Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Paradise Kiss

Plot: Yukari "Caroline" Hayasaka studies night and day to pass all of her general university entrance exams with honors, because her mother wants her to, until the day she is "kidnapped" by a group of students from a fashion design academy. They have their own independent brand called Paradise Kiss, or "ParaKiss" that they want to enter in their school's final exams/fashion show, but they need a model. Caroline has a perfect height, figure, and face, but says she cannot be bothered with such things, until the Paradise Kiss's dashing yet manipulative rouge of a leader Jōji "George" Koizumi shows up and convinces her otherwise. While not ending like a fairy tale, Caroline experiences with George and Paradise Kiss ultimately lead to here developing into her own person independent of any significant others in her life.

Verdict: This is a story that feels very real and true to life. True, it happens to be a story about a bunch of ridiculously good looking fashion designers, models, and Johnny Young Bosch, but still. The animation is such that it always feels like you are in the room with these people, and these people themselves are unique, but not in a way that makes them alien to our world. They are all real. The plot that happens to them is very real. There is no ultra-happy ending, ultra-sad ending, nor even much of an end for these character here. Oh there is rising and falling action to be sure, but when we leave these people it is because they have moved on,  and not because we have, I am sure that has happened to you before.

Watch it if you have got some spare time during a vacation from school and or work.

Facts: 12 half-hour episodes that are extremely expensive to import, if you find a legal way to watch it online, do. It is based on a manga by the same name by Ai Yazawa, is a little cheaper. This is an all-star voice cast featuring Johnny Young Bosch, Derek Stephen Prince, Melissa Fahn, Julie Ann Taylor, and Patrick Seitz among others. There is a live action movie; it sucks--apparently. Watch this series' spiritual predecessorBeck: Mongolian Chop Squad, instead of that. Studio Madhouse made both of these series.


Betchel-Sarkeesian Test: Yes, but not as much as you might think...
(Caroline forms a strong bond with Miwako Sakurada over the course of this show.)

(Caroline has an additionally interesting conflict with Kaori Asō a former flame of George's who returns from a study abroad trip she won for her work. The conflict is not a love triangle...)

Better than Star Wars: Everyone here is clearly Japanese.

Die Hard Test: SPOILER WARNING, nobody dies in this one.

Low Angle Syndrome: This is an R-rated series for sex, and lots of it, but all of it is handled maturely. 

Suck it Disney: This is the series that epitomizes what that looks like, at least with feminine men. When Disney finally has a prince charming like this shows, social justice has won a great victory...

(This is George, our dashing rouge prince charming. He is openly bi-sexual, as in openly and physically flirts with his ex-lovers and other men, and women, in general.)

(This is Isabella Yamamoto, he--she--is a transgender women who was born with the name Daisuke--"Davis." She is George's best bro and mentor to Caroline.)

(Also I would be at remiss if I forgot to mention Mikako Kouda, Miwako's thirty-two year old sister who runs the fashion brand Happy Berry Caroline models with during most of the show.)

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