Itazura na Kiss, Vol. 6
The sixth volume of Kaoru Tada’s romantic comedy, Itazura Na Kiss, sees a major shake up in the status quo of Kotoko and Naoki’s relationship. With wedding bells in the air Kotoko’s dream finally comes true as the duo finally tie the knot! But what does this mean for their dynamic and the direction of the series?
While it’s nice to finally see the two together, I couldn’t help but feel a little creeped out by Naoki’s proposal and his delay in telling Kotoko that he loved her. The proposal is actually handled well and is done in a manner befitting the huge event it is, but the events leading up until then have a weird and vaguely creepy feel to them, like Naoki’s doing it not because he loves her but because he can’t stand the idea of her being anywhere else. This is actually something that continues to plague their relationship throughout the volume. Despite their marriage he still maintains a cool aloofness from her for the most part and at times it feels less like the love between two people and more like the fondness one has for a family pet. He still continues to taunt and pick on her, which is generally kind of funny though there were a few times where I found myself wondering when he would actually grow out of elementary school level emotional displays of tugging on a crushes hair and move onto to those of a more mature adult. There’s also a weird moment during their honeymoon where they meet a couple whose relationship parallels their own. It’s interesting for how it flips the power structure around with the man as the one who’s been doing the pining for years. On the surface a parallel relationship could be an interesting addition to the series, but sadly it takes a rather uncomfortable turn. After the wife states her intention of breaking up Kotoko and Naoki her husband slaps her across the face. The scene is clearly intended to be a bit of a positive moment as it’s the first time he stands up to his wife and calls her on being a horrible person. On the other hand it’s still a slap to the face and so the whole scene takes on a weird pro-wife slapping feel.
Kaoru Tada’s artwork continues to be strong and she really flexes her muscles a few times with her depiction of several powerful emotional moments. Despite my misgivings about the events leading up the proposal and Naoki’s delay on using the L word, the actually proposal and ensuing embrace in the rain was a lovely payoff and suitably dramatic and impressive looking. Another thing I have to compliment her on is the fantastic job she’s done of getting across the family resemblance between Naoki and Yuuki, Naoki’s younger brother. I don’t think I noticed it before but the eyes are dead on. Too further the similarities she depicts Yuuki with many of the same expressions as Naoki and even a similar type of body language. I’m not sure if this was really present in the earlier volumes or not, but it really shines in this volume.
I’m still enjoying Itazura na Kiss despite the odd plot line or event. I’m a little surprised to see Naoki and Kotoko marrying so soon and given some of the events of this volume I’m a little worried that it simply means more of the same but now they share a last name. Then again I’ve pretty much been saying the same thing for the last several volumes yet I keep coming back and enjoying the series regardless. I guess what it comes down to is that Kaoru Tada is such a good creator that even when things are a bit repetitive it feels less like an annoying grind and more like spending time with an old friend.
Itazura na Kiss, Vol. 6 is available now from Digital Manga Publishing. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.