Itazura na Kiss: Most Satisfying Slap Ever


Yes, I just went there. Shining Finger indeed.

So I think that, after three episodes, Itazura na Kiss is now cemented as one of the top-tier shows this season. It’s so 90s shoujo that it’s like pure unfiltered awesome poured into my eyes for 24 minutes at a time. (I think hyperbole is going to be a common theme in Itazura na Kiss posts, as the show just invites it) There are a lot of top-tier series this season, making my life busy yet intensely enjoyable, and Itazura na Kiss is close to the top, if there is a top. Tops are kind of hard to come by these days.

Anyway, episode.

Episode 3 revaled an interesting aspect to Kotoko’s personality. Among the various things happening this episode, the important bit–Irie finally reading her love letter–was probably the most important. We don’t really know what he thinks of it yet, as Irie is still a giant enigma, but that’s not the interesting part.

The interesting part is when Kotoko smacks him for reading her love letter without her permossion.

Why is this interesting? Kotoko’s feelings about Irie are torn into two modes of thought, one of her idealization of him from a distance, something that’s always brought out whenever he seems to be kind or considerate, and her loathing of him for being, well, Irie. He’s not exactly the nicest person in the world to fall in love with, but I really have to wonder how much of his disinterest and verbal abuse is a facade to attempt to maintain his image at school. Kotoko, I think, realizes that Irie has two facets of personality, one which is sensitive and kind, and the other which is concerned with maintaing reputation. She’s torn between this image of Irie she has in her fantasy life in her mind, and the cold reality of what Irie actually is.

Torment over what to feel for a person, even a person less drastically tsundere as Irie, is harsh, and things always manifest themselves strangely. So when Kotoko finds out that Irie read her love letter, something she’s obviously wanted him to do, she’s essentially cornered. The way in which Irie recited the letter seemed almost to be mocking her in front of his entire family, who (being Irie’s family) were totally oblivious to the mocking tone he was adopting. Kotoko picked up on it, and put all the frustration of the past two and a half episodes into one hard slap to the face, at which point I shouted “Yes!” at the screen, because that’s exactly what Irie deserves. She clearly wants to love Irie (otherwise there wouldn’t have been that mishap during the relay) and, deep down, she admits this to herself earlier in the episode, but she’s quite clearly not going to take his attitude much longer.

It’s pretty admirable that she slapped him, actually; more girls in anime should do this when confronted with a guy treating them like dirt. It’s almost like a strange kind of women’s lib message tucked inside the shoujo exterior. By slapping him, Kotoko reasserts her right to independence, her right to live a life free of disturbance. It’s telling the shoujo fans of the world that no, you don’t have to put up with nonsense, even from someone you love, however idealistic that love might be. You have the right to assert yourself and take the other down a notch. I wonder if the little speech Irie made after Kinnosuke challenged him (the “you can come to love someone you hated yesterday” speech) was partially inspired from Kotoko’s drastic action. I don’t expect him to change his dastardly ways anytime soon, naturally, but that line is an admission that, perhaps,  his feelings on the matter are wavering a little. He might have a tiny bit more respect for Kotoko, and the idea is that every tiny bit of respect he gains for her builds up into a feeling of love (this is shoujo after all). I think this is true as well: his speech regarding the drawings posted on the board this time weren’t as harsh as the abuse heaped upon her last time. And the slap changed Kotoko too, as well as the speech: she’s now confident that he’ll change his opinion of her over time.

Amazing what a little slap to the face can do, sometimes.

2 Responses to “Itazura na Kiss: Most Satisfying Slap Ever”

  1. 1 Owen S 22 April 2008 at 8:31 am

    Did you notice the difference between their interaction at the end of the episode? It’s almost like they’re equals now, as opposed to the very first episode… interesting dynamics, to say the least.

  2. 2 OGT 22 April 2008 at 9:13 am

    Yes, I did notice the difference in their interaction. It was lovely.

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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April 2008

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