"Itazura na Kiss"
by TADA Kaoru
Margaret Comics, 1991
Here is a wonderful shoujo manga series that I can't believe I have neglected to add to my page! This is such a fun manga, and one of my favorites! The plot for this may seem similar now to a lot of other series I talk about on this page, but remember that it first began back in 1991. I figure that back then the plot idea may not have been so overdone ^_^ Besides, the genuine warmth and life the manga artist gave the characters in Itazura na Kiss more than makes up for
the general premise of the story. I really grew to like all the characters in
this manga very much! The art style is somewhat scary (It's by the same artist who did another title I summarize, 'Miha Paradise') but the coolness of the characters shine through. This series was popular enough to have a live-action
drama series made based on it. The live action drama is very cute too. I really liked the guy they had playing Naoki. Such a cutie! Anyway, I digress...:)
Itazura na Kiss is the story of a 3rd year high school girl named Kotoko. Ever since her first year in high school, she has been in love with a guy named IRIE Naoki. In the drama series, she first met Naoki during her first year when she bumped into him when running down a hallway, and their lips touched in the collision. It was her 'first kiss', and Kotoko has been in love with Naoki ever since. But in the manga, Kotoko falls in love with Irie-kun when watching him give a speech in front of her school her freshman year. However there were things that prevented Kotoko from confessing her love for him, first and foremost being that he was a member of 'A-gumi' or the top ranking class in the school. Naoki is incredibly smart, always getting the top score in the school on all the
exams. Naoki is also really popular and handsome and has been the class president every year. That's a pretty intimidating list of things for a girl to face! But Kotoko finally gathers up her courage, and on her 18th birthday, she decides to give Naoki a love letter and tell him she loves him. Unfortunately, things do not go as planned. She presents her letter, but instead of accepting it and returning her feelings, Naoki just
gives Kotoko a look of disgust and boredom, and tells her flat out right there that he doesn't want her letter, and he doesn't like 'stupid girls'. *CRUSH* Poor Kotoko! Her heart is broken! Naoki's words hit her hard. But what can Kotoko do, she is a member of "F-gumi", also known as the class with all the students with low or failing scores. The less-than-remedial class. Compared to Naoki, she is rather dumb. But she loves him!
Now it's time for things to get even worse. Walking home from school, Kotoko discovers her house has collapsed! (In the live-action drama it is destroyed by fire). And now Kotoko and her father are left homeless! All they can do is stay at the sushi-shop her father owns and runs. This doesn't last for long. Soon they go to live at the house of one of her father's highschool friends. Yep. The friend happens to be none other than IRIE Naoki's father. And this means that Kotoko is now living with the guy she likes!
She is overjoyed at this news, but her reception from Naoki is very cold. She is also greeted with hostility by Naoki's younger brother Yuuki, who is being forced to give up his bedroom to Kotoko. This is the basic setup for the series, but it really goes a long way from this as Kotoko and Naoki deal with each other. Naoki is extremely smart- he has never had to study for anything ever before, while Kotoko must struggle to understand what seems to Naoki to be the easiest things. However Kotoko works hard at everything she does, and actually has a lot of things to teach Naoki, who is such a ice-cold aloof guy. His feelings always seem so hidden, while Kotoko is an open book. They are a study in contrasts, Watching Kotoko try to win over Naoki is great! This manga series runs for about 23 or so volumes, however the author, TADA Kaoru passed away in early 1999, however the story ended at a reayy good place, so it's still a great read till the end. Nevertheless, I heartily recommend this series!
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