Itazura na Kiss~ Love in Tokyo episode 11

This was the “Christmas in June: How Everyone Almost Gets a Heat Stroke Wearing Coats in Smoldering Heat” episode. Well ok, that title is too long so they went with “My Lover is a Santa Claus”, which is not any less disturbing but perhaps slightly more relevant.

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The episode starts out with the usual –  Kotoko’s voiceover lamenting the fact that no progress has been made between her and Naoki. But Christmas is coming! And that gets Kotoko all excited at the prospect. If this episode still hasn’t made it clear, Christmas is all about romance in Asia – expensive dinners, gifts and elaborate cakes. And apparently, not having a partner on Christmas is a social failure akin to not getting into University, or some other form of horrid misfortune.

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Kotoko feeling upset that Naoki will be working on Christmas and that she can’t afford the reservations at his cafe (but someone else can! don don don, no surprise here, the Beast at least has some money to splurge on Yuko).

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But Kotoko’s day gets worse when she learns that her girlfriends went ahead and got themselves boyfriends, just in time for Christmas.

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The law student one is not bad, by the way.

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I am sweating just looking at them all bundled up like that.

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Kotoko’s despair must have some voodoo powers because girlfriends’ Christmas plans get ruined as well.

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They decide to have a go at Christmas without boys involved and resolve to have loads of fun.

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Kin-chan attempts to crash their girls’ night out with enthusiastic proposals of food he can make for them.

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They are not impressed. “Don’t you need to work on Christmas?” Haha.

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“Why are people eating Japanese food on Christmas?” I don’t know Kin-chan, but now I kind of want to do that for Christmas. Personal side-story, last Christmas me and BF decided not to do anything (we save the celebrations for New Years because we are culturally weird like that) but got super hungry around 7. We went to Williamsburg (really busy area in Brooklyn with restaurants and cafes) AND EVERYTHING WAS CLOSED (even the Asian places -_-). We were so desperate and hungry (and it was snowing too) – we found a store that had some light on so we ran in. It was a supermarket and it was closing, so we just grabbed all the food we could get our hands on – which luckily was very nice – cheeses and pies and such. But yeah, that happens to us a lot, when we forget which holidays Americans celebrate very thoroughly and there are no businesses open anywhere (Thanksgiving, Christmas, what else?) and end up starving ourselves. At least I trained myself to cook for Thanksgiving. I will get to Christmas one day.

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Irie family is going to some posh party organized by Papa’s Company and invite Kotoko. She lets herself get excited just a tiny bit even though her and Naoki are not going.

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Papa is not happy with that so he meets Naoki and implores him, albeit gently, to attend the party. Needless to say, Naoki is not immediately excited at the prospect of spending the night of just saying hi to All Teh Important People.

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Naoki roams the streets by himself, pondering Papa’s request and end ups going into a bookstore to check out some books on medicine (eeee! he is considering Kotoko’s suggestion that he should pursue a career in a medical field seriously). It’s unclear what effects these books have on him yet but he agrees to attend Papa’s party.

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Kotoko is pleased that Naoki is going and starts hatching a plan on how to delicately ditch her friends too.

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Naoki, the sudden proponent of loyal friendships (does he have even a single friend?), reminds her of her promise to her friends and teases her with “Oh well, too bad, it could’ve been fun with you!”

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Girlfriends get excited over what they are going to eat for Christmas. I need friends who are as excited about food!

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Kotoko is very distracted though, dreaming of a party with Naoki…is this when we are going to see the gorgeous fantasy sequence?

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Nope, but we get in the next scene, when the whole Irie family finally departs for the party.

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This whole fantasy isn’t really helping to get Kotoko in the spirit of girls night out though, so she decides to busy herself with decorations instead.

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In a predictable turn of events, girlfriend ditch Kotoko for their boyfriends. Although admittedly, things might have been different if they didn’t think the other one was there for Kotoko?

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Kotoko wonders if she should try to make it to the party but quickly realizes she doesn’t want to hear any of Naoki’s taunting and decides to stay home.

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Kin-chan finds out Kotoko has been abandoned by her friends.

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And he is not the only one!

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Naoki, who previously barely remembered who Kotoko’s friends are, sees Jinko and immediately thinks of Kotoko.

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I would have had more fun in Kotoko’s situation, considering all the food on the table. But then again, there is no cake, so I kind of get it.

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Freaked out by strange noises, and thinking it’s thieves (good one Papa, you really planted some sound ideas in her head!) Kotoko goes off to find a weapon.

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Good thing it wasn’t a skillet or something, she might have seriously bashed his head in.

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Kotoko cracks up at Naoki getting attacked in his own house while looking so good. What are you implying Kotoko? That Naoki is more appropriately dressed for makeouts rather getting randomly accosted? I agree, so get to it!

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This was my favorite scene in this episode. The way the camera pans to Yuki and lingers on his face almost indulgently as he watches her laugh her heart out, and the curve of a smile beginning to take shape  – his expression so obviously radiatiating adoration and amusement.

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“What are you doing here?” asks Kotoko.
“What?…Um… I don’t know? Party was boring? And you know, there was so much delicious food so I got this chicken for us.” *takes out the chicken really fast so Kotoko doesn’t question his logic*

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And it totally works because Kotoko exclaims: “CHI-KIN!”

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Kotoko proceeds to happily munch, while Naoki drinks champagne awkwardly. They are so perfect for each other.

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Kotoko explains why she is happy to be spending Christmas with him (even if all he does it gulp down champagne like the fluffy teddy-bear robot that he is). With father working at the restaurant every Christmas, she hasn’t spent Christmas with family ever since her mother passed away. It’s sort of incredibly sad but the fact that she already considers him family and he doesn’t protest makes it all a little less morose.

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Naoki also got Kotoko cake. By accident. I don’t know how ridiculous Naoki’s excuses need to get before Kotoko stops believing them but I’m pretty sure “aliens made me do it” will still work.

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Oh my god, they look like they just professed eternal love and are about to kiss. Poor Kin-chan.

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There is something so sweet about this whole setup of Naoki letting Kotoko make a wish and blow out the candles on their Christmas cake. Yes, he pretends that he can’t be bothered with it himself BUT I think it also delights him to let Kotoko do it and watch her get all excited and happy about something so trivial. And I love how intimately this scene is shot, with the light going out when Kotoko blows out the candles, adding to the heartbreak of Kin-chan standing outside and watching their room go dark. It’s like the last of Kin-chan’s hope for Kotoko being extinguished by seeing how close and comfortable they are on this romantic (to the extreme) setting.

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If Kin-chan’s heartbreak wasn’t enough, we have even more angst coming next week. I know Papa has good intentions but I’m all prepared to be frustrated with him for messing things up.

11 thoughts on “Itazura na Kiss~ Love in Tokyo episode 11

  1. you know, I didn’t even think about the time when shooting took place, but now that you’ve mentioned it, sweaty faces + winter coats… They have to act like its chilling cold winter.

    I like how you called Naoki a “fluffy teddy-bear robot”. It really suits him!
    The last scene was my favorite in ISWAK! I remember Zhi Shu buys Xiang Qin KFC and her favorite chocolate cake! That was like the most obvious form of affection Zhi Shu showed her. Can’t wait to watch this part myself! Poor Kin-chan’s reaction makes me sad though, what makes it worse is having him in a Santa suit and bag of goodies. awww.

  2. thank you for the recap. OMG this is so good. is like every version they make has something so special that it doesn’t even feel like I’m watching the same drama. its like a whole different story. having only one episode per week kills me.

  3. Lovely review and I agree with you for the most part but I thought Naoki could have been a little more emotive in the episode (especially when Kotoko’s all like ‘THIS REALLY FEELS LIKE CHRISTMAS!’ and he’s just silently drinking champagne and they’re not talking hahaa).

    I really felt for Kin-chan in this episode…poor thing, especially since handmade bento > store-bought chicken and cake, at least in my book. I wrote in own review that I really didn’t like the change (compared to Taiwanese ISWAK) since it turned into a race for ‘who gets home quicker’ instead of ‘Naoki notices subtle things and cares for Kotoko in his own way’.

    Argh angst. I usually don’t mind it but I just need my fluffy, cute payoff with ItaKiss

    • hmm… i actually don’t see it that way, imho. i don’t think it can ever be considered as a race when it was already quite predictable from the get-go that naoki would be the one spending christmas with kotoko. i think this episode is set-up for kin-chan to witness the candle-blowing scene so he can step-up in his game. all this time he has been patiently waiting at the sidelines, letting kotoko do her own thing because everyone knows that naoki really doesn’t see her in a romantic light – until that last scene. remember that kin-chan sees naoki gazing affectionately at kotoko’s face while she is making a wish. whatever assumption he would have had about naoki’s indifference would have all flown out the door upon witnessing that. he now knows that he is on the losing side. also, remember that in the original story, kin-chan’s newly invigorated zeal to win kotoko’s heart will also help propel the story to its climax ( at least in this arc). if there ever was a race between these two men, that christmas scene would be its starting point.

      • That’s an interesting point you raise that this scene showed Kin-chan that Naoki does return Kotoko’s affections and would spur him on to try harder – I hadn’t considered that (though…honestly, I’m not sure how much harder he COULD try…the dude’s doing everything for Kotoko!).

        What I was referring to by ‘race’ in this context was more that… I was hoping the show would highlight how it’s Naoki specifically who realises Kotoko might be alone and him who makes the effort to come back – and that’s it’s only Naoki who notices this. Kin-chan is currently matching Naoki action-for-action (and doing it better most of the time) and I want to be convinced that Naoki can do something special and nice for Kotoko as himself c:

  4. thank you for the lovely review.🙂

    It was really a quiet episode compared to the spazzexplosionfest that was episode 10 but this one showed us a lot of equally heart-squeezing naoki-kotoko moments. i love how the camera focuses on naoki’s face every time he is with kotoko. he can always vocally deny his feelings but his face says it all. and there is little i can do to stop myself from melting into a pool of InKLiT goo each time he does it. and kin-chan… poor, poor kin-chan. i am hoping to see a second season not just for the marriage arc but so i could see kin-chan have his happy ending as well.

    • Second season would be great. And it’s already unusually awesome that there are 16 episodes to an immutable Japanese format of 11 episodes, so the makers are probably dedicated enough to this project. Especially now after all the fervor and acclaim it generated.

  5. Why kotoko celebrate x-mas too ? In ep 4 she & her girlfriends go to temple .. like kin-chan said x-mas is christian holiday

    • Hmm, from what I understand, Christmas has been infiltrated into Asian culture as a romantic, gift-giving occasion and is quite different from what it is in Western society (aside from the general look of it all). It’s more like Valentine’s Day than anything else. What girl doesn’t dream of celebrating Valentine’s day with her crush?

  6. I also loved the scene where Kotoko cracks up and Naoki just gazes adorably at her. *W* I thought it was hilarious when Kotoko took out her tennis racket for self-defense, ahahaha!

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