Korean Title: “Jangnanseureon Kiseu” (direct translation)
# of episodes: 16
Produced by: MBC
*Based on the manga Itazaru Na Kiss ("prank's kiss") by Kaoru Tada
Kim Hyun Joong as Baek Seung Jo
Jung So Min as Oh Ha Ni
Lee Tae Sung as Bong Joon Gu
Lee Si Young as Yoon He Ra
Jung Hye Young as Seung Jo’s mother
Oh Kyung Soo as Seung Jo’s father
Choi Won Hong as Baek Eun Jo (Seung Jo’s brother)
Kang Nam Gil as Ha Ni’s father
Hong Yoon Hwaas Jung Joo Ri (Ha Ni’s friend)
Yoon Seung Ah as Go Min Ah (Ha Ni’s friend)
Korea is now 0 for 2 when it comes to remakes. Oops.
If Boys Over Flowers and Mischievous Kiss are any indication, Korea really needs to stop making remakes of manga stories. They’re not very good at them. Aside from cramming two much plot with major pacing problems, they also change the original characterization and story so much that they become unrecognizable, and not in a good way. The acting is nothing to write home about either, and there has been a surprise lack of chemistry among cast members for these remakes.
Kim Hyun Joong was undoubtedly the weakest link in this series. He is robotic throughout most of it and it is only when he smiles that I noticed something is different in his facial expression. A major disappointment and Joe Cheng is eons ahead of him when it comes to acting. He does have decent chemistry with Jung So Min though. I’m also surprised that Kim performed so poorly in this series as he delivered one of the stronger performances in BOF.
It doesn’t help that Korea’s version of the male lead is more or less butchered by the writers. He’s even more arrogant and aloof than the other versions, and most importantly, very cruel and cold towards Ha Ni. I mean, who says things like “I wish I never married you”? Ha Ni should have kicked him in the a--… after all, she has had plenty of experience with fixing vending machines via fly kicks.
Jung Hye Young and Oh Kyung Soo were not very good either, and although Lee Si Young is photogenic and pretty, her performance was forgettable. Kang Nam Gil fared a bit better as Ha Ni’s father, though.
It’s not all bad. I like how this series shows another reason why Seung Jo’s mother likes Ha Ni. Whereas in other versions the explanation is that she just thinks she’s good for Seung Jo, his mother also sees herself in Ha Ni, when she tells her father: “She’s like me. In my family, I’m the only one who makes mistakes and the only one who laughs. My sons don’t have that type of personality and my husband is too busy with work”. I get the feeling that underneath all the silliness, Seung Jo’s mother feels lonely in a family full of straight-forward, stone-cold males and this series shows a bit of that.
I liked Lee Tae Sung’s performance. He is a natural comedian although for the first half of the series I thought he was speaking Japanese! His accent is weird. Another plus was Choi Won Hong as Eun Jo. A cute kid and a total brat, exactly what Eun Jo is supposed to be.
Jung So Min was a delight to watch. She sports some cute hairstyles in this series and gave a fine performance as Ha Ni, especially since the Korean version of the character is a bit brighter and less useless. Definitely the highlight of the series. The actresses who portrayed her friends were very good as well.
So was it better than the Taiwanese version? If you can’t tell already, I can give you a quick answer: Hell no. It Started With A Kiss might have been a wack-fest but it had charm and some terrific performances and cast chemistry. Korea’s version is missing charm and even raw emotions, because the acting is weak, and the pacing of the story even worse. While the plot and key scenes are identical to the Taiwanese version, the pacing is off, so much so that a lot of what happens in the Taiwanese sequel (the honeymoon, the appearance of Christine’s character, etc.) is crammed into the last 2 episodes of Mischievous Kiss. And with an inadequate performance in one of the pivotal characters, the whole ship comes down. A miss.