Itazura na Kiss anime review

Itazura na Kiss anime review
In the romantic comedy story, a high school girl named Kotoko finally tells a fellow senior named Naoki that she has loved him from afar since she saw him on their first day of high school. However, Naoki, a haughty "super-ikemen" (handsome male) with smarts and sports talent, rejects her offhand. Fate intervenes when a mild earthquake ruins Kotoko's family house. While the house gets rebuilt, Kotoko and her dad stay at the home of her dad's childhood friend...whose son is Naoki.

To say that Itazura na Kiss resembles an anime from yesteryear isn’t too far off, since it’s an adaptation of an unfinished 90s manga that was unfortunately cut short due to the tragic and untimely passing of its manga-ka, Tada Kaoru. It’s probably more than fair to say this is a flawed anime, and it’s hard at times not to balk at a few of its elements, but as the series goes on the charm of its characters, particularly Kotoko, becomes harder and harder to ignore, which makes it a difficult series not to enjoy, particularly if you’re inclined towards the more old-school shoujo rom-coms. And while it doesn’t quite have the fast-talking witty repartee and the gender/class roles are reversed, this is about as close to a genuine screwball comedy as I’ve seen in anime.

The series starts off very slow, hinting at a rather routine and stilted rom-com, but things really accelerate in the second half of the series, with several years literally passing each episode. It’s after a plot point about half way through that this series really takes off, showing its best scenes and the best of its characters. I apologize for the upcoming spoilers, (although they are pretty much inevitable from the first episode), but it’s almost impossible to discuss this show without mentioning them. But this series takes a different philosophy from the standard anime romance that end when the leads become a couple, recognizing that a lot of truly interesting stuff happens when dealing with the challenges of a long-term relationship. Itazura na Kiss doesn’t just maintain its momentum after Kotoko and Irie get together… it increases it.

A mark of a good romance story is that the character development and relationship development are intricately intertwined, and that’s certainly the case here. To be perfectly honest, the characters start out as pretty flat: Irie is a stuck-up jerk while Kotoko’s obsession of Irie borders on creepy. But once they become a couple, we begin to see different and more likable sides to these characters. By the end of the series both are capable, sympathetic and mature people who have grown up because of each other, and the series frequently points out just how their differences complement each other, and how much better they are as people when they’re together. The side couplings also follow similar patterns, but don’t get quite as much focus and aren’t developed to anywhere near the same extent as the main coupling. Nonetheless, while there’s hardly a likable character to begin with, there’s hardly an unlikable character by the end. The character development isn’t terribly complex, but the fact that they could turn an unpleasant cast of characters into an amiable cast is a feat worth praising.

The comedy is sufficiently amusing without being brilliant (except for Irie’s mother who steals the show, comedy-wise) and is mostly driven by awkward situation comedy. Aesthetically the animation is crude, and the music isn’t memorable except for the very catchy OP and ED themes. It’s easy to become irritated by the character behaviour at times, particularly in the first half and during one frustrating arc where it takes Irie several episodes to figure out something that’s obvious. There’s also a propensity for men slapping women in a dramatic context, something I don’t approve of at all. Kotoko also gets into far-out, hopeless (and obviously contrived) situations a bit too often. The list of flaws could easily go on, but the payoff comes in the form of a thoroughly enjoyable romance. Bear with the slow and sometimes frustrating first half, since this is one of those series that rewards loyalty.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Itazura na Kiss. Watch it now:
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