CLARIFICATION: Confusion in the post, not in the show.
I am recording any stray thoughts I have as I progress through the final five episodes of Itazura na Kiss, which I have lamentably procrastinated watching until now. Here are the notes arranged by episode, and hopefully I can exhaust my nigh-inexahustable repetoire of Itazura na Kiss-fueled hyperbole so I can rest comfortably for the next five or so months being hyperbolic about Toradora!.
Episode 21: 8:00 PM EDT
What kind of growth hormones did they give Yuuki? Like, seriously? He’d been the same runty midget throughout about ten years of Kotoko fruitlessly chasing after Irie, and I wasn’t expecting him to have a growth spurt this huge. Also I think he developed excellent taste in cardigans and dress shirts, or at least “excellent taste” as defined by people living in America in the 1950s, which is “excellent taste” in my book. I hereby propose that when they make the nigh-inevitable Hollywood live-action movie they hire Ron Howard circa Happy Days to play Yuuki. That might involve some dangerous temporal logistics, but nothing we can’t solve with science.
Also Non-chan is a bastard, at least until the last three minutes. I’m sure those last three minutes won’t affect much by next episode though!
Episode 22: 8:27 PM EDT
That is the BEST. CAKE. EVER. I am dead serious.
I highly enjoyed the subversion of the deployment of the “random character is injured, maimed, or rendered ill” plot device by having Kotoko provide the last-minute resuscitation of the hapless cannon fodder (literally, in this case). Interesting, too, during the last segment (wherein it is revealed that Irie is the GREATEST SUCTION DOCTOR IN JAPAN, a title that I am sure many physicians strive and fail to achieve in their limited lifetimes) that Irie says to Kotoko that the praise from Grateful Mother of Hospital Patient was the first she’d received as a nurse, little knowing that not the day before, she’d performed first aid and assisted paramedics, having to dodge out of receiving an overdose of gratitude. If the earlier episodes were over-full of Irie acting like the male tsundere he is (or, well, was), then these last few, post-Keita, episodes seem to be compensating for the loss. Complete with bubbles.
Episode 23: 9:27 PM EDT
Thank God Irie isn’t cheating on the now-pregnant Kotoko with Yukie-chan here! More Yukie-chan for me, as I am totally besmitten with a horribly minor character of extreme cuteness. Perhaps I am the lecherous one now…
With only two episodes left (and 24 looking like it’s going to be the sanitized anime version of The Miracle of Life), they are tying down the dangling plot threads of Kin-chan and Chris-tan (Kin-chan getting his own restaurant and Chris’s hand in marraige was strangely satisfying, as was noticing that he is no longer annoyingly charming, but, rather, more genuinely charming. And Chris has gotten much, much better at Japanese. Her mother, though…
Even Sudou and Matsumoto get their turn in the spotlight, as Sudou proves that his moustache is not a mere facial decoration and actually earns it by slapping sense into Matsumoto. Or, well trying to, as Matsumoto squarely decks him in the face and runs off until Kotoko is able to talk sense into her. Say what you will about the overall love-fantasy nature of the series: Itazura na Kiss derives most of its drama from the very real problems of miscommunication common in relationships (both non-romantic and romantic) that lead to conflict over things that aren’t actually problems. It doesn’t deal heavily in this sort of drama, but that’s okay, because it’s more of a silly, giddy comedy (with serious moments) than a drama (with humorous moments). Even now, even after letting it sit for as-yet-unexplained reasons (I’m not entirely sure of them myself, something to do with “there was too much backlog built up and I wanted a big huge marathon to cap the series off”), it’s still as schoolgirlishly giggly as it was in the beginning.
Episode 24: 10:17 PM EDT
That is all. My brain cannot think in words right now, at any second this sentence is going to turn into nonsensical letter dsklbfkasbfjsabfjasbkljbfasdvfbkasdbf kdasfksadbfjksafsabfjklasbfsabj HELP.
Episode 25: 10:49 PM EDT
And what appears to be a bonus episode after the “ending” of the story arc. A rather amusing episode, if only for Mi-chan acting like a, well, child. This is now one of the very, very few romance series (that I’ve seen, anyway) that have taken the characters all the way from one-sided high school crushes to happy parents to a rambunctious child who shares the best (and worst) of both her parents’ personality traits (as many children do).
Perhaps the best thing about it was that even though it was quite clearly a wish-fulfillment fantasy shoujo romance series, it was a damn good one. Did I like Kotoko, in all her irrationality? You bet. Did I like Irie, through the process of watching him gradually defrost from a terribly nasty person to a lovably charming guy?You bet. Through enjoying Itazura na Kiss, am I a card-carrying member of the male conspiracy to secretly reverse the progressive feminist trends that have been erected since the 1970s and return women to the status of virtual enslavement to hot stoves and impromptu sandwich making in kitchens? I have no idea because I still can’t figure out my chauvinist-pig level (on a scale of Snowball to Napoleon), although I can mention that the old Cathy strips from the 1970s (you know, when Cathy was still funny) were hilarious and Irving is a jerkbag (no, really, he was a huge jerkbag, and I would have punched him several times) who seems to have mellowed out in time (like someone else mentioned in this here post) for Guisewite to finally get around to poking fun at the institution of marraige, thirty years later.
Although, really, I don’t think there’s much else to say that I haven’t covered at least ten times in previous posts. The qualities I enjoyed (that some others may or may not have enjoyed) stayed true to themselves down to the very end, and the quality remained the same. I don’t think I could have asked for anything more, considering what Itazura na Kiss is (a big, huge, giddy, bubble-filled shoujo romp), and it quite obviously hit a sweet spot that hadn’t been hit for a while. Strangely enough, one of the best parts of the last five episodes was seeing Yuuki go from “I am the evil sadistic younger brother” to “sophisticated mature teenager.” Something tells me he’ll have an easier time getting a girlfriend than Irie and Kotoko had, although their bond might not be quite as strong.
And I still say the best part was watching Irie turn from callous evil passive-aggressive male to, well, a man who actually managed to have feelings and emotions and actually have a heart that cared about things. Specifically Kotoko, but I don’t think he’d have been a very good doctor if he’d been an apathetic whatsit the whole time. Then again, would he even be a doctor? Would not he just be cruising through life, oblivious to everything? Would not the series have been massively boring otherwise?
Me, I’m just waiting for when Ethel and Fred show up and wreak havoc with Kotoko. Unintentional havoc. Maybe.
I should probably stop writing words now. That sounds pretty good to me.