3. Linen: bad parenting and consequences 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  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
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 Isabella 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
Finally, 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, it 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.
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.
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.