Ever since she entered high school, Kotoko Aihara wanted to be in the same class as Naoki Irie. The only problem, Irie is the smartest student in school while Kotoko is one of the dumbest. Now in 3rd year high school, she still isn't there. One day, her home gets destroyed and the only place else to go was to Irie's home. Now that she lives close to him, will their relationship be the same, or will it become greater than it is?
Volume 1: Boku ga Naku
Volume 20: Pink no Yuki ga Futtara
Due to author's sudden death, Itazura na Kiss manga remains unfinished, but the 2008 anime adaptation portrays the author's planned ending found in her notes. Tada Kaoru had an accident while she was moving homes with her son and husband, and passed away around two and half weeks later.
The series has been published in English by Digital Manga Publishing since November 4, 2009.
Oh ItaKiss... you know, I just can't work up the visceral hatred that I once had for this series. Don't get me wrong: ItaKiss is irredeemably bad and is the very piece of crap that started the whole "abusive male/idiotic female" trope that I so viscerally despise in shojo romances. At the same time, ItaKiss is one of the few mangas that actually goes well beyond the scope of high school and it's not like there isn't anything good about it either. Do keep in mind that all of the good there is to be found in the manga isn't anywhere near enough to excuse the failings this series has.
Kotoko Aihara is part of Class F, the class where all the dumbest students in school are located. She just so happens to have the hots for Naoki Irie, the most handsome (hah!) and smartest guy in school. Despite the fact that Naoki has made it quite evident that he does not want anything to do with Kotoko, she keeps on trying to win his heart and as fate would have it, Kotoko and Naoki end up living together in the same house after a freak accident occurs because Naoki's father is a dear friend of Kotoko's and he offered them a place to stay. As time goes on, they gradually warm up to one another and blah blah blah, you already know the drill.
There are several fundamental problems that exist within ItaKiss, the first of which being what never ceases to piss me off whenever I think about this manga: the foundation of the romance between Naoki and Kotoko. For all intents and purposes, the basis for this romance rests purely on superficial attraction. In the beginning of the manga, it was quite obvious Kotoko only wanted Naoki because he was a smart, good-looking guy and nothing more. On that note, she consistently makes it an effort to keep harassing Naoki until he just gives in and starts dating her. The girl is literally incapable of taking "no" for an answer, and it's ultimately the most infuriating thing about this manga.
Now, I'm not one to automatically take umbrage with people in love who can't take "no" for an answer and if done right, it can be pretty endearing. Take Family Matters, for instance. No one would argue that Kotoko does to Naoki what Steve Urkel does to Laura on a daily basis. At the same time, what separated Steve and Naoki is the fact that Steve was like 12-13 years old when we first saw him and as such, it was actually excusable a good majority of the time. Let's not forget that any time Steve DID go too far in his pursuit of Laura, he'd receive his comeuppance at the end of the episode. Kotoko is a high school senior when the manga starts and she's NEVER in the wrong when she keeps pursuing Naoki, even if she does go too far. Sure, someone might call her out on it in one chapter but by the next chapter, all of Kotoko's transgressions get forgiven and forgotten.
Don't go thinking Naoki's free from sin either, because he's just as bad, if not WORSE than Kotoko. His actions throughout the entire work are more in-line with a sadistic psychopath rather than a guy with a bad temper and little patience. Now, at first he was just shown to be a regular jerk to Kotoko but as time went on, his behaviour changed and started becoming more spiteful and sadistic. Any time Kotoko would have a moment of clarity and realise that she has the hots for a complete and total jackass, in comes Naoki and nips any sort of progress Kotoko could've made in the bud. The iconic first kiss between the two is a clear example of the dynamic I'm talking about here. Kotoko gets made a fool of in public, she and Naoki have a fight, she says she doesn't see anything in him anymore and wants to move on, Naoki kisses her and then says something along the lines of "Try moving on from me now." That ain't cute, that's abuse.
What's more is that any time a legitimately endearing and romantic moment occurs between these two, the chapter ends with Naoki seeming like he won't be such a douche to her but we all know that's never the case. As soon as the next chapter begins, Naoki reverts back to his original characterisation of being an irredeemable jackass, regardless of whatever went down between the two of them. This is the kind of writing that I absolutely despise more than anything else. Why write up your characters in such a way, make them look like they're gonna change, but then not go through with it? It's so bizarre and confusing, to say the least and in the worst case scenario, it can lead to a character intended to be one thing end up coming off as something entirely different.
The other characters aren't much better either. Naoki's mom started off as a rather likeable character but her constant attempts to hook up Naoki and Kotoko regardless of whatever Naoki wanted to say in the matter to the point where she'd actively sabotage ANY interaction Naoki had with anyone that isn't Kotoko. Yeah... she's entertaining every now and then, especially since her constant quips to Naoki are indeed amusing, but 90% of the time, she's a major pain in the ass. Don't even get me started on Kinnosuke. Kinnosuke is basically Kotoko's Kotoko, but somehow even worse than that would imply. Like, Kotoko is an idiot but she never really went into obsessive stalker territory. Kinnosuke is basically what Kotoko would be like if she was literally Steve Urkel but without ANY of the charm whatsoever.
Now, for the smack I've talked about Itazura na Kiss, it did manage to do a few things right. For starters, this manga actually spans well over 15 years' worth of story. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that this manga was publishing for about 10 years until Kaoru Tada's unfortunate death, but that still doesn't change the fact that Itazura na Kiss goes WAY beyond the scope of your average romance, something that very few (if any) romances in anime/manga have ever done. Hell, the closest I can think of would have to be either Clannad: After Story and the manga for KareKano. Whilst I DO give points to ItaKiss for that, the execution is just so bloody awful. The bulk of the characters are irredeemably irritating, the foundation of this romance is based off of nothing more than superficial attraction, and what's more is that the artwork is fucking HORRIBLE.
No, seriously. This manga has hands-down, some of the WORST artwork I've seen in all my life. Not even Yoshihiro Togashi was this bad when he was finishing up the Greed Island arc of Hunter x Hunter. For the first 20-30 chapters, I honestly couldn't tell if Naoki was a guy or a girl with a REALLY bad haircut, and if that wasn't enough, all the character models look like they were just drawn together within the span of 3-4 minutes. I mean, it DOES improve as time goes on, but it doesn't improve by a considerable margin. If there's one thing redeemable about the anime, it's the fact that the entire anime was drawn up by competent artists. That's not to discredit Kaoru Tada in any way because her backdrops are passable, but this is a manga that requires the reader to look past the presentation to focus on the story. Unfortunately, the presentation AND the story in this case are so fucking awful.
Now, you already know that I hate this manga and hell, it would seem that a LOT of people do too. Why should you read it? Honestly, I say that you shouldn't. Read KareKano instead or watch the Clannad movie. It would be time better spent, and what's more is that neither one of those two are unpleasant to read or watch. Itazura na Kiss is like a habitually relapsing heroin addict that "tries" to get clean but always ends up going back on the junk after getting out of rehab: just when you think real progress is being made, everything resets and we're back to the same old thing. Just do yourself a favour and don't read this manga at all. Anyway, that's all for now. Feedback's always welcome and with that, I'm out. Peace like yeast unleashed in the east :)read more
This beloved classic title has endured the test of time. With two live-action dramas and now an anime, it is definitely a must read shoujo title.
While the artwork is not incredibly good, the story more than makes up for it. It's a farily long series which was never completed due to the sudden death of the mangaka. The anime series hopes to conclude with the original intended ending.
Kotoko and Irie's challenges with each other are always fun and even suspenseful as the reader tries to anticipate what new behavior Irie's going to show Kotoko as their relationship blossoms. Hilarious supporting characters make this title thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend it for those who love romantic comedy shoujos.read more
I really love this manga! This is one of my favorite of all time! it never fails to make me laugh every time I read about the character's silliness. I found this very enjoyable and lighthearted though at first I was very hesitant to read it because of the artwork but when I started reading it doesn't' bother me at all because of the story. This manga should not be judge when you read only few chapters. As the story progresses you will know more about the characters and not only in the surface that we see.
I love how the story progress and how Kotoko changes Naoki to a better person. read more
I adore this classic Shoujo manga for many reasons. The characters are extremely lovable, and the story is comedic and serious at times. I enjoyed Kyouko's chase for Irie throughout the series, as well as getting a taste for how Irie feels about it as well.
There are many things for everyone to enjoy in this lighthearted story about a girl in love with a boy who doesn't show any interest in her.
With the side characters becoming some of my favourite of all time, and the main character's problems being relatable and almost sympathetic at times, I would read this manga countless times if i could.
This is a series I would recommend to anyone who is interested in Shoujo or just a good read.