One of my favorite romantic comedy television series has just come to Netflix: “Mischievous Kiss.”
Based on a Japanese graphic novel (manga),1 it’s the story of Kotoko Aihara, a girl who loves Naoki Irie, the smartest boy in her high school and probably the smartest in Japan. He doesn’t even know she exists, and when she tries to give him a love letter, he callously rejects her.
After her house is destroyed by a meteorite, Kotoko and her father move in with the family of her father’s best friend — a family that includes Naoki, the older son.
It’s not a mystery how the story will end, since the the opening credits show Naoki and Kotoko kissing. But there are a lot of twists and turns along the way.
Naoki is so smart that his life has been easy and predictable. Kotoko brings him a healthy dose of chaos. Though initially frustrated and confused by Kotoko, he starts to realize that life is much more interesting with her around.
Kotoko isn’t as smart as Naoki, but she has qualities of character that he lacks: she is determined, courageous, and passionate about everything. Each of them complements the other.
Naoki still can’t quite admit how much he loves Kotoko, but in the final episode he thinks he’s going to lose her. The moment when his reticence finally breaks is symbolized by a nice visual, and he declares his love for her.
Most Japanese TV shows have only one season of 10 to 15 episodes. “Mischievous Kiss” has two seasons of 16 episodes. The first season follows Naoki and Kotoko through their last year of high school and their first years of college. The second season begins with their honeymoon in Okinawa, after which Naoki becomes a physician and Kotoko a nurse who works with him.
I liked the series so much that I bought the DVD sets, which cost a pretty penny to order directly from Japan. It’s nice to see that the show will finally get a wider audience in America.
- Japan isn’t exactly Western civilization, but it embodies many of the qualities that once made Western countries great: honor, decency, hard work, and consideration for others. The Japanese respect themselves, each other, their culture, and their country. ↩