Manga Review Special!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 rinachan
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Just recently, I’ve read and finished several manga. I decided to do a report on them, since I’ve been having a special interest in Ai Yazawa’s manga lately.

Paradise Kiss

This manga follows the crazy happenings of Yukari, a book-worm-turned-model. With stunning looks and her height, she was a natural for the modeling world. However, I’m here to tell you how she got to that.

While roaming the streets with school (or the library) in mind, she stumbles upon Arashi and Isabella. The two are from a budding fashion line called Paradise Kiss. When Arashi sees her, he becomes determined to make her the model for their senior show at Yazawa Gakuen (a school for young, talented artists). At first, she thinks the idea is crazy, but she eventually gives in and becomes their model. Thus begins her life of fashion and beauty, with her new friends (and her lover George, whom she seems to be having problems with). Will life be lived happily for young Yukari, or will she become a sad and lonely mannequin…?

Characters

Yukari

Yukari is the heroine of the story, a high school student who is tired of the meaningless and repetitive life that has been forced upon her by her uptight mother. She eventually models for Paradise Kiss after being “kidnapped” by Isabella and whisked away to Paradise Kiss’ “atelier”. She is often referred to, inexplicably, as “Caroline” by Miwako.
Yukari begins the series as a pretty faced, yet rather unattractive in personality, high school senior that studies dutifully for university entrance exams. When she meets the ParaKiss crew, she begins to discover new depth to her personality and life. Her passionate and sometimes destructive relationship with George is key to this self-discovery. Yukari is competitive, quick to blame others, and desperately wants to experience more; George often points out the flaws in her personality, but admits that he finds them alluring, claiming that she was “born into this world to drive him crazy.”

George Koizumi (Jouji Koizumi)

George is an eccentric, handsome, and extremely charismatic student of Yazagaku who has extraordinary talent with a gift for fashion design, haute couture in particular. Despite his cold demeanor, he has extravagant ideas on everything, most of which are not accepted by the general public. He wants Yukari to become an independent woman, as well as a girl that will take responsibility for her own mistakes. He considers himself bisexual, or as he says, “an equal opportunity lover”. His appearance is loosely based on Brian Slade of Velvet Goldmine, and several references to the film are made by him in the manga. He has distinctive blue hair and eyes, making Yukari humorously question if he is an alien. George can come off as cold and manipulative–Arashi warns Yukari that he is “not a man that will make a woman happy”–but he deeply cares for Yukari. George is the one to steal Yukari’s virginity, even mocking her for it during sex. The lifestyle that he lives is top-notch; he lives in a loft apartment and drives a vintage Jaguar, but because his mother was merely a mistress, he rarely sees his father. Regardless, his mother dryly complains that he looks and acts just like him.

Miwako

A student of Yazagaku who works with George to run their own brand, Paradise Kiss. She is the younger sister of the Happy Berry brand’s creator/president, Mikako Kouda, who is the protagonist in Ai Yazawa‘s Gokinjo Monogatari work. She is exceptionally sweet and cute. Miwako tends to act in a rather childlike manner, both in her Lolita style dress and unique vocabulary. She owns a cat named Josefine. At the end of the manga, Yukari and Hiroyuki talk about Miwako, who is married with Arashi and they have a daughter named Erica, who looks more like him.

Arashi

Arashi is a student of Yazagaku with a taste for punk style, piercings, and alternative music. He is Miwako’s boyfriend, they have both known each other–along with Hiroyuki Tokumori–from childhood. Miwako later reveals that she “chose” Arashi over Hiroyuki when the three of them began high school. Even though Arashi has a generally cynical, sometimes abrasive personality, he does care deeply about those around him. When the members of ParaKiss engage in outrageous behavior, Arashi is usually the voice of reason. He is the son of a musician, Kanzaki Risa, who is a good friend of Mikako Kouda.

Isabella (Daisuke Yamamoto)

Isabella is the mother figure to the members of ParaKiss. This tall Yazagaku student is the epitome of high class and femininity. Isabella inspired George’s very first dress during childhood, and often had the habit of taking every piece of clothing that he finished. Isabella encourages Yukari when she needs it the most, whether it be regarding George or her abandoned studies. Notably, Isabella is actually a crossdresser, and she is mortified when anyone refers to her as ‘Daisuke’, her birth name.

Hiroyuki Tokumori

The picture isn’t the best, sorry! Only one I could find in color.

Yukari’s classmate, an intelligent and handsome young man who happens to be the object of Yukari’s affections at the beginning of the story. Hiroyuki was once in love with Miwako, but Arashi forbade her from seeing him. He eventually falls for Yukari, who foolishly assumed that he’d never date a girl like her.

Here’s a few more ParaKiss pictures!!

Moving on to my next review, this will be the last for this post.

Kagen no Tsuki

Mizuki Mochizuki is a high school student that one day meets a man by the name Adam. In the two weeks they are together, she falls in love with him, and the day he is to leave, she decides to follow him. Bringing her passport and a bag, she crosses one of Shibuya’s many streets, on a red light, to follow after him. Only, when her ex-boyfriend calls out her name, she turns around, in the middle of the street, to see him running after her. While standing there, she is hit by a car.

Some time later, a girl named Hotaru, who has lost her cat, mistakes a stray as her own. The cat wanders into an abandoned home, and she squeezes through the bars to follow after the cat. When realizing that the cat isn’t hers, she decides to leave, but is drawn in by a beautiful melody. She makes her way to where the sound is coming from, and discovers a girl playing a piano. After telling her friends about the girl, they all leave to check out the scene. When they go there, they cannot see the girl, but knows she is real when Hotaru hands her a notebook, and she takes it from Hotaru’s hands. They have no idea who this girl is, but they are determined to find out just who she is and why she is there. The rest of the story follows their discoveries of the ghost they call Eve.

It’s nearly impossible to find any pictures of the characters of this manga. It was hard enough to find the one up above. It’s not so well-known, and the title was never picked up for American audiences. I’ll post some info on the characters now!

Mizuki Mochizuki

A 17-year-old student that fell in love with the mysterious Adam. She is hit by a car and is put into a coma. Her spirit is then taken over by Eve (or, Sayaka) and when she wakes up, she doesn’t remember anyone, including Adam, Eve, and the children that helped her.

Hotaru Shiraishi

A girl that lost her cat. She stumbles upon Eve one day as she was searching for her cat, and after talking to her, vows to help her out of the house that entraps her. She is helped by three other friends from her school and is the only one who can see and communicate to Eve.

Eve

When Mizuki is in a coma, Eve takes her over and becomes an alternate identity. Eve was in deep amnesia, not remembering anything but a foreigner named Adam. She is in love with him, and he is her only concern. She doesn’t even know who she, herself, is.

Adam Lang

An English singer that is the lead of the now-broken up band Evil Eye. He has blond hair and blue eyes, and is the only person whom Eve can remember. He was in love with a girl named Sayaka and is aware that Mizuki is her reincarnation. He is, partially, the reason Mizuki is ran over.

Sae Kayama

One of Hotaru’s best friends. She is the first person Hotaru introduces to Eve, but Eve is invisible to her. She is, at first, scared of what Hotaru tells her about Eve, but eventually decides to help Hotaru find out who Eve is. She has a crush on Miura.

Tetsu Sugisaki

He is the son of the doctor that took care of Hotaru while she was in a coma. He is usually referred to as a monkey by Hotaru and the others, and has a crush on Hotaru. Hotaru accepts and returns these feelings, as well. He helps Hotaru find Eve’s identity.

Masaki Miura

The son of a famous actor. He is Tetsu’s best friend, and is crushed on by Sae. His parents are divorced, and he basically lives alone with the help of his father’s money, who is always away on business. He usually seemed passive and uncaring, but he truly wanted to help Eve find her identity, and so he helps the others. He usually has the best plans.

Tomoki Anzai

Mizuki’s ex-boyfriend and lover, he cheated on and betrayed her with her best friend. When she finds out, she leaves him and becomes extremely lost and lonely. He was truly sorry and wanted to prove so, but before he could, she is hit by a car. He is the last to see her.

Sayaka Kamijou

Adam’s girlfriend and lover. She always tagged along on shows and was the princess of Evil Eye, despite how sickly she was. She eventually dies from her sickness in her late teens, not too long before she was to turn twenty. When this happens, Adam joins her in a suicide. Sayaka doesn’t rest easy, sad that she leaves her lover behind, so she lives on in another’s body.

I really enjoyed both of these manga. They’re both quite interesting, with Kagen no Tsuki being the more mysterious one. I suggest you try reading them. I read Kagen no Tsuki (since it isn’t in English) on OneManga.Com. Try reading either of them anytime you like!

Thanks, Rina-chan out!!

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