Itazura na Kiss 6

November 6, 2011

Kaoru Tada – Digital Manga Publishing – 2011 – 23 volumes
this is an omnibus containing vols. 11-12

I don’t know what it is about this series. The beginning of this book was the ultimate in shoujo manga despair, making it look like the characters were moving in a rather disappointing direction. Part of me knew it was a shoujo manga, and that there was no way that Kotoko and Naoki wouldn’t wind up together. But part of me was worried. Maybe they stay as friends for awhile? There is some worth to that. Maybe the sudden death of a spouse takes place? I mean… it was going through with two different marriages, after all. And Naoki was still being a huge jerk.

And then Naoki pulled off one of the most un-romantic, asshole-ish love confessions I’ve ever seen. It was totally not satisfying, and he isn’t kinder to Kotoko at all. Seriously, what kind of shoujo manga does that?

But Kotoko was so happy. Mrs. Irie was thrilled. There was a cute wedding (which is on the cover of the book, so I feel like that’s not a spoiler), and a very funny honeymoon. And Naoki’s angry nature was turned against him when he was humiliated in grand style by Mrs. Irie. Sadly, Mrs. Irie’s role in the story becomes less and less now that the two are together, and the second half of the volume doesn’t have very much of her at all in it. It’s a shame, since she’s one of my favorites.

My favorite moment in the entire series happens in this volume. While on their honeymoon in Hawaii, Kotoko wanders off, and Naoki bursts into his parents’ room to have them help look for her. They aren’t supposed to be there, and were carefully spying on the two of them in disguise. The look of shock on the faces of Mr. and Mrs. Irie, Yuki, and Mr. Aihara is absolutely priceless.

The latter half of the volume is mostly about the married life of Naoki and Kotoko. Sadly, Naoki is no kinder to Kotoko once they’re married, and the first major storyline is one about how he stays after work and makes Kotoko worry without telling her a thing. Turns out he’s doing something very sweet, but a simple word to Kotoko probably would’ve gone a long way. What’s worse, the story demonizes Kotoko, making her out to be the jealous wife when Naoki won’t speak to her for weeks.

There’s also some nice stories about what Kotoko wants to do with her life. She’s coming up on her last year of college, and is trying to decide if she simply wants to be Naoki’s wife, or would rather work for a living. She isn’t sure what she wants to be, and gives teaching a try. This is, of course, meant with shock by every member of her family (during an argument, when Kotoko tells Naoki that she’s not stupid and knows the meaning of the word “teacher,” he simply tells her that she is stupid, which made me laugh really hard). A really cute storyline about Kotoko student teaching finishes up the volume. She tries her hardest, which is what makes her so easy to root for, and though she’s not perfect, it seems like teaching does suit her, to some degree. Naoki helps in his way behind the scenes, and he even dotes a little. It’s adorable.

I’m a little disappointed that Naoki hasn’t really softened up after marriage, though. He’s not even one of those prickly characters with secret soft moments. I would like him a lot more if he was. He’s still mean to Kotoko about 90% of the time, and he often hides his secret moments of weakness from her. But it’s hard not to like Kotoko. She really does try very hard to win Naoki over all the time, even after marriage, and watching her try her best at teaching, even after being told by everyone she knows, and the teachers at the school, that she’ll be horrible at it, is a lot of fun.

And yes. I am a big girly girl at heart, and I can’t help but like stories with weddings in them. I’m curious where else the story will go in the second half of the series, but I am looking forward to it. While I have appreciated all the character development and time invested in getting Naoki and Kotoko together, this series also excels at portraying moments in everyday life, and I think there will be a lot more of that to come.

It’s wonderful, wonderful shoujo manga, and I do hope enough people are reading it to make it worth DMP’s while to publish it.

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