Paradise Kiss

Title:Paradise Kiss
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
Original Concept - YAZAWA Ai
R1 License - Pioneer (Defunct)
SUZUKA Chiharu
Yukari Hayasaka is a high school student in her final year undergoing the stress of applying for university exams and the pressures put on her by her mother to succeed as a student. One day, Yukari is brought into the world of fashion modeling by George Koizumi and several of his friends at the Yazawa Gakuen design school. The group known as Paradise Kiss need Yukari’s help to model their clothing designs for their school’s upcoming fashion competition. Yukari agrees to help the group out as she starts to realize her potential in the world of fashion modeling and falls for George as the days count down towards the Yazawa competition.

Anime adaptation of a manga series by YAZAWA Ai, who also authored the popular Gokinjo Monogatari and Nana manga stories and anime adapations.

12 TV Episodes
Animation by MADHOUSE.
R1 Licensed by Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc.

1:29min Series Opening - YouTube Video
Episode Details 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 10 7 10 9 8 6 Anonymous #3026 [series:1249#3026]
I just don't know what's the fuss about, I wanted to give this a buy but I think the story was okay, although the animation is good. It's replayability to me was below average.

If you want fashion, great details, very artistic, try this anime. but if you want to watch an anime that you can watch over and over again. I don't recommend this one.

This is beauty for a while.. I do think this is overrated.

Last updated Thursday, December 04 2008. Created Thursday, December 04 2008.
Buy 10 8 9 10 10 9 Ggultra2764 [series:1249#1552]
The Pros: Paradise Kiss takes a look at a young woman’s beginnings towards becoming a fashion model discovering all the successes and pitfalls of the profession and the circumstances that lead her into the profession. This is an original premise for such an anime as there is not much originality to be found in anime nowadays. The challenges of the fashion world were portrayed quite accurately in Paradise Kiss as there was a great amount of attention put on such pressures as developing clothing designs, the application process for modeling, and photo shoots for magazine publications. The personalities of the characters involved in the fashion world are portrayed quite well, as the viewer will get a sense of a world that exists outside of the normal lives they experience. Outside of the fashion environment, the series also explores the sexual tension in relationships between characters, especially with George and Yukari. This goes well with the outside worldly environment in which Paradise Kiss achieves. Animation wise, the character designs and background scenery were richly saturated in color and detail, which looks quite good for a TV series. The intricate details put into clothes being modeled were especially done quite well. The intro (Tommy february’s “Lonely in Gorgeous”) and outro (Franz Ferdinand’s “Do You Want To”) songs chosen were excellent choices in establishing the world of fashion as a place that stands out from reality.

The Cons: With the richly detailed character designs and backgrounds, there are occasions where there are more conversation than movement from the characters since such detail took a toll on the animation budget to the series. Also, the show’s pacing has an occasional habit of progressing too quickly which can make it difficult for some viewers to take in what events took place from the series.

Facts on the Series:

-Based on the josei manga series created by Ai Yazawa and is licensed in America by Tokyopop.

Last updated Sunday, January 06 2008. Created Sunday, January 06 2008.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 Violet D [series:1249#1393]
I agree with Stretch and his review of this Anime. I thought the opening is different and the music goes right along with it. Not a boring story and keeps you wanting to watch it to see how it is going to end. I was alittle disappointed though from a females perspective that she didn't end up with George. But then I'm and uncurable romantic. But it ended how it was suppose to I guess. If you are looking for something different and exciting to watch buy or rent this one. There is also a website you can get to watch alot of these movies and it is called anime fever.

Last updated Thursday, July 12 2007. Created Thursday, July 12 2007.
Buy Stretch [series:1249#628]
It's all too easy to explain bizarre anime just by saying "somebody was high when they made this", and I must admit that was my first impression of Paradise Kiss. The strange mix of live-action photography and SD creatures roaming the streets of Tokyo had me thinking "Ah, this is going to be some sort of cross between Alice in Wonderland and the usual high school romance anime" (which I wasn't exactly looking forward to). As it turns out, after the superb opening sequence things got a lot more rational, and these eccentric characters which Yukari meets aren't hallucinations after all. That was a relief, and I soon found myself intensely curious to see where this show would go from there. It quickly became clear that this was going to be a series that would be worth paying close attention to, taking notes, and writing individual episode reviews for. Paradise Kiss is in fact a remarkably realistic, believable, and fascinating show. When it comes to witty, intelligent dialogue, this series is in an entirely different league than most anime. This show employs a strange mix of superdeformed characters, dream sequences, English-language rock music, and all sorts of other tricks I can't keep track of--I like it. The OP and ED songs are both first rate. An unusual touch (which I'd have remained oblivious to if I hadn't read about it on another website) is that there is no BGM.

Man, after all the shows about how typical teenagers in Japan are extremely reluctant to confess love for anyone else, it's hard to believe Paradise Kiss was actually made in that country! The characters seem somehow easier to sympathize with than usual, in spite of (or maybe because of) their eccentric personalities. You don't often see such unconventional characters in real-life anime--that must be what fascinates Yukari. An ordinary person discovers a previously unknown subculture and becomes intrigued by it; perhaps the closest match I can think of would be Comic Party or Otaku no Video. Isabella, by the way, is a drag queen--this is made clear within the first two or three pages of the manga (which I stumbled across in a bookstore), but isn't revealled to viewers of the anime until it is around three-fourths complete. I was certain that this particular plot element must have been dropped altogether, perhaps because the story needed to be seriously compressed to fit within twelve TV episodes. The character designs convey their flamboyant personalities well, though while doing some "research" on other websites, I have learned that the Yaza Academy is in fact an exclusive high school, and all of the principal characters are supposed to be 18 years old--I would have thought Miwako was definitely under 18, Yukari and Arashi could be 18, and George and Isabella were well over 18.

I love the unpredictable behavior of the characters, especially George--a scene in which he ignored Yukari on the street had me giggling. It's kind of hard to understand why Yukari became so quickly entranced by him, when they seem to have a sort of love-hate relationship. But whereas Yukari seems to be a pretty average high school girl (perhaps to give the audience somebody they can relate to), George is a fascinatingly unusual person. What are we to make of him? Is he a nice guy down deep, or just a jerk? Is he insensitive, or does he have he a curiously enlightened attitude towards women (for example, when Yukari complains that he didn't call her while they were apart, his reply is 'yeah, but you didn't call me either')? Does trouble lies ahead for Yukari as a result of falling for this enigmatic playboy? If so, I could not guess what form the trouble would take, which was refreshing.

I read that the original manga was no less than five volumes long, whereas the anime consists of only a dozen episodes. This serious compression might explain some unexpected changes of heart on Yukari's part, with regards to how she feels about George and whether she will give top priority to him or to her career as a model. Also, why was a certain character introduced in episode 10 (complete with a narrator urging us to pay careful attention to him)? Unless I missed something important (which is always possible) he had little effect on the overall plot. Nevertheless, the plot remains quite believable, and doesn't rely on the sorry gimmick of strange coincidences being misinterpreted by the characters to generate friction among them. Yukari enjoys a curious stroke of luck which opens the door to a career as a professional model, but it wasn't something so unlikely that I had any trouble believing that it could really happen.

The next-to-last episode almost makes you hold your breath, as the fashion show that the ParaKiss team has been preparing for all along finally comes about. You wonder "Will Yukari trip as she models the gown?" or, "Will George suddenly lose interest in her afterwards?". I thought at one point that maybe I had detected a trend in anime romances told from the girl's point of view--that is, the female protagonist generally must choose between a straight-laced, respectable, but not extremely passionate guy and an unconventional, devil-may-care type. That seemed to be the case in Peach Girl, and I assumed Yukari would make a similar choice at the end of Paradise Kiss. But to make a long story short, The final episode did not turn out to be what I was expecting! More than once I have disagreed with the choices of boyfriends and girlfriends that the characters in romantic anime series made at the end, and wished that some scriptwriter would dare to make the lead character make a radically unexpected selection. I don't want to give too much away, but this might just be when my wishes come true! Also unexpected was a lapse of self-confidence on George's part. He had always seemed so cocksure, so much a smart-alleck, that such a thing didn't seem possible. So, you might say it wasn't just Yukari who was struggling to make up her mind about what she wanted to do in life. The first time I watched this episode, it seemed like a sad, disappointing conclusion, but having carefully rewatched it, I would say that either this ending is too good to be fully appreciated by a mere amateur critic like myself, or maybe it was slightly flawed (probably the former!).

If it isn't already obvious, the words that most come to mind when thinking about Paradise Kiss are "unconventional", "unpredictable" and "refreshing". in short, this is an unconventional show about unconventional people--that's why I like it.

My favorite line: "I'm a bi(sexual)" --George

Last updated Tuesday, February 14 2006. Created Sunday, November 20 2005.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:1249#967]
In the last year of high school, Hayasaka Yukari’s life is filled only with school and the afternoon cram classes. She feels troubled by her boring life, and wonders if she might be missing out on something. One afternoon, a strange spiky haired punk with a face full of diaper pins calls out for her. She blows him off, but he refuses to leave her alone and chases after her when she tries to run dodging through the crowded street. And then Boom! Yukari bumps into a tall girl with a painted flower face! And when Yukari realizes that this girl is a friend of the guy chasing her … she just faints. When Yukari wakes up, she finds herself in an empty basement bistro, with some other strange people, all about her age. Both the punk boy and the flower girl are there, and she hears someone says "Don’t you agree! I think that she will make a great model!"

Yukari leaves in a huff promising never to return, but she left her student handbook behind (with it’s precious picture of her classmate Tokumori-kun). The students of prestigious Fashion College are not willing to allow such a perfect model just walk away. The next day Yukari finds a dashing young man waiting for her at the school gate. He offers to return her handbook but only if she would be willing to listen to their request. They ask her to be a model for their new fashion series called 'Paradise Kiss' and Yukari finds herself slowly drawn into their strange world of art and fashion.

This is the type of series in which I find myself quickly drawn into and enjoying. If you enjoyed the roughness and complex characters of BECK or a story of high school romance such as Suzuka, then you might well enjoy this series too.

The animation is very good with a lots of digitally enhanced pictures (taken from around Tokyo) which are incorporated as backdrops to various scenes (with very good effect!). There is a strong element of the artistic abstract appearing as strange images which are woven into the animation to give the story a bit of a surrealistic feel. And the characters are all intelligent and very interesting.

Since the story line comes from the perspective of Yukari (who has no experience with the art crowd,) the clique of students appear as being fashionably hip and very strange. They are all students of the Yaza School of Art, intent on launching their ‘Paradise Kiss’ line of exotic clothing and they would like to use Yukari as a model for their new creations. Yukari finds George, the dashing fashion designer and leader to be the most mysterious person of the group. His strange attraction and appeal at being both a gentleman and a rouge, puts her unspoken feelings for her Tokumori-kun to a test. Later Yukari is surprised to learn that Mikawako, the red haired angel of the group and girlfriend of the punk-rocker Arashi, were both childhood friends of Tokumori. But what she does not know is that Tokumori was the odd man out of lover’s triangle from several years ago which causes an awkward situation, but the events are settled in such a way that mange to bring Tokumori and Yukari a bit closer.

Sound a bit like a soap opera? Perhaps, but it a very fun story with interesting characters and beautiful animation.

Episode 5 has been released as a fansub.

Last updated Saturday, November 19 2005. Created Tuesday, November 15 2005.

Other Sites
Official Japanese Series Web Site
Geneon (R1-English) Series Web Site

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