Lead actor category:
Have you ever watch Itazura Na Kiss which aired in 1996? I was an elementary student then and I remembered my craze over this drama. During those days, Takashi Kashiwabara was one of the hottest Japanese celebrity. His portrayal as Irie Naoki was very classic and thus leaving a great impression on me. He was my first jdorama crush followed by Hideaki Takizawa.
Kim Hyun Joong acted in the 2010 Korean version titled Playful Kiss/Mischievous kiss. I love Kim Hyun Joong portrayal as Beak Seung Jo. However, I preferred his acting in the YouTube Special episodes. Unlike Takashi Kashiwabara, Kim Hyun Joong interpreted the role as a robot boy. He was very cold towards Oh Ha Ni, whereas Irie Naoki switched from sarcastic, nasty, to showing a bit of empathy and finally accepting his love for Aihara Kotoko. Judging from expressions, Takashi Kashiwabara was slightly better.
Joseph Cheng acted in the 2005 Taiwanese idol drama Titled - It Started with a kiss. His acting is the most polished and seasoned compared to the other two actors. He is so convincing as Jiang Zhi Shu, the arrogant and handsome genius. However, in my opinion he is not as cute as the other two actors.
In terms of 'look' department, Takashi Kashiwabara gets my vote. Too bad, he did not have enough time to develop his character in this drama because of the miserable few episodes. It is just NOT satisfying for me. I wanted to see more of the main leads interactions. Despite that, Takashi Kashiwabara emerged as the winner because Irie Naoki is a classic character that only he can fit in.
Lead Actors nominees: Takashi Kashiwabara, Kim Hyun Joong, Joseph Cheng
Winner: Takashi Kashiwabara
Lead Actress category
Aiko Sato is a funny actress that strike jackpot in this drama. Honestly, I find her a turn off when I first watched this drama many years ago. In my opinion, she is too 'ugly' for prince Irie Naoki. From her animated facial expression to her big ears scream a big No! Her exergerated expressions and constant loud squealing was annoying too. Despite my initial dislike for the actress, her acting can be seen as a funny comedian. Afterall, Kotoko is supposed to be extremely silly, clumsy and loud just like the manga. Strangely after all these years, Aiko Sato portrayal of Kotoko still leave a deep impression on me. The only thing is that I still doubt Naoki love for Kotoko who is a 'nightmare' to everyone.
Ariel Lin took the leading role in - It started with a kiss. She has time to develop her character as Yuan Xiang Qing and she does it quite well. She is the typical girl-next-door type of lead actress. However, I find her annoying sometimes, especially in season 2.
Jung So Min is more girlish, gentle and cute when she protrays Oh Ha Ni in Playful kiss. Yes, Oh Ha Ni is the most adorable actress, however her acting is more plain than the other actresses. Jung So Min has great potential in her acting skills. As a newbie, she already played her role well. In my opinion, she just need to be more polished in her acting that comes with more experiences.
Lead actress nominees: Aiko Sato, Ariel Lin, Jung So Min
Winner: Ariel Lin
Although playful kiss has low ratings in Korea, I think it has a good storyline. This is a typical romance comedy drama with a cute couple. The story is not draggy and the pace is just nice. Not much emphasis were placed on the supporting characters as compared to It Started With a Kiss. The sub plot and the development of the supporting characters can be lame and cheesy. However, I am not complaining as long as we can see the interaction between the leads. The YouTube special episodes is a nice closure for this drama. I enjoyed these short episodes the most! Sweet, Sweet love...
Winner: Playful Kiss
I enjoyed all the chemistry between the main leads. Honestly, all of them have chemistry with each other that make it so difficult to chose the best couple. In the end, I decided to cast my vote to Joseph Cheng and Ariel Lin. The reason being they were very comfortable with each other right from the start. The other two onscreen couples took a slightly longer time to warm up to each other.
Winner: Joseph Cheng and Ariel Lin
Itazaru Na Kiss - Love in Tokyo
In 2013, The Japanese remake this manga adaption drama again starring Miki Honoka and Furukawa Yuki. The title of the drama is - Itazaru Na Kiss Love in Toyko. Both Aiko Sato and Takashi Kashiwabara made a cameo appearance in one of the episodes. Honestly, I am a little sick of manga live adaption of Itazaru Na Kiss. Look at the timeline and the different versions. In the end, I decided to watch this latest version to find out what they have to offer.
The main cast look promising but their age difference is a factor which i personally cannot overlook. The chemistry between the whole cast was average and their acting skills were just watchable. Basically, this latest drama is a fresh new version of Itazura Na Kiss. Nothing much changes in the storyline, just a little bit of twist and turn (taking some ideas from previous versions) in the plot. No surprise here, since the script was taken from the manga.
While watching Itazura Na Kiss Love in Tokyo, there were some funny, comedic and romantic moments. However, in my opinion it did not have the same 'magic' anymore. I am still a big fan of mischievous kiss but just not a big fan of this drama remake. Despite that, it is worth watching it again for all the Mischievous kiss fans out there!