Posted by psgels on 25 September 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews



It’s quite ironic: Itazura na Kiss is based on a manga that started its serialization in 1990, and was probably one of the pioneers in the shoujo romantic comedy-genre, and its premise still stands out as an original one: never have we travelled this much into the life of the lead couple. Where most stories just follow half a year or in the extreme cases go on until the wedding, Itazura na Kiss goes even further, and it ends when the main couple is happily married, and between the 25 and 28 years old. It’s such a shame that the creators of the anime just couldn’t handle such an awesome premise.

The series starts out hilarious, though. Both Kotoko and Irie (the series’ main couple) have a great sense of humour and love to tease each other when they can, making for a few priceless situations. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes apparent that the creators just want to do too much with this series, but have no idea how to fill up its time. As soon as the characters enter college, this series descends into a bit of a mess: the creators keep throwing random love rivals at the main couple, in order to supposedly test the strength of their relationship, but none of the love-rivals make ANY impact, and are just carbon copies of their previous version.

The big problem is that the creators are just terrible at creating dramatic climaxes. They try over and over, but with one or two exceptions, they all fall flat, are too rushed, forced, superficial and cheesy and make the majority of this series (from episode eight to around episode 20) a pain to sit through, especially since the humour also becomes really dull and repetitive around that same time. The characters also hardly develop, due to this shallow drama, and there’s very little that’s actually worth watching.

But thankfully, this series changes entirely once the characters finish university, and get a job. It’s here where this series finds its former magic back, and drops its superficial climaxes. The humour comes back, and the time that Kotoko and Irie spend at work is really entertaining and heart-warming. It’s here where the characters finally develop and grow up, and this series closes off with a really enjoyable finale.

Overall, I wouldn’t exactly recommend you to sit through the really dull middle part, but it does reward you in the end when everything comes together. It’s the perfect example of why extra drama isn’t necessarily good for a series, and for Itazura na Kiss, it’s mostly the light moments where the creators aren’t obsessively trying to strengthen Irie and Kotoko’s relationship. Subtlety is definitely not this series’ greatest point, and it should have focused its time at the slice of life moments, and making the viewer laugh instead of these shallow love triangles. I really liked this series when it first started, but unfortunately, the creators just couldn’t live up to this series’ potential.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 8/10

13 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael says:

    Hold on. There’s one more episode. There are 25 episodes in all, and the 25th has not aired yet

  2. psgels psgels says:

    The twenty-fifth one has aired, if I recall correctly. Zero Raws just accidentally labelled it as episode 24.

  3. Avatar Michael says:

    episode 25 airs on the 27th. It’s the 26th today

  4. psgels psgels says:

    First of all: that twenty-fifth episode I watched was definitely different from the twenty-fourth episode and fitting for an ending, and second of all: what do you mean by 27th? According to ANN, the final episode aired on the 24th:

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=9193&page=25

  5. Avatar Michael says:

    I was mistaken. The 25th episode has indeed aired. I’d better go watch it.

  6. Avatar BlueYoshi says:

    Nice to hear that the last few episodes of Itazura get back to it’s quirky best. But still…I need to struggle past that College arc.

  7. Avatar Kurisu says:

    I wonder whether we watched the same series. The character development is incredibly minor especially if you take into account how many years this covers. Except for Kotoko you can at best despise the characters – especially the guys – but it’s so predictable and weakly scripted that they don’t make me upset at all. I don’t know how this qualifies as comedy unless this is meant for sociopathic sadists who take pleasure in humilating people with more heart than brains because Kotoko is the ass of all jokes. If so, the final bonus episode should have satisfied that bunch. Her daughter turns out like Damian from Omen and Naoki’s family is a bunch of cruel devils who all look and behave the same. This is only explainable by incest over several generations. Seriously, I don’t have any clue how most of characters feel or think under the surface. There’s never at least any monologue or another form of explanation that helps the viewer understand why all of the characters are so horribly one-dimensional.

    What’s also totally ridiculous is that it aims for more realism by going beyond the first kiss and marriage even and then delivers nothing but stagnation. So this is what happens after marriage? Heck, now I fully understand why Japan is on the edge of extinction.

    The setting is quite boring. Just what you would expect from a daily soap: Always the same home and working place. It’s even an hospital as if it couldn’t get any worse or uninspired.

    The production values may be fitting for a romantic comedy which doesn’t need much in terms of visuals but deliver emotions (which it doesn’t except for hate maybe). Then again the OP/ED is quite plain and I don’t remember any background music at all. Maybe compare this to Kimagure Orange Road which had an awesome soundtracks and several neatly animated OP/ED, just to see how lacking this one is. I don’t know why some characters like Kotokos friend have to look so godforsaken ugly but maybe it’s again to cater the intended sadistic audience.

    The story telling was awful too because there was no sense of time. The characters don’t look one bit older or different at least despite several years passing. The only exception is the final episode when Kotoko suddenly cuts her hair and is apparently pregnant with an elephant baby. Several years pass frequently between episodes and there isn’t even a hint of transition. Some character just suddenly beats you over head saying that several years have passed since some event.

    Oh and were’s the romance in the first place? The only hint of romance exists in Kotoko’s delusion. In my opinion, this doesn’t even deserve 50 points and is pure fail. A lot of RomComs may be crap but this one isn’t any better just because it goes beyond high-school. I suggest watching KOR or, for something more recent, Lovely Complex instead.

  8. Avatar Casandra says:

    You have to read the manga to appreciate the awesomeness of Itazura Na Kiss. Becos’ of the time constraint – well, It WAS capped at 25 eps -, they cut down a lot on the original humour and slice of life elements. Rivals and supporting characters were far better developed than in the anime. And there were new additions in the anime that I felt was unnecessary, but other it was a competent attempt (I do agree with your review).

    It was kind of sad for me to watch the eps after 22, because I was reminded of the mangaka’s unfortunate death. The manga stopped at the beginning of a very happy and exciting arc – which makes it sadder -: where Naoki asked Kotoko whether she was pregnant.

    Nevertheless, INK is and forever will be a timeless, simple, and yet enjoyable story about love. :)

  9. Avatar razel says:

    i found the series enjoyable all through out.
    SUre, there were some slight moments, but that’s life–or whatever.
    We have all have to compensate for the dull moments. after all, the total boring moments you experience is just equal to the same amount of delight you’ll have after.

    thumbs up to the series. Uh, make it TWO thumbs up~(i’d give three thumbs if i had an extra one. lol) (*__*)

  10. Avatar nitaipriya says:

    i loved ur review of this anime .. it was really dead on ^^ and i am laughing thinking how true it is what you said about the pointless triangles lol…

    having said that – this IS my #1 anime of all time… and i laughed and cried till the last ep (not bonus) … it was so beautiful to me and I have never gotten so hyped up about an anime until Nana. I recommend this anime to everyone .. and this is one of few animes where i really cheered on for the girl the whole time.

    I was really relived actually that i never had to worry every time a new girl was thrown into the picture ^^ after the 3rd one i got the hint that it was just a story filler lol

  11. Avatar tazman0208 says:

    Well I’ll have to agree with peoples assesment of the anime, I found that after the high school arc everything started to go downhill. I enjoyed the comey alot in the beginning and also Kotoko’s character during her highschool days where she would fight back against Naoki’s teasing and cruelty. Then suddenly we are out of highschool and Kotoko just becomes an empty shell of her former self, its like all self respect was thrown out the window, what was the message of the show anyways? girls persistence and desperation are the best way to win over the man you love? Also, I agree with a previous post, where the heck is the romance in this anyways? I mean I MIGHT have been able to bear Kotoko’s desperation if we even had a slight hint of Naoki’s feelings, but all we got was one lousy kiss when Kotoko was asleep, and we don’t even find that out until they are getting married (even if there were hints). The biggest flaw in this whole show is Naoki in my opinion, he starts out as a crued and cruel person on the outside but is shown to care about others (the fact that he helps them study and all) but then what the heck was that during the honeymoon episode? I mean if I was a newly married man I for one would want to spend as much time alone with my wife as I can, or at least try to make time for the both of us. The way it came out made it seem unrealistic and made Naoki seem indifferent as to whether he wants to spend time with Kotoko or not. Wow this turned into a rant b4 I knew it…

  12. Avatar tattzy07 says:

    you forgot to mention how painful it was to watch the main character make a fool of herself trying to run after the guy obsessively. i think that’s what made it most uncomfortable…was knowing how childish this girl was and how arrogant the boy was, therefore, it was more of a fake and forced relationship. not to mention how indifferent the boy was to the girl. it was really terrible and i fast forward through most episodes (well the first few where okay) but then everything was so fast paced that i never grew to love any of the characters.

  13. Avatar i love anime says:

    WELL… WHATEVER YOU ALL SAY I REALLY LOVE THIS ANIME!!! IT REALLY TOUCHES MY HEART ESP. THE ENDING SONG JIKAN YO TOMARE! LOVE IT1

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