Colorful. Silly. But it makes this blogger itching to watch on. It’s not funny-therefore-LOL kind of drama, but it made this blogger LOL because I can totally identify and empathize with Oh Ha Ni’s (Jung So Min) predicament with her crush, Baek Seung Jo (Kim Hyun Joong). This blogger has to admit that despite constantly claiming to have no interest in this drama (I’d only watched the Japanese version before, and I loved it; maybe because it was still in the 90s when I watched it, and loved the silliness of it), this blogger has grown to love this Korean version because, 1) Jung So Min is very convincing as our protagonist, 2) it reminds this blogger of the long lost youth (oh the melancholy).
This blogged loves the portrayal of Ha Ni, because she does all the things that any girl in a serious crush will do. Giving love letter, giggling to herself when crush pays slightly more attention to her, jumping up and down in glee, and of course, crying her heart out when the crush ignores her. It’s all these that made Ha Ni very endearing, because even if we don’t have the same reactions as her, it reminds us of how we were when we liked someone. Alot. Just like Ha Ni said,
Eun Jo ah, I think it is a miracle that two people will like each other at the same time. Will this miracle ever happen on me?
On the other hand, Seung Jo is this, alpha male with ridiculously high IQ (well, he apparently doesn’t study, yet always top his cohort with full marks) and seemingly incredibly low EQ. He already showed signs of liking Ha Ni, whenever he gets jealous when she was talking about Joon Gu (Lee Tae Sung), yet either he is a dork in the emotions department, or he refuses to acknowledge his own feelings, or both. This blogger thinks Seung Jo has a huge ego which dictates his heart, which results in this drama we’re watching. Also, this blogger believes that Seung Jo knows everytime his mother (Jung Hye Young) set them up together, such as the home-alone scene, and the Goong musical date. He is not a cold-hearted guy, yet he just can’t bring himself to say kind words to Ha Ni. Seung Jo is a weird character because usually when people guard their hearts fiercely, afraid to let their true feelings be known, they’re usually ones who had suffered great pain caused by love before, but Seung Jo did not.
Anyway, most elements were kept the same as with the Japanese version, but because the Japanese version was released before the manga was completed (drama was out in 1996, while the manga ended its run in 1999), this Korean version, like the Taiwanese version, saw our protagonists heading towards university and marriage. Some differencse that this blogger recalled was Kotoko’s (Japanese version of Ha Ni) house was burnt, rather than a knock in the pillar which coincided with an earthquake (this was really really lame), and Naoki (Japanese version of Seung Jo) headed straight for medical college, instead of claiming initially he did not want to attend college. But the biggest reason why this manga is call Itazura Na Kiss (literally means bad joke kiss) is the reason why Kotoko developed a crush on Naoki, and it’s not shown in this version. It literally is a joke from cupid on Kotoko that she and Naoki accidentally kissed in their first year in high school, from which she started liking him.
This blogger has read elsewhere that some were frustrated by the plain lack-of-self Ha Ni displays, but this blogger believes that Ha Ni is just being herself because Seung Jo IS her interest. Furthermore, she said to Seung Jo that she decided to go to college even though her results were terrible because she HAD to find out where her interest (meaning her REAL interest) lie.
What this blogger didn’t really like about the first episode, which appears to be most viewers’ problem as well, is the excessive use of fantasy sequences. We had an extra long opening of around 5 minutes of Ha Ni dreaming about her Prince Charming, and then we had her thinking about them in the Swan Lake setting, and lastly imagining herself as a gangster and Seung Jo chose to lie in a coffin than be with her.
So far owever, this blogger has remained interested in Playful Kiss (7 episodes done in two nights is considered quite a feat for this blogger here); the expectation is low because how the story goes is already known, and it is simply a simple drama that keeps this blogger’s happy index up because of the fluff. It’s a welcomed change from the usual evil-second-leads-who-stoop-low-to-try-and-get-the-protagonists sequence, and well, it allows this blogger to revisit some of the stored away memories.And oh, though Goong also used the same method for while credits scroll, this blogger just loves the teddy bears used to depict each important scene in every episode. So cute!