Itazura na Kiss: Eps 1-4

Drama ReviewsJapanese Dramas

Ah yes, yet another live action of Itazura na Kiss! 


So it’s no secret that Itazura na Kiss is a live action, based on the original Japanese manga.  If you are still not in the loop then you will only get more confused by the many live action versions of Itazura O_O  If you are in the loop, then you are probably tired sick of hearing the explanations OVER AND OVER of all the different versions.  So let’s clear it up once and for all……there are:

  1. Manga
  2. Japanese live action – Itazura na Kiss
  3. Taiwanese live action season 1 – It Started With a Kiss
  4. Taiwanese live action season 2 – They Kiss Again
  5. Anime
  6. Korean live action – Playful Kiss
  7. Japanese live action new version – Itazura na Kiss ~ Love in Tokyo

YEAH.  That is how popular Itazura na Kiss is.  I was surprised that they decided to make yet another Japanese live action version.  I have seen ISWAK (It Started With a Kiss) and part of They Kiss Again, so I am already familiar with Itazura.  I admit my memory sucks and I watched it so long ago that I can’t remember all of it.  But ISWAK definitely stands out among the crowd for being  one of the most endearing and popular live actions of Itazura.  I don’t see how anyone can deny the crazy chemistry between Ariel & Joe.  Anyways since my memory sucks, it is great watching the latest version of Itazura since I can get a refresher on all the stuff that I’ve forgotten!


The main character that is stealing the spotlight is Aihara Kotoko (Miki Honoka).  The casting was spot-on and I’m quite surprised that this new-comer is doing so well!  This will likely be Miki Honoka’s break-through role since she is new to the jdrama scene and she is very young.  Aihara Kotoko is a really cute and ditzy, yet loveable character!  Note the LOVEABLE part.  It takes a certain amount of skill to make sure that cute & ditzy does not translate into ANNOYING.  Miki Honoka totally pulls it off because she avoids being too annoying, and instead makes her character really fun to watch. 


I am not really feeling the male lead’s portrayal of Irie Naoki yet.  Probably my favorite parts with him are when he shows us a VERY SMALL SMILE.  At times he is a jerk but he actually doesn’t seem as douchey as I thought he was supposed to be. O_O  So far he seems like a “softer” Naoki.  Chemistry wise he is pretty good with Aihara but I need some more SPARKS. 


But really?  What other character REALLY caught my attention???? (If you noticed I cut out Kin, that’s because I don’t really like his character.  SORRY KIN FANS! *runs away* >_>)  IRIE’S MOM!!!!!!!!!!!  OMG!!!!!!!!!!!  SHE IS SO PERFECT!!!  ONLY IN A JDRAMA LIVE ACTION COULD THEY PULL OFF SUCH A RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME CHARACTER.  She is seriously the shipper of all shippers, the person you WANT to interfere with the OTP, the one who is always voicing your not-so-secret SHIPPY THOUGHTS. 

Those were just my very short initial impressions of the drama.  Overall it is a lot of cute fluff but it is an enjoyable watch.  Really, if you are looking to get into the entire Itazura craze, I would probably recommend ISWAK first.   For others, it may be a fun watch just to see how different versions interpret the story.  For me it is fun to watch because I can get flashbacks to ISWAK while still enjoying the Japanese version. 

Anyways, if you are wondering, “gee where are the collages with tons of screencaps,” or “why is this review so short,” it’s because the rest of my reviews (starting with Episode 4) for Itazura will be posted on the Drama Fever Blog.  I am taking part in a weekly-episode review series called the “Drama Club”.  Basically what it is, is that you will get to read not one, but FOUR reviews of each weekly episode (starting with ep4).  All of these reviews are by different bloggers, all of whom will be responding to each other’s opinions.  It’s a fun concept because it let’s you get multiple perspectives on the episode, all from one blog.  One of those bloggers just so happens to be me. O_O  Check it out, be sure to find me over at Dramafever too!

You can find my episode 4 review here:

And many thanks to one of my readers who anonymously recommended this drama to me in my chatbox.  At first I was going to drop this drama but thanks to my reader, I decided to give it another go..AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED……….


I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
Favorite Japanese Actors: Matsuda Ryuhei
Last Cinderella: Ep 3
  • I’m really liking this version of Itzura na Kiss. The basic premise of stupid, love-sick heroine/genius, better-than-everyone hero would normally make me run, but it’s okay – in part because the characters are young and are making mistakes that are okay for their age, and, this version, they’ve just scripted the story particularly well. Plus, I like how the leads are playing their characters.

    Everything you say about Miki Honoka is spot on: I simply enjoy watching her. She’s a little ditzy, but not an idiot. She doesn’t look down on herself – she has some pride and strengths too. Irie Naoki works for me as well as he doesn’t feel as annoyingly arrogant/superior as in the other versions. Yes, he’s a bit full of himself, but you can actually sense that he’s lonely (he’s not a popular boy, he’s just admired from the distance by everyone) and, most of all, he knows he is lonely and he knows Kotoko has some things he doesn’t but wishes he did (friends! fun!).

    I don’t love the mom as much as you do, but like her better than in any of the other versions – she’s much less obnoxious.

    • I like the feeling of the younger cast. I feel like it made a big difference because it actually feels like they are in high school, not just like they are all adults acting as high schoolers.

      I’m glad Naoki isn’t as douchey as in the other versions. But I still feel like somehow there is something more Furukawa Yuki could give us in his portrayal of the character. I don’t know what it is though. T_T

      I think the mom is a riot to watch, she adds a lot of energy to the drama!

      • Furukawa Yuki is 25 tho. He just look so young. And his English is perfect. Finally a Naoki actor who can really speak English (since Naoki is fluent).

        I am personally enjoying this version of ItaKiss. Still, my fave is ISWAK/TKA. I hope this version will include their college and marriage stories but I’m guessing they will only cover until high school graduation.

        • Yes despite his age he really does look super young. i don’t know how he does it. I don’t think his English abilities have much to do with his being in-character but it is a nice touch.

          I’m also wondering just how far this version will go, whether or not it will show marriage!

  • wow!thank you for reviewing this drama!!!.thank you!!^^, and u r welcome too..i thought that u may like it so i recommend it to u..hehe ..i just think that i need fellow shipper to watch along..luckily u like it as much as i did…yay!!

  • U just reminded me i’m already on my 7th dose of Itazura and perhaps more remakes to come which i’d blindly tune into as well. Good thing is i know the story upside down inside out so well that its ok to watch raws in any language its made. ISWAK still remains the best live action classic despite my frustrations for Ariel’s character plenty of times but hey it’s how the story goes. Joe remains the handsomest tall smart arrogant Naoki. And i agree with your description of watching another Itazura to enable ISWAK flashbacks.

  • Thanks for the mini review! Good job on the Drama Club, it sounds like a fun idea. I’m not sure how well this one will hold up to in-depth analysis, but it’s a fun palate cleanser.

    I’ve only seen bits of the Korean version, so to me, Furukawa is waaaay better then Kim Hyun Joong :). I generally can’t handle Taiwanese dramas, but I might give ISWAK a try. I think this version is better written than the Korean version. I’m just glad that Dramafever finally has some current j-dramas, which were my first and favorite type of Asian dramas. Hopefully they’ll get some old goodies on there soon, like Nobuta and Nodame Cantabile.

    I think I would like Kin better if he were more organically woven into the story. As it is, he is just absent for episodes at a time until we need angst. Plus it’s really obvious she isn’t interested in him.

    Miki Honoka does walk the line between cute and annoying really well, although Jung So-min definitely gives her a run for her money for natural charisma.

    I also am ever so slightly underwhelmed by Furukawa Yuki. He’s good-looking, but also sort of normal-looking. When he’s mean, I don’t really buy it. I think he doesn’t show emotion without facial expressions very well, although he’s getting better. I think all the actors who would do better are old for the part, but if this guy’s 25, maybe not. Maybe Hongo Kanata? Kamiki Ryunosuke? A few years ago, I would have said Oguri Shun. Mizushima Hiro would have knocked it out of the park. I’m glad he’s taking care of his wife, but I miss him in dramas!

    Anyway, I’m still enjoying this one a lot, even if it’s a less high-concept one than the fantasy or historical ones I love.

    • Haha yeah so far it is not subject to deep analysis of life lessons or anything like that. T_T It is more straightforward and it’s meant to be a cutesy rom-com.

      Heh, a lot of people were complaining about Furukawa for not being as hot as Kim Hyun Joong but GEEZ he’s fine the way he is! And he looks a bit like AYANO GO, that is enough for me! Anyways I agree with you, Furukawa’s acting is just not quite there yet. I like the cute moments when he slips a smile, but he is just sorta…there. O_____O

      I liked the version of Kin better in ISWAK, probably because he was played by Jiro Wang. I think Kin is supposed to be over the top but I’m just annoyed by him so far T_T

    • I was thinking the same thing that Kamiki Ryunosuke might be a good Naoki!

      I already accepted Furukawa Yuki but I think Kamiki Ryunosuke would be a better choice!

  • I watched the first 20 minutes and never finished the first episode. That’s not saying I didn’t like it or anything, I just haven’t found my way back to it yet. I’ve never ISWAK, but people always point to that one being the “ultimate” version. I truthfully do like the original Japanese. I know people complain about it all the time, but after I got use to Japanese comedy which was way more over-exaggerated and annoying than I was used to in US comedies, it grew on me.

    Love the review! I have read it on the DramaFever blog, too. Now…I should probably takes some time to watch this as I’ve always liked the main actor who I thought would never get a starring role, but did well in his supporting roles.

    • Lol, at first I didn’t get past the first episode either T_T I think I liked episode 2 better. I was curious to see how the Japanese version would be, since the original story itself is Japanese.

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