So yes, I ceremoniously missed the final episode of Playful Kiss. I had missed Pasta’s penultimate episode and now missed Dong Yi’s. It’s one thing to miss the opening episodes or some episodes in between, but it’s a totally different case to miss the last few episodes where things get shoehorned in and wrapped up. Especially NOT the penultimate and the final ones. Thus, I have to ply myself with the detailed recap with lots of screencaps from dramabeans – thanks heaps! From what I read, seems like I don’t really miss a lot from the last episode, Episode 16. And yess… PD shot the special episodes and stream it through youtube (gotta check those when my internet bandwidth is much more hospitable – when oh when??).
Onto my thoughts. Itazura na Kiss. Oh-how-nostalgic! When did I watch it back then? During my junior high-school days? Most probably. It wasn’t my first Asian drama (it was Endless Love, which then made me wonder why people like to watch something when it just made them cry their eyes out) but is definitely my first Japanese dorama. Even though it was rerun a couple times, I still didn’t manage to watch it fully – I had always missed the opening episodes.
One thing that I remember till now, though, is how unbelievable the story is. A dumb-and-annoyingly-irritating high-schooler like Kotoko to win over the love of the almost-perfect guy like Naoki is unbelievable right? He invariably scoffs at her dumbness and never ever shows the slightest interest in her perpetual stalking throughout the episodes yet in the end he reaches out for her. The other two things I remember of it are Kotoko’s huge ear and Naoki’s super-handsome face, in addition to how cold he is (cold’s cold) and how supportive Naoki’s mother of Kotoko is (it’s four, then =p)
Since Playful Kiss is the remake of the Japanese’s InK or the Taiwanese’s It Started with a Kiss, it’s impossible not to compare the three of them (for those who are familiar with the manga, anime, or have watched the other version(s)). But I won’t do much comparison here since I don’t really remember what InK was like – I was probably too young to understand (lol). I have one opinion though, that Korean’s Kotoko – Oh Ha-ni – is much less annoying and dumb-like. She’s also cuter, although still a pure stalkerrr.
In a nutshell, PK tells a story of high-school crush wherein the female is the aggressive party. Oh Ha-ni has been secretly eyeing Baek Seung-jo for years until she finally musters up courage to write him a love letter… which is given back with grammar corrections and a D- mark. He taunts stupid students (although he and his brother are much less cavalier than the Jap’s brothers) and she refuses to be stepped on, let alone from the guy she has a topsy-turvy crush on.
At home, a mishap occurs which queerly destroys Ha-ni’s home only, thus Ha-ni’s father decides to accept his friend’s offer to stay at his house for a while. The friend is the father of Baek Seung-jo. Gah. So they leave under the same roof thereafter, which also marks the beginning of Ha-ni’s perpetual, shameless stalking on Seung-jo. He’s clearly chafed but he can never win over an argument with Ha-ni – or with his mom’s uncivil intrusions.
So, when in the end he shows signals of liking her back, I’m unsure if it’s purely due to Ha-ni’s personality or out of habit. Ha-ni is carefree and plainspoken – the exact opposite of Seung-jo – but I’m not convinced if those alone are enough to charm him. There’s a saying “cinta tumbuh karena terbiasa” (love grows out of familiarity) – that you see the other party so often that you end up having feelings for him/her. And it honestly looks more that way: [that] Seung-jo likes her because he’s so used to having her around him that he feels something’s missing when she’s not. At least that’s the igniter.
As for Ha-ni, oh, Ha-ni… as ridiculous yet fun-to-watch as it is, I oftentimes do not stand her stalkerish habit. They’ve shared the same house, gone to the same highschool (and later college), and once attended the same class, what else she wants? She right-mindedly cannot expect to tail him everywhere, can she? Yes, she may be overly curious of how he feels about her, but she has gone too far. To me, it is more of an obsession than crush (or even love – if she dare-calls it love). She is so obsessed with him that she adjusts her life to literally revolve around him. Just get a life already! Errr…maybe she wouldn’t go that far if Seung-jo showed the littlest sign of his true feeling towards her. He’s not the type to chase a girl, but if he has a slightest interest in her, why can’t he reveal it – moreover when Ha-ni has been so candid about hers? Girls need affirmation that it’s not one-sided. It takes two to tango.
I have lost count on how many times they exercise the same cycle over and over again: Seung-jo pushes her away until a point it breaks her heart and wavers her steadfastness, but when she’s ready to back off he pulls the string. I genuinely thought things would start to unravel after the Ep 6’s kiss – you won’t kiss someone you don’t like, will you? It didn’t. It introduces Ha-ni’s rival instead, He-ra. Ha-ni meets a superior contender, but Seung-jo never gets his. Duckie is no match for him (Duckie and Ha-ni are both pursuers, so it won’t do) so I was hoping Ha-ni would stick to her assertions to “forget Seung-jo” for once so Seung-jo feels a need to win her back. Yet things (study, work, somewhat love, life) have always been easy on him. Ha-ni is too easy to please that all he needs to do is throw a bone at the sulking Ha-ni and she’d instantly perk up, readily dodging around him and wagging her tail.
Story is stagnant as one-sided
love crush takes too far a stretch. Reaching episode 11 – out of 16 – with no relationship development bores me. The turning point is at 13. But PD keeps throwing in superfluous matters so that the ending is rather weak. Yeah, whatever. Anyways, the overall mood is cheery with several tender moments – mostly because of jerky Seung-jo or assuming Ha-ni – and few sweet daughter-father interactions. The parents are the most supportive folks in K-dramaland EVER. I also adore Ha-ni’s a-thousand-different hairstyles and outfit match-ups – I am weirdly happy just by admiring those eye-candy accessories.
PK is generally enjoyable even though Ha-ni is NOT to be referenced by young girls as to how to get a guy they like. I agree with He-ra: how would a guy like her if she keeps on following him around? Well, Seung-jo does, but real-life is a different scenario altogether.
Playful Kiss rating: 2.5/5
Cast: Kim Hyun-joong, Jung So-min, Lee Tae-sung, Lee Si-young
Genre: K-drama, romance (16 Episodes)