Monday, July 22, 2013

Itazura na Kiss ~ Love in Tokyo

 "The probability of getting hit by a shooting star is ten-billionth, 
meeting you is more of a miracle than that."

The Plot:

At a high school entrance ceremony, high school student Aihara Kotoko, who isn’t that smart, notices pretty boy Irie Naoki. She falls in love with him immediately. Kotoko initially doesn’t express her feelings to him, but finally has a chance to tell him how she feels. Unfortunately, Naoki turns Kotoko down, saying “I don’t like dumb women.”

One day, Kotoko’s house is severely damaged by an earthquake. Until the house is rebuilt, Kotoko Aihara and her father decide to live with her father’s friend. When Kotoko moves to her new temporary house, she is surprised to learn that Irie Naoki lives there as well.



This story can be comparable to Hana Yori Dango in the sense that its manga has been made into different versions. We have the 1996 Japanese version with the same title as the manga, the 2005 and 2007 Taiwanese versions: It Started With a Kiss and its sequel, They Kiss Again, the 2008 anime version, the 2010 Korean version: Playful Kiss and finally, Japan made a newer version by giving us Itazura na Kiss~Love in Tokyo.

I still believe that the Taiwanese version was the closest to the manga but then again, they had 50 episodes in the 2 dramas to insert a lot of elements from the manga. Having said that, ItaKiss made a decent manga adaptation with the fewer episodes (16) they had. ItaKiss has only covered up to the wedding.

Honoka Miki played the lead character, Aihara Kotoko, who after their house was hit by a shooting star, went off to live with his father's friend's family whose son is the person who rejected her love letter a few days back. Talk about an awkward yet interesting situation. Miki is only 16 during the filming of this drama but she handled herself quite well. Her acting seems childish and a bit unpolished at times but she did pretty well despite her age. Some scenes are overacted but at least her portrayal can be stupid and clumsy without being irritating and annoying (Sorry, Ariel Lin and Sato Aiko!)

Irie Naoki was played by Furukawa Yuki, yet another unknown face to me. On the outside, he is almost the perfect Naoki. He has the looks, he appears really intelligent and speaks surprisingly fluent English (apparently, he lived abroad for a while). I say almost because in terms of acting, he could do better. But I understand the difficulty. Irie Naoki is a character who seldom speaks and his emotions are rarely on display. It doesn't require much acting but most of the time, this character has to be acted through the eyes. Unless the actor was Ninomiya Kazunari, it's really quite difficult to act only with your eyes. And FuruYuki most of the time looks like he is just staring blankly off into space. He is definitely not a bad actor because I've seen some of his plays and he's okay so I just chalked it up to Irie Naoki's character.

Yamada Yuki played Ikezawa Kinnosuke - Kotoko's long time admirer. I must say he played this character the best. Other times, Kin-chan (or versions of him) was just irritating. In this version, Kin-chan was actually endearing and sweet that when Naoki was being so cold and mean, it was easy to root for the other guy.

The chemistry of Kotoko and Naoki was palpable. Who would've thought that 16-year-old Honoka Miki and 25-year-old Furukawa Yuki will be able to pull it off so well. Though I deduced that Miki is much younger than him, I just didn't think that there is a 9-year gap between them. 

The story pacing was good but the relationship pacing was slow. I read somewhere it was being described as something like, every time Kotoko and Naoki made one step forward in their relationship, the next episode will make them take 2 steps back. And I can't help but agree with her about that.

Nevertheless, I really like this adaptation. And I'm so hoping for a second season. The next chapters in the manga are exciting and I want to see their own take on it. I also want ItaKiss to actually end the way the story ended in the anime. You know, using Tada-sensei's vision for the manga's end.


The writing was good and it made the show sweet without being overbearing. The characters are not always two-dimensional and not one of them is irritating. 


The original Aihara Kotoko (Sato Aiko) and the original Irie Naoki (Kashiwabara Takashi) made a special cameo in this drama. Isn't that so cool??? 

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