Itazura na Kiss

Itazura Na Kiss, by Kaoru Tada, is a beloved shojo manga is finally available in English. Cute (but stupid) Kotoko Aihara has had a crush on handsome boy genius Naoki Irie since the the opening ceremony, so after two years of liking him, she finally has the guys to give Naoki a love letter. However, Naoki rejects her immediately, without even reading her love letter. To make matters worse, Kotoko's house is demolished in a earthquake, so she;s going to live at her father's friend's home. Little does Kotoko know that it's Naoki's house! Will Kotoko have another chance at winning Naoki's heart or will life be hell for her?

Although the manga turns twenty years old this year, its enduring story is worth reading. The style of the art and clothes may bother some people, however, after a while, its easy to ignore. The art stays true to the original (even the Japanese sound effects stay, but with translations on the side). However, the English release doesn't include the chapter title pages, something I'm used to. (Maybe the Japanese release doesn't have it either?)

I first picked up the book, Itazura Na Kiss, in the summer in my local Barnes and Noble store. After I finished reading the story, I knew that I had to buy it. The story is a story that is endearing, because Kotoko never gives up, despite the obstacles she faces. Kotoko keeps trying and doesn't say, "Oh that's impossible". She has a 10% chance, and she goes for it. She studies hard, even though she's in the lowest class, to be in the same class as Naoki, who's in the highest class. Kotoko trains hard in tennis camp, so she can be good at tennis. I find admirable because many oppurtunities come my way, and I rarely reach out and grab it. It's even rarer for me to work as hard as Kotoko does, so for my New Year's resolution, I'll work hard (until I spit blood)! (I'm sort of joking about the spitting blood part, though.)

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The manga has been adapted into a Japanese TV drama, an anime, two Taiwanese dramas, and one Korean drama.

Japanese TV drama: Itazura na Kiss (live-action TV drama)

The Japanese TV drama adapting Itazura na Kiss aired from October 1996 to December of the same year. It starred Aiko Satou as Kotoko Aihara, and Takashi Kashiwabara as Naoki Irie. The plot line changes a little as Kotoko accidentally runs into Naoki in the hallway, and accidentally kisses him. Kotoko starts to develop a crush on Naoki, and Naoki as always, is disgusted. Instead of Kotoko's house collapsing in an earthquake, Kotoko's house burns down in a fire. However, I think the drama is still enjoyable, so please watch it if you have the time!

Taiwanese TV Drama

The Taiwanese TV drama,惡作劇之吻 (translation: It Started With a Kiss) stars Ariel Lin, Jiro Wang, and Joe Cheng (both whom are of the Taiwanese boy band, Fahrenheit). The story follows the original plotline. It was aired on CTV from September 2005 to February 2006.  The sequel to It Started With a Kiss,  惡作劇2吻 (translation: They Kiss Again) follows the relationship of the two after their honeymoon. It aired from December 2007 to April of 2008.

Japanese Anime

An anime adaption was made based off of the manga by TMS Entertainment. It aired from April 2008 to September of the same year. It follows the manga plotline, and since the manga was never finished by the author as she died before she could finish it, the author, Kaoru Tada's late husband gave the anime production team the ending that Kaoru Tada wished for, before she died.

Korean Drama

As all dramas go, Korean dramas always top the rest. Due to the manga's ongoing popularity almost twenty years from its release, Korea made its own adaption (장난스런 키스 (translation: Playful Kiss)) . Aired on MBC, it started from the beginning of September of this year to the end of October. From what I can tell, it looks the most exciting adaption yet, and seems to keep to the manga plot line. Please watch it, too!


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Maira Gall