Paradise Kiss

Vol: 5; Ch: 48
1999 - 2003
4.066 out of 5 from 1,705 votes
Rank #2,482
Paradise Kiss

Yukari Hayasaka is a serious student who is held to high expectations by her overbearing mother. Excelling at her studies used to be her life's focus until one day she meets a group of fashion students who decide Yukari would be the perfect model for their latest design. While Yukari resists at first, she slowly comes to love this group of people who are living a life so different from her own. She also develops feelings for the lead designer, George Koizumi, and becomes close friends with Miwako Sakurada, her boyfriend Arashi Nagase, and Daisuke "Isabella" Yamamoto. Having these new friends in her life inspires Yukari to stop living her life the way her mother wants; so she strikes out on her own instead, determined to find what will make her happy.

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Story: Very engaging plot. It's drama, comedy and romance done well within the fashion industry (a nice twist). The relationships are twisted but have charm in a way. I enjoyed the story and I couldn't stop reading it even though I needed to sleep. The ending has a bittersweet taste to it. It's well paced and developed well with unexpected twists. Although I did get annoyed at times, I still liked it. I would recommend this to others who were looking for something for an older demographic. Warning: they are some sexual scenes that I felt were awkward. The dialog was just weird for those scenes. Art: Limbs and noses were drawn strangely from time to time (but I find this in a lot of her works so I'm guessing it's just her art style). However, I loved the character designs. They were quirky and memorable. The fashion was beautiful and reminded me of Harajuka. Emotions and scenery was done well too. Characters: Just to put this out there, the relationships are pretty twisted especially Yukari and George. That was not healthy but it did help them grow in a way. The characters usually make understandable decisions that you probably could relate to (even if they were annoying). The characters did develop but did stay true to themselves. I felt each developed a surprising amount for the time that was there. I don't want to spoil things but I did like Yukari's decision at the end. They make a really quirky and likable cast even they annoy you at times with their decision. They have flaws but they try to work with them. Overall: I liked it but I felt like something was missing. I would recommend this to someone who was looking for a more mature read but I am going to warn that it leaves something to be desired. Great fashion though. 


Maybe this manga doesn't deserve a 10 out of 10, but it will feel unfair to give it anything else. A little backstory: I read this about 15 years ago, when I was a wee 12-year-old pimply girl, not knowing anything about romance or life, thinking I was the ugliest and the least lovable person to ever exist. I read it online and cried my heart out at the ending, to the point that I remembered the pain even years later. When I started getting back into anime and manga as an adult, this was one that I kept referencing to my friends, telling them that this was the first manga that had really made an impression on me and stayed in my head for all this time.  I recently started buying manga, as previously I was much too poor to indulge in such an expensive (at least for my country) habit. You see, I got a job back in August of 2021 and while it paid nicely, I had to work night shifts every week, I got promoted quite quickly to a much more stressful position and kept at it for all this time. Last month I was promoted again to a position that no longer requires me to work nights, has a steady pay and working hours and in some way, I felt the calm and serenity of a 9 to 5 job envelope me. By accepting this new position, I am returing to the land of the living, to people who aren't angry all the time and who deal with stress and issues in a healthy manner. As a gift to myself, I splurged on the special, 20th anniversary edition of parakiss, there was only one copy, one giant 855 page, gorgeous copy that was ordered by the store and I got my hands on it.  I was joking the other day, that by reading this manga from a physical book, I was healing my inner child before becoming who I could've been if I never took the job. I can't explain exactly, it just made sense to read it again at 27, now as a much better dressed, (mostly) pimple-less and self-loving (on my best days) young woman. Someone who lived through a lot of rough patches and a painful romance, who had to refuse the love of someone to live a life she wanted and who lost everything her 12-year-old self was scared to lose. And I cried like a baby throughout the book, sobbed my way till the end and understood so much more than I had when I was younger. This review doesn't really serve the purpose of reviewing the plot of the manga or do much to sell it to you, it's more of me just wanting someone to know: Ai Yazawa somehow changed the life of a quiet girl in a tiny country at the age of 12 and again at 27, and I will forever be grateful to her. P.S. I dunno if it's Ai Yazawa's fault or what, but much like George, I am also bi, represent (not in the best way, but hey, beggars can't be choosers)

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