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Manga / Itazura Na Kiss

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A manga by Kaoru Tada that debuted in 1991, Itazura Na Kiss (also known as ItaKiss) follows the story of Kotoko Aihara and Naoki Irie. Beginning in their senior year of high school, Kotoko, rejected by Naoki, the guy she likes, finds she and her father homeless after their house collapses in an earthquake due to shoddy construction. Hearing the news, her father's childhood friend invites them to stay with them. Concidentally, she finds her father's friend is Naoki's father, and comes to live in their house with her cold, distant crush.

Unlike lots of conventional Shoujo, the story spans a considerable time frame of well over a decade. It's important to note as well that it's not just a simple time-skip either, the progression is filled in with lots of development.

The series' popularity has earned it a 2008 anime adaptation, two Japanese live action adaptations, two Taiwanese live action TV series, a Korean live action TV series, a Thai live action TV series and a live action movie trilogy.


This show features examples of:

  • Accidental Kiss: In the manga, the story opens with one of these between Kotoko and Naoki during a hallway collision.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Considering the author's death before the manga was completed, most adaptations do this, especially regarding later development.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Naoki is a rare protagonist example. Not that he hasn't his share of Big Brother Instinct.
  • Always Second Best: Naoki has a rival in the person of Seiichi Funatsu, who no matter how hard he works, he never managed to beat Naoki in anything. Naoki eventually calls him on this, and has a Pet the Dog moment saying he should start focusing on what he could do with that good brain of his instead of spending his time trying to beat him. But since at that time he was hitting on his wife to spite him, he kicks the dog saying he'll be always number two, no matter what and repeatedly calling him NumberTwo.
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  • Anguished Declaration of Love: When Kotoko and Naoki confess their love for each other:
    Naoki: You love me! You won't be able to love anyone else!
    Kotoko: Why are you so confident? (beat) That's right! It's exactly as you say! But what choice do I have? You don't love me. You don't care about me...
    Naoki: (kisses her) Don't tell me that you love any other man.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Yuuki, Naoki's younger brother.
  • Arc Welding: The anime does some serious arc welding. Also, minor arcs covered by the manga are entirely skipped away into the abyss.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: A good number of these delivered throughout the series, usually between couples.
  • Author Appeal: Like Tada's other works, this manga features a Girl Next Door daughter of a chef but a Lethal Chef herself, involved with a Chick Magnet with a little brother.
    • Also has one of the main characters is from Osaka, her hometown, as elements from Osaka are always present.
  • Babies Ever After: In the anime, Naoki and Kotoko, Kinnosuke and Chris, Satomi with her husband, and Jinko with her husband.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: As her co-worker Moto-chan notes, Kotoko really looks sweet when she's sleeping. It's why Naoki kisses her when she falls asleep in the woods.
  • Berserk Button: Put a tennis racket in Sudou's hand and he becomes a sadist with Unstoppable Rage. It's why the tennis club has so many dropouts.
  • Beta Couple: Kinnosuke and Christine are the couple who gets the more development after the Official Couple. In few episodes they even serve as a Foil.
  • Betty and Veronica: Kotoko is the Betty and Yuuko Matsumoto the Veronica to Naoki's Archie. And our Archie loved the Betty all along.
  • Big Brother Worship: Yuuki has a bad case of this. He follows his brother's example in everything he does, though he's lucky to be smart almost like him, otherwise he would be ridiculous. In the manga he even is content to be one day his brother's Number Two at the Family Business though he's the one actually interested to the job. After Naoki Took a Level in Kindness, he discusses with him that he admired his cool demeanour, but admires him even more now that he learned to pursue his dream and even start a family.
  • Big Damn Kiss: It finally happens when Naoki declares to Kotoko. He even tells her that she doesn't need to keep count from now.
  • Big Fancy House: The Iries' house is very big and modern-looking, with plenty of space for Kotoko and her father to inhabit. They make it even bigger with for their marriage plan between Naoki and Kotoko.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
    • Kotoko and her friends: Satomi (blonde/light-brown), Jinko (brunette) and Kotoko (redhead),
    • Naoki's possible Love Interests: Christine (blonde), Yuuko (brunette) and Kotoko (redhead).
  • Book Dumb: Kotoko Aihara and the others in Class F. Yuuki's eventual girlfriend Konomi is also this.
  • Bridal Carry: Naoki carries out Kotoko like this a lot when she's sick or injured, for example when she faints in the street and Naoki has to take her to the hospital.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Naoki, at least until he finds his true calling as a doctor. His mother states to Kotoko that he never studies and goes to bed very early, unlike average students, who are stuck with books till late night.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: A lot of grief would've been avoided had Naoki simply voiced his growing feelings for Kotoko earlier.
  • Circling Birdies: Happens with Kotoko quite often, mostly when she is in day dreaming mode and smashes her head, resulting some circling birdies or stars around her head.
  • City Mouse: When visiting Naoki's family in Kyushu, Kotoko doesn't fit into their country life and is the Butt-Monkey for most of the episode.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Mild example with Kotoko. While she acts clingy to Naoki, even following him when appears to going out with someone else, when she comes on her sense she knows when to give up.
  • Cock Fight: In the manga Kotoko's two Hopeless Suitors Kinnosuke and Taketo have a huge fight near the library until Naoki walks in and coldly states that there's no point in their fighting since the only one Kotoko loves is him.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Thanks to Time Skip, the plot covers its protagonists' arcs from high school to their working lives narrating their Character Development.
  • Composite Character: In the anime, Christine Robbins is one of these combining the manga characters of Christine and Sahoko.
  • Covert Pervert: Since he never seems to be interested in girls it's what Kinnosuke assumes about Naoki. He's actually quite right.
    • Naoki himself actually exploits this by acting like a Memetic Molester (he pretends to aggressively hit on her) to scare her away from his room when she sneaked in to steal his homework;
    • Also his teasing comments on Kotoko's looks and out-of-character malicious flirting, when are not mere trolling may very well be a sign of his attraction, since he's never seen to do this to any other woman despite being a Chick Magnet;
    • Although his behavior never really changes, after marriage it's very clear he enjoys making love with wifey.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Deconstructed with Naoki. While he does get jealous, given his nature he doesn't even realize it and copes with his feelings by getting colder and even mean instead of openly express his jealousy. While before the decisive Green-Eyed Epiphany in the manga this happens more than once much to Kotoko's obliviousness, the best example is after their marriage a colleague of Kotoko has the hots for her and may succeed in tearing them apart. He realizes that he has been jealous for years only after a talk with Kinnosuke, of all people.
    • Played very straight with Kinnosuke, who usually overreacts when Kotoko and Naoki (or every guy who would date Kotoko) are concerned. Naoki is aware of this and often teases him.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Seems that Kotoko isn't able to simply walk without breaking something, or injuring herself or other people.
  • Date Peepers: Kotoko, Sudou and Matsumoto are occasionally guilty of this.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Naoki. He personally admits that he only started to feel certain emotions after meeting Kotoko.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Since Naoki is the the male lead, it's rather obvious that Kinnosuke eventually wouldn't get Kotoko.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: When pregnant Kotoko couldn't help but stare giggling at her breast growth, to Naoki's annoyance.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: The decisive proof that Naoki loves Kotoko is that he gently kisses her while she's sleeping under a tree. She actually felt that kiss, but thought it was All Just a Dream since Naoki would never do such thing.
    • A Call-Back to that time is when Keita watches Kotoko sleep, Naoki walks in and asks him what he means to do with her and tells him to stay away from his wife.
  • Enemy Mine: Kotoko and Yuuko Matsumoto team up when Naoki is set to marry Sahoko (Chris in the anime).
  • Even the Guys Want Him: We can't blame Motoki for being all over Naoki, hmmmm?
  • First Kiss: In the manga, Kotoko and Naoki manage this several times: an Accidental Kiss, then non-romantic kiss, and finally romantic kiss. In the anime, this takes the form of a combination Shut Up and Take That kiss.
  • Foreshadowing: In the very first episode Kotoko's father suggests that since he's widowed he'd like a Multigenerational Household with Kotoko and her eventual husband living with him. Kotoko is not thrilled. But eventually ends up living with her father and her in-laws.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Kotoko and Naoki got married two weeks after their engagement, but since his mother arranged the whole thing without their knowledge and they have been sharing Unresolved Sexual Tension under the same roof for years, so they have better chances than most of the couples of this trope.
  • Freudian Excuse: Word of God confirms that being dressed up as a girl by his mother and finding out he was not supposed to dress like that (in kindergarten, no less) has left an emotional scar on him, crippling his relationship with people in general and girls in particular and coped with the fear of being ridiculed by being icy to everyone.
  • Generation Xerox: Kotoko is the spitting image of her mother, and is also clumsy and terrible at cooking.
    • Kotoko and Naoki's daughter Kotomi looks like her mother but has her father's eyes and hair colour. And also shares the same deal of adoration towards Naoki, though in her case is an Oedipus Complex.
    • Also Yuuki may count since the age gap between him and his brother is significant. He's his Junior Counterpart in being a no-nosense Teen Genius who is also pursued by a Book Dumb Plucky Girl and eventually falls for her. Though while Naoki eventually realizes he's not interested in taking over the Family Business, Yuuki longed to follow his father's footsteps all along.
  • Genki Girl: Kotoko, her mother, and her daughter, Kotomi.
  • Genre Savvy: Chris likes the Yamato Nadeshiko concept so much that she researches it.
  • Gold Digger: Kotoko's co-worker Marina. She went into nursing to find a rich doctor to marry.
  • Gratuitous English: Naoki and Christine converse this way in one episode.
  • Green-Eyed Epiphany: The suggestion of Kotoko marrying Kinnosuke, giving up on him for good is what made Naoki finally snap and declare his love and desire to marry her.
    • Similarly his little brother Yuuki confesses his feelings for his friend Konomi when she's courted by several boys.
  • Green Eyedmonster: Both Kotoko and Naoki suffer from this, but Naoki deserves a special mention since he tends to lash out at Kotoko when he feels threatened, sometimes even showing a downright vicious attitude. See the Crazy Jealous Guy entry.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Naoki's grandfather. Kotoko easily sees from who Naoki took his outgoing manners.
  • Happily Married: Every main or supporting character ends up this way.
  • Her Boyfriend's Jacket: It's done at least twice for obvious Ship Tease reasons:
    • When Kotoko and Naoki fell into the water, he makes her wearing the shirt she had just bought for him.
    • And when Kotoko is stuck at Naoki's flat for a night, she has to wear his pyjama since there's nothing else available.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Both subverted ( Kotoko and Chris) and played straight ( Kinnosuke and Keita).
  • Hospital Hottie: Who wouldn't want to be taken care of by Dr. Irie and Nurse Kotoko? Seriously!
  • Identical Stranger: In an Adapted Out chapter of the manga, there's Albert, Christine's Hopeless Suitor in England who pops up in Japan to take her back. Kinnosuke feels Hate at First Sight for this guy and starts a Cock Fight with hom only to realizes that Albert is a carbon copy of Naoki but with blonde hair, so Kinnosuke's hate is a given.
  • The Idiot from Osaka: Kinnosuke has a thick Kansai Regional Accent and is perhaps the hammiest character.
  • Ill Girl: Akiko is a patient stuck in a wheelchair.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: It starts this way, at least for Naoki, but Kotoko is living with her crush, after all. Eventually subverted since they get married.
  • It Runs in the Family:
    • When Kotoko gets to know Mrs. Irie's family, she finds out not only they share a Strong Family Resemblance with Naoki, but they're also as brash as him. It takes a while to adapt.
    • When Naoki meets Kotoko's relatives on her mother's side, he gets to know where Kotoko got her wackiness from. They're all ditzy and cordial like her, and he actually enjoys his time with them.
  • I "Uh" You, Too: The closest thing to a Love Confession from Naoki before The Reveal is when he takes Kotoko to a Not a Date and tells her he's fine with their Innocent Cohabitation since she has made his life more interesting and says he doesn't hate her.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Kinnosuke has a very thick Kansai dialect. He also has the lively personality to go along with it.
  • Kissing Cousins: Implied very heavily in the Japanese adaptation. Rika - Naoki's cousin - claims to have loved him very much since she was little and has no trouble at all describing her 'romantic moments' with Naoki to Kotoko
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: When Kotoko and Naoki have an argument during their honeymoon, Mrs. Irie is taking a video of their makeup kiss but she's dragged away by her husband to leave them finally alone.
  • Lethal Chef: Both Kotoko and and her mother, thankfully having a professional chef as husband/father.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Two in Japan, three in Taiwan, one in Korea, and one in Thailand.
  • Love Bubbles: Often present, especially with the lead couple.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Kotoko loves Naoki, as does his classmate Matsumoto; Kinnosuke loves Kotoko, who loves Naoki, who went out with Chris/Sahoko, who loves Kinnosuke; and who does Naoki love? — An interesting example of a non-closed love polygon.
  • Loving a Shadow: Keita's wooing of Kotoko comes across as being much more about the idea of having her than the reality.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: The entire first arc has Naoki being first extremely cold, then unexpectedly gentle, and switch again to cold and even rude, much to poor Kotoko's confusion. It takes a huge Green-Eyed Epiphany to finally show his true feelings.
  • The Matchmaker: Irie-mama is the first who suggests that Kotoko may marry into her family and would do anything to let this happen.
  • Meet the In-Laws: It's done twice with Naoki's grandfather's family and Kotoko's mother family. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Missing Mom: Kotoko's mother dies before the time of the story. Her cause of death is never specified.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: In the first periods of her marriage, Kotoko is wrongly assumed to be pregnant. It was a false alarm but the experience made her and Naoki wish to have a baby.
  • Modesty Towel: In a chapter Naoki catches Kotoko wearing this after taking a shower and comments how tiny are her body measures. Kotoko wonders how can he be so accurate about her body measure.
  • Mood Killer: The Official Couple could not catch a break from parents, grandparents, other relatives, friends and hopeless suitors.
  • Multigenerational Household: The Isshikis, Naoki's family on his mother's side, are a big multigenerational family living in a traditional country Japanese household.
    • When Naoki and Kotoko marry and have a daughter, the Irie household gathers three generations.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Immune to Yuuko's sexiness, can't be seduced by any of the babes who hit on him. His personality kinda justifies this, since it's very difficult to impress him.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When Kotoko and Sudou are spying on Naoki and Matsumoto, their respective Love Interest, who accidentally catch them having fall on the top of each other, making it look like...well, you know what. Naoki is not pleased.
  • Oedipus Complex: Little Kotomi worships her father and competes with her mother for his attention.
  • Ojou: Christine Robbins and her mother in the anime. Heck, Charles was even invited to her and Kinnosuke's wedding!
    • Sahoko (the role which Christine takes over in the anime) is the granddaughter of a wealthy banker and is beautiful, ladylike and good-hearted.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Kotoko manages to get Naoki taking her on a date like this, but notice that they're the only couple around. And then Naoki casually mentions that's because of an urban legend about couples falling apart after having a date in that lake. It hilariously backfires since Kotoko starts panicking and they both fall into the water.
    • A more traditionally romantic one is when Naoki sneaks in a park by night to take Kotoko on a date like that.
  • Operation: Jealousy:
    • In the manga Mrs. Irie pushes Kotoko to date Nice Guy Taketo to make Naoki jealous. Naoki, being Naoki, doesn't look bothered at all.
      • Though one could wonder why Naoki shows up with Matsumoto in the very same place where Kotoko is, perfectly knowing that she would be there. And then shows up again to stop a Cock Fight between Taketo and Kinnosuke claiming that since they all know Kotoko loves him there's no sense in their fighting.
    • Another very subtle manga example is from Naoki when there was the (very unfounded) rumour about Kotoko dating Sudou, Naoki was blatantly jealous and suspiciously agreed to a date with Matsumoto, but as he founded out Sudou was after Matsumoto, dumped her to go for a walk with Kotoko, sarcastically saying that for a while he believed she and Sudou were going out together.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: No one, even Kotoko, is ever fooled by Mrs. Irie disguises.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Everyone's reaction to Kotoko and Naoki's arguing or having a Ship Tease moment in both school and university. They're basically their live-action love drama.
  • The Patient Has Left the Building: When Yuuko Matsumoto is admitted due to a duodenal ulcer, she's required to have surgery and rest, but she refuses to listen to any doctor's orders and leaves the building, in her hospital clothes, to get to a meeting related to the company she started.
  • Plucky Girl: Kotoko, and how.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Naoki is often guilty of this. A lot of grief in the series could have been avoided had he simply explained the reasons behind his actions beforehand rather than letting Kotoko misunderstand.
  • Romantic Rain: Happens as Naoki declares to Kotoko and share their Big Damn Kiss. He even lets his umbrella drop to the ground to embrace her, getting them soaked.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl:
    • Kotoko and Naoki, of course,
    • Naoki's younger brother Yuuki and his girlfriend Konomi are their Junior Counterpart,
    • Inverted with Kinnosuke and Chris.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Since this is Shōjo Demographic no explicit sex is shown but it's still alluded and discussed:
    • In the anime Kotoko and Naoki are shown embracing and kissing in their bedroom thrice: during Their First Time in their honeymoon, then in very implicit make up sex after the Keita incident and for Kotoko's twenty-sixth birthday. Kotoko is showed after sleeping with a Modesty Bedsheet when Naoki puts a ring on her. Note that the next episode Kotoko is pregnant.
    • In the manga happens at least when Kotoko discusses with Naoki how she was Mistaken for Pregnant. Naoki suggests he'd like to have one right now, and they kiss. After that they're shown with a Modesty Bedsheet.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Kotoko is already pretty but looks stunning when she's dolled up for her 20th birthday or the coming-of-age ceremony in the manga. Naoki even acknowledges this when says he was upset about his mother organizing their marriage two weeks after their engagement but since she looks gorgeous on her wedding dress he doesn't care anymore.
  • Shipper on Deck: Naoki's mother makes it clear from the start that she thinks Naoki and Kotoko are perfect for each other. She also tries her best to sabotage Naoki's interactions with other women so that he and Kotoko will end up together.
  • Shōjo Demographic
  • Shout-Out: "Goemon baths" are a reference to Ishikawa Goemon, and are seen in volume 7.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Kotoko's never taking the slightest interest in others guys beside Naoki. Naoki too, though he acknowledges that there are many pretty girls who pursue him, no one of them but Kotoko has ever meant something to him, and has been loving her and only her for a long time.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Big time. Their First Kiss even happens after they've just humiliated each other in front of their respective classes.
  • Sleep Cute: After spending all the night studying, Naoki and Kotoko fall asleep together. His mother is proud.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Naoki is noted to look like his mother, and that's the reason why he's The Ugly Guy's Hot Son. Yuuki is a mini version of his big brother, and looks more and more like him as he grows up.
    • Also in the manga the Isshikis (Naoki's mother's family) all look the same, and that same is Naoki. She even notices that Grandpa Isshiki is basically what Naoki would be looking as an old man.
    • Again in the manga, Naoki gets to meet Kotoko's relatives and finds out they're all absent minded like her.
    • Kotoko is her mother's Generation Xerox in both appearance and personality.
  • "Take That!" Kiss:
    • Naoki kisses Kotoko mostly to get back at her after she publicly humiliated him with his childhood photo, which she did after he publicly ridiculed her feelings for him. Another reason is that she declared she would give up on him and he doesn't like to hear that.
    Kotoko: I'm going to forget you and attend college...
    Naoki: Then, go ahead and try. (kisses her)
    • Kotoko plants one on Naoki at their wedding as she has hust found out he kissed her a second time without her knowledge and realizes he has loved her all this time. And repeats what he said when he planted a "Take That!" Kiss on her.
  • There Is Only One Bed: In the manga chapter where Naoki lives by himself for a while, he and Kotoko are caught up by a snow storm and spend the night at his flat. Naoki resolves to sleep on the same bed since the floor is too cold to sleep on, and delights in teasing Kotoko about what he may do, but then says he won't since if his mother finds out, she would get a chance to control his life.
    • Another hilarious example is during their honeymoon she's excited about their hotel room and then realizes that...there's only one bed, like you 'now, it's supposed to be for honeymooners. But since they haven't consummated the marriage yet, she starts getting a little uncomfortable.
  • They Just Dont Get It: Generally-speaking Class F as a whole don't get a lot of their homework, and ended up begging Naoki to tutor them for the admission test to college.
  • Time Skip: Heavily used. It occurs after the following events:
    • Naoki decides to change his degree to medicine. A half-year skip.
    • After Kotoko's capping ceremony, it skips four years where we are taken to Kotoko being a fully fledged nurse.
    • Short skips during Kotoko's pregnancy.
    • After Kotoko has given birth to Kotomi, a Time Skip takes place; we are shown that Kotomi is now a toddler
  • Training Montage: In the live-action drama when Naoki is doing late-night tennis practice with Kotoko.
  • Troll: Naoki often delights in taunting Kinnosuke about Kotoko's feelings for him, when he's not trolling Kotoko herself.
  • True Love Is Boring: One of the few shoujo that averts this. Even after Naoki and Kotoko get married they have to face more adults problems, work on their flaws, having some drama going on just like it did before.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Son: Only his wife's genes could explain how plain Shigeki could have a ridiculously hot son. In the first episode Kotoko thinks that this Irie could not be Naoki's father before Naoki shows up. Kotoko's father even says in the manga that luckily for him, Naoki took after his mother.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Happens when Naoki declares his love to Kotoko.
  • What Does She See in Him?
    • Played for Laughs with Chris and her mother, Maria, both have very strange tastes in men. They apparently find guys like Kinnosuke attractive and handsome.
    • Played straight with Kotoko loving Naoki, who starts cold, brash, and insulting.
    • Spear Counterpart with Naoki loving and marrying Kotoko. Even lampshaded by Kotoko's father.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The last episode of the anime is a flashback of Kotoko meeting Irie's relatives for the first time and the benevolent ghost who haunts their house, while she's traveling with Naoki and their daughter to visit them again.
  • Will They or Won't They?: They Do and in all three cases (Kotoko and Naoki, Kinnosuke and Chris, Sudou and Matsumoto).
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Out of all the lead girls, English-born Christine aka Chris, acts the most like one. She's beautiful, domestic, and keen on Japanese cuisine. She also makes a refrence to Yamato Nadeshiko in Episode 19 and wears kimonos with ease.
  • You Fool!/Baka: You'd get very, very drunk if you start a Drinking Game for every time Naoki calls Kotoko baka.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Naoki is several times subjected to this trope.
    • Even after she and Naoki having been living under the same roof for years and eventually got married Kotoko keeps calling him Irie-kun, which strangers find a bit weird.
    • Mrs. Irie mainly refers to her son, Naoki, as "oniichan" regardless of context, when it's generally used by a younger sibling to refer to an older/elder brother.
  • Yuko Goto - Christine (Also, she shows off her Surprisingly Gratuitous English in one episode. "Surprisingly" because she also voiced Kate.)


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