Paradise Kiss is a standalone sequel/ spin off of Yazawa’s Neighbourhood Story (1995-8). The manga tells the story of a high school trainee called Yukari who gets found by some fashion students who desire her to model the designs of their studio “Paradise Kiss” at their school’s end of year fashion show. Yukari is torn in between her desire to give designing a go and pleasing her mother, who puts a lot of pressure on her to prosper academically and go on to a great university.
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Like Nana, the fashion in the manga is affected by British punk, Vivienne Westwood, and the Harajuku alternative style scene. The character of George Koizumi, for instance, is based on the character of Brian Slade as played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the movie Velvet Goldmine (Todd Haynes, 1998). In addition to the avant-guard appearance of the manga, the main character has a strong coming-of-age story. Yukari (called Caroline by the Paradise Kiss fashionistas) does not yet know who she is as an individual or exactly what she actually wishes to finish with her life and she is having a hard time not only with the extreme pressure her mom puts on her, but is also needing to deal with confusing sensations of sexual desire for the charming designer George Koizumi. The manga likewise has an extremely strong supporting cast of characters with their own subplots– Isabella, a transgender lady and youth good friend of George, and the love triangle between childhood buddies Miwako (whose sister was the main character in Neighbourhood Story), Arashi, and Hiroyuki.
The live action feature movie Paradise Kiss (ãƒ‘ãƒ©ãƒ€ã‚¤ã‚¹ ãƒ» ã‚ã‚¹, 2011) is adapted from the manga by Kenji Bando and directed by Takehiko Shinjo. Shinjo is known for directing romantic TV dramas and sentimental feature movies like Heavenly Forest (ãŸã ã€ å›ã‚’æ„›ã—ã¦ã‚‹, 2006) and I Give My First Love to You (åƒ•ã®åˆæ‹ã‚’ã‚ãƒŸã«æ§ã, 2009). To put it clearly: Shinjo has basically given the story a TV-dorama transformation that guts the initial story of its edginess.
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To begin with, the function movie is woefully miscast. In the manga, Yukari/Caroline is taller and more sophisticated than most girls her age and actually stands apart in a crowd. While she is unquestionably a stunning young woman, starlet Keiko Kitagawa is of average height. Normally, height would not be much of a problem other than that Yukari’s height and body type are the factors why Arashi chooses her from the crowd in the opening scene of the manga. Kitagawa’s average height might not have actually stood apart so much if it weren’t for the fact that Miwako, played by Aya Omasa, towers over her. Miwako is implied to be a petite “kawaii” girly woman– so tiny in the manga and anime as to be doll-like. Miscast is Osamu Mukai who is much too sweet to play the captivating however predatory George Koizumi.
What made Yukari unique in the initial manga was the truth that her story was unpleasant and complex. Her pals likewise led complicated and unpleasant lives. There were no basic responses to problems and her romantic sensations towards George and Hiro-kun were puzzled– simply as it remains in real life. By over simplifying Yukari’s story, the filmmakers have actually simply turned it into over-polished Disneyesque schlock for teenaged women. I do not mind a fluffy sentimental romance now and then, however Paradise Kiss ought to have been more Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink (John Hughes, 1986) and less Sandra Dee circa late 1950s. This “happy ending” version of Paradise Kiss may have been enough to please the target market of the film (IE adolescent girls), however to fans of the original manga it is simply doing not have.
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