Itazura na Kiss: Slap of the Gods Part II: The Aftermath

This series makes it difficult to select just one screencap sometimes. This one won the contest hands-down, though.

So the turnabout that happened with the Slap of the Gods (it’s been almost a week and I’m still impressed by how epic that slap was. Yes, I know “epic” is a term applied to most anything these days; that slap, however, deserves the term) is still going on, with Kotoko mostly impervious to Irie’s general jerkery. I’m getting the feeling that each episode is cramming in as much manga content as they can before they hit the 26 episode limit and have to give an ending to the series. It’s not a problem so much as an observation–episode 4 seemed in particular as if they had taken three manga chapters and turned it into one episode.

It’s a testament to the strength of the direction, then, that this series avoided the fate of a muddled mess. Yamazaki Osamu proved adept at taking a three-volume work and crafting a 24 episode series out of it (Terra e…), and it seems he’s equally adept at getting a 24-volume work and getting 26 episodes out of it. I have the feeling, given the lack of experience of Shimizu Yukako, the chief writer, that Yamazaki is shepherding her through the process, but they’re both doing an admirable job. Despite the frantic pace, integrity and continuity is kept, without seeming too terribly jarring.

On the actual content of the episode, Kotoko is proving to the Iries that she, too, is quite a capable person. She saves Yuuki from certain death by drowning, and even invites him to (reluctantly) play with her friends a bit, which doesn’t seem to soften the snotty child much, but I think it’s evident that he’s got a bit more respect for her. Doubly so with Irie saving Kotoko when she gets a leg cramp (I hate those things)–there’s a clear sign that no matter how much Irie may dislike Kotoko, he can’t hate her. He even, by the end of the episode, seems to be doubting himself and second-guessing his reactions.

It’s interesting to note a small change in Irie’s personality–in the first episode, he was essentially dispassionate and remote from anything happening. He didn’t express much emotion at all, just apathy. Just four episodes later, he’s whacking Kotoko over the head when she gets a question wrong, but he’s not doing it in a cruel way. In fact, while he second-guesses himself in the study session scene, it’s clear that he has changed, and he notes this himself. Even if he’s only expressing negative emotions, he’s expressing actual emotions. For all his pretenses of distaste towards Kotoko, she’s got the power to affect him. The Irie of episode one wouldn’t have even apologized for teasing Kotoko the way he did (with rape–trust shoujo manga to bring this into play somehow), nor would he have offered her his notes.

I largely suspect that this shift is him grappling with complicated emotions rising within him (and perhaps less complicated and more primal urges rising as well). Most people get confused when someone brings out a complicated emotion within them, be it what Irie is feeling (I don’t think there’s a way to describe it, other than maybe “reluctant affection,” but it’s there) or a raging anger or something else entirely, often people don’t know how they should feel. They’re happy yet sad, intimate yet distant, and other juxtapositions of emotions. New emotions are always difficult things to deal with, and I expect this to be grappled with for the next 22 episodes.

This sense of the characters grappling with emotions is part of why I like Itazura na KIss. The other part of why I like it has to do mostly with cheering Kotoko on and booing Irte every time he steps onscreen. It’s like a different form of the excitement I felt while watching Rose of Versailles, although a 70s to 90s comparison isn’t quite fair to make for either side. When shoujo is done with the certain kind of dramatic flair that Itazura na Kiss is done with, it’s impossible for me not to love it, target demographcs be damned. And that’s what being an anime fan is about: damning the target demographics.

4 Responses to “Itazura na Kiss: Slap of the Gods Part II: The Aftermath”

  1. 1 Ez 26 April 2008 at 9:28 am

    Hmm, has anyone noticed that this is the first time we get to hear Irie’s monologue? XD

  2. 2 OGT 26 April 2008 at 11:06 am

    This post was mostly inspired by Irie’s monologue, actually.

  3. 3 Owen S 28 April 2008 at 10:53 am

    Demographics be damned indeed. There’s an amusing parallel with the usual “ice queen” archetype here, and I find it funny how when it’s applied onto a guy character it comes off as less cliched.

  4. 4 Corina 19 January 2014 at 3:38 am

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    the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow,
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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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