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Paradise Kiss (パラダイス・キス) The Movie Review

To say that I was excited when I found out there was a 'Paradise Kiss' live-action would be an understatement. I threw myself at the laptop to be able to watch it online, as the DVD is ridiculously hard to find in this country. After finishing the movie, I decided to sleep on it in order to determine my opinions of this film. However, even after sleeping on it, I still haven't been able to decide. And so, for once, this is a review where I honestly don't know what I'm going to be saying. I'll 'wing it', as they say.

Anime cover vs. Movie cover
Firstly, I'll start with:
                                        Characters:
This was the aspect of the film that I was most impressed with, despite some obvious things being missing.
The cast list is as follows:


Keiko Kitagawa as Yukari 'Caroline' Hayasaka
Osamu Mukai as Jouji 'George' Koizumi
Yusuke Yamamoto as Hiroyuki Tokumori
Shunji Igarashi as Isabella
Kento Kaku as Arashi Nagase
Aya Omasa as Miwako Sakurada

I'll analyse the main characters one-by-one...

                                               Yukari Hayasaka
Keiko Kitagawa was possibly the perfect actress for this role. I was astonished by just how similar she appeared to the 'anime Yukari'. The only real problem I had with Yukari in this movie, was that her hair was too wavy, whereas, in the anime and manga, it was always completely straight, and came to at least her waist. Other than that, I think the acting within this role matched Yukari's personality well, and Kitagawa was just too pretty! Another problem I had was with Yukari's school uniform, which was very untrue to the anime and manga. So, over-all, Yukari gets a 4/5 from me~

Anime Yukari vs. Movie Yukari

                                             Jouji Koizumi
I'll admit, the first time I saw Osamu Mukai in this role, I was worried about how it would turn out. The first glimpse you get of him shows a man with almost-shoulder-length black hair. Instantly, my brain was ticking over, due to the fact that George's hair was supposed to be blue, and actually, it was pretty short. However, other than the mishap with his hair, I thought that Mukai was perfect in this role. He carried the same self-confidence that you associate with George Koizumi. And the outfits were just perfect. Even the hats matched the character perfectly. I found myself falling just as deeply in love with this 'new' George, as I did with the anime and manga versions. And, I suppose, it's impossible to follow a manga directly. It's anime. An animation. And so, with that in mind, I give George a 5/5!~

Anime George vs. Movie George
                                      Hiroyuki Tokumori
I wasn't a fan of Tokumori in either the manga or anime, and so, unsurprisingly, I didn't really like his character in the live-action, either. I thought he was very plain and boring, in comparison to the other characters, and his acting seemed too rigid. I really don't believe that Yusuke Yamamoto was the best choice for this role. Whilst I admit that I was biased towards George anyway, Tokumori's character seemed to be irritating in this movie. Although, the first scene with him meeting Miwako again was very good and seemed to fit the image in my head as to what that scene should look like. For this reason, I'm giving Tokumori a 3/5~

Anime Tokumori vs. Movie Tokumori
                                    Isabella
Shunji Igarashi was absolutely flawless in this role. The way he spoke, the way he looked, even the way he walked matched perfectly with the anime version of Isabella. The appearance was perfect. The hair was a different shade to the anime, but it really didn't matter. You could tell who the character was, and they did a very good job of conveying Isabella's back-story, too. Even though it was very small in the movie. And so, I give Isabella a 5/5!

Anime Isabella vs. Movie Isabella
                                                Arashi Nagase
Arashi's actor was good for capturing his personality, but appearance-wise, I struggled to recognize who he was supposed to be at first. He looked nothing like the original character. There were no dangerous amounts of piercings in his face, or that typical blonde punk-style haircut. He was somewhat plain-looking, which let the movie down really, because Arashi is a very lovable character. Kento Kaku did capture his personality, as well as his sudden mood changes, but the appearance was too much for me. For that reason, I give Arashi a 3/5~

Anime Arashi vs. Movie Arashi

                            Miwako Sakurada
Aya Omasa was a good choice to play Miwako, as she has a very distinctive cuteness to her, that was also present with Miwako in the anime. Although her hair was not pink, you could still recognize that it was Miwako. The outfits she wore were perfect for the character she was playing, like the lovely purple Lolita jumpskirt she wears when we first see her. She's just as edgy and adorable in the movie as in the anime and manga, so I think it was a good choice to pick Omasa for the job. You easily fall in love with her. However, the movie didn't include her older sister, nor did it include much of her backstory with Tokumori, which was disappointing. However, all in all, Miwako's character was well presented, and for that reason, I give Miwako a 4/5~

Anime Miwako vs. Movie Miwako
Moving on from the characters, I will now go on to cover the story-line featured in the movie, and compare it to the detail included in the anime...

                                           Story-line
This was the aspect of the movie that let me down. For a start, it didn't include Miwako's older sister, whom offers Yukari a job and first gets her into modelling when she leaves home. It didn't include Yukari moving into Arashi's old apartment. It didn't even include George and Yukari becoming a couple. They never actually date one another in the movie, which doesn't suit the original storyline at all. Because then, suddenly, towards the end of the movie they have their first kiss after the fashion show. This means that a lot of detail was missed out of the movie, such as the arguments between Yukari and George that are present in both the anime and the manga. They do not 'become one' in the movie, which means that a lot of emotion is missed. There isn't the incident in George's apartment where he tries to force himself on her and she leaves behind her hairclip before going to Miwako for advice. The story doesn't give Miwako much light, for example, there is a brief mention of the history between Arashi, Miwako and Tokumori, but it's not enough to fully explain everything. For example, Tokumori doesn't even tell Miwako how he used to feel towards her.

[Spoilers:]
However, whilst the story-line misses a lot out, it also includes an alternative ending, that doesn't see Yukari becoming engaged to Tokumori. Instead, when he confesses to her, she declines his offer of a relationship, as she is still in love with George, whom still goes to Paris with Isabella. However, at the end of the movie, there is an unexpected twist that was brilliant news for a hopeless romantic like me. George and Yukari are re-united, in a not overly-passionate way, but in a way that you can tell the two were made for each other, and would not be able to live without one another in this world. Which, I believe, makes more sense than Yukari marrying Tokumori whom she doesn't love.

                                         Conclusion

Although important aspects of the story-line were missed out in the movie, I wasn't expecting it to be 100% accurate anyway, as it is very difficult to stay true to every little detail in an anime. The characters, most of them, were well-cast, and the alternative ending made a lot more sense than the original ending, which was nice to see, considering I didn't like Tokumori at all. Yukari's success as a model was nice to see, although in the anime it happened before George left. However, I was glad that they still decided to include it. The lack of information about Isabella's past was upsetting, as Isabella is one of my favourite characters, however, the similarities between 'her' and the actor that played 'her' made up for it. Miwako was once again one of my favourite characters, due to the fact that she seemed a lot happier in the movie, compared to times in the anime where she would slip into momentary depression. Yukari didn't assist the ParaKiss group with the dress at all, unlike in the anime where she would do everything that she could to help. The end result (dress) was not very similar to the fantasy dress shown in the actual anime, which was disappointing. The relationship between Yukari and her mother was kept very similar to the anime, however, Yukari moving out happened too soon into the movie, and was seen as quite a shock, since they'd missed out her relationship with George, which seemed to be her main motivation to move out in the anime.

However, all in all, the movie was fun to watch. Even if, at times, it didn't feel like Paradise Kiss at all.
In the end, if I had to rate this movie, I would give it a...

3 out of 5. Due to the sheer amount of detail that was missed out of the movie when compared to the original story in the manga. It surprised me just how much had been left out, actually. And it was quite upsetting.

The Movie Dress


The Anime Dress