Review time! Kotoko Aihara is in love! For 2 years she has watched and dreamed about Naoki Irie, the smartest, most handsome young man at their school, possibly Japan itself! Finally summoning her courage, she presents him with a letter saying all of her feelings, only to have him reject her without even looking at it, saying, “I hate stupid girls”. This is due to the fact that Kotoko is in 3-F while Naoki is in 3-A, so the difference in intelligence is dramatic. Later that night, Kotoko, her father and some of her friends celebrate the completion of their newly finished home, when a small earthquake strikes. Their house is completely destroyed (the only one that was damaged in the quake) and are forced to move into the home of her father’s childhood friend. Imagine Kotoko’s shock when she learns that her dad’s friend is Naoki’s father! Now stuck under the same roof with the guy who she has a crush on, Kotoko has to navigate what life means for both of them. And no matter how rude, condescending, mean or cold he is to her, Kotoko won’t let go of her feelings for Naoki. I mean, he has to love her back, right? Right? Right? ItaKiss (which, roughly translated to English, means Playful Kiss) has some decent humor and a couple of good emotional moments. However, this show has one of the WORST romances I have ever seen in my entire life! Kotoko is this cheerful, if stupid and clumsy girl, who pines after a guy who is unrelentingly mean and rude to her. There are points where the story says he loves her and they even get married and have a kid, but it is YEARS until he finally starts acting anything REMOTELY like a good husband. For 80% of the show, there is no sign that he even likes her, and there is no care, no concern, no kindness to be had. Honestly, this is more a cautionary tale for young women on what NOT to look for in a man. I can’t recommend this show really to anyone, because there are SO many times where I angerly wanted Naoki to get a blow to his ego or have some kind of epiphany and apologize to Kotoko for the way he treats her, but it never happens. He apologizes like once in the show, and it is only after being married to her for about 4 years! I suppose it is something that he FINALLY gets his act together and is a good father and husband, but why he changed makes no sense, given how much of a prideful, arrogant, cold, mean, and sometimes downright cruel A-hole he had been up till that point. So please, don’t waste you time on this one: there are many, MANY better Romcoms and couples out there. In fact, I watched some of Yuta and Rikka’s interactions as a palette cleanser afterward, to remind myself what a good couple looks like! “Playful Kiss”? More like “Pathetic Kiss”: a girl obsesses over a rude guy, who brushes off nearly every slight he throws her way and acts as if he is so dreamy, even when he never shows her any affection. And some people actually like this crap! Yuck!

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