Paradise Kiss – 12 (END)
Yukari has been picking up more and more modeling work, and even does a photo shoot with George. At George’s place one night, their love-making is interrupted by Kaori at the door. At the sight of Kaori, Yukari gets jealous, but George lets her in anyway. Kaori is there trying to dissuade George from stopping designing clothes and becoming a hair and make-up artist instead, a decision that Yukari had been kept in the dark about. After Kaori leaves, George even stands up for her by saying that he’s never slept with her because she’s not that kind of woman, a statement that doesn’t make Yukari feel any better. Meanwhile, Miwako and Hiroyuki have been exchanging cell phone messages, except that Arashi finds out and breaks Miwako’s phone in a rage. He later regrets it and tries to pay her back for the phone. George interrupts their conversation to announce that the one dress they had cosigned to a store was actually sold, which makes everyone quite happy. Afterwards, George, meeting with his father, learns that Kaori paid a visit to Joichi and begged him to support George’s mother so that George can pursue his dreams.
On New Year’s, Arashi and Miwako make up and go, with Hiroyuki, to the shrine, where the rest of the ParaKiss group is also visiting. After ringing the bell, George and Yukari enjoy the sunrise together, and George tells Yukari that because his dad is supporting him, he’s not going to be doing hair and makeup anymore, but he is still going to Paris. He asks Yukari to come, but she refuses because her own work and study.
Yukari ends up failing her college entrance exams, but is excited about her work opportunities, including an upcoming TV commercial. After graduation, Arashi is going to work at a senpai’s studio and Miwako is going to work for her sister’s company. With Paradise Kiss breaking up, they have a final dinner together, and George delivers Yukari home, which is the last she sees of him. After his car pulls away, Yukari cries, missing George’s touch and his voice. When the time comes, Arashi and Miwako are the only ones to see George off, but as it turns out, Isabella actually left with George on the boat. After he’s gone, Yukari gets a package with a key and a map. She rushes to the indicated spot, a storage warehouse, and finds out that the key George left her opens up a room full of his clothes. Remembering his words about wanting her to wear the clothes because they were important to him, Yukari breaks down crying.
Ten years later, we find out that Yukari is getting married soon, and that her honeymoon will be in America. She’s going to be seeing a hit Broadway musical, with costume designs by none other than George Koizumi. Though she knows it’s a comedy, Yukari thinks that she’ll definitely feel like crying.
It feels like for this final episode they were just rushing to get through the important parts, which means that they didn’t have much room for all of the conversation and inner monologue that deepen the characters. The episode suffers from jumping from point to point too quickly, but it’s still a fairly good ending that wraps up all the major plotlines (more or less). The Arashi/Miwako/Hiroyuki parts could have used more work, but I guess they were pressed for time.
I still can’t believe they really went through NINE chapters in one episode. That’s one chapter short of covering all of volume five! For what they had to get through, I’d say they did a good job covering all the important points and they did it with some decent animation quality too. But I am pissed off they didn’t even mention who Yukari is getting married to at the very end (Hiroyuki). Granted, that does make the end more about George and Yukari, but I had really been looking forward to the entire ending kept intact.
Final Thoughts:Paradise Kiss is another one of those series where you’re probably better off watching the animated version before reading the manga. I think that a person who hasn’t read the manga would enjoy the series to its fullest, and then reading the manga afterwards would add to the experience. For me, the best episodes of this series are found in the middle, where they settled down for roughly a three-chapters-an-episode pace, which was the ideal speed. But with a limited time and a limited budget, it seems that they were limited to what they could do. Here’s to hoping that the NANA anime, coming in the spring, will turn out better.