10 May 2012

Paradise kiss Anime review

Warning: recommended viewers: above 18 years as there are some sexual situations, school drop outs, etc.
Synonyms: parakiss
Type: TV
Episodes: 12
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 14, 2005 to Dec 30, 2005
Producers: Madhouse Studios, Aniplex, Fuji TV
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Josei
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)

At first glance, Paradise Kiss isn’t a type of anime that I would like to invest their time with. The anime is classified under the Josei genre, a genre that targets women between the ages of 18 to 35. However, the anime and the manga have been receiving high remarks, full of praise and admiration that I couldn’t help but to investigate and watch it myself.
This is one of the few series I finished in a hurry. Every thing in the show revolves around fashion industry. The story was going so well until the ending – it left me under whelmed. Sure it made me a bit teary – eyed, but it was so disappointing compared to the rest of the series. It will make us to think that love and friendship are not so important...Normally I wouldn't have liked it but I dont know why but I really liked it, it has something like magic to trap me in it.

Yukari is a typical high-school student who listens to her parents and attends school everyday. As she starts to question her way of life, she encounters a group of fashion design students who have a clothing label known as "Paradise Kiss". The group needs to find a model to showcase their designs in an up-coming fashion show and decides to pick Yukari. Initially, Yukari is reluctant to be associated with this seemingly eccentric group, but eventually she realises they are really nice people. Furthermore, their passion and enthusiasm to follow their ideals and dreams make Yukari realise that she has not been enjoying her life and thus motivates her to pursue her own dreams. The story follows Yukari as she gets involved in the group and eventually falls in love with the leader, George.

Paradise Kiss has a very engrossing and original slice of life story that you don't see everyday. The storyline immediately pulled me in because there aren't many animes that are centered around fashion, so this one really excited me. 12 episodes is very short for an anime this ambitious, so I felt like the pacing was a little fast, with several underdeveloped subplots and some rushed scenes and events.

Told from Yukari's perspective, the story is based upon her transformation from a shy but hard-working student to a confident and popular fashion model. As such, each episode is peppered with her inner monologue, which serves a bridge between the viewers and what's happening on screen. This method of storytelling certainly helps the viewer better understand Yukari's character, though it obviously narrows the perspective. This is not to say the other characters aren't important as nothing could be further from the truth. Yukari’s new-found friends and acquaintances are all interesting; albeit somewhat "stock"

First of all, the premise of Paradise Kiss is quite unique; how often have you seen an anime that focuses on the fashion design industry? Deeper than that, though, is a rich vein of character development that is unearthed from beginning to end. At the crux of the series is a relationship between the naive Yukari and the almost narcissistic George, who she can’t resist. He treats her badly, and she distrusts her own emotions, but yet they continue their dysfunctional dance. Other relationships are also showcased, and each contains similar melancholy themes

Characters:  George, for instance, is cool and arrogant yet shows genuine care towards Yukari, who he seemingly falls in love with. Miwako, despite her age, has an adorable childish demeanor while Arashi, who at first glance seems like a loud-mouthed-walking-punk-metal cliché, actually enjoys sewing and fashion design. Then there's Isabella, a high-class lady who acts as a mother figure, but isn't exactly a lady at all. In fact, it's really these characters and Yukari's interaction with them that drives the show from start to finish. This is definitely a show which is almost completely dependent upon the characters rather than the storyline itself.

As per the art the character designs for Paradise Kiss are very different than the norm. Long, detailed faces accompany thin bodies and realistic movements. "Camera" angles are effective and help draw attention to the dialogue. For example, there is one scene where two of the characters are eating dinner, but all we see, visually, is bowls of food on the table and how they are being manipulated. There is plenty of chibi-styled animation, though unlike the usual chibis, the ones in Paradise Kiss look almost like something out of Charlie Brown.

Overall,  I thought the animation was that great. Story is good and Character development is great. Definitely recommended.

One last thing, Paradise Kiss had a good OP and a great ED. I’ll include both of them here. The OP (Lonely in Gorgeous) feels a bit more dated, with its synth-pop feel. The visuals draw on the previously mentioned realistic style.

The ED (Do You Want To) uses the very stylized approach to visuals, and musically sounds like a song that was heavily influenced by David Bowie, which is very appropriate for a show about people trying to rule an art school.


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