Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: Itazura No Kiss ~Playful Kiss~ (2008)

Itazura no Kiss ~Playful Kiss~ (2008) is a romantic comedy about a female high school student who falls in love with the popular handsome genius in her class. Although he rejects her initially, she is determined to have her feelings reciprocated. This show contains 25 episodes. Due to popularity, Itazura no Kiss has spurred many television adaptations across East Asia.

Kotoko Aihara fell in love with Naoki Irie since the first day of high school when she heard his speech at the opening ceremony. Naoki is the ideal student: he is stunningly handsome and popular, and excellent in academics and sports. Meanwhile, Kotoko is not very smart, and always ends up in trouble. Nevertheless, her highly-spirited personality continues to captivate others.

In her senior year, she confidently confesses her love to Naoki, but he rejects her. Despite this setback, fate intervenes in a strange twist when a mild earthquake destroys Kotoko's family house. While the house gets rebuilt, Kotoko and her father are invited to stay at the home of her father's childhood friend, who happens to be Naoki's father! Although he dislikes Kotoko's clumsiness and stalker behavior, he eventually starts to have romantic, protective feelings for her.

Itazura no Kiss is one of those great romantic stories that you will always enjoy regardless of age. You want to root for Kotoko as she tries every moment to win his heart. No matter how much Naoki wants to escape her presence, he notices something is missing from his perfect life and gradually falls in love with her. As the saying goes, opposites attract.

I really enjoyed this drama because it was funny and innocent. You watch how two teens from different backgrounds are forced to live together, transition from high school to college, and see each other's true personalities. While the plot may sound somewhat unrealistic, every girl can relate to Kotoko's innocence and determination. That's what make this series so exciting to watch again and again.

There have been several drama adaptations of the original Japanese storyline by the deceased Kaoru Tada: It Started With a Kiss (Taiwanese) and Mischievous Kiss
(Korean). In my opinion, I believe the Korean adaptation is the best version out there. It closely follows the author's original storyline, and the Korean OST has very good tracks ("G.NA - Kiss Me", "Soyu (SISTAR) - Should I Confess", "Kim Hyun Joong - One More Time"). Kim Hyun Joong also played a lead role in the popular Korean adaptation of the Japanese anime, Boys Over Flowers. Overall, I highly recommend this series.

Anime Opening Theme

Korean adaptation

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