A hefty (360 pages) mega-popular shojo romance Kaoru Tada’s Itazura Na Kiss (DMP) is another of those series recounting the comic trials of a ditsy girl attracted to an impossibly talented boy. The series opens as our heroine, sweet-faced Kotoko, gathers up the courage to pass a note to the boy she’s been secretly pining after for two years. Said object of her attraction, Naoki Irie, is a beautiful genius effortlessly good at everything he tries — top of his class with a rumoured I.Q. of 180 — while our girl struggles to hold her own in the school’s “very bottom class.” In front of everyone, Naoki refuses to even look at the note, a public humiliation that we know will linger through the rest of Kotoka’s high school years.
But, then, comic contrivance in the form of a small-scale earthquake intervenes. Kotoka’s new home, built with “cheaped out” wood, is leveled, forcing father and daughter to move in with an old school chum. This auld acquaintance proves to be the father of the arrogant Naoki, so our twosome soon find themselves living under the same roof. Romantic tension and sit-complications ensure, especially when the two try to keep their respective classmates (including a GTO-styled boy named Kin-Chan with a major crush on Kotoko) unaware of their new living situation. Meanwhile, the duo’s parents — convinced the girl and boy make a perfect couple — start scheming to push ‘em together.
Which doesn’t mean it won’t take a good many comic complications for that to actually happen. Originally debuting in 1991, the series continued until Kaoru Tada’s unexpected death in 1999. DMP’s publication of the series will comprise 12 volumes, and though the teen-rated series never reached a full finish, I don’t think that most readers of this series will mind. After all, Archie Andrews has gone for decades without definitively choosing ‘tween Betty or Veronica. Some sitcoms work just as well, after all, when we’re allowed to imagine our own conclusions. Powered by Sidelines