A Couple of Cuckoos

Alt title: Kakkou no Iinazuke

TV (24 eps)
3.524 out of 5 from 2,785 votes
Rank #5,574
A Couple of Cuckoos

16-year-old super-studier Nagi Umino, second-year student at the Meguro River Academy high school, was switched at birth. On his way to a dinner to meet his birth parents, he accidentally meets the brash, outspoken, Erika Amano, who is determined to make Nagi her fake boyfriend as she never wants to actually marry. But once Nagi makes it to dinner, he finds his parents have decided to resolve the hospital switch by conveniently having him marry the daughter his birth parents raised...who turns out to be none other than Erika herself!

Source: Kodansha

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Very mixed feelings on this one. But to sum it up, it felt like an incomplete product: a hollow skeleton of better anime rather than being one itself. The Positives:In all honesty I can comfortably say that the first 12 episodes were pretty decent. While it was kinda cringey and lacking at times (every harem inevitably is) it had some genuinely good episodes that stood out and made you think that this anime was gonna build up to something special and worthwhile. There was genuinely creative artistic and directional choices used as well, which were both tasteful and compelling to keep me interested. The episode where it ends on the beach and the sand washes away the first part of "Friend" was a creative and memorable ending of one of it's better episodes, and episode 12's conclusion of "I don't like you, yet" was also a pretty good and more importantly - genuinely hooking cliffhanger. It was on the right track for 12 episodes, there was fun to be had and it felt like there was more good things to come. However, it didn't follow through. Because what wasn't good... was just about every episode after that. The Negatives:The 2nd half of the season was a near complete failure and waste of time. It was so boring and uninteresting that I went from casually watching and breezing through the first half, to drudging through every episode after that. I went from watching this willingly and for my own amusement, to basically forcing myself to endure 1 episode a day to finish this, because I had already almost 2/3rds the way and I felt that I might as well just end it so I wouldn't ever have to come back to it. The drop off was that severe. But I kept going because, "who knows, maybe it'll get better, right?"... sigh. This anime felt like a skeleton for a plot but without the meat or other important parts to fill it out. The premise was interesting, the fake relationship/marriage setup by both parties parents was very reminiscent of Nisekoi particularly. But it lacked a lot of what made Nisekoi so fun to watch. Sure, Nagi and Erika bickered sometimes - but most of the time they just felt like a married couple with very little conflict arrising. There was hardly any genuine chemistry building or push/pull dynamics you get in real relationships. While obviously few to no people would ever relate to the scenario, it needed realism in it's relationships to get people attatched. They did it well with the Umino family, but its so one sided. We hardly ever see the Amano family, or the Segawa family for that matter. There also wasn't any danger of their relationship being found out at any point, except when the anime cheaply sells it out towards the end to Nagi's primary love interest (the Onodera knock-off). No tension means no interest. I got so bored in the 2nd half because nothing happened and it just dragged with no even a crumb of suspense or anything to keep me invested in the story. The ending was equally damning, the conclusion of the last episode was mundane as you could make it. With no end in sight and not an ounce of tension to make me curious to want to dig more. I did not have a bona fide favorite girl by the end of it because... there was no reason to overly care about any of them at that point. The anime lost me while it was trying to make you care, in the laziest, uneventful, and most boring way possible. It almost seemed like they were intentionally trying to bring this story down into the gutter towards the end, because it takes effort (or intentional lack thereof) to conclude a romcom this blandly. Condensed Overall Thoughts and Conclusion:There was potential here. The first 12 episodes had their highs and lows, but it was more highs than lows and genuinely had some very interesting moments and creative symbolism. 2nd half however... flatline disappointment all the way to the end. It felt like they stopped caring about what they were doing and just pushed out this plain, uneventful, and just straight up boring product just to get it over with. This anime is an unfinished skeleton outline of an anime that could've been something great, or that unfinished horse meme where the first half is good and the 2nd half barely had any effort put in. If this was broken into two 12 episode seasons intead of one 24 episode run, I would give the first half a 6, maybe even a 7/10 for it's creativity and fun moments that made it genuinely enjoyable and worth watching till that point.And the 2nd half: is a 2/10. It squandered away the progress and potential the first 12 episode had given it - going from being fun and interesting, to genuinely boring, generic, and bland at every turn. I have nothing else to say about this. If you wanna get the most enjoyment out of this, my suggestion is to watch this up to episode 12 - then drop it. It's where the series peaks and pretty much all the fun ends and interesting things. The 2nd half of this anime's drop off is such a fatal blow to it. As a whole, I honestly would not recommend. There is far worse out there, but the end result is not good. 4/10 Recommendations for similar anime:There are so many other anime that do what Couple of Cuckoos attempted to do, far better. You want a more compelling story and more interesting dynamics about 2 characters forced into a relationship by their parents and having to mask that relationship from everyone else, lest there be serious consequences? Nisekoi. A plot about a complex love triangle where the girl agress the help the MC win over the girl he likes, featuring complex relationships between their friends, parents, and each other? Toradora did it better in spades. Or perhaps a romcom where a booksmart MC has to balance being the top student while teaching very behind pupils: We Never Learn and Quintessential Quintuplets both are superior choices to this. I would definitely recommend any of these far before I'd would CoC.

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