Apparently, I’m in dire need of fluff after That Winter The Wind Blows because I’ve picked up Itazura na Kiss ~ Love in Tokyo, the new Japanese remake of Itazura na Kiss (what is it, the 10th one already?), and it’s delicious. The only other rendition of this story that I’ve seen so far is the Taiwanese version with Ariel Lin and Joe Chang, which I enjoyed immensely, but having no special affinity for the original, I’ve never been too interested in other remakes (well, I did try the Korean version but quit after it drove me into a dead stupor within the first hour). I’m so happy I gave this remake a try though because it’s such endearing and delightful fun. The fact that it’s so intent on following in ISWAK’s footsteps in tone and execution, down to the opening sequence of the heroine chasing the hero across the whole city, is just an added bonus. I’m literally taken back 4 years ago, when I watched ISWAK for the the first time, during a hot summer vacation, all excited and giddy for the heroine’s adorable crush on a perfect, gorgeous jerk from her school and the shenanigans unfolding with the two of them suddenly thrown together into one house.
As much as I adore Ariel Lin, I’m loving this mystery Japanese actress in the role of Aihara Kotoko about a thousand times more.
She is pouty, she is silly and she resembles a monkey at times but THAT’S OK because she is still incredibly pretty.
The mystery Japanese actor is no Joe Cheng,
But still damn near PERFECTION in the role of Irie Naoki.
Yes, even despite him looking just shy of 13 years old. But then he also looks like Joo Won’s long-lost brother and that’s totally right up my alley.
He reminds me of someone else too, but I can’t quite it place it yet.
Now, the only tragic thing about this remake is that Jiro Wang is not in it. There is this guy though –
This is Itazura na Kiss, life on Mars (if there was any conscious type that is) is familiar with the story, but why is it still amusing watching Aihara Kotoko give Naoki the love letter and then hearing him say “Thanks, but I will pass” EVERY SINGLE TIME?
This actor speaks legit normal English. Did he actually visit the US or something?
Since there is the whole “love in Tokyo” in the title be prepared for random shots of Tokyo.
What I love about this Aihara is that she seems gutsier than Xiang Qin in ISWAK. I don’t know if the remakes are evolving or that was actually in the original but I love how she tells him in his face that she won’t take crap from him and acknowledges very loudly that he is a first class jerk.
Kotoko’s love affair with food is all sorts of adorable. I foresee it shall come handy as an instrument of seduction.
Look, I think it’s already working! Doesn’t he look smitten?
Well, if by smitten I mean, feeling utter contempt and condescension.
So much chemistry and awkwardness between them every single time they are in a room together.
“Well, we can start with you taking off your shirt”
Please, someone let Joo Won know his huyng is on Japanese TV.
And they are already so domestic and companion-like, drinking coffee in the morning together!
Like I said, this remake follows ISWAK almost to a T but despite having seen ISWAK twice, I still find Itazura na Kiss~ Love in Tokyo incredibly engaging. There are two reasons for this: 1) the source material is not a masterpiece obviously, but it’s decent enough for a shoujo genre. At least, I don’t have an aversion to it as I do towards Hana Kimi, which I find vapidly insipid in every incarnation but this is also an entirely personal preference and has nothing to do with whether one might enjoy Hana Kimi or any other Japanese shoujo staple. Just so happens that Itazura na Kiss’ story appeals to me more – I like the “unrequited first love” aspect of it, the cohabiting setup, the way heroine’s adorable personality gradually chips away at hero’s carefully constructed facade of perfection and intelligence. I can imagine though, that this preference might have been largely influenced by the characters and by extension the actors themselves. So far I’ve gotten extremely lucky with ArJoe, and now with this couple. And this brings me to the second point of why I find myself enjoying this little drama: 2) I really do think that the actors are breathing new life into the story. They have amazing chemistry going on but beyond that there is an almost overpowering sense of innocence and romance about the whole thing, reminding me what good shoujo is really all about – silliness and youth, and all the awkwardness and splendor of first love.
Mostly though, I’m just happy I’m watching a jdrama for the first time in what seems like years.