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Twelve Days of Anime #4: Paradise Kiss Revisited

12 Days of Anime 2012   04   01

Yes! There is a live-action version!

…aka Paradise Kiss – the Live-Action film! Yes, for those folks that don’t follow dramas and live-action remakes, there is a film for Paradise Kiss and it is based off of the popular anime/manga created by Yazawa Ai. For our Christmas countdown this year, I decided to bring back another oldie that was once blogged by Omni back in 2005 when it first released. Wow, have I really been watching anime for 7+ years? That’s more than half a decade since I’ve been visiting RC.

12 Days of Anime 2012   04   02

Mmmm… love hotels.

For a quick synopsis of the movie – this story is about a young girl named Hayasaka “Caroline/Carrie” Yukari (Kitagawa Keiko) who is your stereotypical “work-hard-good-student-don’t-want-to-disappoint-your-parents” type of protagonist. Then (as all stories go…), her life opens up one day when she gets scouted to be a model for a group of design students. She’s dragged (literally) into their studio which is named after their line of clothes – Paradise Kiss. As a result, she meets the designer of Paradise Kiss – Koizumi “George” Jouji (Mukai Osamu). George has a talent for designing clothes, but not only that – he has a passion for doing so and it rubs off on Yukari to find something that she’s passionate about doing as well. The entire movie revolves around a fashion show which is put on at the end of the year and Yukari agrees to be the model for Paradise Kiss and George’s piece. We’re also joined by third wheel – Tokumori Hiroyuki (Yamamoto Yusuke) who plays Yukari’s childhood crush and Yamamoto Isabella (Igarashi Shunji) who is an awesome transgender character! There are a ton of other characters that get their own time to shine as well, but then this wouldn’t be such a quick synopsis if I listed them all…

I want to make it clear that this post isn’t going to be a comparison between the anime vs. movie. In fact, I wouldn’t be able to do a comparison because (don’t hate me!) – I haven’t read the manga and, I never finished the anime. I know, I know, I’m horrible – but I actually picked up this movie from a friend because ” [it] ends the way you want the anime to end”. That intrigued me considering I never finished the anime and that probably means I would’ve likely raged at the ending. So, all other factors aside – as a standalone live-action film, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The movie was fun, it was full of fast paced drama/romance and yes, the ending was very satisfying and I’m not left with a bittersweet feeling. For those that didn’t like the anime and don’t mind seeing an alternative ending – this might be a great film for the holidays. It’s not festive, but it’s a feel-good movie and it really brings back memories of older anime (like NANA!).

12 Days of Anime 2012   04   03

Secondary characters need some love too.

There are a lot of other factors that I could evaluate this movie on. So for those of you that haven’t seen the anime (like me) or haven’t read the manga (also, like me), I do think that it’s worth a shot. It’s a typical live-action film; so if you’ve seen other adaptations or watch dramas, it’s very similar in the sense that there are over exaggerated reactions and “situations” which don’t typically happen in real life. Since this is a movie though, there is a larger budget for costume design and setting. I’m very impressed by the amount of time they must’ve spent shooting and creating their props. The dresses and outfits were fabulous and the overall production value just seemed to increase drastically from the past few live-action films I’ve seen. The acting itself is mediocre since I’m never too big of a fan of Japanese actors (except Ikuto Toma!) and I’ve always viewed Mukai Osamu as the cutie-boy type rather than rigid and manly. I thought Igarashi Shunji did a great job in his role though, and he actually played out Isabella as I imagined him (her?) to be.

For those of you that don’t know, I’m a girly girl. I love all things fashion and make-up and most of all – food! But I hate watching shows about it. This is why I put off Paradise Kiss for so long, because watching about fashion just never appealed to me. Not as much as wearing it and shopping for it anyway. What I really appreciated about this movie though, was that it didn’t take old styles (from 2005) and it didn’t take the actual clothing styles from the manga – the producers actually went out of their way to create in-style clothes for today. I loved watching the photo-shoot scenes (reminded me of America’s Next Top Model) and seeing all the different clothes on the runway. What I love most though, is that it’s not something only a girl can appreciate. There are a ton of men that go into fashion design (most top designers are men after all) and they showcase that in the movie about expressing their own individuality. Especially when they’re not your stereotypical idea of a “fashionable guy”. I agree – Paradise Kiss is not targeted towards men, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy and appreciate it.

12 Days of Anime 2012   04   04

Beautiful dress for prom.

I dare say that this is another one of those movies/anime that talk a lot about making your dreams come true and going after what you’re passionate about. In fact, this year alone, I’ve blogged a couple of anime with that central theme in mind (e.g. Accel World, Robotics;Notes) . In Paradise Kiss, Yukari is torn between studying hard and helping her friends prepare for their fashion show. As her focus shifts from studying to modeling and fashion, so does her happiness level. She begins to realize there is more to life than just studying to get into a good university; you can also work hard doing something you love. I find this most enjoyable to watch because although it is very general and cliché, it’s also a feel-good movie about finding something that you enjoy and actually striving for it. These are supposed to be those turn-around moments in your life that make you realize that you can have your cake and eat it too. Of course, there are bumps and scratches along the way (mainly in Yukari’s love department), but I won’t post any spoilers here. Let’s just say that, life isn’t meant to present all your opportunities at once, and going after one dream does not necessarily mean you’ll achieve another. In Yukari’s case, I don’t blame her for choosing one opportunity over the other. Sometimes paths just aren’t meant to collide yet.

I mentioned earlier that this isn’t a festive/holiday movie, but I think it’s a great way to spend the holidays snuggled on a couch and drinking hot chocolate. Paradise Kiss really struck a chord with me because I also made a lot of life-altering decisions this year. It’s taken a lot of emotional, mental and physical energy out of me to decide a new path for myself but I don’t look back… and I don’t regret it. So I encourage people to take the time to look back on the past year too and reflect on the good (and the bad) that’s transformed you. Whether or not you also made a tough decision or life handed you new opportunities – or you just watched a lot of anime. And if you haven’t done a lot this year, it’s never too late to start with Christmas! Get together with loved ones, share presents and remember to eat a lot (because I will be)! Merry early Christmas everyone and I hope you all enjoy your holiday season!

12 Days of Anime 2012   04   05

Where all the magic happens.

December 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm
6 comments »
  • December 21, 2012 at 5:53 pmStereoman

    Personally, I liked the anime and the manga a lot more than the film, but this was quite enjoyable as well. I really loved George in the live-action adaptation.

    Great post, Cherrie!

  • December 21, 2012 at 6:44 pmunknown2

    Oh I miss ParaKiss. I like the anime and manga better too. Yazawa Ai’s better series which ended appropriately without dragging it too long like Nana.

  • December 21, 2012 at 7:42 pmgrey

    I’ve watched the anime and read the manga, but I never knew there was a live action. It DOES seem really well done and the sets are soooo nice. Especially that last screen shot. I’ll definitely watch this sometime soon just from how impressive it already looks as a live action adaptation

  • December 21, 2012 at 9:34 pmErick

    Well, isn’t this supposed to be “Twelve Days of Anime”?? Why the hell do we have this live-action here?? Nevermind that the source material is manga or anime. It STILL is a live action drama, not “anime”.

    I respectively disagree this motion, sir/ma’am, as it’s not truthful to the nature of the post.

    • December 22, 2012 at 3:06 pmverdant

      Not sure how you’re ‘respectfully disagreeing’ when you use phrases like “why the hell” and “STILL”, but okay…

      I respectfully disagree with your motion, as it is truthful the nature of the post. After all, who are we to decide what the nature of the “Twelve Days of Anime” is? It could merely mean something that is related to anime – it doesn’t necessarily have to be restricted to anime shows.

      Also, in keeping with the holiday spirit, shouldn’t we be merry and nice and thanking Cherrie for taking her time to gift us her wonderful post about something she loves? So to you, happy holidays, Erick, and thanks for reading RandomC! =)

  • January 8, 2013 at 3:04 pmmio

    um sorry but yukari is one of the least stereotypical heroines in shojo if u ask me and she was NOT a good student. she was mediocre and failed despite studying. she wasnt really doing it for her parents either. she said she was doing it for hurt pride in the manga.