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Paradise Kiss




A high school senior in Japan named Yukari Hayasaka, despite as much as she tries, fails to be an above average student. Yukari only lives to reach her mother’s expectations and has very little goals or dreams of her own, other than her crush on the top student of her year named Hiroyuki Tokumori. One day, she is spotted in the streets by Arashi Nagase (a spiked blonde punk-rocker with an assortment of piercings on this face that range from rings to safety pins) who starts to praise her beauty, scaring Yukari and causing her to faint in front of Daisuke “Isabella” Yamamoto (a man who wishes he were born a woman and dresses like so). Yukari wakes up in a studio and meets a pink-haired bubbly Miwako Sakurada, who along with Arashi and Isabella, explains that they are seniors to a fashion school in need of a model for the school’s fashion show. Yukari declines at first, but then meets George Koizumi, the leader to the group and Paradise Kiss (ParaKiss) brand and begins to fall for his looks, charms, and eventually, the world of love and fashion.

What made this story so powerful was the fact that the character development of Yukari seemed effortless and perfect. Viewers get to watch a confused teenager slowly find who she is, lose her virginity, fall in love only to be hurt, and basically grow up in a few short episodes. Yukari’s bittersweet parting with George as he pursues his career is one of those very rare non-happy endings. To leave with a happier note, in the manga Yukari marries Hiroyuki, who is probably better for her anyway, as George has been described as a bisexual that is unable to make a woman happy. Their relationship had way too much turbulence.



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