Itazura na Kiss 7

September 9, 2012

Kaoru Tada – Digital Manga Publishing – 2011 – 23 volumes
this is an omnibus containing vols. 13-14

You know, one of the great things about shoujo manga is that it’s a constant tease. You read a romance, and you want the main couple to hook up and be together so badly. But when they do, there’s… hm. Less. Kotoko and Naoki got married last volume, so the back-and-forth between the two isn’t really an element of the series anymore (or shouldn’t be, but I’ll talk about that later). I do like this series, though, for looking at what happens after “I do.” It’s really rare a series continues with the rest of the character’s lives, and I’m excited to see where things go from here.

Then again, Naoki is such a jerk! The format of the series continues to be one-shot-ish stories for each chapter. More than one of them here are the types of conflicts where Kotoko is unsure of herself, and Naoki simply shuts her out. The theory behind his behavior is that she’s a strong girl that can figure things out for herself, but seriously? She’s unsure about the direction her life will take, and Naoki isn’t willing to indulge her in a discussion, because she needs to figure it out herself? Do you know how happy it would make Kotoko if Naoki showed even one shred of humanity?

Bah. I’ve always hated him, though. That’s nothing new. He sneaks to new lows when he tricks her into going on a vacation to visit his mother’s side of the family. She thinks they’re headed out for a vacation with just the two of them, but really, Naoki takes her to visit extended family that just badger her as an unworthy bride for two weeks.

Man. I don’t know what it is about this series. I don’t really like Kotoko that much (really, I like heroines with a bit more brains), but seeing her get mistreated gets me all wound up. But I still really like these stories. There’s something about them that is simply pure, undiluted shoujo storytelling. They read like plotlines that have been retread about a thousand times, but Tada is a charming writer, and I find myself drawn to the series more than a lot of contemporary shoujo. It’s good stuff, and I love the omnibus format.

One of the more bizarre storylines so far is one where Kotoko befriends a British exchange student. They start off on the wrong foot when Kotoko thinks Chris has eyes for Naoki. But really, it’s Kin she wants. There are a couple stories about the two of them not connecting. I’m happy about that… while neither Chris nor Kin are favorites of mine, it always felt wrong that Kotoko did to Kin what Naoki was doing to her. That’s just how things worked, but… you know. You just don’t see that kind of moral twist come up very frequently in shoujo manga. I’m glad it’s resolved.

I’m a bit behind on this, so I’m happy that I’ve got a couple more volumes to read. Hooray! It really is addictive stuff.

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