Todome No Kiss (Kiss That Kills) Review
Popular host, Otaro Dojima AKA Eight (Yamazaki Kento), strictly pursues money and power. When a mysterious woman suddenly kisses him, he is thrown back seven days in the past.
As a fan of Yamazaki Kento, watching Todome No Kiss was inevitable. Despite the slight exaggeration of the kissing scenes in the first few episodes, it is enjoyable overall. The soundtrack is also produced by my favorite Japanese composer, Ken Arai. So, I had to give this a shot.
For this particular review, I give some one-liners that describe the main relationships and give a brief outline and thoughts: Dojima Otaro and Osanai Kazuma (Shison Jun), Namiki Takauji (Arata Mackenyu) and Namiki Mikoto (Araki Yuko), Dojima Otaro and Namiki Mikoto, Namiki Takauji and Dojima Otaro, Dojima Otaro and Kazunori Harumi (Suda Masaki), Saiko (Kadowaki Mugi) and Kazunori Harumi, and Dojima Otaro and Saiko are the seven pairings I will mention.
This review is not spoiler-free.
Dojima Otaro and Osanai Kazuma
Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
Kazuma has an unhealthy obsession with Otaro. Hiding his true motives, Otaro carelessly lets Kazuma into his life. Otaro also continuously “time leaps” to prevent Kazuma from harming him and getting in his way.
However, Otaro does use Kazuma’s actions to his benefit to present himself well in front of Mikoto. Kazuma is also the man that Saiko warns Otaro about from the very beginning.
Namiki Takauji and Namiki Mikoto
To protect you.
Not biologically related, Mikoto and Takauji harbor affection for each other. Yet, when Mikoto confesses, Takauji does not reciprocate. (This is perhaps due to his uncle pressuring him to marry Mikoto with dirty motives.)
Takauji continuously mentions that Otaro is not who Mikoto thinks he is. But Mikoto is keen on marrying Otaro. Yet, Takauji will do everything in his power to protect her.
The “siblings” do get a happy ending when Otaro “time leaps” and encourages them to confess. If not for Otaro’s time leap, Takauji would have technically threw away his life for Mikoto.
Dojima Otaro and Namiki Mikoto
A promise to your future self.
To Otaro, Mikoto is strictly known as the “10 billion.” From the first episode, he pursues her for money. From sweet sayings to gestures, Mikoto eventually shifts her affections from Takauji to Otaro.
As Otaro is able to go back in time to resolve any single little mistake he makes, he does eventually proceed to the altar with her but is interrupted by a knife-wielding Takauji and Saiko’s death.
Otaro has never had a genuine conversation with Mikoto until the end where he confesses that he loves Saiko. Mikoto calls him a scum and slaps him. However, this heartbreak gives Mikoto the confidence to continue Namiki group by herself before Otaro “time leaps” again and initiates Mikoto and Takauji’s relationship.
Namiki Takauji and Dojima Otaro
Fight until the end.
Takauji is Otaro’s biggest rival. He is not only the man of Mikoto’s affections but also holds a key piece of evidence to the cruise ship incident years ago. To protect himself and Mikoto, he dissolves into a murky character that’s initially heavily influenced by his uncle, a man hungry for money, status, and power.
Takauji succumbs to using unethical techniques to get what he wants (which is not far from Otaro himself.) Though, eventually, his feud with Otaro eventually stem from a single motive: to protect Mikoto.
Dojima Otaro and Kazunori Harumi
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Otaro’s kiss with Harumi is also the first self-sacrificing act he commits. It also solidifies Otaro’s feelings for Saiko.
Kazunori Harumi is the first person to tell Otaro about the concept of the “time leap” and “parallel worlds.” He is conservative about his information and leaks it strategically. He also simply observes and doesn’t initiate unless for his benefit: by leaking bits of information to Takauji about Saiko, Harumi observes whether people can become happy if they have the power to go back to the past.
In the end, Harumi tells Otaro that time leaps are “just an infinite loop of regrets.”
Harumi gets a good laugh from the shenanigans the characters get themselves into. He is also the key to saving Saiko at the end with a kiss that can transport anyone three months into the past. This man is my favorite character in the show.
Knowing that Yamazaki Kento and Suda Masaki are good friends in real life, I low-keyed shipped them in their kiss scene.
Saiko and Kazunori Harumi
Harumi is the first person to kiss Saiko normally. Shocked and confused, Saiko asks him why when he didn’t drop dead. Instead, he responds to her with a question: “Isn’t it hard to kiss when your feelings aren’t being felt?” In a way, their kiss strengthens her feelings for Otaro in the fact that she knows she cannot abandon what she feels. She confides in Harumi afterward.
As Harumi’s kiss is also capable of transporting people in the past, it raises the question whether two people who have this power is capable of kissing normally or not. Both Harumi and Saiko’s “power” came from life-threatening situations: Harumi and the fire that killed his family, and Saiko’s cruise ship experience with Otaro and his brother.
It is revealed that no matter what, they cannot go back to the time before the incident happens.
Dojima Otaro and Saiko
Giving you another chance at happiness.
Saiko’s kiss can transport you seven days in the past. Armed with this information, Otaro develops a “kissing contract” with her. Despite Saiko being just a “tool” for Eight, she convinces him to repair his relationship with his mother who still believes Kouta, Otaro’s younger brother, is still alive after the cruise ship incident.
Saiko’s character is unbelievably selfless, the complete opposite of Eight. She continuously makes sacrifices for him, a man she initially barely knew. While it is later discovered that she is the girl Otaro saved on the cruise ship twelve years ago, she gets burdened by guilt, and Otaro makes it worse.
Despite Saiko allowing herself to be used so easily and falling for Eight, her quirkiness, in the beginning, is what makes her endearing. Having watched Kadowaki Mugi’s previous shows, she definitely has a knack for playing introverted, strange, and quirky characters.
Otaro’s growth, I feel, is the focus of the entire show. While he develops feelings for Saiko along the way, they do not end as a couple: Harumi’s kiss transports him to a time period where Saiko’s just starting to get to know him; the ending also hints at Hasabe and Saiko.
In addition, the “sibling” romance could have been resolved from the beginning but gets complicated and could have died due to Otaro’s “time leaps” and motives. Therefore, the romance feels like a side-dish rather than the main course.
The cast is excellent, and the ending wraps up well. While the first two episodes may feel strange, it’s worth the watch.
For anyone who’s interested in learning more about Todome no Kiss, http://yamazaki-kento.com provides more screenshots from the show and behind-the-scenes. It’s worth checking out just for those off-screen shots. Trust me.