Friday, July 19, 2013

{{Dramatic Friday Review}} Itazura na Kiss, It Started w A Kiss, Playful Kiss & Mischievous Kiss...Oh My!

Over the last few weeks I've been watching, along w a lot of you, the latest version of Itazura na Kiss. (Aka Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo).  Now I am not ashamed to admit I have watched all the different versions of this manga come to life, minus the anime version.  My first version was Playful Kiss & it was approximately my 4th K-drama ever watched.  (My Princess, Secret Garden, Boys Over Flowers & PK.)

Now lots of people will say this one or that one is the best version of this story but honestly I have things I like & dislike about each one.  From the direction, to the actors, to the small differences in story line, to the setting, to the production quality.  Each one has it's own unique flow & feel.  Now of course as PK has my bias in it & I saw it first I have to admit my loyalties tend to lay at it's feet.   I will admit however that the original Japanese live action version was my least favorite, mostly due to the female lead.  She grated on my nerves excessively. Honestly because the original live action was my least favorite I am not actually going to use any of it's examples or really include it in my comparison, maybe that is unfair, but I really could not stand that version.

This latest version has it's own merits, as do all the rest.  I liked how they had a really good mix of both the PK version story line mixed w the ISWAK version from Taiwan.  To date ISWAK & TKA (They Kiss Again; the second season of It Started w A Kiss) are probably my most favorite in regards to passion & chemistry of the lead actors.  But I find that most Taiwanese dramas lean toward being more demonstrative in their passions & affections, as compared to their Korean counterparts.  But as far as the characters themselves or the look of the actors & the production quality, for me, PK has them beat.  And I truly did love Oh Ha Ni so much more compared to Xiang Qin & Kotoko I or II.   I have no idea if this is a true reflection of the merits/talents of the actress (Jung So Min) who played OHN, as PK is the only drama I have seen her in, so I cannot compare her acting in other dramas. As for the male lead?  I am sincerely torn here.  Obviously KHJ is by far the best looking of the 4 different actors, yes I am totally biased here, I admit it.  BUT I am not so biased that I refuse to admit that Joe Cheng's delivery of Zhi Shu was delivered far better than KHJ's Baek Seung Jo.  However, with that said, if you take into account that this was only KHJ's 2nd drama AND that Joe Cheng already had experience & practice, in the form of 4 other dramas, before he took on the role of Zhi Shu, then it makes sense that JC was the better actor comparatively speaking to KHJ.  But I preferred the art of story telling & direction so much more from ISWAK.  See it's very complicated this intermixing of the same story told 4 different times, from 4 different perspectives of 4 different directors & screenplay writers, not to mention the actors themselves interpretations.

I really do think that this story merits more than 16 episodes to tell it well.  I don't think it needs 40 episodes, ISWAK/TKA, or 2 full seasons but I do think 16 is not enough to tell their story properly.  Even after they are married there is so much more to their story; they both grow up even more & you get to see the BSJ/ZS's character develop & grow, into a human being, even more, after marriage.  But between the two, PK & MK, that did it in 16, I believe that PK told a more even story, that dragged a little less towards the end.  Although the unevenness of MK can be explained in that they were originally slotted for 13 episodes & realized that it wasn't going to work in 13.  Justified even more as their ratings were high enough to add on the addition of 3 more episodes.  IMHO, anytime they add on episodes to any drama, to me, it always feels off kilter.  Unbalanced & dragging, as though they are just shoving stuff in to fill the allotted time needed to tell the story in the now longer format.

Now of all the different versions there was one character I loved of everybody the most & one actress who was my favorite incarnation of that character.

The Mom!  I hearted the mom character.  Whether it was Zhi Shu's mom, Baek Seung Jo's mom or Naoki's mom.  She was the most animated, funny, interesting, weird character I have ever seen & I adored her.  Running around in an overcoat, a scarf & glasses & not so covertly taking pictures at all times of her child's life, whether he wanted her to or not, was made cool by her alone.  And proclaiming by blinged out cardboard sign, that your son hooked up with the girl of your dreams, for him, the night before, in his college quad, became a symbol of the type of mom I want to be. {{Just kidding I wouldn't do that in real life.}}  She was awesome.  And in my opinion the best portrayal of mom was given by Jung Hye Young as Baek Seung Jo's Mom in Playful Kiss.  My hero!

So how did I like Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo?  I LOVED it.  Even though I have seen this story 4 different times in the last 2 + years it still resonates for me, on a personal level.  Just like most girls, I too had a million crushes growing up.  It seemed each week my juvenile little diary was filled with new names of new crushes. When I was 15 I fell really hard for one boy.  And I wrote my first & last crush letter & placed it in his locker when no one was looking.  I waited for a couple of weeks, no response.  Finally my best friend had enough & decided she was going to find out, even though I had already said that I was pretty sure no response was the response, she needed more.  Without telling me before hand she corned him one day after school.  It did not turn out well & ended with an insult, aimed at me, from him.  Of course my best friend in an effort to help me see he was a jerk HAD to tell me every painful detail.  I played it off & explained it was my own fault.  If I didn't want to get my feelings hurt or get rejected I should have kept my feelings to myself.  That he was entitled to his own opinion & I would deal with it.  But secretly I was heartbroken & my tender young feelings badly bruised as well.  So every time I watch her confess & watch him act coldly & insult her I bawl.  All those old feelings of rejection & hurt come zooming back & I cry for her & for me.  That first real love really is painful sometimes.  I survived & moved on, unlike OHN/XQ/Kotoko, who tried but could not.  Although in their defense I am not sure I could have either, had I also lived in the same house as my crush.
 But I do have one confession about this Kotoko, she had one intensely annoying habit, I couldn't stand.  I am used to the girls pouting & puckering their lips as a representation of their pouting & I get it is supposed to be "cute". BUT this Kotoko had this really annoying habit of super pouting her lips into a big O constantly, that drove me crazy, as it just made her appear even more vacuous than she already was supposed to do.

"O" my gosh I think my lips are stuck like this!!!

AND I noticed she didn't do this face, as much, in the first 7 episodes, as she did in the last 8.  Would that be an annoying director telling her to do it more, which I can totally believe?  If so, then the director is at fault.  The Asian version of "Duckface", just as unattractive to me.

So you guys that have watched more than one version, doesn't have to be all 4 versions, you tell me what were the pluses & minuses of each version for you.  Is it more cut & dry to you?  Can you pick one favorite version?  One favorite actor or acting couple?  Personally, as I said before, my loyalties will always be BSJ & OHN FTW!  But XQ & ZS are a seriously close 2nd.  I would love to hear what you thought of this latest version?  Was it the first version you've watched? If so, did it turn you off completely & make you hate the idea of forcing yourself to sit through another version?  Or will you now go in search of more Itazura na Kiss?!?!?  You can leave a comment on this post, on my Personal FB/Twitter pages, or on the TCA FB/Twitter pages.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  If you want another point of view, I just read a great compare & contrast, from Adgirl22, check out her blog post here.

Now some of you may be wondering what will I be doing next?  Which drama have I picked?  If I picked another drama?  Well relax, I did.  After finishing GFB, REALLY late! I decided that rather than trying to play catch up on another drama that is already airing I would simply wait for the next batch of new dramas.  Best decision ever made or I wouldn't be able to review the drama I've chosen & am really excited about.  My new  reviews will start Aug 9th when I will talk about The Master's Sun starring So Ji Sub & Gong Hyo Jin.  Next week I won't be doing any reviews of any kind as I will be going away on vacation.  Awww...I know you are totally heartbroken.  Not.  ;)

There is another ghost like story coming out as well but honestly the pairing is not my favorite & it seems to be a more serious drama version, I prefer this one as it seems, only watching will I know for sure, that it will be more of a mix of Sci-fi, comedy & romance w suspense thrown in for good measure.  I really like this pairing so much more.  But if you are interested in a more drama/suspense version of a similar like story the other one is called, "Who Are You?".

But to get you excited about my new reviews here are the most recent trailers to wet your whistles.

The Master's Sun Trailer # 1 Engsub from Huong Lan on Vimeo.

Master's Sun(The Sun of My Master) - Second... by sjstoprak

I hope to see you guys in 2 weeks for my next review & you can still look for my WWU this next week...I'm going off to write it next!  Hint: I go into Super Squee Mode about KHJ's newest MV.  So check it out on Wednesday.  Have a great week AddiKts!



  1. I can only compare two, since I watched Playful Kiss about a year ago. I'm not even sure how to start comparing them though, now I've actually finished MK *sobs*. I realllly can't make a decision about the girls. That's the only thing I really know. I adored Kotoko completely. Even her duckface (though you're right - it's weird!) didn't annoy me so much, because I like how she could be counted on to act dumb and wildly immature at times, then turn around and completely break my heart for her serious moments. It's not something I expected to see from an actress this young. The last few episodes were especially good like this.

    The moms though - I love them equally. Such an awesome character.. xD

    Have fun on vacation! I need a holiday *sings along to Henry's song Holiday* I think I'll keep up and start Master's Sun too. I've never set seen So Ji Sub, but I think Gong Hyo Jin is adorable and I watch anything with her in it, lol. Who Are You - not grabbing my interest.

    1. Yay!! I'm so glad you will watch it with me! Makes watching dramas so much more fun when you watch together! BTW...I'm Back from vacation! Thank you for the well wishes.

      As for Kotoko? I loved her as much as Oh Ha Ni! It was just that one thing that drove me batty. I loved how both versions, she showed her strong, "Oh yeah?!?! You wanna mess with me?!?!" side & her vulnerable, "I can't believe this is happening" side. Such a great character to dig into, imho. You have to watch ISWAK & TKA. Then tell me what you think as you watch.

  2. Hi unnie..Thank God i found a review that likes PK version more.

    I have been a fan of ISWAK & TK even though my friends are telling me i have weird choice of drama (as an engineer). I've watched the Filipino dubbed and the english subbed. I agree they have the best chemistry between the 3versions.

    Years later i saw PK and i fell in love with Oh Ha Ni. To the point i watched it every time im down. What amazed me was during my recap moments of PK, my boyfriend watched with me and got additcted to BSJ and OHN's characters. That made me realize how good the drama was. It's not everyday that a hardcore male would watch a korean drama over and over (i was shocked when he informed me that he watched it 3-4x already) inlcuding thr youtube specials.

    As for MK, i just started watching it online. And it's kinda weird coz it's my 1st time to watch japanes drama. Im not used with the way they act - nevertheless Kotoko and Naoki are like an anime brought to life. And yea i also dont like the duck face.

    Lastly the first Itazuri na kiss was bettter left unwatched. The guy wss cute but the way they portray kotoko was annoying.


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