tad too serious with little to no comedy at all. There are also episodes where we get comedy from start to finish with seemingly no intention of putting a drama that could move the story forward.
That delicate balance is crucial for a RomCom story, so the lack of it, especially in the first half of the story, makes the whole watching experience feel strange at times. It’s like the story tries its best to find its identity but to no avail. Thankfully, things begin to feel a bit more balanced and coherent in the second part of the story.
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Overall, A Couple of Cuckoos is quite a decent RomCom Harem anime. It has an interesting premise and is filled with lovable characters. But the slow pace and unbalanced story may prevent the viewers from enjoying the story to the fullest. That being said, if you’re interested in a lighthearted Harem that has a good vibe throughout the whole series, then you should give A Couple of Cuckoos a try.
Have you watched A Couple of Cuckoos? If you have, what do you think about it? Let us know in the comment section below.
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