The second day of the new releases bring about a slightly different twist. The first day brought more exotic offerings such as Allison to Lillia (that is going to be neglected somewhat by the mainstream audience) and Kure-nai (Go, Murasaki! You are the haughtiest loli I have seen for a while!). You can tell I happily avoided a certain title for commentary due to my dislike of excessive fanservice in general.
Nonetheless, it’s time for shoujo, my favorite genre. How will Itazura no Kiss fare?
Kotoko, a third year student in high school, is rejected by Naoki. She has a crush on him ever since the first year induction ceremony, where Naoki’s wonderful speech and good appearance has entranced her. She tried very hard to study in order to get to the top class, but has always stayed in 3-F. On the other hand, Naoki is in the elite class of 3-A. As she is worried that she will never be able to confess her feelings to Naoki, she decides to give him a confession letter. However, he simply rejected her without hesistating.
During the break, Kotoko’s other friends (Jinko, Satomi and Kinnosuke) try to console her that Naoki is not worth the effort. Kinnosuke goes into over burn mode, and he clearly likes Kotoko (unrequited love). In class, Kotoko tries to forget about Naoko, but knows that she has loved him for 2 years. On their way back, they discuss about Kotoko’s new house, and all her friends discuss about a housewarming party. Kotoko’s only family is her father. Then Naoki walks past the group, as Kinnosuke screams at him. Kinnosuke asks if Naoki has any heart at all, and asks him to respond to Kotoko at least. Naoki simply says that he does not talk to women who are stupid.
That completely hurts Kotoko. In the new house, Kotoko’s friends come to visit, but Kinnosuke becomes agitated after mentioning about Naoki. He knocked on the wall, and the house begins to shake. Everyone leaves the house but Kotoko’s father tries to get his wife’s remains. Just then, the house collapsed on him. In the aftermath, Kotoko’s father miraculously survived completely unhurt as we realize that the “earthquake” caused the vibrations.
With that incident, Kotoko is left without a home. The next day, Kotoko goes to school, with rumors spreading about the collapse of her house. In addition, she mentions that she will stay with her father’s friend and a strange woman secretly taking a picture of Kotoko before escaping. Kinnosuke also tries to drum up some sympathy for a donation drive, but Kotoko simply tells him to keep it low because it is embarrassing. Naoki appears and asks for the two to give way. He continues to talk in a condescending way.
Eventually, he tries to give some cash as he “pities” her, but Kotoko slaps his money away. She says that she is not related to him and does not need his sympathy. Naoki simply turns away and laughs at her. Later that day, Kotoko and her father travels to his friend’s house to stay. Strangely, the family name is Irie and it turns out that her father’s friend is the father of Naoki. He looks on amusingly, while Yuki Irie (Naoko’s younger brother) laughs at Kotoko’s inability to solve a simple primary school question.
Irie’s mother tries to relieve the tension (she is the photo-taking stalker) by bringing Kotoko to her room. Her room is extremely cute but Naoki mentions that he is glad that all the childish stuff are now thrown to her room. Irie’s mother instructs Naoki to help Kotoko with unpacking. As her mother leaves, Naoki is about to help but then mentions that Kotoko did not want his help or sympathy. They close the door on her, leaving her alone in the dark.
I do not have much to say about the audio to be honest. The OP is an average shoujo-like song. It seems to me that most of the series that have released the past two days have rather mediocre OPs. I have not found one that I can say that “wow, this song is wonderful”. Most of them are either way too quirky, way too off or just so common that it has no striking factor. Mizuki Nana does play Kotoko very well though, and she has interesting voice undertones that is fitting of a cute shoujo lead.
Something that has often plagued shoujo series is the lack of funding for a nice pretty animation. It’s obvious to tell that Itazura no Kiss does a competently below average job at animation. Some of the character shots are inconsistent, with the faces sometimes lazily animated. Some bits of it is generally due to shoujo inclinations to under-draw features rather than the Clannad-like moe faces. I think I prefer this style. However, I like how this shoujo series does not have an overpoweringly handsome or pretty lead. It makes it more human, I guess.
Background details are sketchy, as like a shoujo series. I do wish that it has a bit more depth in its art. I doubt so though, considering first episodes are a good indication of the graphical quality.
You have seen that the last two sections have been rather negative. However, I actually enjoy the first series. Some other bloggers might feel that it is quite conventional and standard fare for shoujo, but I am quite a shocker for the “ordinary girl – cute guy” combination that is rather prevalent in shoujo series. The two characters are definitely parallels, and you will love to hate Naoko until he turns good (as expected).
Plot deepness is probably not the reason why you watch shoujo, but it is the character development that will decide whether it is a good series or not. From the good feedback I heard from those who have watched the drama, I think that there is something good to anticipate from this anime series.
Despite the rather standard first episode, and the conventional story opening of a shoujo series, Itazura no Kiss does show some promise. If you are a shoujo anime lover, it’s definitely time to cash it on this.