As Itazura na Kiss enters the home straight, we learn that Naoki has been captured by aliens and replaced by a facsimile that manages to act far more like a reasonable human being than the real thing. Okay, so that point isn't quite make explicitly clear in this episode, but it's the only plausible explanation I can come up with for Naoki's personality change over the past couple of episodes.
Anyway, in this instalment we learn that poor old Kotoko has never been able to celebrate a proper birthday with her husband - A fact we're probably supposed to be surprised at, but inevitably this comes as no shock at all. Thankfully, altered alien clone Naoki can think of nothing better than giving Kotoko a great birthday, and even swaps shifts to make sure he gets the night off work. So, despite being caught up and sidetracked herself, Kotoko makes it to her date, where Naoki lavishes her with love (yes, in that way too) and even (more surprisingly) buys her a present.
The second chunk of the episode sees our newly lovey-dovey couple working together on the same ward, where they manage to save a child who has vomit lodged in his throat - And let's be honest, after watching this episode he wasn't the only one. The episode also ends with a big surprise... Well, a surprise if you don't know what happens after sex anyway.
Although the past few months have programmed me to dislike this series and its characterisations, this episode did at least move us towards what Itazura na Kiss probably should have been from at least the half-way mark, while the fact that it has taken twenty-two bloody episodes for Naoki to show any real and constant affection towards his wife will probably haunt me to the grave. Still, saccharine though this instalment was, at least we got to see Naoki (or Naoki alien clone, as I suspect) spreading a little happiness, with Kotoko on the receiving end.
Now, who wants to put some money on Kotoko giving birth to a human-alien hybrid baby before the end of the series?