Anime: Itazura Na Kiss

The land of shoujo anime is one that strikes fear into my heart. I used to love it, but that was before I went through a relationship of my own. Now I just roll my eyes and look for josei anime instead. Yet, here I am reviewing a shoujo anime.

I would like to just begin my saying that Itazura Na Kiss is something from my teenage years. I watched the first live action adaptation during the J-drama phase of my life and fell irrevocably in love with Naoki. Of course the entire story was just hilarious and amazing and I had to read the manga. Then as I was reading the manga and reaching the last few chapters I realized with horror and sadness that the author of this great manga had passed away and there would never be an ending. I was devastated and it was about that time when I decided that I was never going to read/watch anything that wasn’t complete. Paranoia, I know.

Anyway, recently I found the drama on Youtube and started re-watching it. I knew that it had become really popular, spawning an anime and other adaptations of it. It was only after reading the wiki page that I found out that the anime version had the ending that the author visualized. So naturally I had to watch the anime, despite all of my misgivings about shoujo. Itazura na Kiss

I’m going to contain all my criticisms about shoujo anime and manga, keeping it for another time. All you need to know for this review, is that both main characters fall into the usual stereotype. Clumsy but passionate girl and too-cool-for-you guy. What really sets this apart, occurs about mid-way through the show. Spoilers ahead, you have been forewarned.

They got together, not only did they get together, they got married. It never happens, the happily ever after never happens. And it’s so good to see it happen. Not only does it set this anime apart, it actually properly explores some of the problems that the couple faces even after marriage. Of course a lot of the issues that arise stem from Naoki being too smart and too handsome, while Kotoko is just a total idiot most of the time. Still, her insecurity is well portrayed and made use of. Naoki also grows into a better and loving husband. Both characters grow a lot in this anime, not on their own, but with the support of friends and family. Add to that a baby girl who wants to marry papa and you have a wonderful series about a couple who knew next to nothing about each, but managed to form a happy and loving family in the end.

I may not be the best judge of this anime, seeing how I know the storyline inside out, but it’s funny and heartwarming. It has a wonderful cast of characters, especially Naoki’s family. Kotoko’s friends are also interesting in their own right. Sure the plot isn’t all that new, especially some of the earlier bits, but I think the ending was perfect. The last two episodes displayed all that the couple had gone through and it showed the audience their bond with each other. The fact that they have a healthy relationship with each other and mutual respect for each other. The moments and scenes that really make this anime shine are the times when they realize how important their other half is. How they complement each other is really impressive.

Shoujo anime feeds into the idealistic expectations of young impressionable girls. I don’t agree with it (anymore), but I can understand why it’s so enjoyable. Who doesn’t want everything to turn out perfect in the end? I don’t know about you, but as much as I enjoyed the anime, I don’t think I appreciate the genre as much anymore.

3 Responses to “Anime: Itazura Na Kiss”
  1. Genki Jason says:

    Nice review. I have heard of the show and the drama had been mentioned by a friend but I don’t watch shoujo anime. The first season of Sailor Moon was enough for me ;)

    I used to love it, but that was before I went through a relationship of my own. Real people can suck. Imagine my horror when I found out that real women weren’t really like Noa Izumi from Patlabor – is that too much to ask for???? – but were actually people and could be quite complicated.

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