Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An anime review: Paradise Kiss

One of short anime I watched during the vacation was "Paradise Kiss". I found it few months ago, by searching josei anime with good ratings on AniDB. I didn't have some special wish for watching it because I was a bit put off by bland-looking picture on its profile. But, because of its rating and shortness, I gave it a chance. In the end, I wasn't disappointed.

Series follows Hayasaka Yukari, a high-school girl soon to graduate, as she encounters and befriends (or better to say, gets befriended by) a group of fashion high-school designers. Yukari is nice and intelligent girl, but feeling a bit lost in her life. For as long as she can remember, she obediently followed her mother's wish to succeed in school. When she meets the group, named ParadiseKiss, she realizes that she doesn't actually know what she wants and decides to find herself.

Her connection with ParadiseKiss starts when they ask her to be their model for annual fashion competition at their school, because of her height and beauty. At first, she doesn't believe herself to be good enough, and think of them as time-wasting truants. But, she changes her opinion of them as she sees the passion and effort they invest in their clothes. All this help her to understand herself better, making her to leave school and try to make a living as a professional model. In only 12 episodes she will encounter various troubles, in professional and emotional view.

ParadiseKiss group consist of four people. Koizumi Jouji, nicknamed George, is a person I would probably hate in real life (joking). He is a genius designer, rich and good looking, independent and cocky; he is the center and main force of the group. As show goes on, I realized that I actual like George and after watching whole series, think of him as a protagonist, even though events are focused on Yukari. He has much depth as a character and he is very aware of himself. It is displayed how he is ready to sacrifice much for his real passion, design. Although he is sometimes cruel and insensitive, her cares for people and helps them to realize themselves, even though at times it looks like he is just a prick.

Miwako and Arashi are the couple of the group. Arashi is pierced and plays a guitar in band; he looks scary, but he is actually very emotive and caring. Miwako is cute and looks younger than she really is, which is amplified by her dressing style, which consists mostly of pink and lace. Isabella (just a nickname) is tall and tacit, but also very passionate. Some people will be surprised with a "revelation" about her somewhere toward the end of series. I say "revelation", but it is actually revealed in first or second episode, you just have to be open-minded to see it. Except these main five characters, there is also a big cast of supportive characters, each with their own life and history and each nicely done.

At first show reminded me much of "Nana". Just that instead of music it deals with clothes. If show wasn't finished, I would like it much less that now. And it has a definite end! If it lasted 24 or more episodes, I would judge it just a mediocre. Compared to "Nana" or "Lovely Complex" or even "Hachimitsu to Clover", it is much less intense. Main character have their own problems, which each of one can understand, but in long run are not very interesting to watch. But, as series has only 12 episodes, it works very well. You don't get irritated by character stupid choices or unending stream of bad luck. This way, they all get presented well, but they don't have time to become boring.

Ending was the greatest part of anime for me. As I said, it is definitive. It invokes feelings but you are not disappointed that is ended. Even though it's not a typical happy end, it makes you happy for the characters.

I saw on AniDB and Wikipedia, that this is a semi-sequel of one other similar show: "Gokinjo Monigatari". But I don't plan to watch it, since it's long and old (1995/1996).

From technical side, all good. Animation is OK; nothing spectacular, but nothing poor either. It does its job. Music is much better; OP and ED are great. Can't say anything about SFX during the episodes, but voices were good.

For conclusion: "Paradise Kiss" is not one of the greatest anime I watched, but one of the best josei. Only 12 episodes, it's a great choice for those who like romance anime, and a must for those who watch josei.

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