Sunday, October 12, 2008

Love Conquers All (And So Does Determination)

I've just finished watching a recently released anime yesterday. I say "recently released", since it started airing this spring. At first it didn't impress me, and I just kept watching only to finish it, but later it got to me. It is quite a surprising anime. I'm talking about Itazura na Kiss (english title: Mischievous Kiss).

I'll give you a plot summery, and then go on to discussing the anime. Aihara Kotoko is a typical high school girl, with less than typical intellect and dexterity. In short, she is kinda dumb and clumsy, like most of the students in class F, as a matter of fact. However, this doesn't stop her from writing a love letter to Irie Naoki, top student of class A, and one of the smartest high schoolers in Japan. Naoki outright rejects her letter, without even reading it, and Kotoko is heartbroken. At the drinking party held at her house later that night, during which she was supposed to forget all about Naoki's rejection, there is an earthquake, which completely destroys her house (and, amazingly, only hers, since it turns out to have been extremely poorly built). As a consequence, Kotoko and her father are forced to live at a friend's house until their own is rebuilt. Predictably, her father's childhood friend turns out to be non other than Naoki's father, and thus they end up living under the same roof. The premises are set, and leave enough room for craziness in this 25-episode TV series.

At first, I thought that this is going to be a typical high school romance anime. I thought the intrigue was interesting, so I decided to watch, till I would get bored. However, there are a lot of surprises on the way. I have to tell you (and I'm sure I'm not spoiling anything with this), that the most interesting thing is, that the show spreads over a period of around 14-15 years. No, it's not a high school romance. It's a full-fledged romantic novel. I really loved this part. I remember Ioana telling me that she didn't like those love stories which end with the main couple getting together, since her philosophy is "that's only the beginning". Indeed, this happens in Itazura na Kiss. It's not a spoiler to say that they end up together, but let me tell you that it happens around the middle of the series, and that the second part of the series handles their struggle as a couple. This seemed very interesting to me.

The characters aren't very complex, but they really do change throughout the series. True, the anime is focused on the two, and side characters are mainly only there to help further evolve the relationship between the two, however, some side characters make second appearances long after you've considered them discarded. Also, each episode ends with a cliffhanger, so much that at the end of some episodes, the story fast forwards a few years only to allow the development of a new crisis. This way, you really feel attached to the characters and their story.

The main selling point of the series, if I may call it that, is the length of the story following their relationship. It surely lacks that "something special", which appeared in Boys Be..., or the manganess (and Gainax ending) of His and Her Circumstances, so it may not appeal to people like my brother, Tibi. However, it follows the joys and struggles of a long relationship, starting from the very beginning up until, what I would call, total fulfilment, so I believe it would appeal to people like my deskmate, Adela.

It really depends on you. I thought it would be interesting up to a point, but didn't expect much, however it proved to be something engaging in a completely different way. If you don't like things romantic, stay away. If you like the flair of Eminescian romance, you might not like it. If you like the monotonous ups and downs of ordinary love, then I most certainly recommend it.

1 comment:

Tristessa said...

Keep up the good work.