One nice thing about the way manga properties spread across various media in Japan is being able to see an anime adaptation of one of your favorite manga. I don’t tend to watch much anime on my computer because of my ancient eyes, but I decided to seek out the first episode of the Paradise Kiss anime. It seems like it will be an excellent adaptation of the manga. The character design mimics Yazawa’s art but I think it smooths out some of the angular edges that made the characters look like punked-out fashion illustrations in the manga. There are a few quirky touches that fit in with the themes of the comic. The episode opened with random cartoony characters moving through photos which fade to images of a staircase as Yukari’s voice begins to describe the place that is about to change her life.
Yukari on her way to cram school when she’s asked to be a model by punk boy named Arashi. She refuses and runs into his drag queen companion (Isabella) while she’s walking away. Overwhelmed by all the sudden weirdness, she faints. Yukari wakes up to find a cute girl with pink hair (Miwako) staring at her. She’s been taken to the studio of a group of fashion students who have formed a design collective called “Paradise Kiss” and she begins to see that there’s more to life than just trying to be a good student. I thought that Yukari’s personality was toned down a little bit in the anime, as I was missing some of the sarcastic observations from the manga.
Yukari meets the charasmatic lead designer, George, and before she knows what’s happing, she’s had a mini-makeover. Will she decide to model for the student fashion show? I thought the closing theme for the anime was hilarious in an extremely campy way, as it featured the characters in super-deformed mode dodging George’s runaway car and dancing to the new Franz Ferdinand single “Do You Want To”.