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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Paradise Kiss, vol. 3
Paradise Kiss, vol. 3
Geneon // Unrated // April 17, 2007
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jamie S. Rich | posted August 10, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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THE SHOW:

I was a little surprised to look at the back of the DVD box for Paradise Kiss, vol. 3 and read that the third disc was the "emotionally heartrending conclusion." Most anime serials go on forever, long past their prime, just like most U.S. TV shows, and this DVD was only episodes 9 through 12. Over already? (Reviews of volume 1 and Volume 2.)

Yes, it's all done, but when a series is this complete, this concise, you have to appreciate how well the animators were able to stay on target and create a complete package. The full twelve episodes of Paradise Kiss tell a complete story, and the quality of the artwork never dips. It's as close to perfect as anime fans can ask for.

Volume 3 is mainly concerned with the big fashion show that the first two discs have been building their way to. The Paradise Kiss fashion club is working feverishly to finish up the dress they want to present at the event, and their amateur model, the leggy but conflicted Yukari (whom they call "Caroline"), is trying to stabilize the two halves of her life. Making peace with her mom at the end of the last disc, she now has to do well in school if she wants to continue with her ambitions of being a model. As our focal character, much of Paradise Kiss has been about Yukari's awakening, both to her artistic side and to love. Without giving too much away, the final installments are about how well she has come to understand both.

In fact, for all of her anxieties, Yukari is one of the stronger anime heroines you're likely to encounter (and this is thanks in large part to the original creator of the manga the show is based on, Ai Yazawa). Through the previous episodes, Yukari has been confused by her relationship with George, a kind of dandy player who wrangles the ParaKiss gang. The blue-haired fashionista is pretentious and self-centered, and for all of his charm, can come off as overly stoic. This caused Yukari no end of confusion, but in one of the vol. 3 installments, the girl continues her take-charge transformation by telling George how things are going to go, rather than waiting for him to dictate who will kiss whom and when. How refreshing it is to see her turn the tables!

Which, when you stop and think about it, is as satisfying an emotional conclusion as we could really hope for. All in all, Paradise Kiss, vol. 3 has everything ParaKiss fans have grown to love on their way to this point: high fashion, high romance, and plenty of teenage angst. Most importantly, we've now spent many hours watching our core group striving for something together, and we get the collective satisfaction of seeing it come to fruition--even if it's not always exactly as we expect. We also get a wonderful sidetrip into Isabella's past, finally learning her background in a surprisingly tender handling of transvestitism for an anime series. If I had any complaint about the shortness of Paradise Kiss, it's that I'd want more of that, more journeys back into the past so that we could learn more about all of the characters.

But then, I suppose if I ever want to satisfy that jones, I've got five collections of the comic book to occupy my time...

Contained on volume 3 are:
Episode #9: "Designer"
#10: "Rose"
#11: "Stage":
#12: "Future"

THE DVD

Video:
Paradise Kiss is lovingly rendered in an Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9 transfer. All three of the DVDs in the series have looked fantastic, and the finale is no exception. I love the colors, I love the look of the whole thing, it's all mighty fine.

Sound:
You can watch either the Japanese audio or the English dubbed version in 2.0. The mixes have a strong atmosphere, giving real aural character to the show. I prefer the Japanese casting, but sampling the American version again, it's not all bad. Yukari, Isabella, and Arashi are well done, though George and Miwako not so much.

The English subtitles are well-written and easy to read.

Extras:
The lead feature on this volume is a round-table discussion by the musical team that put together the excellent Paradise Kiss soundtrack. The fifteen-minute featurette has the show's director Osamu Kobayashi, composer Narasaki from the band the Deepers, and the lead singer of the Babys, who also is the voice for Arashi. After discussing their hangovers, they talk about how the music was made and even play a little guitar. To go with that, we also have the option of watching the opening and closing credit sequences without text, featuring music by Tommy february and Franz Ferdinand, respectively.

Once more, we get a selection of character design sheets, as well as a gallery of the winning entries of a fashion design contest where viewers were able to submit their own versions of a ParaKiss dress.

Several trailers for other Geneon releases are on here, as well as a DVD-Rom only preview of Tokyopop's U.S. reprint of the Paradise Kiss manga.

And lastly, the DVD comes with a double-sided, reversible cover, and is packaged in a clear plastic case so you can choose which image you prefer to have on display. (To be honest, for both volumes 2 and 3, I prefer the images on the inside to the ones Geneon have facing out automatically.)

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Paradise Kiss, vol. 3 is a fitting finale for an awesome anime series, and it's Highly Recommended. This last quartet of episodes not only maintains the high quality of animation that has made the serial so distinctive, but also delivers an emotionally satisfying conclusion that ties up the various character arcs and leaves the viewer with a complete experience. Gorgeous clothes, interesting people, and stylized teen drama charged with honesty--these are the things that made Paradise Kiss such a treat, and why it's a kiss that lingers even when the date is done.

Jamie S. Rich is a novelist and comic book writer. He is best known for his collaborations with Joelle Jones, including the hardboiled crime comic book You Have Killed Me, the challenging romance 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, and the 2007 prose novel Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, for which Jones did the cover. All three were published by Oni Press. His most recent projects include the futuristic romance A Boy and a Girl with Natalie Nourigat; Archer Coe and the Thousand Natural Shocks, a loopy crime tale drawn by Dan Christensen; and the horror miniseries Madame Frankenstein, a collaboration with Megan Levens. Follow Rich's blog at Confessions123.com.

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