Warning: Fanboy moment coming up.
OMG!!!! I TOTALLY LOVE PARADISE KISS! GO WATCH THIS SHOW NOW!
Whew, I’m glad I got that out of my system. When I got this series, I was skeptical about how much I’d like this show. It’s got two things I could really care less about: fashion and really pretty people. On top of that, it’s a 12 episode series, which usually means that at best it’ll be good, but not great.
And it isn’t that the show doesn’t have it’s problems. Besides Yukari, most of the other characters don’t really get the development that they really deserve. And even with the depth that’s hinted at to them, mostly they really don’t get enough screen time to really shine. On the same note, the subplots in the series are really pretty stunted and get shuffled through too quickly.
But this show does two things, I rarely see in anime (or in most fiction). First it has characters who act irrationally. It isn’t that they do dumb stuff, but they actually have contradictory beliefs. Like Yukari, who thinks that she’s living her own life, but really she blames all of her decisions on other people. Or Miwako, who is in love with her boyfriend, but feels guilty about talking with another guy, so she goes behind his back. Seriously, even with getting the short shrift, the characters are intriguing.
The second thing this show will contain a spoiler. So if you haven’t watched the show, then see the top of this post. Or I’m going to go fanboy on you again. Destiny seems to be a real big part in any show that involves romance. The two main characters were “meant” for each other. But in Paradise Kiss, Yukari and George aren’t really meant for each other. They’re two people who happen to be in love. This is something I’ve seen in movies like Prime, but unlike Prime, that love story is really a catalyst for the true story: Yukari learning to be a grown up.
It’s also something that I really liked about Planetes, that the real story isn’t necessarily the source of the drama, but the arc the character is going through. It’s the type of layering that I don’t see often in commercial fiction. Generally it’s the province of literary fiction, like Douglas Coupeland’s Shampoo Planet or Richard Russo’s Straight Man. (Both of which are excellent books by the way.)
Not to mention, that the artwork is amazing. One of my main complaints about GONZO’s adaptation of the Count of Monte Cristo is that the artwork took me out of the show. I spent more time watching how the patterns changed then I did actually watching what the characters did. But Madhouse used the right combination of animated live action backgrounds, shifting patterns and otherwise stable artwork that enhances the experience, rather than detracting from the experience.
Oh yeah, and the opening and closing songs and animation rocked. Okay, before I go more fanboy, let’s move on.
The whole experience made me realize something else. I’m going miss Geneon. I have a tendency to check the coming attractions on the DVD to see if there are any shows that I might miss. But every time I went hunting through the extras menu, I found myself a little sad.
Of all the series I bought this year at least two of my favorites, Paradise Kiss and ErgoProxy, were Geneon titles. It’s not that I’ve loved every Geneon title I ever bought, but usually I liked them. It’s a shame. Really.