This review does contain spoilers.
As you can see, I did not rate this anime very highly at all. I actually stumbled across this because I wanted something “happier” and “cuter” to watch as I’d just finished a really deep intense anime. I am actually quite partial to romance anime and have watched some of the big ones such as Ef: A Tale of Memories, Clannad, Kanon, Air, etc.
This anime is not happy. It is not cute. It is sadistic.
The Recommendations list compares Itazura na Kiss to Clannad After Story which is by far one of my favourite animes. This is mostly due to the fact that the story itself continues after high-school and into future life. That is where the similarities stop. This is NOTHING like Clannad – it is not deep, it is not well thought out and though it might be sad, it is sad for the wrong reasons.
I actually got over half-way through the anime till I realised that I genuinely could not continue. As a woman, Kotoko’s stupidity in love offended me and Irie’s cold and disgusting nature made my skin crawl. Of course, I’m perfectly fine with everyone else’s opinions and I have seen many 9 and 10 ratings for this anime but here are my thoughts on the matter:
Story – 5
As I mentioned above, I have watched over half way through the anime and I enjoyed it to begin with. The story was amusing and the characters were fun. At first. I did notice that Irie was cold but I thought “Hey, maybe there is a reason for this and they can build on it later” so I continued. No. Not at all because it only gets worse and as the relationship between Kotoko and Irie began to grow, I began to get more and more disgusted with the story.
Characters – 5
I actually quite like Kotoko – she is funny and sweet and seems genuinely caring. However, I cannot forgive her masochistic love for Irie. “Oh he’s kissed me so he must really love me.” Let’s be fair to her, she does try to move on but Irie then miraculously decides that he loves her and MUST have her. However it makes me very sad that she can actively overlook his cold and cruel nature and only make his “cute” actions important.
I despise Irie – I cannot find one redeeming thing about his nature. He is a genius but only because he has a photographic memory and not because he works hard. He doesn’t love Kotoko – even when their relationship inevitably blossomed, he is still cruel to her. I found myself praying that the anime would do something spectacular and Kotoko would fall for someone else, leaving Irie in the dust. No such thing happens.
I mean really, is that the sort of relationships that people want? A man who is cruel to the woman they love. Humiliates her in public for his own pleasure. Kisses her when she wants to get over him and then pretty much tells her “Try to get over me now.” It is cruel but Itazura na Kiss doesn’t seem to focus on how cruel it is and only that Kotoko loves him because he’s so “cool”. Really? Is cool all that matters?
Despite being disappointed in the two main characters, there were actually a lot of redeeming characters who I did love and were the main characters not so unlikeable, I may have stuck to this longer. Honourable mentions go to Irie’s mother, who is a particularly fun character in parts, and “Kin-chan”.
Kin-chan – Kin-chan was actually my surprise favourite in this anime. I didn’t expect to like him but he loved Kotoko for who she was – no matter if she was stupid or not, he would love her. He wanted to be with her and “make her smile”. I would have been happy if Kotoko had run off into the sunset with Kin-chan and restoring my faith in women.
I’ve noticed a lot of reviews are happy that Irie and Kotoko stay true to themselves and that their personalities do not alter but this relationship is seriously flawed. I could not invest in it like I could in Clannad or Kanon where the romance literally brought me to tears. There was no fangirling from Ayu or Nagisa that I noticed and yet Kotoko… Urgh, just no. Please find a man who loves you for who you are and does not judge you on your intelligence.
Art – 6
It was a pretty average art style. Pretty but nothing particular special. I liked some of Kotoko’s outfits and felt that she was always cute and colourful.
Sound – 6
I wasn’t fussed on any of the opening or ending songs but the music throughout was pretty good and fit well with the atmosphere.
Overall – 5
While there were parts of this anime that made me giggle, more so for the first few episodes as the anime progressed, I realised that I was wasting time. I would rather rewatch Clannad or Kanon where at least I can feel that it –is- a romance and I can invest in the relationship. These shows show men who treat their women well and love them for who they are no matter what. It was painful to watch and this is someone who happily sat through School Days despite hating the main guy. Unlike the guy in School Days, it does not seem like Irie is going to get what’s coming to him. If you want real romance, look elsewhere.