Paradise Kiss

Also Known As: Parakiss
Genre: Drama/Romance
Format: 12 Episodes
Allegiance: Fuji TV
Director: Osamu Kobayashi
Vintage: 2005
Intelligence Agency Report by: Erigion
Hayasaka Yukari is wandering through life aimlessly; having entered a top high school based upon her mothers wishes even though she is a mediocre student. However, her life is turned upside down when she meets a group of fashion students who instantly decide that Yukari is the perfect person to model their clothes. Although reluctant at first, Yukari slowly realizes that her life is not what she wants it to be and begins to yearn for something more.

Field Agent Report by: Erigion
Overall 7.75
(not an average)

Endings are one of the most important, and difficult, aspects of any form of entertainment that involves storytelling. Depending on its ending, a good series can become either great or merely average. Sadly,Paradise Kiss is an example of the latter. What is an otherwise a good series is marred by a badly paced and confusing ending.

Lets start with the good stuff first. As expected from a show that’s based around fashion, the visuals are above par. The character and costume designs are very easy on the eyes and quite different from what is usually seen in anime. The animation, what little is actually used, is also superb. The faces in this series alone convey a deeper sense of emotion and meaning than entire scenes in other shows. But, sadly, as what seems to be ever increasingly the norm in anime, there is an overuse of panning, stills, and background shots to keep costs down. However, the bright colour palette, which makes the images jump off the screen, and the smooth animation mostly mask these budget cuts. Also excellent are the audio aspects of the series. From the strangely addicting OP by Tommy february6 to the ED by Franz Ferdinand to the voice acting and sound effects, you can tell that the audio budget wasn’t too small.

However, technical greatness means nothing without characters and plot. Parakiss delivers here, for the most part. The characters are a diverse group of people who have great chemistry together. The thing that really stands out in this series is watching Yukari develop from a shy, indecisive girl into a strong, assertive woman. But sadly this was only a twelve episode series, and when combined with a slow pace, there was just a lack of time. Granted, the plot was not a complex weaving of intricate story lines, but it seemed that every single character, aside from Yukari, could have used more attention. The second most important character, George, does not get developed at all, which is painfully obvious from the last episode.

Speaking of the last episode, it is a shining example of everything not to do to finish a series. The pacing of the last episode is a complete 180 degree turn from the rest of the series, which was just a bit surprising. But the sudden change of pace wasn’t even the biggest problem of the last episode, as the conclusion was like running into a brick wall going at 150 miles per hour. You’re left wondering what just happened and why it turned out this way. When you finish a series feeling that way, something is not right.

There are many shows out there that prove a good ending is hard to accomplish and sadly Paradise Kiss is one of them. For a series that flowed so well and took the time to make sure things were done right, the last episode was a serious disappointment. Even so, this disappointment can’t completely diminish what was accomplished by what came before it. However, Paradise Kiss deserved a better ending than the one it received.