This Review Contains Some Spoilers in the Form of Fangirl Squees
After trudging through Playful Kiss and mostly enjoying It Started With a Kiss /They Kiss Again, I’d vowed that I wasn’t going to watch the Japanese version of this story. However, recently posts were all over my tumblr wall, twitter, facebook, and on DramaFever about ItaKiss the Honeymoon episodes and season 2… I was intrigued by how cute it all appeared. Then with some wonderful feedback from some of my good friends in the blogverse I couldn’t resist watching season one of Love in Tokyo.
What I Wanted:
1) Something adorable, but familiar. I wasn’t quite in the mood to re-watch one of my favorites, but I wanted to know the story.
2) A better rendition of the story with better character growth.
3) Light, fluffy and an easy watch that would be mostly uncomplicated.
4) The same adorable Bromance between the fathers.
5) And an adorable love story between the second male lead and his foreign girlfriend.
6) A less painful version of the main female lead.
What I Discovered:
It was cacktastic, I honestly couldn’t stop watching it. Looking back over the dramas that I’ve watched recently I realized that it has been a long time since I’ve watched a drama that was this cracktasticly good. I watched the entire 16 episodes in a three day span. Yeah, for me it was that fun. By far the best rendition of the story. It blew the K-version and the TW-version out of the water. Perhaps it was my familiarity with the story that made it so enjoyable to watch. Regardless, I had so much fun with this show. I cannot wait to start the honeymoon special and then the second season!
All of the familiar characters were there! It was great to feel familiar with the story and yet also watching something completely new. When compared to the other two versions that I’ve watched this one was just so much more smooth. It told the story in a compact way, packing each episode with content. I hardly felt like there was time where the scene or episode was unneeded or just put there to extend the show. Everything had a purpose and pushed the story forward at a quick clip.
Both the K-Drama version and this rendition shared the fact that it was a pretty uncomplicated watch. No overly heavy drama, or moments where it turned into a melodrama, or sections where the light and fluffy story disappeared. What this had which the K-drama did not was that it managed to suck in my attention 200% for every episode. I was never bored, never frustrated with the portrayal of the characters, and utterly in love with the characters.
What this version seemed to lack that both the TW-Drama and the K-Drama did exceptionally well was the Bromance between the Fathers. It fell completely flat for me, which is rather sad as the Father Bromance is one of my favorite parts of this story. I’m not sure if the writing wasn’t there to support it, or the actors didn’t gel as well, or if it might be a cultural thing. Is the Bromance as big in Japan as it is in Korea? Regardless, I missed that in this show.
I was pretty disappointed that the second male lead Ikezawa Kinnosuke didn’t get introduced to his love line in the first season of the show. Seeing him squirm under the intense obsession like love that he had once smothered Aihara Kotoko with was so much fun! And watching him go from annoyance and frustration to love is just the cutest. Oh well, there’s a second season so hopefully that is included there.
Finally a rendition of this story in which I didn’t want to muzzle the female lead! She perfectly embodied the spontaneous attitude, the simple mindset, and overbearing love! However, she balanced it with just the right amount of stubbornness, willfulness, and common sense so that she was not a caricature of a person. But rather was believable as a person. I loved her so very much!
Tidbits Which I Could Live Without
I wasn’t as pleased with the Fathers. Yes I am still hung up on the fact that I didn’t see a huge Bromance between them. For me that was just such an integral part of the story. I mean, Irie Shigeki opens his house up and allows Aihara Shigeru to move in with his daughter. You’d have to really love that person to bits to let them move in and live with you. Especially since the Fathers had lost touch for several years, so they weren’t even close friends in the moment. It was my biggest disappointment with the show as a whole.
Tidbits Which I Loved to Pieces
The chemistry between the two leads was so phenomenal! Even when Irie Naoki was aloof and condescending to Aihara Kotoko there was an undeniable connection between them. Then as the show moved forward and Irie Naoki’s heart thawed and he came to realize his love that chemistry exploded. His love wasn’t overpowering and in your face like Aihara Kotoko, but there were definite signs of affection on his part. I didn’t have to dig through subtle context to find love. It sold the whole story for me.
Watch this show!!!! Seriously!!! If you have never watched any rendition of this story then watch this one right away! If you have watched either the K-Drama or TW-Drama versions already it doesn’t matter, watch this show!!! Honestly, I loved it so much and want to make everyone watch it so that we can gush about just how good it was. I cannot wait for Season Two!