The precious textiles Paradise Kiss is made of

3. Linen: bad parenting and consequences paradise-kiss-2370745 I mentioned above that George’s mother was a whiner who blamed being a loser on others. The main problem with this was that she mentioned constantly how rose-colored and promising her life would be, if she hadn’t given birth to him. In front of him as well. She actually wished for another person to not have existed and that person is her son who has done nothing wrong; all babies and people besides ourselves have some basic needs that must be fulfilled both in a physical and in a psychological level. As a result, George is very cynic and when it comes to romance he unconsciously seeks to be taken care of. He also thinks he has the right to ‘test’ his girlfriends by saying something he doesn’t mean and expect the opposite reactions.

Yukari’s mother isn’t much better. She always used her child to stroke her pride and satisfy her needs for social recognition. When Yukari was very young and didn’t manage to pass exams for a high-class elementary school, her mother didn’t talk to her during the way back to their home, making her feel like a failure and a disgrace. Thus this bad habit of judging and expecting from others first-rate things was instilled in Yukari, and it’s shown once that she created a very awkward atmosphere by complaining to her friends that they didn’t win the prize. What is more serious though is that Yukari also got after her mother’s bad temper and she resorts to slapping someone when she can’t get through otherwise.

It’s demonstrated clearly how much damage a bad parent [4] can inflict to their children causing them to be dysfunctional in their relationships. Only after Yukari and George get to know in one way or another each other’s parents do they understand that they are reflecting how their family treated them
. 4. Tafetta: LGBTQ inclusiveness

paradise-kiss-2370227

Additionally, Paradise Kiss features a bisexual character and another one who is transgender. I talk about George and Isabella, of course. Their general image is a positive one in the end, especially their friendship. Some personality flaws aren’t specifically attached to their sexual identities, since similar traits can be detected in heteronormative characters in the story, too.

Perhaps George’s past affairs with men and possibly one of his professors as well as his flirting with the same sex is used slightly humorously at times, yet Yukari is shown troubled about her ‘rivals’ not being only women. Kaori, who must be the only person George considers dear friend and who knows him well, teases him that he is ‘cheating’ on Seiji, and let’s not forget George self-proclaiming he’s bi. Meaning that even though his sexuality isn’t mentioned in an all serious discussion, it’s surely acknowledged and not made fun of.

And let’s not forget that George might have been a jerk towards Yukari, but he helped paradise-kiss-2370851Isabella a lot. He was the one who encouraged her to be her true self by sewing clothes for her and dismissing the gender stereotypes and societal critic. Isabella herself is a very kind person and plays the mother figure of the company. Her former name is mentioned only at the end by Arashi when he wanted to avoid doing a chore because the ‘gentlemen should help’. Even then George barges in and kinda threatens him for hurting Isabella, the same way he reprimands Arashi’s and Miwako’s surprise when he says that Isabella is in the girls’ changing room- “What’s the problem”? he retorts. It’s a big thing we get a protagonist supporting a trans* individual so honestly; especially when we are reminded that Isabella isn’t accepted by her family and she had to wear a men’s suit and probably be addressed as a man in a job interview. Her butler is the only other person who, despite addressing her as “young master” -well, Isabella keeps calling him “Sebastian”, too-, raised her all these years and tells her he is proud she, “a bashful boy, grew up to be such a fine lady”.
5. Tulle: adolescent worries and confidence

paradise-kiss-2370307Finally, Paradise Kiss is a story of coming out of age. It does revolve around romance a lot yet that is only a part of growing up and becoming an adult. When I first read the manga I didn’t realize much about the rest of the subjects I mentioned before, since I wasn’t very educated about the struggles of women and of sexual minorities. What talked to my heart though was Yukari’s decision to make a path for herself, opposing her mother -because that was what I longed for myself-, and Hiroyuki’s view of himself as honorary student. It’s not like very good students don’t have worries. And it’s easy to prepare for a test but not as much for life. This kept coming on my mind after graduating from university. It was a set path up until then.

The best is that instead of leaving this message as a not so optimistic worldview sink in, itparadise-kiss-2371019 gives us a light of hope: Life might not be easy, but you have to believe in your abilities and do the best you can. It many not be guaranteed that you will succeed, but by doing nothing you go nowhere. On one hand, George wasn’t the best boyfriend out there, on the other hand, he was the person who steadily believed in one’s worth. Like when Miwako was chosen by her sister to assist her and she had doubts that Mikako picked her because that was the most convenient, George opposed the idea clearly. He was sure that such a professional as her sister wouldn’t choose based on family bonds or conveniency but through logic and certain standards. The ending is reassuring that we one way or another manage to get through life and with effort and some talent we become happy. Yes, it’s a fictional story one might say, but it doesn’t craft an ending where everything is impeccable: Miwako wanted to be a designer initially and Yukari had dreams of making it abroad. Both might not have achieved what they wanted to a T; nevertheless they found something else that they were very good at and through hard work they created a beautiful life for themselves. Success is a relevant notion, after all.

[animepaper.net]picture-standard-anime-paradise-kiss-paradise-kiss-159875-tamistar-preview-890b58ec I hope that those who read the manga, will find their own way to ‘paradise’.

———-

Notes:
1. Admittedly, it would be even better if it was stressed that the kindness Miwako showed to Arashi’s disgusting behavior was foolish and she could at least shown him that he hurt her. Her docile acceptance isn’t a guide for the rest of the girls out there.
2. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, polyamory stems “from the Greek word poly (many or multiple) and amor (love), polyamory is generally defined as the thought process, action or acceptance of the concept that humans can have romantic love for more than one person at a time.” (about.com).
3. Yukari says in the picture before this paragraph that she’ll find her own way to paradise. That’s the official translation found in Vertical’s edition. I used the scans for convenience here.
4. I am a bit upset that both parents are redeemed in the eyes of the readers just by shedding a tear or two and claiming that they love their children because they’re their mothers. This isn’t the way things go. Loving is being respectful, not just worrying and honestly has nothing to do with blood bonds.

I used certain textiles as symbols. I took the information from here. You can make the connections:

  • Chiffon is beautiful and leightweight while it’s also slippery and see-through. It frays easily.
  • Satin suits any body style, it’s easy to sew and a very ‘forgiving’ material. It also feels very nice and cool on skin.
  • Linen wrinkes easily. It has a rough matte surface and you can see through it.
  • Tafetta is a crisp, smooth woven fabric, which can be iridiscent.
  • Tulle is seethrough and not very comfortable against the skin. It will catch and tear easily.

Further reading:

Manga Therapy has collected the most important quotes from the series and commented on them: part 1, 2 and 3.

Ajthefourth has written about Yukari’s self-deprication in Altair & Vega.

There was a whole MMF dedicated to the series hosted by Soliloquy in Blue.

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7 thoughts on “The precious textiles Paradise Kiss is made of

  1. When I first read Paradise Kiss, I couldn’t accept the fact that those two didn’t end up together. But recently, when I read it again, I couldn’t see any other way out for them. While George did have his sweet moments, the few times he was harsh (and didn’t think about what he was saying) would push any girl over the edge. Somehow his treatment of Yukari was turning her into the very type of person he hated the most.
    But I also found that Yukari herself only looked to George for affirmation. She never tried to understand his troubles, just what he was thinking about her. Kaori was the opposite of Yukari in the way that she still held her own against him and clearly pointed out what she didn’t think was right.
    I never can stop thinking about this story. It is a lesson in the importance of dignity in a relationship and how a person can be ruined if (s)he lets go of that. Somehow, I think they loved each other too much, but somewhere they themselves realized that they were not right for the other person too.
    I also found the changing of Arashi symbolic. While he realized his mistake (thanks to Hiro), George and Yukari could only wait for the other person to take the first stop.

    (Sorry for ranting on. I liked reading your post)

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    • I am so happy to get long comments like that, dear Tulika. No worries! If you were younger when you first read it, I think it’s only natural that you would want them together. When we are young and still very innocent about people’s intention, and we aren’t informed of emotional abuse and the importance of consent, we see things through the distorted lenses of romance the way society teaches us about it. I love ParaKiss exactly because it shows how we should move away from the people who are harmful to us even if they did help us at some point and we are emotionally attached to them. Sometimes I wonder if they loved each other. For me love means respect and they couldn’t get that with each other. They sure fell in love and in lust, but pure love is perhaps not what they had. It is good though they could love each other as friends in the end. I find it really important how Hiro knows of George and he isn’t reacting overpossessingly over his girlfriend. I think most people would have issues if their partner was wearing something from their previous partner.

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      • I think I read it more than 4 years ago ^^” First 5 cm per second and now this, These are live proofs of my disappearing childhood. T-T

        I did think they love each other. As much as they could at that age and stage in their lives. But they were ruining each other. I don’t know what I’ll call true love at all, because it is an ideal at best. There is no true love, but there are different kinds of love, and different relations, at different times of our lives. Even though it ended that way, it will hold a lot of precious memories for them, as shown by Yukari’s last line (It is a comedy, but I’ll probably cry) Love is the first stage, but what follows is the actual relationship, and that is where they couldn’t hold up.
        As for the Hiro thing, they both understood each other because they both had gone through a relationship that didn’t work even with both parties loving each other. Remember how Yukari accepted that Hiro will always love Miwako too?

        I think this is also one of the themes of Para Kiss – that love is not everything. You will love a lot of people in your lives, in different ways and for different reasons, but not all of them will be right for you; you won’t be able to spend your life with all of them.

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  2. This is a very beautiful piece! I had only watched the anime, and felt like some closure was necessary, because the anime apparently left a lot of parts out which were included in the manga. This blog entry satisfied that desire. Your use of symbolism is lovely, as well. I may have to dive into the manga myself, now. Thank you. 🙂

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    • Thanks a lot Anna and welcome to our blog! I haven’t finished the anime coz I felt the animation sucked (too many static frames), the voice acting wasn’t the best either and it didn’t blend well with the background music/noises. I just tried 3-4 eps and then gave up. By searching random later eps for Isabella screenshots I understood not everything was included and that takes out of the story and its value.

      “Your use of symbolism is lovely, as well.” – You mean the textures? If yes, it was the most enjoyable part of writing this post; spicing it up and framing it with the series’ theme.

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  3. I certainly agree with all the key points of your analysis. Paradise Kiss is a beautiful story that shows that life is not always rainbows and butterflies. It inspires you to take charge of your life, stand up for yourself and find you own paradise.

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