The Manga Series: It Started With a Kiss

In this series I’ll be covering dramas based on mangas, especially ones with multiple adaptations.

Today’s is It Started With A Kiss (ISWAK), or Itazura na Kiss


It’s a shojo manga first published in 1994 and later adapted not once, but four different times (1996, 2005, 2010, 2013). Meet the love triangle – Ikezawa Kinnosuke is our Sixteen Candle’s Ducky character who has two loves, leopard print and our heroine; Aihara Kotoko is our heroine who has been in love with Japan’s #1 genius for two years straight; and Irie Naoki is our #1 genius who cares nothing for anyone not on his level.


ISWAK was first adapted into a Japanese drama in 1996, but didn’t cover the second part of Kotoko and Naoki’s life. In 2005, ISWAK became a fan favourite when it was adapted into a Taiwanese drama starring Ariel Lin and Joe Cheng. So much so, that a sequel (They Kiss Again), was produced – unheard of in dramaland. A Korean adaptation aired in 2010 called Playful Kiss, starring Jung So Min and Kim Hyun Joon. It received mixed/poor reviews, but still achieved high viewer ratings. Most recently, ISWAK has been re-adapted into a Japanese drama (called Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo to distinguish it from the first Jdrama) starring Miki Honoka and Furukawa Yuki.

Image(look at that kiss!)

So how do they compare? 








-characters are funny

-phenomenal chemistry between the leads!!! (just watch TKA)

-good second lead

-good male lead

-fantastic kisses 🙂

-long (24 first season/30 second season)

-sometimes the female lead gets annoyingly slow-witted


Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo


-great second lead

-friendships are solid

-great lead characters

-the female lead makes some faces that are a little too exaggerated

-boring kisses


Playful Kiss

South Korea

-very shiny packaging

-pretty decent kissing

-wooden male lead/bad acting

-bad writing/plot


You can watch them all on Dramafever!
Taiwanese–>It Started with a Kiss , They Kiss Again
Japanese–>Mischievous Kiss: Love in Tokyo
Korean–>Playful Kiss


7 thoughts on “The Manga Series: It Started With a Kiss

  1. Ah yes, the kissing in ISWAK is definitely the best. There are even fan-videos that contain ALL of the kisses between Ariel/Joe’s characters in ISWAK, HAHAHA.

  2. So far ISWAK is my favorite followed by Love in Tokyo, though I’m a little behind on that one. Taiwanese dramas usually beat k dramas in one areas and that’s the kissing/make-out scenes.

    1. Agreed! Love in Tokyo is really good in it’s own right, but I think the length worked in favour of the TW one, because you can really feel the male lead falling in love with her. The kiss/make-out scenes is true as well for the most part (i’ve seen a few “bumper car” type kisses as well :/ ), just look at fated to love you, iswak/tka, my queen, and Devil Beside You.

  3. Playful Kiss actually got really low ratings in Korea, it just did well overseas. I liked it when I watched it, but now I don’t remember remember most of it, lol

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