Saturday, March 16, 2013

JMovie Review: Paradise Kiss

The Gist: Hayasaka Yukari (Kitagawa Keiko) is mortified when she is recruited by some fashion students to model for their final project. The project is headed up by women’s fashion genius Koizumi Jouji ‘George’ (Mukai Osamu). Transgender Isabella (Igarashi Shunji) is his second in command, having known George for many years. The group is rounded out by bubbly Sakurada Miwako (Omasa Aya) and punk Nagase Arashi (Kaku Kento), who are dating. Yukari’s reservations fade as she begins to explore the modeling world and becomes more curious about George and his passion.
1.The Plot

 Picture credit: beyondhollywood
There’s just something very enjoyable about a story where an ordinary person gets enveloped by unusual people and gets to experience another world for a bit. In this case, Yukari’s life is essentially changed by her time with the Parakiss kids. Their work studio is like their own secluded hideout, where they are separated by the outside world. I’m not immediately thrilled about a show so deep in the fashion world, but PK kept the story character focused, which was smart. That’s not to say that the outfits weren’t fabulous because George could dress me any day.
2. The Ending

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***SPOILERS*** Now, as someone who has never read the manga, I really didn’t know how this show was going to end. Then once it did, I looked up how it ends in the books and it’s totally different. I must say that between the two, I’m much more a fan of the movie. In the books Yukari ends up marrying a guy from her school, where the movie ends with Yukari and George together. I think I would have hated this movie if they stuck with the manga ending. GOOD JOB MOVIE WRITERS!
3. The Fashion Show

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The climax of the movie comes with a fashion show put on to showcase the senior’s final pieces. Yukari gets to model George’s stunning dress – side note: I was totally obsessed with her butterfly ring in this scene – and pretty much just nails it. This is the turning point in the movie, where George realizes just how amazing Yukari is. I cannot even express how much I enjoyed this scene. I must have re-watched it three times in a row.
4. The Side Characters

 Picture credit: tokyograph
Obviously, I love Aya. Her work in other dramas like YNSH already proved what a versatile darling she is. She’s much lighter this time and I love her pairing with Arashi. I always appreciate relationships where the individuals balance each other out. What I love most of all is Isabella. I applaud ParaKiss for embracing a difficult character and help her blossom. I love the George enables Isabella’s growth and how kind and warm she is. Fantastic. Love the whole crew.
1. Natural Talent

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I’m sorry, but what are the odds that Keiko would just be super amazing at modeling? I don’t know if the PK team just has such a good eye, that not only can they see a pretty face, but talent too. Either way, I feel like Keiko’s decision to pursue modeling and overnight success seemed a little exaggerated. Though, this fault might just lie with the fact that the shortness of the movie made the storyline seem condensed (you can tell I’m spoiled by the length of dramas).
2. The Romance

Don’t get me wrong, I love George and Yukari. I still felt after the movie that I wouldn’t have minded more development between the two. You get a few nice moments, but the romance definitely isn’t at the forefront of the drama for most of the movie. There is a section of the movie where Yukari is staying with George and literally, nothing happens. I felt a bit like that was a wasted opportunity.
Nothing really… it was much better than expected.
So… after watching this on pretty much a whim, not really being able to get into the anime, I was surprised at how delightful this movie was. It had a thoughtful plot and excellent acting. I could have used some more romantic moments between George and Yukari, but I loved it.
Final Grade: A-


  1. Great review! I agree with you on the romance thing. I really thought that something would happen while they were living together. I would have loved to see this as a drama! But even then they did a pretty good job.

    ~ Hira