Episode 7‒8 – A Couple of Cuckoos

Cuckoos is currently in a curious place as a show. We’ve got all the potential love interests introduced, the endgame interest presumably established (ie Erika) and… well, not a lot has happened necessarily. It’s all character-building in a way that kind of reminds me of my time with The aquatope on white sand, though I’ll admit the cast in that show is a touch more likable. Still, episode 7 “Is my fate going to change?” and episode 8 “Is He going to get married?” feel like they’re marking a shift into the more tangled (and perhaps the more realistic) aspects of romance and what love means for each of the characters.

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 her have decided how her life her 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 her, which is why I ‘ve really taken a shine to her.

Overall, I really liked these episodes, specifically because of Hiro and the potential for her to maybe find happiness outside her determined fate. One thing that’s really interesting is Cuckoo‘s exploration of fate and what it means to be “destined” for something completely outside of your will. Nagi and Erika, by proxy, know this super intimately: their parents (who I’m still shocked didn’t bother to check that they had the right baby at all solely based on hair color) are forcing them together out of an almost childish desire to unite their families instead of just letting their children lead their own lives. In their enthusiasm, they’re cruelly casting the proverbial die for their children without consulting them or considering their own plans for the future, and eight episodes in, I doubt they ever will. I’d like to see that change, though it’s early days yet.

That said, as a viewer, I’ve already in some ways cast Nagi and Erika and Hiro’s (Segawa) respective fates as well. I feel 100% sure this show will end with Nagi x Erika. Perhaps that’ll mean a close friendship between Nagi and Hiro. Maybe it’ll mean stumbling with Hiro as well. While I don’t know what path the show will take to get there, I hope that it’s as peaceful as possible, though I sense it won’t be as straightforward as fall in love, kiss, wedding bells, the end. There’s a lot that still needs to happen to get Nagi and Erika past “kids stuck in a weird situation” to “kids who admit to those tender feelings that are kinda sorta growing”. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait too much longer to see where all these big, tangled feelings grow and go.

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A Couple of Cuckoos is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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.

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