Anime Review: Paradise Kiss – Passion meets Fashion!

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MADHOUSE Studios (2005).

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Synopsis:

With the stresses of high school and her pushy mother, Yukari Hayasaka is having a teenage crisis: She hasn’t discovered what she wants for her future. After being asked to model for a fledgling clothing label, will the listless teenager find her true calling? 12 episodes. 16+

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Review:

Directed by Osamu Kobayashi (Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad), Paradise Kiss tackles the drama of first love, and wraps it into a world of haute couture and contemporary style from the streets of Tokyo’s fashion capital, Harajuku. Examining the universal theme of a teenager’s rite of passage, this series is underpinned with a worthy message: Don’t be afraid to take the first step toward following your dreams.

Paradise Kiss was adapted from the work of mangaka Ai Yazawa (of NANA fame) as serialized in the popular Japanese fashion mag Zipper.What I absolutely love about the way Yazawa writes characters are that they are so human. Even if the story is fantastical, the characters seem grounded in reality, and are able to evolve.

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A very notable aspect of this anime are the beautiful designs of the character’s clothing. Everyone has a wardrobe change at least once an episode. Also, there is plenty of detail given to the props and scenery. For example, George’s vintage Jaguar or the atmosphere of the atelier. To be critical, the graphics at the beginning of each episode, a blend of bizarre fictional creatures and real-world graphics, were a bit 80’s Nickolodean. Personally, I didn’t think they were a good fit with the rest of the show.

What did work amazingly for the feel of Paradise Kiss was the music. In particular, the upbeat pop sound of the OP “Lonely in Gorgeous” by Tommy February6. The ending theme, “Do You Want To” by Franz Ferdinand was a pretty high profile treat as well. Studio MADHOUSE must have been friendly with the budget.

As to whether or not you’ll enjoy Paradise Kiss, I recommend not letting the “Project Runway” premise scare you off. For anyone who has ever felt trapped in the routine of everyday life, main girl Yukari’s empowering journey can mirror your wish to find a change of pace. Ultimately, in all of its josei-ness, I think this series is most relatable to young adults.

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Where to Watch: The 2008 licensing deal Funimation had with Geneon expired in 2011, which makes this series OOP in the United States (and sadly, not available for legal streaming). The last DVD release was a Funimation thinpack set in 2009. Currently, Paradise Kiss is pretty easy to track down through second-hand stores. I got mine at Book-Off.

About Anne's Anime Blog

I am an astronomical anime fan. I enjoy watching it, collecting figures & merchandise, assembling models, and attending conventions. California burrito glutton. Let's be friends:)

Posted on June 23, 2013, in Anime, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Awesome review! Paradise Kiss was one of the first Manga’s I ever read religiously, too bad it was only a 5 book series… The anime was really cool too. I also love Nana, another Ai Yazawa series.

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