Playful Kiss – Kdrama Original Air Date: September – October 2010
Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo Season 1 – Jdrama Original Air Date: March – July 2013
Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo Season 2 – Jdrama Original Air Date: November – December 2014
Plot: Based on the popular Japanese Manga, Itazura Na Kiss, Playful Kiss, and Mischievous Kiss are the Korean and Japanese drama versions. There is also a Taiwanese and Thai version out there because apparently a lot of producers think that this was a worthwhile show to remake (that sentence should be read dripping in sarcasm). The basic summary is that in all versions, there is a stupid teenage girl who falls in love with a smart condescending ass of a classmate. The male classmate berates her, insults her, looks down upon her, basically anything toxic you can imagine, he does to her. But she insists that it is love and continues to make him her entire world. A natural disaster occurs that forces it to turn into a cohabitation drama, where more toxicity occurs.
I am trying to tackle my early watch list from 2019 that I haven’t reviewed yet. I notice that the dramas I have left seem to be very opposite ends, they are either the all-time favorites that I feel like I need to rewatch in order to write a quality post about (e.g. Healer) or it’s me all time hates that I really don’t feel like wasting too much time on (i.e. see the My First First Love post I just wrote). Playful Kiss and Mischievous Kiss fall in the latter category. I hated it so much, so why did I watch two versions of it? It is because I listened to the internet who said that the Japanese version was better than the Korean version and I thought I would give it another shot. For the record, both versions are pretty toxic and difficult watches. If I had to choose though, I thought the chemistry between the leads in the Korean version was a little stronger. The Japanese version stretched the show over 2 seasons, it did go a little further into their relationship and more into their life after marriage, which was still pretty dysfunctional.
I am a little more willing to drop a drama at this point in my drama watching, but back when I first started watching, I was a newbie and felt obligated to finish both of these, so I trudged ahead. Both dramas were from the early 2010s, so I do think the themes and premise of dumb girl – hot jerk guy was pretty similar to the other dramas from this era which I also had difficulty with (e.g. Princess Hours 2006, Personal Taste 2010, Heirs 2013). What made Playful Kiss/Mischievous Kiss more difficult for me was the lack of character growth for both leads. At least in other dramas, we saw the girls start to find their voice and themselves. And we would see a turnaround with the jerky male lead by the end where he had character growth. I kept waiting and waiting for her to find herself and her own dreams. And I kept waiting for him to act nicer to her and not be such a jerk. But that moment never came. Until the very end, her sole identity was to love him. Her dreams her hopes and her existence was to be his wife. And to the very end, he was condescending to her but we were supposed to find their few romantic scenes towards each other to wipe away all that toxicity? Is this really the type of romance we want to peddle to females? No thank you.