MMF: Weekend Edition

The Paradise Kiss MMF is winding down, but there are still some new contributions to highlight.

Proving once and for all that manga isn’t just for kids, Derik Badman shared his academic paper, “Talking, Thinking, and Seeing in Pictures: Narration, Focalization, and Ocularization in Comics Narratives,” for which he used Paradise Kiss as an example:

Were I able to spend the time, the shifting focalizations of Paradise Kiss would prove a fertile ground for further investigation. In contrast to the previous examples, this manga uses more wide-ranging effects of focalization and ocularization in regard to a larger number of characters, but it is all enclosed in the retrospective internally focalized narration of Yukari herself.

Meanwhile, at Manga Kaleidoscope, Zoe Alexander’s review focuses on the relationships but doesn’t forget about the clothes! Here, she talks about a scene that makes her cry every time and I am right there with you, Zoe!

I also really liked the symbolism behind the clothes. To George, every design he makes holds an important memory to him, so for him to allow Yukari to wear them shows just how much he really loved her, despite the way he treated her at times. The scene near the end, where Yukari realizes that he’s left all his designs to her even though they’ve broken up, makes me cry every time. It’s his way of saying “I love you,” and so uniquely George.

Jason Green, Sarah Boslaugh, and Erin Jameson contribute to a great panel discussion on Paradise Kiss at PLAYBACK:stl. I particularly like this bit about the order in which Yukari asks herself some fundamental questions:

The end of high school always leaves one awash in feelings of “Who am I? Who do I want to be? Where do I want to go to college? What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” And Yukari is confronting those same issues, but through the lens of someone who basically upheaved her entire life by quitting school, changing friends, leaving home, and becoming a model—before she started asking herself those questions. It’s only natural in those circumstances to ask yourself “Am I becoming who I’m meant to be, or am I only doing this because of this weird new environment I’ve plopped myself into?”

At Slightly Biased Manga, Connie has posted an essay about the way she identifies with Yukari, the protagonist of Paradise Kiss. I had remembered she was a fan, but when I visited her site to read her reviews, I noticed there weren’t any. “Strange,” I thought. Here, she explains why that is:

I’m no fashion model (in case you couldn’t guess). I didn’t rebel in the way that Yukari did. I never went on to have the spectacular life that Yukari lived (proving that even the most sympathetic manga have to have some element of wish fulfillment). But every time I picked up a volume of that series, it made me cry. It still does, and I have never reviewed any of it, because it’s just too personal. The character emotions and the things they deal with in their lives are spectacular, Ai Yazawa is an excellent writer, and I was of the right age when I read this, but all the same, I still really feel this one.

Lastly, Jason S. Yadao posts to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser urging readers to check out Paradise Kiss. He concludes with these words:

Yazawa just has a way of crafting wonderful, down-to-earth gritty situations for her characters to deal with—see NANA, her current series, for proof of that—and I can’t recommend it enough.


For more on Paradise Kiss, visit the MMF Archive.

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  1. That scene where Yukari opens up the storage garage full of George’s clothes also makes me cry every time. Every time. *sniff*

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