Paradise Kiss: A Look into the World of Fashion


Paradise Kiss is one of the many examples of the quick turnaround time between the original Japanese airing of an anime and its US release, which has become common for the anime industry of late. Originally airing in October 2005, Paradise Kiss—or ParaKiss, as it is frequently shortened to—is a comedic look at the fashion industry in Japan from the perspective of four fashion school students who form the label from which this anime takes its name.

None of those students are the point-of-view character for the show, however, with that part being taken by Yukari Hayasaka, a student from a high-ranking high school, who is preparing for her college exams. Yukari, who is very beautiful yet very unfriendly, is approached by the members of ParaKiss, who want to use her as the model for the clothing they design. While ambivalent at first, Yukari is drawn into the lives of those four designers, which are much different than her own.

Based upon the manga by Ai Yazawa, the series is actually a sequel to her previous work Gokinjo Monogatari. However, you do not need to know anything about Gokinjo Monogatari in order to understand Paradise Kiss; it simply provides a backstory that is occasionally touched upon with characters and events from one series having a cameo appearance in the other.

The character designs by Nobuteru Yuki (Escaflowne and Record of Lodoss Wars) are striking and vibrant, with the characters having a lively feel to them. Director Osamu Kobayashi’s (Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad) presence is felt when watching the series, as the anime characters are many times shown against a backdrop of actual city streets and other real-life objects, which Kobayashi has used before to great effect.

With a sense of humor aimed at adult sensibilities, Paradise Kiss is certainly not for children, but if you’re in your late teens or older and want to see a series that is funny while being true-to-life, you should check out Paradise Kiss.