Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Itazura Na Kiss - Drama Review

Itazura Na Kiss – Drama Review

Itazura Na Kiss is a popular manga by Kaoru Tada that was turned into a live action drama in 1996-98.
Plot – a high school girl named Kotoka Aihara (played by Aiko Sato) tells fellow classmate Naoki Irie (played by Takashi Kashiwabara) that she likes him in a letter. However the super smart, athletic and handsome Naoki simply rejects her in front of their classmates. A fire destroys the home she shares with her father (a chef) and they go to stay with her father’s friend who just happens to be Naoki’s father. The two families must get along but it’s not as easy as you think.
Review – I am so glad that I watched Perfect Kiss (Korean version 2010), It Started with a Kiss (Taiwanese version 2005) and They Kiss Again (Taiwanese version 2007) before watching Itazura Na Kiss, because I never would have watched them if I had seen this version first. I’m not saying that it is horrible; it’s just really, really bad.
The character of Kotoka is not as dumb as Oh Ha Ni (Perfect Kiss) or Xiang Qin (It Started with a Kiss) even though they are all in the “F” class (lowest ranking class in school). Kotoka is so loud that it is distracting. She reminds me of someone who needs her hearing tested. She is a jinx and every time she does something she causes injury either to herself or others. But the first thing I noticed about her was her ears. She is much prettier when they are covered by her hair. She is also taller than Oh Ha Ni and Xiang Qin which is perfect for the tall leading man. She’s not a stalker like Oh Ha Ni (who has it down to a science). I figured I would have liked this version if Kotoka would have stopped yelling and whining at some point but she didn’t.
Naoki is super cute but he pales in comparison to Zhi Shu (It Started with a Kiss) and Baek Seung-Jo (Perfect Kiss).
Baek Seung-Jo is very handsome, smart and popular and all he wants is for his parents to stop interfering in his life. He is responsible, a good cook and a genius. As for his relationship with Oh Ha Ni, he treats her like a plaything. He mocks her affection and insults her until he discovers that he is about to lose her to another man Bong Joon Gu. When it comes to romance, Baek Seung-Jo steals kisses from Oh Ha Ni when she sleeps which is romantic, but when it came down to kissing he is a little stiff.
Zhi Shu is also handsome, smart and popular, and his parents interfere in his life. But unlike Baek Seung-Jo, Zhi Shu just seems to be more focused on what he wants in life and doesn’t care whom he has to emotionally hurt to get it. He treats Xiang Qin cruelly at first, but throughout the drama I could tell that everything he did is in her best interest. In the romance department he scores a definite “A”. The interaction between the two characters seems so real. I sometimes felt that they were an actual couple. Zhi Shu knows how to kiss and probably is pretty good in the sex department if it wasn’t for the censorship.
This brings us back to Naoki. It is eluded that he is the smartest boy in school but he did some pretty dumb things like missing two important tests, refusing to go to school and shop lifting just because he wanted to feel like a normal teen-ager. As for as how he treated Kotoka. I found him very rude and cruel most of the time. The kiss scene is pretty good but not very romantic. No one knows until the very end that he is actually in love with her. In fact his characters get a bit crazy that I actually feared that he would do something to hurt Kotoka.
The secondary characters were pretty hum drum, especially Naoki’s mother. I actually loved the two mothers in Perfect Kiss and It Started with a kiss. These are mother-in-laws to die for. But Naoki’s mother was a bit wacky and old-fashioned. (Now I finally know why the mothers are like they are. I couldn’t figure out if she was a normal housewife or what because she was always planning parties and decorating. I thought she had some kind of home-based business. In actually she is just like the girls, kind of silly and a jinx to her husband. She is just lonely. Apparently the husband is a genius too like the sons. This is why the bond is so good between her and daughter-in-laws to be.)
The character I liked the least is Naoki’s younger brother, Yuuki. Like the other two younger brothers from the other dramas, Yuuki hates Kotoka on first sight. Yuuki is a genius too but he is also spoiled and rotten to the point that he becomes sick from stress. This makes him catatonic and makes him lose his hair. A third grader with the intelligence of a high-school student, and who idolizes his other brother until Naoki says one unkind thing to him. He turns meaner, taking it out on Kotoka. (He is the prime reason why people should never have a second child (smile).) Then he does a 360 degree turn in attitude at the end…so not believable. His is a little serial-killer waiting to happen.
The most redeeming thing in this adaptation is that it did make me laugh a couple of times. Kinnosuke Nahamura (played by Shinsuke Aoki) is the young man who is actually in love with Kotoka throughout the story, but she only feels friendship for him. He is very funny and actually gets 3 very serious kisses. Unfortunately, not from Kotoka. He also is humorous whenever a derogatory poster about Kotoka is posted on the school bulletin board. He immediately comes to her rescue and ends up getting beat up or injured.
The “A” group female teacher is in love with Naoki like every other girl in school, and the only one who knows it is the “F” group male teacher. The two of them are always battling over whose class cause the most disturbance through the school. They are both single virgins who are just perfect for each other. Their story would have probably made a better tale.
If you’re a die hard “KISS” fan you have to watch this just for general purpose. But I give it 2 Fleur De Lis. I really don’t think I’ll watch this again, unless I’m desperate.
So the only two things I haven’t done is read the original manga or watched the anime version (both hard to get). And yes someday in the future I might review them, but I’m moving on to other things now.

Imari Jade

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