playful-or-mischievous By now I think everyone knows that Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo is a remake of not only a manga, but an anime and several drama versions from Japan, Taiwan and Korea.  For a closer look at this much loved story, check out Aileen’s history here. It’s a rich and varied past, so bear with me as I compare Mischievous Kiss to at least one of its counterparts: Korean drama, Playful Kiss. I realize that at only 5 episodes in, it may be a little premature to compare this latest Japanese adaption to any of its previous versions – and out of fairness I purposefully do not consider them when I write my episode reviews.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to take a look at what’s happened before.  Let’s be honest with ourselves: If you’ve seen one version, your mind is automatically going to compare them anyways.
  • Will it live up to your expectations?
  • Is it a disappointing fail?
  • Is Actor X better in this role than Actor Y?
PK6 More importantly, how good is the chemistry between the main leads? Do they give you the same degree of feels or does one couple leave you cold? I think it’s easy to say that both dramas are extremely fun to watch.  It’s not like the story is completely ground breaking or anything either.  Let’s look at: The Main Players Have we got a….
  • Perky, air-headed girl in love with cold, intelligent hero?  Check
[caption id="attachment_162226" align="alignnone" width="585"]“But how should I confess?” “My precious, Seung Jo. Saranghae.” “That is not bad.” “But how should I confess?” “My precious, Seung Jo. Saranghae.” “That is not bad.”[/caption] Playful Kiss’s Oh Ha Ni (played by Jung So Min) may turn off some viewers with her overly cutesified and sometimes incompetent antics, however I couldn’t help but love her and her steadfast confidence.  Similarly, Mischievous Kiss’s Kotoko (Honoka Miki) is just as determined, and therefore endearing to me. I think she’s probably a little more chill though in her actions (though definitely not in her expressions!). Which girl wins for me? I’ll call it a draw. I love them both.
  • Cold hero seemingly bemused but uninterested in girl-in-love? Check
InK7 Kim Hyun Joong brings Baek Seung Jo to life in our Korean version – or, can I call it bringing him to life when most of the time he just stands around silently? Granted, this is a fault with Furukawa Yuki’s Irie Naoki as well.  I’m more likely to blame their character type.  After all, that ‘tall, dark and handsome’ usually comes with the unspoken addendum: ‘silent and sulking’.  Both do it so well too, which makes their rare smiles so much more heartwarming. Have I got a pick at this time? I’m going to go with Furukawa, just because the moments he teases Kotoko are so precious and make me laugh. Besides, hopefully he won’t get a perm when he goes to college like Seung Jo does. (No, I’m absolutely not shallow about this.) ;)
  • Moping and determined second guy with weird hair and a provincial dialect?  Check
PK8 Bong Joon Gu (Lee Tae Sung) and his Japanese counterpart Kin-chan (Yamada Yuki) round out the obligatory love triangle with their polarizing, doofus-infused characters.  Who knows why, but Joon Gu always rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe I just wasn’t expecting a second guy in Grease-attire and hairdo the first time around, but he got way too much screen time in my opinion.  I enjoy watching Kin on screen more.  Somehow he comes across as less annoying second-lead and more playfully stalker-ish, and his range of facial expressions is off the charts! Who knew eyebrows could do so many poses!? Kin-chan, you win this round. Keep up the good work.
  • Crazy, matchmaking parents who don’t mind leaving their underage kids alone under one roof? Check
PK9 These guys get me every time. It’s so refreshing, considering how most drama parents live to make their children miserable in love. I absolutely cannot pick which male lead’s mom I like the best (because I still just want to have a big group hug and tell them how much I love them and their kid-embarrassing antics).  Mischievous Kiss’s dad makes me smile a lot more though. Gotta love the bond between these guys. And every time Kotoko’s dad cries, I get so empathetic.
  • A posse of crazy-ass friends following our leads in all good faith, and mischievous motivations? Check
PK5 What’s a hero without his/her sidekicks? They’re here in plenty.  For the girls, I have to choose Kotoko’s friends over Ha Ni’s just because they seem a tiny more real than the constantly over-stereotyped girls in Playful Kiss.  And who can pick between Joon Gu’s odd looking, quartet and Kin’s two best friends? Because I have to pick, I think I’ll go with Kin’s, just because their hair isn’t blond and permed. (Have you noticed how I hate the male perm yet?) Notable Differences Judging only by the first 5 aired episodes of Mischievous Kiss, I can’t help but appreciate how fast-paced and zippy this new version is compared to the Korean edition.  Kotoko is already confessing her love in the first scene, as opposed to Oh Ha Ni’s musing about it for a while.  Since then we’ve been getting rapid story progression, and while sometimes I think it’s speeding too fast through significant periods of time (their whole last year of high school), in some ways it’s a relief.  Playful Kiss, despite my shallow love for it, was entirely too long and draggy. Unfortunately it’s still too early to compare how the story-line will go with later episodes.  We've yet to see a love rival to Kotoko  - and that could just be the deal breaker.  *waits expectantly* Also, has anyone noticed the significant lack of piggy back rides in this drama?  Japan apparently hasn't picked up on this ultra romantic Korean expression of love. ;) PK7 So what are your thoughts?  What version of the story do you like best, and how does MK: Love in Tokyo compare so far? Anyone want to make a plug why I should watch any of the other versions (like the Taiwanese It Started With A Kiss)? I’m all ears (or eyes) now!   Rosie is a blogger at Shine a Light Rose, and with fellow drama club members Heisui from My Drama Tea and Cherry from Jdrama Reviews, has spent this new-episode-less week pining away. Other drama club posts this week: