So why did Smart Boy agree to an arranged marriage? Aside from the financial benefits... that is. Was it because his ego was stoked by the thought of all these women falling at feet. The show never quite goes into that. Would Oizumi have withdrawn his interest in the family business if Smart Boy had said "no". I'm not convinced that he would have.
I suspect an element of guilt in all of this. Smart Boy had strenuously resisted every effort on the part of his parents... his mother in particular, to manipulate his love life and his career choices. Dad collapses after a major family showdown and then Smart Boy feels obligated to reverse the family fortunes. No doubt he is racked with guilt, believing himself, at least in part, responsible for the deterioration of his father's health. That he has the brains to comprehend what is at stake is never in doubt. However, under that bravado is still a 19 year old adolescent struggling to find himself. At the end of the day, he is a boy playing a man's game.
Quite likely too, he underestimates the extent of his feelings for Lead Girl, believing some how that the head will overcome the whispers of the heart. It's not hard to see where the thought processes come from: The fiancee is nice to look at, intelligent and proves to be handy in the kitchen -- everything Lead Girl isn't. On paper, she's perfect. Except we don't marry paper. People are flesh and blood with feelings even geniuses with IQs of 200. Once the interloping fiancee realises where Smart Boy's heart truly lies, she's not inclined to play second fiddle.
In all of this, I sense a gentle repudiation of traditional familial strictures for personal choice and freedom. Family is important... but mainly as a place where individuals can find love and acceptance. For instance we see a motherless girl who craves for romance, gains a de facto family first then marries into it. That aspect especially had resonances of While You Were Sleeping.
Yes, Dumb Girl marries Smart Boy. With all the frills... and for her part, with no small amount of glee. The strange thing is you don't wonder why. On paper it feels odd and yet seeing them together it all makes sense. It's a challenging coupling from the start but there's beauty in the chaos as each demands the other to be better than what they are.
This version of ItaKiss isn't perfect but the casting of the leads was wondrously inspired. If it hadn't been for their palpable chemistry, I doubt I would've continued watching after the first episode. I think I fell in love with the show about the same time Smart Boy started to see Dumb Girl in a different light. Poor fellow, he would never be the same the day she moved in. Watching all those tender looks he cast her way when she wasn't looking, I was urging my screen to: "Kiss her already, you know you want to."
And so he does...
In the rain, no less...