Paradise Kiss – The Kidnapped Yukari Plus the Equal Opportunity Lover George

Paradise Kiss

Paradise Kiss

The Honey and Clover season 2 rerun on Animax just ended last week. As usual, it got me teary-eyed because of the bittersweet Takemoto’s sentimentalities, but I think that the ending was really an essential part of the whole anime package. This is probably the reason why Honey and Clover is one of my personal favorites.

Now, I’m glad that Paradise Kiss is having its rerun again in Animax to replace the Honey and Clover timeslot. Paradise Kiss is another shoujo anime, just like Honey and Clover, but it deals more of fashion, in line with love and character identity. In fact, I’ve read a lot of community forums about Parakiss and Honey and Clover fans, and this is probably because they are both shoujo manga comics about love, relationships, and young adult’s lives in general.

Well, Paradise Kiss was originally released as volume manga series (written by Ai Yazawa) distributed by Shodensha’s Zipper magazine in Japan before it was adapted into a 12-episode anime version by Aniplex (Girl from Hell, Fullmetal Alchemist, Darker than Black). It revolves around Yukari

Yukari and George

Yukari and George

Hayasaka, also known as “Caroline”, and how she comes in terms with love and relationships through her dream of being a fashion model.

Yukari (voiced by Yu Yamada in Japanese and Julie Ann Taylor in English) is a high school student who is bored and tired of going to school and having to undergo what she thinks as the routinary and meaningless academic life. For me, she’s the kind of girl that wants to experience what’s out in the real world, as teenagers usually tend to be tired with school (yep, I’ve experienced that too, haha) and wish at some point to work or to venture out in the real world. Yukari, even though it’s animated, is a beautiful woman – she has beautiful eyes, and long legs to boot – perfect for a model. This is probably the reason that when another character Arashi readily concluded that she was a perfect model for the new fashion line that he and his friends wants to release in the public. Yukari claimed that she was “kidnapped” sort of, and meets the Parakiss crew headed by the ultra hot university student George Koizumi (voiced by Kenji Hamada in Japanese; Patrick Seitz in English), the punk rocker Arashi Nagase (voiced by Shunsuke Mizutani; Derek Stephen Prince), the cute Miwako Sakurada ( voiced by Marika Matsumoto; Jolie Jackson), and the high class crossdresser Daisuke “Isabella” Yamamoto (voiced by Chiharu Suzuka; Mari Devon). Arashi and Miwako are dating, while eventually, as the anime progresses, George and Yukari hooks up.

Yukari is a simple high school girl in the earlier episodes, typical teenager who falls in love with her classmate, a character named Hiroyuki Tokumori, and dreams to marry this guy in the future. She was not really appealing (at least in the earlier context of the anime) but when she meets the ParaKiss crew she had a complete physical transformation. At first she is reluctant to be a model, and considers the idea to be really ridiculous, but due to the invisible power that George has (hahaha – something in him that’s soooo appealing!) she decides to quit school for good and model for ParaKiss full time. Quite a risk, no wonder it really made her mother angry. She begins to fall in love with George in extremes (really!) – a give-all sort of kind of love. The kind of love relationship between the two of them gave her the experience that enabled her to know more about herself.

It was thought-provoking that George was a bisexual (so he says) and asserts himself as ‘an equal opportunity lover’.

ParaKiss

ParaKiss

The anime adaptation was released on October 2005, and it was directed by Osamu Kobayashi and Nobuteru Yuuki. However, the directors still consulted the mangaka Ai Yazawa for clarifications and expectations for the anime adaptation. The anime was aired all over Japan through Fuji TV, and through Animax, it was widely broadcast in East and Southeast Asia. I haven’t read the manga – at least not just yet- to see and compare if what are the major and minor changes in the anime. I’ve seen what Gokinjo Monogatari looks like (it’s a manga comic written by Ai Yazawa, and Paradise Kiss is said to be a semi-sequel to it), and I think that it was really interesting.

And of course, not to forget, I love the theme songs of the anime. I managed to download them in the internet and I love to jive in with the melody. The opening theme song of the anime is entitles “Lonely in Gorgeous” by Tommy February6 and the ending theme is “Do You Want To” by Franz Ferdinand.

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Hitokiri Battousai

Hitokiri Battousai

Hitokiri Battousai

If you ask me what’s my all-time favorite hit anime, then you wouldn’t really find it surprising if I say it’s Rurouni Kenshin. Also known as Ruroui Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Romantan (lit. ‘Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story’), Wandering Samurai or just plain Samurai X for short among English subs, this anime is adapted from a Japanese manga and the story is set in the time of the Meiji era. I love this anime because of its amazing plot structure, creative background story and the superb animation. I first saw the anime in AXN in original Japanese language (there was English subtitle then) and I was readily hooked to it that it’s excruciating to miss its anime episode.

The manga was originally written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki, and over time there have been lots of novels and fan fictions inspired from the manga. The anime adaptation was produced by Aniplex (like Fullmetal Alchemist, Girl from Hell, Blood+) and Fuji TV. It was also through Fuji TV that the anime was aired throughout Japan. The anime was animated by Studio Gallop and Studio Deen one after the other.

The story centers about Kenshin Himura, a former assassin (hitokiri) who vows to never kill anyone again. Thus, to atone for the murders he did in the past, he becomes a wanderer who readily helps those people in need with his reverse-edge sword. In Tokyo he meets the beautiful Kamiya Kaoru and saves her from imminent danger, in which Kaoru, who is a master of Kamiya Kasshin Ryuu, invites him to stay in her dojo because Kenshin didn’t have a steady place to stay. As time goes by Kenshin and Kaoru meet more characters like the Sekihotai former member Sanosuke Sagara (who later becomes Kenshin’s sort of right-hand partner) and an orphan Yahiko Myoujin – both of which stayed in the same dojo with Kenshin. Together, they battle again injustice, and all of them also establish a firm friendship with each other. And not to mention – love. Aargh.

My favorite character is Kenshin of course. But if I have to choose another, I would choose Shinomori Aoshi, the leader of the Oni Gang, or perhaps the superb Saitou Hajime. I love that episode when Saitou and Kenshin fought with each other. It so cool!