So here we are, up to the sixth episode of Itazura no Kiss, and to be quite honest thus far this series has survived almost solely on the infectious enthusiasm of Kotoko. This episode does, however, finally bring us at least some softening of Naoki's previously overly harsh personality to more reasonable levels, to the point where Kotoko having any interest in him is almost believable.
Aside from that rather major shift in the dynamic between the two, this episode remains pretty standard fare, between Kotoko's disastrous attempts to impress or otherwise make Naoki happy, exuberant misjudgements that almost cause him to lose his near certain place at Tokyo University. But, does he even really want to go there, and if not then why not?
While Itazura no Kiss remains pretty reasonable to watch, it just never seems to quite get things right... Just like Kotoko herself, you could argue. Comic moments and situations are never quite brought to the boil as they should be, while more emotional scenes get passed over relatively quickly, leaving us with a slightly bland recipe. It's the sort of thing you can forgive for a few episodes, but we should be at the point where there's more than just the same old unrequited love story to fall back on at the end of the day, although the preview for episode seven does perhaps promise some movement in that direction.
I find it hard to be critical of this show, because it somehow always manages to do just enough to keep my attention, but it really needs a little more frisson if it's ever going to be much more than a way of filling half an hour. I'm not asking for anything revolutionary from the romantic comedy genre which has been done to death in every aspect of popular culture, but there's still plenty of more prime material available than this series seems willing to move towards.