In Asian drama land, who hasn’t heard of the famous Japanese manga, Itazura na Kiss? This manga has gotten the small screen treatment many times — from Japan to Thailand to South Korean and Taiwan. And while I’m not exactly gung ho (overly enthusiastic) over watching remakes, I am a fan of Mike and Aom who captured my heart in Full House (a k-drama remake).
Warning: Spoilers ahead! Do not read if you haven’t watched the series and don’t want to be spoiled!
Really, I could recommend this drama based on Mike and Aom’s chemistry and acting alone. They are stellar and nothing short of impressive here. But, I’m going to delve deeper into this lakorn and explain why it’s a must watch. Are you an Itazura na Kiss fan? This Thai remake has enough commonalities to the manga to compare the two, but this lakorn takes things a step further. It adds some flare and differences to the story — enough to truly make Kiss Me an enjoyable yet refreshing watch. In my humble opinion, Kiss Me has opened a whole new world when it comes to this manga. The general idea is the same, but all of the small cultural details make all the difference.
You’ll love TenTen. Then you’ll hate him. Then you’ll love to hate him. You might even hate to love him sometimes, too. While that sounds confusing, TenTen adds an intriguing dynamic to the story. He’s cold, but then he’s warm. He’s intelligent, but then he’s stupid. His character is a hard one to crack as you really never know what to think or expect from him, but Mike plays this character with ease. He reigns in a character that could be, frankly, way too much at times. We do see a softer side to TenTen more than in previous versions and that helps a lot. TenTen is a person who struggles with grappling his feelings and emotions.
Even worse yet, he can’t fully comprehend or understand his emotions, so it causes him to act like a jerk most of the time, especially to poor Taliw. The beauty of this drama is that TenTen eventually shapes up. He finds out what he really wants to do with his life and he stops denying the feelings he has for Taliw. The transition from his blond to brown hair was nicely handled as it’s a visual reminder that the confused, unsure, cold, aloof TenTen is a person of the past. This TenTen is confident, expresses his feelings, is certain of his future, and he no longer treats those poorly around him. I don’t expect him to be perfect overnight, but the guy finally matured!
Taliw was flawless. She was sweet, kind, and just an all around good person. Sure, she wasn’t the smartest character, but that made her so relatable. With TenTen’s tutelage, she was able to improve her grades and find the strength to endure nursing school. Before that, Taliw just coasted through school and didn’t concern herself with her grades. She knew she wasn’t smart and struggled, so she didn’t really try hard. It was great to see her find motivation. And ultimately, she ended up doing things for herself instead of doing them just so that she could be close to TenTen. Ironically enough, it just connects her deeper to him now.
King really broke my heart. He was such a sweet, genuine guy, and he could cook. He never manhandled Taliw or made her feel bad. First and foremost, he was her friend, her best friend. Seeing how wrapped up he was with Taliw was hard to watch sometimes. Deep down, I knew that King knew that Taliw didn’t feel the same way, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing her. I’ll give King credit, though. He knew what he wanted from day one and he went for it. It didn’t turn out the way that he wanted, but looking back, he can be satisfied knowing that he truly tried his best. It sucked to see that he was always doing everything on his own, but that was King’s strengths. He’ll do well – I truly believe that. I hope that when the sequel begins airing, we get to see him move on from Taliw and hopefully find a love of his own. Because, honestly, there’s someone out there that would madly fall in love with King and give him the love that he deserves. He was just so freaking cute.
I really don’t want to give anything away, but this is a great drama for showcasing personal growth. And lets face it, some of these characters had a lot of growing up to do, but that’s all a part of life and the learning process. There were some great messages embedded throughout this series, and I really recommend it. I’ve only ever watched Playful Kiss, which was also my very first k-drama. That said, I really think I love Kiss Me more than Playful Kiss. I need a few more days to think about it, but my feelings seem to be leaning that way. My only grip is that I wish more of the story lines were cleaned up, but I’m hoping some of those loose threads were left for season 2.
Also, Taliw and TenTen’s families were a riot when they got together. TenTen’s mom was just the cutest with how she fawned over Taliw like she was her own daughter. They were always a family, and now with Taliw and TenTen engaged, I can’t wait to see how things progress. And another thing: I wonder if one day Taliw and TenTen will unfold all the folding stars she wrote messages on. I’m torn over whether or not I want TenTen to read them, or if he should just keep them intact to serve as a reminder that there were a lot of mean days.
No matter what, this was a really great drama. Solid from start to finish. I don’t think I was ever bored or tempted to forward through scenes. Mike and Aom really sold this drama, and I hold it pretty high up there with Full House (Thai version), which I still re watch from time to time. The plot may be pretty simple when you break it down, but the real story here is the struggles of our characters entering adulthood, starting relationships, and finding out where they belong in the world.