*sigh* Why must you make things so difficult for yourself, Naoki?

Judge me all you want but the drama I am currently watching religiously is (much to my own embarrassment -.-) ItaKiss ~ Love in Tokyo. I’m pretty sure that at least one circle of hell has frozen over considering that I have never been able to stomach any of the previous adaptations, much less the manga.

Not going to lie: this is to my brain what candy floss is to my teeth but damn if it doesn’t fill my days with spazzy glee. With the exception of episode 11, I haven’t had a problem with any of the subsequent ones. I know there are people who find the pacing of this final arc a little slow but I actually like its introspective tone and the fact that it shows the characters growing up and contemplating their future. They can’t stay in high school or college forever and canon or not, if Naoki and Kotoko are meant to be together for the long haul, I need this drama to show me that they share a connection that cannot be replaced. I need to see something more substantial than cute displays of puppy love.

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Long, rambly post ahead. Spoilers galore, naturally. I beg your indulgence and dear lord, it’s now T-minus 10 minutes to the episode finale. I haven’t been this excited about a drama since SUFBB. Pretty sure everyone is going to gif and screencap the crap out of this last episode as soon as it’s done airing XDDD

One of the problems I’ve always had with the earlier ItaKiss adaptations is the fact that Naoki and Kotoko end up getting married so quickly and at such a young age, despite having such an unbalanced relationship. How can their marriage possible last when they hardly know each other? They don’t even date, presumably because he is terrified of his mother finding out and taking over his life completely. I know ItaKiss is supposed to be shoujo fluff but there are limits to how much disbelief I’m willing to suspend. Call me a cynic but three kisses do not a marriage make.

It’s one thing to like someone but quite another to decide that you want to be with that person for the rest of your life. How many of us actually end up marrying the first person we fall in love with?

What this current adaptation has done very well is show how Naoki has fallen for Kotoko. It’s clear that he likes her a lot but does he love her enough to want to spend the rest of his life with her? That’s what it needs to show in this final arc. I believe there is still a part of him that is not quite ready to acknowledge how important she is to him yet, which is why I think it is necessary for him to go through the pain of this whole omiai charade in episode 14. We can all describe in detail how well Kotoko complements him till the cows come home but until he comes to that conclusion himself, he is never going to be 100% convinced that she is The One. Without getting a live preview of what an alternate future without her looks like, I dare say their relationship would very likely have remained Naoki’s little secret, in part because he’s a stubborn ass who doesn’t want to give his mother the satisfaction of knowing that she was right about Kotoko all along.

This isn’t about me wanting to watch him suffer but if this is what it takes for him to finally get his ass into gear and admit, without obfuscating the issue, that he needs her in his life, then I am all for it. I only wish he had had the courtesy to let Kotoko know about the omiai first before dropping this bombshell on his family. It didn’t have to be an elaborate explanation. Just one simple sentence would have sufficed. Considering all that she’s done for him, he owes her this much at the very least, especially if he claims to like her as he does in episodes 8 and 10. I have always been willing to cut Naoki some slack (in fact, my sympathies were with him during his argument with his parents in episode 12) but in this case, no matter how you explain it, there isn’t a good enough reason to justify such a callous decision. What he does in this scene is downright shitty and the more I think about it, cowardly. It’s one thing to not walk a girl home at night or to offer her your coat when it’s cold but this is on a whole different level altogether. This is like kicking someone in the gut. Repeatedly.

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Damn it, Naoki. You are making it very difficult for me to root for you right now. That rain scene had better be worth it otherwise we are going to have WORDS.

If you want to talk about challenges, loving Naoki has been a real ordeal for Kotoko and at this point, I just want to give the poor darling a big hug and tell her that there are other men (and not just Kin-chan) who are far worthier of her love on this planet. All I can say is that Naoki had better MAKE IT UP TO HER GOOD once he exits the mental fog he’s currently in otherwise I think I might just strangle him with his tie.

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Should have pulled it tighter when you had the chance, Kotoko

That said, I don’t actually have an issue with him going for the omiai (it’s the way he breaks the news that I hate.) I can also see why he insists on going for it even when his parents tell him that he doesn’t have to. It isn’t simply a case of him playing the filial son. It’s actually more a case of him having extreme tunnel vision at the moment.

Naoki is not someone who handles emotional stress well. When his emotions overwhelm him, his logic flies out of the window and he tends to do things that are not only extreme but out of character as well. We have seen this happen before. Case in point: the graduation party in episode 5 where, consumed with jealousy, envy and a whole bunch of other deliciously confused emotions, he creates a scene in front of everyone just to prove how much Kotoko likes him. For someone who claims to hate being involved in such silly rumours and scandals (and this is to say nothing of the fact that ordinarily, he wouldn’t even have attended such a gathering in the first place), he’s single-handedly fuelling them on his own and drawing attention to himself. If everyone wasn’t so busy laughing at Kotoko, someone would have asked him, “Who are you and what have you done with the real Irie?”

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I wonder, Naoki. If she had said ‘no’, would you have recited the contents of her love letter in front of everyone (and risked another slap)?

A normal, emotionally well-adjusted 17-year-old would have figured out a way to talk to his crush alone. Because Naoki is an emotional retard who has no idea how to initiate a conversation with Kotoko without resorting to insults, he has to do this — and then blame her for it, of course. Like it’s her fault that he’s violating his own rules about keeping their distance and never speaking to each other in public. Dude, she was just stuffing her face and minding her own business with her friends when you decided you could not bear to be ignored any longer.

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Naoki is obviously suffering from short-term memory loss. Methinks his mother needs to give him more Omega-3 supplements.

Unless you have a similar EQ of -200, it’s obvious that Superboy fancies Kotoko like crazy. And how can he not when he sees her walking around the house in those cute shorts and miniskirts practically every single day? Look, Naoki may be a cold, unfeeling genius but he’s a growing teenage boy and he sure as hell isn’t blind. If that little nighttime encounter in his bedroom in episode 3 is any indication, his hormones are in no way as retarded as his emotions.

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Only in your dreams, Naoki. And ‘fess up: you have dreamt about this, haven’t you~~?

The problem for Boy Genius is that he has no idea where to begin with her because not only do they have nothing in common, she’s so different from anyone he knows. At least with the girls in his class or someone of a similar academic standing, he can find some common ground but what exactly does he talk about with Kotoko? And then there’s also the fact that their relationship begins on such an odd footing. She’s nothing but a nuisance to him for the longest time and then without realising it, his heart is suddenly doing somersaults around her while his poor confused brain is trying to play catch up and going: “Wait, what?!”

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[via 1000drawings]

The second time Superboy has a meltdown (by Naoki’s standards, at least) is in episode 7, when after manfully trying — and FAILING MISERABLY — to convince himself that he is better off without Kotoko in his life, he finally gets off his ass and goes looking for her. (Does anyone else detect a pattern here?!)

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Ahahahahaha! Oh look at you, Naoki, acting so cool and strutting away in slo-mo for the benefit of Kotoko, who you hope is watching you ~~

Oh Kotoko, if you only knew what your Irie-kun’s feeling at this very moment. If he didn’t miss you like he was going crazy, there’s no way his stubborn pride would have allowed him anywhere near the tennis court.

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Now, at this point, a normal 17-year-old would have asked the girl he likes out on a date. But as we have already established, Naoki is far from normal, especially when he is under emotional duress. Which explains why he takes it upon himself to give Kotoko a crash course in tennis. No doubt it’s a very sweet gesture (for Naoki, at least), one that’s borne out of a genuine desire to give her a decent shot at playing a game of tennis — and against Sudou and Matsumoto, no less. Yes, it’s also an excuse for him to see her day and night, as well as to, um, touch her without raising any suspicions, as some Chinese fans on Baidu have pointed out XD (remember what I said about him being a teenage boy? Trust Naoki to think of EVERYTHING, hahahahaha.)  However it’s an extreme decision nonetheless, especially given that Kotoko’s hand-eye coordination is probably close to non-existent. There are far easier ways to get close to a girl and I can only marvel at Naoki’s dedication and immense reserves of patience.

Since we’re talking about this episode, I know the final arc has shown Kin-chan to be the Hanazawa Rui/Moon Jae-shin of this drama and to be sure, he is nicer and far more sensitive than Naoki. However there is one thing that the latter can do, which Kin-chan can’t, and that is the fact that he is able to uncover Kotoko’s potential and give her the push she needs to fulfil it.

If it had been Kin-chan in the scene below, Kotoko would never have learned how to play tennis because rather than see her unhappy or in the slightest bit of discomfort, he would have told her to quit the moment she fell down. In fact if you recall, he does tell her to do so when he sees her covered in bruises. Naoki, on the other hand, has no qualms about pushing Kotoko to her limits and out of her comfort zone (one of the advantages of being an unfeeling genius.) He’s already seen what she can do and he knows that with time and enough effort, she is capable of accomplishing more than what a lot of people (herself included) give her credit for.

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And this is why even though Kin-chan is an absolute sweetheart (and I really do wish him all the happiness in the world), I still think Naoki is the better match for Kotoko because he will motivate her to think big and better herself (as much as he indulges her in episode 13, I don’t think he’ll be content to see her stay home and keep house.) Kin-chan, on the other hand, will treat her like a princess (which isn’t a bad thing in itself) but he’ll never be able to give Kotoko the sense of accomplishment that she gets from achieving what she thought was impossible.

Angst and Loathing in Tokyo

In this last arc, Naoki’s emotions get the better of him once more, though this time it has more to do with the existential conflict that he’s facing rather than Kotoko. What he says when he finds out about his father’s hospitalisation is already a big red flag where his state of mind is concerned: he doesn’t just offer to fill in for him till Papa Irie gets better. Instead, he goes one step further by telling his mother that he is going to “save” the company. Seriously Naoki, who died and asked you to become a martyr? *sigh*

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There’s more to his decision than just a sense of filial duty. Obviously, there’s the remorse he feels over what he said to his father earlier but I think there’s also the fact that he can’t bear to see the company go under. Despite not wanting to succeed the older man, Naoki does have a lot of respect for the fact that he successfully built up the business from scratch. It’s just too bad no one tells him that he’d have a far easier time pulling the company out of the red if he were to discuss the problems he’s facing with other people instead of shouldering them all by himself. I’m willing to bet that if Naoki had talked to Kotoko about this, she might just have offered him one of her startlingly lucid insights, as she often does in situations like this.

By the time he gets the offer of the omiai, Naoki is already at a very low point and can no longer see the wood for the trees. All he knows is that to save his father’s company, he needs money. And the chairman is offering him the money that he needs. All he has to do is marry his granddaughter. A more normal person would have considered looking for other investors before agreeing to such a proposition but as we all know by now, Naoki doesn’t always think straight when he’s under emotional stress, hence the reason he accepts it and subjects himself (and Kotoko, grrr) to a giant clusterfuck of pain. Really Naoki, for someone with an IQ of 200, you sure don’t behave like it sometimes…

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Once again, that rain scene had better be worth it…

Of course, being the stubborn fool that he is, Naoki isn’t going to change his mind that quickly even though he already knows right from the start that while Sahoko is in every way the perfect Japanese bride on paper, she is in reality not what he seeks in a partner. 

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Following the last two episodes, some Chinese fans on Baidu have taken to speculating about what Naoki’s, um, “night life” might look like if he ends up marrying Sahoko. Without going into detail, let’s just say the consensus is that there probably won’t be lots of fireworks XD

Well Naoki, I hope you’ve had your fill of pain and suffering. Please do us all a favour and come to your senses soon otherwise FuruYuki might have to postpone his fan meeting in Shanghai to avoid being pelted by the hordes of irate ItaKiss fangirls.

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Your life is going to be very miserable and lonely if you continue living in denial, Naoki…

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20 comments

  1. Omg I love this entire write up SO MUCH. Had hoped to we’re watching this and so yay that you are! Such thought-provoking and believable insights – I’m so with you on Naoki and his emotional duress and agree completely about what you wrote about Kin-chan not being The One. I never thought about it that way but once I read what you wrote, seriously I went – ah yes, that’s it.

    Thanks for writing, it was such a great, fun read :)

    1. Hahaha, thanks for the kind words and I’m really glad you enjoyed this post, Jandoe :DDDD

      I know this drama has been making a strong case for Kin-chan but I find it very hard to picture them together, firstly because it’s so obvious Kotoko doesn’t regard him as anything more than a friend. Secondly, why does it have to be one or the other? Why does she have to be with Kin-chan if her relationship with Naoki doesn’t work out? Has Japan run out of men? Sure, he’s nice but just because he’s incredibly sweet doesn’t mean that he’s the right person for her.

      I’m also not a fan of the fact that he proposes to her. Like dude, you are only setting yourself up for some major heartache because a) she doesn’t love you and b) getting married is not going to change this fact. But this is more a gripe with the original source material, which has extremely dated values, than this adaptation itself. As progressive as ItaKiss 2013 has been, I’m guessing there are still a couple of things from the manga that they can’t alter too much.

  2. I need to reblog this. Although I love the manga and ISWAK against my better judgment but you are saying so many things I’m in a fog myself to put to words except I DO need to strangle Irie, very often, being an emotional retard and he himself is reeling in so much pain doesn’t explain the shitty words of hurt he said to Kotoko.

    1. OMG, MOOKIE! So happy to see you here!!! :DDDDDDD

      I think we should all stand in line and take turns to shake Naoki out of his mental orbit of stupidity. You’re absolutely right, all the hurt in the world (and most of it is self-inflicted, mind you) doesn’t justify why he’s such an ass to Kotoko. The only rational explanation I can come up with is that his obsession with saving his father’s company has caused his head to be buried deep in his sphincter.

      1. Hi sweetie! ^^

        I honestly had enough of it when he DARES to be his old meanie self to Kotoko. Go be your sacrificial lamb for the family or call it logical/rational to go along with an arranged marriage to the perfect specimen of a lady, BUT he owes Kotoko some darn explanations, what is the hurt in just informing her face to face this decision of his that is also affecting her immensely?! He just went along his old sorta patronizing way like he is the only beacon of sanity out of EVERYONE and taking for granted Kotoko should get the perfect logic behind and move on and lick her wounds all by herself. He is the one starting it all, without the kiss, all his leaning on Kotoko whenever he needs her all along, Kotoko might have moved on, he was the one preventing that from happening claiming he is the only one she likes/can like. Then when it’s convenient for him, he went kthxbye I’ve got a better catch. IF Yuki’s Irie showed much more wavering and pain in front of Kotoko in particular I would be a-alright but he went all the way holier than thou back to the unfeeling Irie we met in the very beginning when we have no use of strong front.. Irie should not be able to contain his feelings THIS well at this very point in 15. And although I appreciate 沙穂子’s interaction in 15 with Kotoko, It was time which could be better spent elsewhere. End rant *hahaha I didn’t know I am still pissed off and sorry for dumping it on your bloggie! :P*

        BUT all is well after 16! ^^

  3. I haven’t seen episode 15 yet, but I didn’t like the whole bringing his girlfriend home to the family while the girl whose been proclaiming her love for 5 years is there in It Started with a Kiss. That move by Xi Shi really made me mad as it was unnecessarily cruel. However,at least in ISWAK Xi Shu jerkwad move was the final push Xiang Qin’s dad needed to move out and push Xiang Qin to move on.

    1. I think this scene is similar to the one in ep. 14 where he drops the omiai bombshell on everyone. Again, he could have chosen to do this in a less hurtful manner (like arranging for the families to meet outside) but no, he has to be an absolute a-hole about it. True, this move of his does convince Kotoko’s dad that it’s time for them to move out but frankly, if I were in her shoes, I would have initiated the move myself the moment I found out about the omiai and let Naoki stew in his misery alone. But that’s why I’m not the heroine of ItaKiss XD

      That said, I do have a theory as to why Naoki does all the cruel things he does in eps 14 and 15. I think he is doing this partly to see how she will react. Naoki actually has a bit of a perverse streak in him and he enjoys pushing Kotoko’s buttons. We’ve seen him do this in a more playful manner several times in the earlier episodes, e.g. when he goes on that elaborate fake-date with Matsumoto. There’s nothing playful about what he does in eps 14 and 15, of course, and I’m certainly not excusing his behaviour, but this is one aspect of Naoki’s character to consider, for sure.

      1. I agree that it almost seems like Naoki is waiting for a reaction from Kotoko. The scene on the stairs when Kotoko, being the sweety that she is, complements S and says Naoki made a good choice he seemed almost disappointed like he’s waiting for her to protest.

      2. This scene does make you recall that time in episode 6 when he was trying to make Kotoko jealous by listing all of Matsumoto’s positive traits but when you look at it in relation to everything that has happened between him and Kotoko since then, it just makes Naoki look really cruel. Even if I do accept that he’s trying to push her buttons and elicit a reaction, I also have to question what he hopes to get out of it. Back in ep 6, he was jealous of Kin-chan and trying to get his own back at her, but in this case, what he’s doing isn’t motivated by jealousy at all but insensitivity and, imo, a rather perverse streak. He already knows how much she likes him so why does he still need to make her jealous?

      3. I definitely feel this version failed to convey Naoki’s conflicted emotions throughout the whole arranged marriage arc. Maybe due to a lack of time, but you never really get any sense of hesitation or doubt like in the TDrama were he seemed to struggle more.

  4. I’ve been blogging episode recaps of this show too on my Tumblr, against my better judgment. What did the show get right with its cracky shoujo cuteness formula that makes it bring out the cute-things-and-fluff thirteen year old in us all? ; A ;

    Lovely write-up with insights I totally agree with – I think we even used the same words when writing about the Naoki/Kotoko dynamic and ‘pushing each other’ quality. Kotoko gives Naoki the heart and impulsiveness and he pushes her to keep improving and expecting more from herself.

    I have bigger problems with Ep 14 – 15 Naoki but mostly with the way the writers and directors didn’t present the reasons behind Naoki’s decisions as well as they should have. I’m interested to know what you think of Episode 16 and whether you think it paid off (:

    1. I don’t even want to know how many times I’ve watched the earlier episodes. It’s like Cruel City/The Queen’s Classroom — what?

      Kotoko gives Naoki the heart and impulsiveness and he pushes her to keep improving and expecting more from herself.

      Yes, and the important thing is that he also enjoys watching her succeed. That’s why even though they don’t do all the things that normal couples do e.g. go on dates, you do get the sense that they complement each other all the same. Now if only he’d be less of a retard in the feelings department, theirs would be a case of OTP perfection.

      I have bigger problems with Ep 14 – 15 Naoki but mostly with the way the writers and directors didn’t present the reasons behind Naoki’s decisions as well as they should have.

      I read your posts — can’t believe I didn’t see them on Tumblr earlier! Yes, I agree that Naoki’s decisions in these episodes are often baffling because they disregard everything that happened earlier. It’s as if episode 10 didn’t happen at all. As I mentioned above, I wouldn’t have had such a problem if he had broken things off with Kotoko cleanly right from the start just by telling her that he needed to get married to another girl. There’d still have been room for plenty of angst — but with less pain. With these two episodes, it’s as if he’s deliberately choosing to be an asshole. I’m like, ‘Dude, aren’t you supposed to be in love with this girl? Why the hell are you doing this to her?’ Apart from the fact that I believe he is under severe emotional stress and has his head firmly lodged where the sun don’t shine, I don’t think there’s a good enough reason to justify his treatment of her.

      Can’t say I blame Kotoko for not knowing that he loves her. Hell, if I were in her shoes, I probably wouldn’t be able to guess either.

      I have watched episode 16 and while I do wish the production team had handled certain things differently, I think ultimately they gave the ItaKiss fans the ending everyone wanted. I will write about it soon but yes, like you, I am really glad that Naoki didn’t abandon Sahoko at the altar. That would have made him an irredeemable ass, for sure.

      1. Yeah, I think in normal couples, you have all the nice things and dates first and then, over time, trials and tribulations may challenge their relationship. There’s a sense they’d start dating (or…er…married life… o_o) with a full understanding of each other’s faults and the rest will be discovering (or expressing) appreciation and affection for each other’s good qualities (:

        Oh, thanks for reading! I hope you liked my long-winded rambling =_=; I think the show failed to show the subtlety of Naoki’s reaction to the whole omiai arc. If he was motivated by guilt or responsibility, I at least wanted a sense that he was an unwilling but resigned participant in the whole mess, genuinely felt bad about hurting Kotoko and tried his best to avoid her in order to stop causing her pain. Too many parts of 14 and 15 conveyed totally out of character and unnecessary ‘Sahoko is totes better than you’ triumph which didn’t sit right with me ):

        Looking forward to your thoughts on the finale~

  5. Yo chingu! I love your spazz about ItalKiss Tokyo! I’ve watched the original Japanese live action drama with Kassy and the Taiwanese ISWAK but not the Korean version. In both ItalKiss Tokyo and ISWAK , second lead syndrome totally kicked in. I was blind to everything else but the selfless love of Kin chan and his other permutations. I’m really wondering how this one will end up cause I read somewhere that the mangaka died before finishing the story. FuruYuki seems like the perfect Naoki Irie on screen and in real life.

    1. CHINGU, SASHIBURI!!!!!

      In both ItalKiss Tokyo and ISWAK , second lead syndrome totally kicked in.

      Oh, you and your second lead syndrome (though Jiro Wang in ISWAK? Really??) Uh, don’t know how far you’ve gotten with the series but (spoiler) unfortunately, Kin-chan doesn’t end up with anyone in this adaptation. T.T  (/spoiler)

      What else are you watching now? I know you mentioned Pintokona some time back on Twitter.

  6. I have just finished ep 14 and i’m having the exact thoughts,lol except i’m trying not to feel sorry for naoki for the way he treated kotoko before but i’m failing miserably at it,lol

    1. Maybe watching episode 15 will help strengthen your resolve :p
      I am bitter and jaded, so maybe that’s why I’m not so easily swayed by his solitary moments of angst, haha. Frankly though, I think he’s the cause of his own suffering. It’s like his mom said — he needs to be stimulated, and maybe this is his weird way of making his life more interesting. Who knows what’s going on in that head of his? But as I said before, if he wants to go for the omiai, fine. I have no issue with that. But why hurt Kotoko for a decision that he made entirely on his own? It wasn’t as if she put a gun to his head and forced him to do it.

  7. I really did enjoy this drama in the beginning, but I lost my interest around episode 5, I think. Tbh, I’m ultimately conflicted about their romance. I quite like Yuki as Irie, but for the life of me, I could never understand her infatuation with him. Yes, he’s handsome, enigmatic, very swoon-worhty. But he’s most often dismissive towards her and even manipulative of her feelings. When he kissed her just to make a point that she couldn’t quit him, it made me feel very undignified on her behalf.

    I know the moral of the story is that persistence and sincerity pay off, but dear lord it’s aggravating to watch a young girl pining for a guy who is both too coward and confused about what he should do with his life to deal with his feelings for her. Moreover, after a while, all Totoko did was openly stalking him, being miserable and lamenting on whether she should just quit him, over and over again. At first, I was sympathetic with her, because I had been in similar situation, but I drew my line at allowing others, especially men, walk over my feelings. IMO, Totoko forgave him one too many times. And I think that’s the major reason why this show stopped being enjoyable for me.

    Sorry, this wasn’t meant to make you feel bad for liking it. I just meant to say it happened to poke me in all the wrong places where I just couldn’t tolerate.

    1. Hahaha! No worries — you didn’t make me feel bad. I’ve always had issues with ItaKiss and ultimately, it is a product of its time (i.e. early 90s Japan, which is responsible for a number of titles I’m not v. fond of eg. Hana Yori Dango, Sailor Moon etc). I totally understand why you’d feel frustrated watching ItaKiss and believe me, I’m mentally editing the drama as I watch it.

      I know the moral of the story is that persistence and sincerity pay off, but dear lord it’s aggravating to watch a young girl pining for a guy who is both too coward and confused about what he should do with his life to deal with his feelings for her

      I too have a problem with this idea because it’s so condescending, like he’s rewarding her for her efforts. But in the case of this adaptation, Yuki’s Naoki is a lot more flawed (and human) than his predecessors and I believe he falls for her not because he just wants to shut her up but because he realises that without Kotoko, his life is emptier and duller. I am willing to accept that he’s immature in dealing with his feelings — in the first place, he isn’t very good with expressing his emotions and when he falls in love for the first time, it throws his life in disarray. Because he’s so sensible in every other aspect of his life, we tend to expect him to be equally mature about dealing with his feelings. But the fact is that he is just a 17-year-old boy and this is the first time he’s feeling something so intensely. I will say that very few people can be like Kotoko. It takes balls to be so upfront about the fact that you like someone. Personally, I could never do half the things she does.

      IMO, Totoko forgave him one too many times.

      This is always going to be one of the annoying things about ItaKiss. As I said in my other post, there are certain constants you can’t change about this series whether you like it or not and this is one of them. I’d be okay with the rain scene if I watched it on mute but the dialogue, as I mentioned there, annoys me because a) the things he says are so infuriating and b) she forgives him so easily. I would definitely have made him work for it but it would no longer have been ItaKiss if that had happened.

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