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volume 3 issue 9

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Paradise Kiss Vol.2
Right-Left Manga
200 pages
Ai Yazawa
Paradise Kiss is something unique to North American comics, and we should all praise TOKYOPOP for getting this engaging series over here. Hopefully it'll pave the way for more original manga in the future.
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Paradise Kiss Vol.2
By Patrick King

Yukari was living a relatively normal life. She wasn't especially popular, fretted over her prep school studies, and felt generally awkward because of her taller-than-average height. Life wasn't necessarily hard, but neither was it very exciting...until she met the bisexual budding fashion designer, George. Now her life's anything but typical as she contemplates quitting school and becoming a model while she hangs out more and more with the eclectic artistic bunch over at the Paradise Kiss design studio...

Paradise Kiss can be categorized as fashion manga - an offshoot of shoujo that focuses on (surprise!) fashion, clothing, and style. However, there's far more to this series than simply fawning over clothing. Embedded within the style-savvy surface of the book is a surprisingly charming tale of a young girl simply trying to find her purpose in life. There are loads of funny moments to be found, both as a result of situations Yukari finds herself in as well as those derived from the wide variety of characters she encounters on her journey to a fashion wonderland. The artist is not afraid to frequently break the fourth wall, which is always amusing in its own way. Overall, even as an adult male (well, age-wise, at least), I found this series easy to get into and enjoy. Yes, it's true...shoujo can be for more than just young girls!

The look of this work is very attractive; Yazawa uses very fine lines and has an eye for beauty. Characters look thinner than your average girl or guy, but it's appropriate for the subject matter. Backgrounds, when included, are well illustrated but the focus most of the time is characters and their clothing, as can be expected. Usually, everything is presented realistically, though exaggerated facial expressions help liven up the mood periodically.

This is one of the many manga titles in TOKYOPOP's 100% Authentic Manga lineup, and it meets the same standards posed by the publishing house. That is, it's published correctly (unflipped) and it's only $9.99 US. Also included in this volume is a handy summary of the first volume and a fashion sense quiz. Though as a guy, the fashion quiz wasn't too appealing, (I already know I have an impeccable sense of style. Just ask mom; she picks out ALL my outfits!) but I like the idea of presenting a summary. Even with the short wait between TOKYOPOP volumes, it's easy to forget what the heck is going on. As I said, this charming book should appeal to fans of both genders due to its attractive visual style and interesting story. I just hope that it sells well enough for us to see more titles like it!

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