Hello Hello, Lil Buns!
Continuing on with My Anime List, I finished another series I started watching forever ago. But I did finish the manga to. It's also another series by the wonderful Ai Yazawa-sensei!
Paradise Kiss is an anime and manga series from the 2000s. There are a few references and characters from the 90s series Gokinjo Monogatari (see my review here) so many assume that it was the prequel to this series. But I'd say it's a more dramatic transition from the lighthearted Neighborhood Story to the much later Nana.
Parakiss is a series based around Yukari who is just a slightly below average student who does what her mother expects. Go to school, do well and succeed in life. But how can you do that when you don't feel like it's living?
Enter the group Paradise Kiss.
The artists, dreamers and creators of beautiful fashion and art at Yazagaku fashion school. The team consists of George, Miwako, Isabella and the one that "discovers" Yukari - Arashi.
They bring her to a place called "The Atelier" where they recruit her to model for them in George's creations. It eventually turns into a battle between what Yukari wants, what her mother wants and George's dreams.
Oh yeah and guess who this is!
If you guessed correctly, then yes! She succeeded! And this is one of her creations for the Parakiss manga! Isn't it gorgeous?
Everyone has a moment of what they should do and what they want to do. Sometimes they're separate and sometimes they work out together. I love how this series really puts it in a way that lets you be in Yukari's shoes and to think for yourself. Because in the end, it's all about what we need to do for ourselves.
"I guess you need to have a smidge of natural talent, a lot of passion and the drive to match. I think anything's possible as long as you don't forget that."-George, Paradise Kiss
You can definitely tell Ai Yazawa-sensei's art changed and was soon on its way to Nana. Now that the stories have become more serious, the art did as well. Her characters' designs have always been really expressive and I think they reached a whole other level with Parakiss.
And OMG can we talk about the fashion?!
This series makes me want to design fashion! XD
Each character had their own personal battles and contributed to Yukari's growth. Miwako, the sweet little Lolita, is actually related to a very big character and is like a sister to her. Arashi was the brash but sweet one. Isabella offered the more gentle advice when Yukari needed it. George became Yukari's drive as well as challenge. And even Hiroyuki, who's not part of Parakiss, offered her some help when she needed it.
You'll even find some characters or relations to characters of Gokinjo Monogatari! But I won't tell you which ones~
The soundtrack for this series definitely had a lot more choices. The opening "Lonely in Gorgeous" by Tomoko Kawase (as alter ego Tommy February6) has to be one of my favorites. The ending theme features Franz Ferdinand's hit song "Do You Want To" with silly animation. There were even theme pieces for each of the characters.
Overall Rating 9/10
This series is a bit darker than Gokinjo but just as inspiring. There have been times in my life where I felt as lost as Yukari but I had my friends to help me along. And while I wish the ending were happier, we have to understand that not everything goes as we want it to. Sometimes, life takes us in a direction we didn't plan. But as long as we don't give up and keep trying, we'll get where we need to go.
I definitely recommend this series to anyone that feels they don't know what to do and need a little inspiration or just appreciate art and fashion.
Hope you enjoyed! Please let me know if you watch and/or read it!
That's all for now! See you next time!