A Review and Recap of the Paradise Kiss Movie with Kitagawa Keiko and Mukai Osamu

The Paradise Kiss live-action movie can be viewed two ways. For folks unfamiliar with Yazawa Ai‘s brilliant source manga, the ParaKiss movie starring Kitagawa Keiko and Mukai Osamu is likely just a frothy harmless shallow piece of fashion coming-of-age entertainment that is easy to watch. Akin to one of those formulaic Hollywood rom-coms that comes and goes and no one ever remembers. For folks who have read the source manga and loved its complexity, refusal to give any easy answers, unlikeable yet strangely real leads, plus a perfect ending that made the journey unforgettable, the ParaKiss movie is a soul-killing destruction of everything held dear in the manga and then spat out to resemble a cookie-cutter dime-a-dozen romance movie.

I fall into the latter category, so I think the ParaKiss movie sucks donkey balls. The movie tramples on a story that had brains, heart, and soul, delivering so much pain to me as a viewer that I’ve taken off my gloves and it’s no holds barred anymore. This movie is the very definition of insipid and pointless, and to make matters worse, we get across-the board horrible acting by everyone other than Yamamoto Yusuke playing the second male lead. I hate this movie with so much passion this is a straight up ranty review. If you love the movie, just stay away to preserve your own dreamy happiness. Everyone else, let’s get down to business.

Why do I hate this movie? Because this adaptation strips away all the details and dialogue that make the characters come alive in the manga, turning everyone into one-dimensional caricatures. Instead of being emotionally stunted and ideologically lost, Yukari instead is this petulant whiny teenager with an inexplicable attitude and a blank look on her face half the time. Keiko turns in a performance that is cringe-worthy, with nary a shred of understanding the complicated character she plays. She pouts and preens, but never digs any deeper than that. Yukari is a difficult young girl to like in the manga, but I loved how brave she was in pursuing her dreams and how she longs for emotional connection. Her insecurities and possessiveness with George was raw but felt so real and young, befitting her age and inexperience. In this movie, Yukari is as interesting as a blow up doll.

Next to the butchering of Yukari, the character itself and the performance given, Mukai Osamu’s George fared none the better. Forget the blue hair that is missing, his entire modus operandi and attitude is both gone and wrong. George appears to exist as eye candy, with Osamu’s incredibly long legs filling out gorgeous tight pants and walking around with a perpetual smirk face on. Instead of being prickly and taunting, George randomly morphs into a slightly leery life coach for Yukari. We barely get a glimpse of his design genius, and never see anything beyond his existence as the male lead who is ordained to get the girl. I like George the character so much because of how much I disliked him in the manga. I know this sounds inconsistent, but what made him difficult to like is precisely why his character was so brilliantly written by Yazawa.

All the second leads also got shafted, their characters existing purely to round out the design team for the big graduation fashion show, but serving no other purpose. George and Isabella’s beautiful friendship isn’t even touched upon, Miwako and Arashi’s dysfunctional yet solid relationship is presented as is without even fully bringing in Hiroyuki’s backstory with them. Which leads me to talk about the destruction of Tokumori Hiroyuki, as played with Yamamoto Yusuke, who gave the only good performance in the movie, yet ended up being sacrificed to the alter of catering to those who demand inane unicorns and rainbows happy endings. Unlike the manga, the movie decides to turn Hiroyuki into a token second male lead who is a friend to Yukari and ends up staying that way.

So the ending of the movie might just be the single worst ending I could have ever imagined could be tacked onto ParaKiss. First off, the movie never lets Yukari and Goerge date. Which befuddles me, since most of the manga was about their completely screwed up but sexy as all out relationship. The movie has none of that, with their only “romantic” moment coming when George plants an inexplicable kiss on Yukari after she walks the runway in the fashion show. It’s like he’s so turned on by her horrible runway walk. Ugh, grody.

Anyways, because Yukari and George never date, it negates everything else. Yukari ends up annoyed that George would kiss her and then take off, as he still leaves with Isabella to go abroad and pursue his fashion dreams. If a guy merely flirted with you for a few weeks and then gave you one kiss, I have no idea why Yukari is hung up on him. Unlike in the manga, where George’s leaving was an incredibly brave and difficult decision on his part, and Yukari’s handling of it make her so kick-ass in my mind, here it’s just pointless plot for the sake of plot.

The movie’s decision to not delve into a relationship between George and Yukari also sucks the wind out of George’s gift to Yukari, you know, when she receives the key and runs to the storage warehouse to see that George has left her his entire design collection. Movie Yukari cries because she’s so touched and so missing him, but the viewer in me was just flabbergasted this poignant moment had been stripped of its full meaning. In the manga, Yukari never truly understands how George feels about her, despite his actions and words, and it’s not until she gets the key to the entire Paradise Kiss collection that she knows he loved her as much as she loved it. They had passion and romance, but it wasn’t enough for them to breech their dysfunctional issues. They were also mature enough to not choose a relationship over pursuing their individual dreams.

I cheered on Yukari in the manga, who dared to love with such passion and conviction, but also had the courage to continue to live her life even as one relationship ended. Movie ParaKiss has Yukari becoming a famous model as well. A few years after George leaves, Yukari visits New York and runs into Isabella in the theater district. She finds out George has an atelier in Soho and runs to see him.. He’s not in, but she sees stacks of magazines on the table, all of which has her on the cover. George comes running back all out of breath. They look schmoopy and smiley to see each other, and we end with them embracing into a passionate kiss. I FUCKING HATE THIS ENDING. I love Yukari and George together in the manga, but I love it because they admitted it wasn’t going to work out and broke up. Not all relationships are meant to be, but daring to love is a beautiful thing.

I loved the manga even more for the ending where Yukari is engaged to Hiroyuki ten years after they’ve graduated high school. He’s a doctor now, and she’s a famous model just past the peak of her career. As she goes on a date with him and wears one of the dresses George designed and left for her, she knows he wouldn’t mind at all. They discuss going to New York for their honeymoon because Yukari has received two Broadway tickets. The costume designer for that show is George, and while the show is a comedy, Yukari thinks that she’ll likely cry when she watches it.

I found the manga ending just so real and sincere, understanding the characters of Yukari and George. How they are both pragmatic and resilient, how they loved each other but accepted it wasn’t going work. How Yukari was George’s muse and he was the man who turned her from an automaton living according to her mother’s wishes into a woman with passion and energy. Yukari ending up with Hiroyuki is perfect, because he was the right guy for her in the long run.

I just can’t believe what an abomination the ParaKiss movie turned out to be. Even with the butchering of the characters, Keiko was just wrong for the role of Yukari. She was okay as school girl Yukari, but as future model Yukari, she was cringeworthy. Her scenes walking the runway or modeling made me LOL and then feel sorry for her. Osamu was perfect as George on paper but he never captured the character’s depth and nuance when portraying him. The movie was pretty enough to watch, but just so dumb and shallow. Like I said, Yusuke was the sole beacon of light in the drama, looking so damn cute all the time, frankly stealing any scene he’s in. Too bad I never got to see adult Hiroyuki together with Yukari, but instead had to suffer through a barftasticly lame Yukari-George reunion in NYC.

I hope that by writing this review I get all the rage out of my system and I can stop walking around with a bitch face on all the time. This is one movie I wish had never been made. Because I actually screencapped the hell out of the movie when watching it, hoping it’d be so good I’ll be writing this glowing review complete with a waterfall of pretty screencaps and lots of happy exclamation marks, I’ve decided to just dump on the movie some more with a recap. What can I say? I hate wasting perfectly good screencaps.

Yukari, just your average over-achieving Japanese high school student. Who also happens to be so beautiful she could be a model. Yup, every school has one of these girls, right?

She has a crush on high school classmate Hiroyuki, who is cute AND really nice. Just your one-in-a-million perfect guy.

Yukari has a run-in with Arashi on the street, fainting and waking up in atelier Paradise Kiss. Strange how movie Miwaka is about double the size of manga Miwako.

Yukari is not interested in being the model for a bunch of loser fashion academy students. She’s too busy studying for college entrance exams. As Yukari insults everyone and is about to leave, who walks in but George, Mr. Genius Designer and starer-extraordinaire. Expect George to stare at Yukari a lot from now on in this movie.

George tracks down Yukari at her high school and walks right on into her class to stare at her some more. And to smirk.

Yukari is no match for George’s brand of inexplicable persistence.

She gets dragged to the fashion academy and given a make over.

Who knew bangs and a slightly wavier do was tres chic?

For a girl who claims to want NOTHING to do with these fashion weirdos, she sure hangs out with them a lot. Here’s Yukari going shopping for fabric with the gang.

Everyone is weirded out by George’s behavior towards Yukari. Is he interested in her? As a woman or a muse?

Yukari talks with Hiroyuki about not being sure what she wants to do with her life. This was a lovely scene.

Yukari tries on a dress George designed. It fits perfectly. I suppose this must be some sort of symbolic moment or something. That Yukari was born to wear George’s designs.

George drives Yukari home and she talks about how she’s lived her life fulfilling her mom’s wishes and wishes she could break free. To teach her a lesson, George drives her to a love motel and jumps on her, apparently to teach her to grow a pair and say no to people who make unreasonable demands. I would have said no to George when my knee made contact with his nether region.

After the bed incident, Yukari is a bit afraid of George, and Hiroyuki doesn’t have any qualms on telling George to stay away from Yukari. You go, Hiroyuki! I find Osamu objectively better looking than Yusuke, but during this entire movie it was Yusuke who was much manlier and more desirable. Probably because his character was not a douchebag.

Hiroyuki runs into childhood friend Miwako. It’s an awkward reunion, minus now-boyfriend Arashi.

Yukari has a fight with mom due to her wanting to drop out and school and try her hand at becoming a model. Mom is understandably upset. Some yelling and a slap later, Yukari runs away from home. George offers to let her stay with him.

Wow, George’s pad is uber-swanky.

George gets Yukari a modeling job. Not sure what she’s supposed to be selling, seeing as she’s made up like a streetwalker.

Later George shows Yukari his personal private collection. No, it’s not dirty or anything like it. Just very froofy girly clothes. He says that he wants someone special to wear it one day. Hint, hint, Yukari.

This is George’s classmate Kaori from the fashion academy. She seems like a beeyotch and quite competitive. She is nothing like the Kaori in the manga, who was George’s senpai and a sweetheart, and somewhat the catalyst (in a good way) for George and Yukari’s breakup.

This is the crown jewel of Team Kaori’s design for the graduation fashion show. Lulz. It’s like a Betsy Johnson knock-off no girl would be caught dead wearing in Harajuku.

Yukari tells George not to worry, she will bring it home.

Yukari walks the runaway. If Keiko would have toned down the over-the-top preening, she would have nailed it. This was a wonderfully directed scene. Very evocative.

Seriously, girlfriend needs to stop posing like she’s at a lady of the night auction.

George watches. He’s entranced. He has pretty low standards if you ask me.

When Yukari walks backstage, George immediately jumps her and plants an unwanted kiss. George is really into manhandling his lady loves.

Yukari pushes him off and they stare at each other. Will she slap him? Like he deserves?

Nope, she secretly liked it. She kisses him back and make-out commences. God is this movie dumb-as-bricks.

Team Kaori’s shiteous flouncy prairie dress wins the competition. So the judges are blind at this academy. No wonder Yukari called them all losers when she first met them. George is at peace because he did his best or some uplifting mantra like that. Or he’s just happy he got some nookie earlier.

Hiroyuki gets up the courage to ask Yukari out later. You go, guy!

George just stands in the back and stares at this scene, dressed like the stalker he is.

After one runway walk, Mom is no longer pissed her daughter shit her academic career down the toilet and wants to be a model. Wow, mom was quite easy to win over.

George passive-aggressively drags Yukari out shopping for her date later with Hiroyuki. What the what?

Yukari calls him out on his completely inexplicable kiss and pretend it didn’t happen routine.

In truth George is pulling a kiss and run routine, telling Yukari he’s leaving to pursue his fashion dreams abroad. I’m not quite sure you’ve fulfilled your career domestically, George, so going abroad seems a bit premature if you ask me. But hey, it’s your career, so go get ’em!

After George takes off for parts unknown, Yukari mopes in bed. She gets a box in the mail containing a key.

Turns out George left her his entire design collection. That was a sweet gesture, but pretty meaningless within the movie construct since those two had one kiss and a couple of hot stares before George took off.

A few years has passed and Yukari is now a famous model. Hiroyuki admires her from afar, having confessed his feelings to her the night of the fashion show and been soundly rejected. Don’t worry, guy, you’re not missing out on anything.

Yukari became a famous model doing THAT (see picture proof above). The mind, it boggles. My eyes, it cannot unsee.

Yukari goes to New York and runs into Isabella and finds out George has been maybe secretly pining for her all this time. Oh what happy coincidence, because she’s been pining for him as well!

Yukari runs to George’s studio in SoHo. Apparently he doesn’t lock the door because she just walks right in. Yukari sees magazines with her on the cover laying around George’s atelier. She looks either touched or constipated.

George comes running in because his finely tuned Yukari-radar knew she was there.

Hug and then kiss. Hallelujah, we’ve got ourselves a happy ending! You know what? Screw this. I’ll just pretend that is Keiko and Osamu kissing. Yum yum, these two sure can kiss, and do it very prettily.

I only hate this movie THIS much because it ruined a perfectly splendid manga. Otherwise it’ll just be an annoying and stupid little movie that wouldn’t be worth my time to rip apart. Imma go re-read ParaKiss now, and pretend this entire fiasco never happened. Yes, having a selective memory is a good thing sometimes.


A Review and Recap of the Paradise Kiss Movie with Kitagawa Keiko and Mukai Osamu — 76 Comments

  1. okay so good to hear that i wasn’t the only one scratching my head at keiko’s cringe worthy runway skills. and the dress that won!?! did this production team really lack the means to deliver a kickass design? i’m sure i’ve seen that dress selling at F21. major fail. and as i have yet to read the manga, i thought the movie was pretty to watch but forgetful with such a weak plot. osamu, you can do much better.

  2. I just downloaded the movie but after reading your article, I think it’s safe that I keep it unwatched… haha

    I loved the original manga so I surely don’t hope to have this movie ruin it for me… damn the script adapter! I wonder what Yazawa Ai would think when she watches this. Arrrgh.

  3. I’m so glad I decided to avoid this film, ever since the casting was announced I knew the film was going to be a mess.
    First Keiko and Mukai most likely were casted because they are the “it” actors right now even though I thought both were completely wrong for the part and the trailer made it worst.
    Were was the heart and the passion (and fashion) from the manga! Especially the fashion, I loved the clothes in the manga but the fashion in the film was like they just went to Shibuya 109 and H&M.
    And changing the ending, seriously why? I really loved the ending even though I ended up crying because it showed that you can love again and sometimes that big love you have maybe is not for you. Yukari and George were both dysfunctional both earning for love but even though they loved each other with a immense passion it was not enough. Hiroyuki was the stable, nice and solid young man who loved Yukari and really in the end was the right choice for her.

  4. Koala, than you for the analysis..I am glad i didnt each or else it will ruin my manga dreams.
    Actually I can’t fathom how keiko becomes IT actress. To me, her acting prowess is no where near Gakki, ueno etc who are about her age.

  5. That… sucks. Though to be honest I didn’t have high expectations, because I’ve always found that the more I like the book/manga, the more I will hate the movie adaptation. PK has such complex and interesting characters, and a beautiful, bittersweet, perfect ending. It’s a shame they screwed both of those things up. I wonder if it’s just the movie as a medium – the combination of short running time which doesn’t allow for much backstory or character development, and the commercial machine which needs every movie to fit into its cookie-cutter genres. PK is not a teen romance, but it’s probably the closest to it out of the available genres they had to force it into. Complete with a Hollywood ending sealed with a kiss – who care if it makes no sense and betrays the original story?

    I’m sorry you had to undergo such a traumatic experience – and thank you for saving me from the same.

    P.S. On the topic of manga adaptations, have you watched The Holy Pearl? It’s supposed to be based on Inuyasha, but I would say more like “very loosely inspired by”. It’s a creative interpretation I guess, but I can only sigh and yearn for Inuyasha and Kagome. Plus they completely ruined Inuyasha’s character and made him wimpy, spoiled mama’s boy who talks about his feelings. *barf* He doesn’t even try to kill Kagome! (I know, that sounds messed up when we’re talking about the OTP, but you know what I mean.) Plus the dialogue is of the stating-the-obvious school.

    Sorry for being off-topic, but I know you’re a fellow Inuyasha fan and I was curious to know what you think.

  6. i love the movie!!!i’m not convincing anyone to watch it. it’s just my opinion. it’s so fluffy and bubbly thing to watch. it doesn’t need to be exact copy of manga it’s just nice as it is.

  7. Loved the manga/ anime. The original ending devastated me. I might have been able to have accepted a fluffy ending where George and yukari end up together but the flat 2d characterization made it so they I hardly even cared. It felt so campy and lacked that classiness the manga gave me. Keikos catwalk was a little painful to watch.

  8. I watched this the other day, i hadnt heard of the manga but the drama had several notable actors so i thought i might check it out

    It seriously had be laughing at the end at how stupid and pointless the ‘climax’ at the model show was….seriously what was the point of this movie??!!!!? and that combined with poor acting and confused directing made me swear off japanese movies…for the moment anyway

  9. Despite liking previous projects from the actors, I got bad vides the moment I saw the trailer. I know this will not be the ‘Paradise Kiss’ I know, so I just watch the movie and pretend it got nothing to do with the manga.. T_T

    • the main reason being so i think is…..keiko is not the rom-com type……..as far as her acting goes she is good for action, crime n thriller and go no further…. n nw talkin abt mukai…well i am a bit dissappointed in him since he is a rom-com all the way type….. well we cn all jus say that it was a wrong decision made all along !!!!! @_@

  10. I don’t read the manga but I know PK is a popular. I watched the movie and I can say that it’s flat since I don’t feel how much they loved each other. A big surprise to me when you said they don’t end up together in manga

  11. People really have different opinion(which I respect)… ParaKiss was my first Japanese movie that I’ve watched,, I’m so curious of the anime version so I decided to watched it too… unfortunately to my side, After watching it I just wished I didn’t watched it(anime version) and stick to the movie. Not bad male lead actor… I’m so biased, he is my first male Japanese actor crush! hehehe!!

    Someone can recommend me a feel good Japanese Movie please!

    Thank you!!!

    • Watch Becks. Mukai Osamu is in it too (but not the 1st male lead) and it’s rather inspiring and feel-good, especially if you like indie bands and music 🙂

      • Thank you!! I saw the trailer he(Mukai Osamu) was there… I’ll definitely watch it… I really Appreciates Your kindness!!!

      • And BECK is also a perfect example pf how to make a movie from a manga. Despite being a much longer series than, say, ParaKiss, they did an amazing job. Perfect casting, great acting, beautiful to watch, great music (Only issue I had was related to the whole Hiroyuki sings like a God….and we never actually hear him sing. But moving on).
        I think Yazawa’s work is far too complex to translate well into a movie unless whomever takes the project on is willing to look past the fact that the source material is in comic form, ergo targeted to freaking teens. She is one of my favourite authors (see nickname) because she not only draws like a boss but has an uncanny ability to write real, raw, emotionally true and very complex stories. Perhaps Nana (movie nº1) is the closest the industry has come to doing a good job with her stuff, but that movie was riddled with problems and inconsistencies too.
        Just wanted to offer my two cents. And a big thank you for expressing how every ParaKiss “The Manga” fan felt when this montrosity came out.

    • If you don’t mind a fluffy cotton candy, bring a smile to your face kind of movie , I like to suggest Kou Kou (High School) Debut with Mizobata Junpei , my current flavor of the moment

      • Thank You!!! I have this feeling that its feel good movie after watching the trailer!!! how nice thank you again

      • Haha, because of your recommendation I watched Kou Kou Debut (because I actually read the manga!) so I was super excited. I liked the casting for the main leads purely because they were pretty close to the manga character drawings (and the male lead was cute!!). The movie made me happy because it was fluffy and cute, exactly what I needed after my school load, so thanks for the recommendation! 😀

  12. argh the movie is that bad?! i read that the movie did quite well at the box office when it was released so i had been eagerly waiting for subs to come out.

    i didn’t read the manga but I watched the anime and it was awesome (give me dysfunctional anytime… like Nana (although that movie was a bit of a nightmare for me too, especially the sequel).

    Sob. think i’m gonna watch it anyway, just to see how bad it is. bah.

  13. Am still dl-ing while reading this article… So, is it that disappointing? But the manga and anime are soo good…. Why can’t the script writer/adapter do better? With such success of both manga and anime, s/he should know what kind of expectation are out there…

    Ohh, well… it’ll be in least priority to watch list then…

    Thanx for the input Koala!!

  14. Yamamoto Yusuke and YUI were the only parts I liked…
    Though I don’t think YUI’s songs were edgy enough I loved them nonetheless 🙂

  15. WAIT WHAT? !!!! George and Yukari NEVER HOOK UP!!!!!….so what the hell is the point of this movie..**facepalm** **headesking**…..This is beyond lameeeeeeee….

    Thanks Koala for the heads up on the movie, I was going to watch it this weekend, but thanks for the review and the honesty and for saving me a hour and half of my life.

    I LOVE LOVE Paradise Kiss the manga and the anime..why kill it this way why….I wonder what Ai Yazawa had to say about the adaptation.

  16. HI! Can anyone tell me where to download the movie with eng subs? I’ve been trying to find one since June. I wanna know if the movie is really as bad as Koala says it is. I had high expectations… T.T Because Osamu Mukai is in the movie and Yui sang the OST. Never thought it would that bad. T.T
    Anyways, hope someone could tell me the link to download this movie. Thanks! :))

  17. This movie is horrible. I agree to everything you wrote, plus I have to say that Yamamoto Yusuke was as bland as the others, I could easily overlook him all the time he was on screen too, because there was nothing interesting he put on the table than his usual self. This movie is, for a feature film, embarrassing in acting and story.

  18. ahhhhhhhhh 😀 i havent laughed this much in a LONG time….koala u jus crack me up… the screenashot review was the best piece that happened todae… i cn clearly feel ur frustruation and agony over this so called ‘live action’…….. u knw wat..i have decided after this any manga made live is jus gonna be a miss for me …… coz well u said it all…..bad casting, story adaption n plain destructivity that comes in each of the live action i have seen so far EXCEPT i think i handled ‘lovely complex’ live action pretty well….in conclusion u jus took all the words outaa me mouth …i swear..loved one n ONLY hiroyuki in this movie n i do believe the live action for OHSHC will be betta with his acting skill… still gonna miss it …mite try after readin ur review..lolz :P…thks anyway…again …had a gud laugh 😉

  19. hey Koala, i did a review for this movie that day, then decided to check out the manga. conflicting thoughts but i basically wrote a brief one from the perspective of a casual audience. it was so-so for me. I added this to my review post (hence the pingback) so others, if they end up in my review, can also check yours out – which I think is more thorough, albeit a little too in your face (but of which I respect since you clearly know this manga well and dear!) – hope this is okay 🙂

  20. Sorry Koala you were so excited about this movie and so was I just because you featured it on the playground. So when I saw it available at DramaCrazy I started watching right away. I was bothered and bewildered, is this the same movie that you were anticipating because I could not find anything special about it and Keiko as a supermodel? I could not suspend my disbelief. Having watched some (insert country here) Next Top Model cycle ad infinutum, I could hear the sarcastic comments of the judges coming thick and fast. I thought the movie was idiotic and the dialogue was pure torture. So glad you felt that way, rewatched Take Off because this movie did everything right.

  21. OMG…I’ve been waiting for SOMEONE to post about this since the subs came out…I HATED THIS MOVIE. WHY WHY WHY!!!! Everything was so…blah! Miwako was played by my beloved Sunako-chan and yet I wanted to punch her and Arashi ALL THE TIME. I did like Isabelle though. My poor Yusuke’s ending was completely redone and he got some random staring at her billboards scene? I don’t even care about Yukari and George honestly. The ending was totally a Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot moment as well.

  22. I downloaded the movie and WAS SO EXCITED to watch it because I loved the manga and anime. Throughout the movie, I was just like “what? WHAT? WHERE ARE THE SEXY TIMEZZZZ. Where is George and Isabella’s friendship story?!” SO disappointing.

  23. Ms K, thank you for the wonderfully funny post. I laughed and laughed. At least this movie existed to give inspiration to such a funny post!

  24. and I was anticipating for it for so long..

    I have the dwl movie sitting there waiting to be watched..maybe I will…one day..when I’m bored out of my mind…and drunk!

  25. I was also super excited for this movie, but I’m sad to hear it was so disappointing 🙁 I’m probably still going to watch this, but without thinking it was based on Paradise Kiss (manga). I adore Mukai Osamu, so I think I’ll just watch this to see his hotness on my screen. *shallowfangirl* I might end up watching the anime (first anime ever?) and rereading the manga lol The story was amazing, but they had to ruin it… the scriptwriter clearly did not understand the manga OR chose to ignore it and make it a more typical (forgettable) romcom movie. SIGH.

    • hands up !! me either, the reason i watched this movie because of osamu mukai. lol. i think keiko was really good @ buzzer beat, yeah i have to admit her catwalk scene is painfull.

  26. Oh, why? Why? I had so wanted this movie to be awesome. Granted, I was sure since it was simply going to be a movie it couldn’t possibly give the complexity of Ai Yazawa’s ParaKiss justice, but ParaKiss WAS only 5 vols long… If Nana 1 had been done quite decently, surely they could pull off ParaKiss? Rawr. I’m so angry. I wanted to be lost in George & Yukari’s love again…..

    I’ll probably end up watch this out of morbid curiosity, but at least now I know not to get my hopes up…

  27. I was never a huge fan of the manga (I understood it, and on an intellectual level appreciated it, however my brain tends to gravitate more towards mindless fluff), so I actually really enjoyed the movie version. I always wanted an alt. universe where the whole point behind the manga was taken away and George wasn’t such a jerk and he and Yukari ended up together so….yeah. I was happy to watch it. 🙂

    Still, I understand why fans of the manga would be totally upset. If I loved the manga as much then I would have been mad too.

  28. Yeah…I can’t say I’m surprised by how crappy an adaptation this turned out to be. I am a bit more bummed out that they didn’t include the Arashi/Miwako/Hiroyuki tangle. I didn’t really expect them to do so, mind; I just really, really liked that bit — I mean, sure, they all did terrible things to each other (especially Arashi! Dude may have been desperately sorry about it all and Miwako may have forgiven him but that was rape, man. No two ways about it) but it was so lovely and so bittersweet and so fraught with raw emotion. I tended to roll my eyes more often than not at Yukari’s histrionics and George’s smooth smarminess, but Arashi, Miwako, and Hiroyuki’s back story and on-going struggle with conflicting feelings and past misdeeds makes me cry every single time. Well, Hiroyuki was my favorite character so I may be a bit biased.

    I have to wonder why the producers felt that ParaKiss would fit into a movie. Surely a miniseries or something would have been a better medium?

    • Hiroyuki is my fave character, too. I loved his presence in the story, both part of the narrative yet somehow off to the side just living his own life.

      • I also really appreciated how normal he was. He served to ground a cast made up of divas and drama queens because he was the only one who had normal interpersonal skills and who was reasonably well adjusted. (The fact that I want to marry a guy just like him has nothing to do with this preference, of course.) (Okay, maybe a little.)

  29. Thank you for that awesome-ly hilarious recap there Koala…. you had me at “I find Osamu objectively better looking than Yusuke, but during this entire movie it was Yusuke who was much manlier and more desirable. Probably because his character was not a douchebag.” I couldn’t stop laughing as well as agreeing!

    I haven’t read the manga (I’m already too obsessed with dramas I cant add reading manga or watching anime to the mix) but I had high expectations of this film based solely on the actor choices. I really do like all the actor/tresses in this movie (except I didn’t know Isabella well until I looked him up) so I really thought it would be great (I love me some Osamu/Yusuke dramas)….and as I sat down with my hot cocoa and big snuggley sweater I finally found the perfect time to watch without interruptions and in full screen only to to get to a point where I actually had to fast-forward!! something I never do!! As someone who hadn’t read the manga I thought that the terrible choppiness and lack of emotional connections might have been b/c they were following the manga but after I watched it I read some of the comments and they talked about how they loved that it had a “happy ending” unlike the manga and I figured they musta messed with the story a lot. I never got emotionally connected to the main lead’s relationship… George never gave off that “I’m so awesome you’re just drawn to me” vibe that I think he was supposed to have (judging from what you mentioned)…I was missing that “he looked like he was staring into my soul and thats why I left my love of 3 years for him”… I thought that when they showed that sanoko-chan (she’ll forever be sanako-chan in my book:) was Yusuke’s first love and that Yukari figured out why he didn’t approach her the same way that that connection would end but then he showed up at the fashion show for HER I thought that they really would end up together!! I can usually figure out who’s gonna end up with who right away and I was ready to have Yusuke be rejected but what killed me was that Yukari and George never really promised anything to each other and they weren’t even in a relationship for a minute! I really only saw them as a designer and his muse (sure he might love her and she might love him but its not a relationship-y love but a ‘forever will be connected’ love) so I really thought they would surprise us and put her with Yusuke in the end…fail….
    I laughed when it was funny, I cringed when they strutted, I stopped paying attention when they tried to be melo, and I stared at the pretty that is Yusuke, Osamu, and Kento…all in all I’ll just come back to your recap if I ever needed a reminder of how not to judge a movie by its actors.

    • oh jeez I didnt realized I typed to much….this movie just bothered me a lot and I had nowhere to rant– sorry it was here lol

  30. This is the movie you watch when you’re in the mood for a cheesy chick flick that has little substance, ok, let’s face it, no substance. Regardless, I would be very interested in seeing this as a live action drama, because it’s gotta be better, right? I like the story and there has been some success with live action magnas: ex. “Playful Kiss” Or “It Started with a Kiss,” “Ouran High Host Club.” I could name a few more, the point is a series might lend itself to being a better story.

    Also, FYI, for those who haven’t realized it yet, Kitagawa Keiko, is becoming quite the star in Japan. With starring roles in movies like “Paradise Kiss,” “Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de,” “LADY-Saigo no Hanzai Profile” and “Hitsudan Hostess” (okay, HH wasn’t 2011) all in the past year, she seems to be taking off.

  31. That was an enjoyable review made me laugh and nod my head in agreement. I actually never read the manga so this movie was a stand alone for me so I watched the movie without any antipathy but I did note the silliness and incomprehensible romance. Your anti-cap was the best part of seeing this movie LOL. I guess I need to get moving and read the manga.

  32. well…this is unfortunate. i literally just found out about this movie about an hour ago after seeing scenes from it in a fanmade collab on YT. well basically i saw mukai osamu’s face and was like, wtf he’s in a new drama!? i promptly looked up the movie and contemplated watching it. thank god i read your review first. and saw your screencaps. i can’t watch hot mukai in a variety of fedoras, some made of faux snakeskin. i just can’t do it. so thank you for this. really. saved me some tears of utter sadness.

  33. Nice review. But I don’t think it is that bad. I just “forgot” the manga and enjoyed the movie just as a chick flick with the same name. I like it then but it wasn’t outstanding.

  34. uwaaaah…Japan sure knows how to destroy its mangas.
    I recently wrote a recap about the Koukou Debut adaptation, and I tried not to bash too much.
    But when I read your review, I feel all my anger coming out again lol
    Thank you, blogs, to let us release off some steam!
    And thank you, ockoala for this review/recap.
    You saved both my time and some computer place…

  35. I quite like Paradise Kiss. I’m captivated by the good looking Mukai Osamu. I like the way he looks at Y…his kisses on her. Its easy & relaxing to watch. I haven’t seen the manga so I can’t complain & compare. The lead actress is very pretty. I was mesmerised at her runway walk & her beauty.

  36. I’m sorry for an UBER-late post about this, but I just can’t stop reacting.

    This message is for our very own beloved Koala-sensei:

    I’ve looked forward to this movie ever since you posted it on koalasplayground some time this year (I just finished the manga by then). I was expecting a good J-movie because ParaKiss was one of the greatest mangas I’ve ever read (the first adult manga, too; was shocked by Yukari and George’s bed scene, it was damn HOT and I wanted to kill Arashi for doing that to Miwako and Hiroyuki for stealing Yukari). And also because of the actors, and also because of YUI. I hated the part that our OTP became idiots to their dreams and gave their love up just like that. I wished for a happy ending, not the Hollywood chick-flick type, but the Winter-Sonata-Summer-Scent type (I LOVED the Endless Love Korean series, but I haven’t watched Spring Waltz yet and I’m still waiting for that Jang Geun Seok drama).

    And a happy ending it was. But the middle parts were too crappy.

    There’s no mistake about it: I LOVED the ParaKiss movie. I loved the OST and the OTP, and the actors, though I don’t understand why Sunako-chan became Miwako-chan (these characters are very, very opposite of each other). The plot I hated. I liked the ending better.

    But I think they should have made it into a drama series, instead of a movie with a crappy time limit. If I was Yazawa-sensei and the production cast, I’ll include all those angst-filled elements in the manga, and the struggles of each character (I mean all of them, including Isabella) in life, love, and their dreams, the growth they’ve experienced, and the camaraderie and affection Yukari found in George, Hiroyuki, and the rest of the ParaKiss company. I’ll also give more development and plot for Yukari and George’s love story, so as there will be meaning to that design-collection scene. I won’t omit the billboard-Hiroyuki scene though; I found it poignant. Also, to make it a bit poetic, I’ll make the first run-in scene with Isabella and Yukari, instead of Arashi, so that after ten years there will be another run-in with those two, and Yukari will learn that George and she are still pining for each other.


    “Yukari ran to George’s atelier. She found the door locked, but the lock, she analyzed, looks the same as the lock in the design-collection-scene. Using the key (she had the key as a memento, it’s attached to a glossy silver necklace-chain), she tried to open the door, and the key fitted into the lock. She saw that the room as messy, but on looking carefully all she saw were fashion (and other) magazines with her on the cover, and scratch papers of designs of dresses. She picked one from George’s study table and saw a design that looks like it was recently drawn. It looks alike the dress she used for that graduation design contest, only now it’s color white, a feathery-looking veil (without that large rose hair accessory), and instead of a butterfly ring, it’s only a simple gold finger band. The title written on the paper was “The Muse”. At the beginning of the paper “Caroline” is written and at the bottom right-hand corner was “Yukari”, written in Japanese characters. Two teardrops fell from her eyes.

    On the other hand, George, coming home from a fashion show, was surprised to see his atelier’s door open. He entered silently, mumbling about being forgetful and leaving his door open, and expecting Isabella inside. What he said through opening the door was this:

    “Isabella, I was about to give you the wedding dress design I recently sketched”

    and then he saw Yukari. They both stared at each other for some time.

    Then a few tears fell from George’s eyes as they both smiled upon each other.”

    If THIS was the ending of the manga and the anime and the movie, I’ll throw in a feast. It’s a wee bit realistic than that idiotic, cliché Hollywood ending.

    For all the fans and all those who made comments, I’m really sorry for ranting here about my own version of the ParaKiss’ ending. I’m a Creative Writing major, you see. If I was Yazawa-sensei though, I’ll make the ending like this. I just don’t know if you’ll like it.

  37. So I finally got around to watching this movie after seeing you post about it several times. By the end of it, I was still scratching my head and going … wtf is this movie about? Is it just some lame rom-com? Was not impressed and I love me some Osamu … but this, this was not a fine moment.

    And the modelling/runway action of the lead actress .. LOL .. cringe worthy stuff.

    Better go watch the anime now and find the manga somewhere…

  38. aw. this is actually my 1st j-movie.. (ok, maybe third because of The Ring and The Grudge,duh whatever) and I don’t regret watching it. I haven’t read the full manga of PK but I liked it as it is. Maybe you’re right that there are some things lacking, in the acting or in the make-up or in the costume, but I liked it in the way it made me feel. It’s a rom-com, maybe I am just naive, that I laughed and cry in the right scenes. And it was better without the porn that I saw in the manga/anime. Or else it would have ruined all the idea of love and not only loving because of “it”. Keiko was ugly at first in the my opinion, but at the latter part became stunningly beautiful. she may not pose or walk like a true runaway model, but hey, she looks like one. I couldn’t ask for more. Now George might look weird preening and staring at Yukari like that, but it really made me feel like shivers are going up my back. Honestly. And besides I didn’t have that high expectations because the only reason I watched it was because of Yui’s song “Hello” at the trailers. Now that’s what I really LOVE!

  39. what type of hats is george koizomi/osamu mukai wearing specially the black/red with silver bearing-like design around it

    at the 3rd at 15th picture

  40. for me, parakiss manga isn’t that much if not for the characters, the ending, and the amazing artwork that turns the most ridiculous fashion into fabulous. all hail yazawa ai. and that’s where parakiss movie lacks. not to mention the acting is hella awkward.

    and that brings my sentiment, for me the manga ending perfectly ended it all. i love george-yukari and they absolutely had a great chemistry during the whole story. but something felt off between them, whether it’s hiroyuki the nice guy who makes me rooting for him, and george’s deep admiration for kaori (and george-isabella side story too :9). and that’s why the ending warped it up perfectly. george gave his parakiss collection, show how much he cherished yukari, vice versa. but in the end, he left her, she left him. they just aren’t meant to be and they REALIZED that, that’s why they didn’t continue their relationship though they had every chance for that. in a nutshell, for me parakiss felt like a ‘side story’ for george-yukari, which is beautiful. but in the end, the ‘main story’ here is for hiroyuki-yukari and george… kaori? or isabella? well who knows? :p

    so here i am talking about the manga. oh, well, the movie isn’t that worth to discuss. heheh. i’ve loved mukai osamu for years , and i absolutely lost trace of how he managed to be the ‘it’ actor now. i once thought he’s one of the few youngster who know how to ACT (and not the yamapi or miura haruma style if you know what i mean) just because he wasn’t that famous back then, but lately i’ve been questioning myself about it.

  41. havent watched the live action but since everyone’s giving their opinions about the manga: i always thought hiroyuki should’ve been with miwako
    arashi was quite likable but the whole SERIOUS ISSUE in the manga kinda ruined him and tbh i felt it was just there for the manga to be like hey! look! everyone in this manga is messed-up! lol. i never liked the arashi/miwako pairing either way, he treated her pretty poorly. i enjoyed the little bits of friendship with yukari and his fondness for her much more as well as his friendship with hiro.

  42. I agree with you on some things. they made yukari so indecisive and pathetic too. she was incredibly awkward as a model. i think even i would’ve done a better job. then again yukari in the manga, while strong willed, was socially awkward and embarrassed so i dont buy it she became a model for her amazing modelling and posing and walking, but her looks and the fact clothes looked good on her lol.
    i agree the movie was way sappier the manga had a heart. i never watched the anime though.

  43. Yo, it’s been a while since I’ve read such a hilarious review 😀
    I’m an anime veteran. I watched the ParaKiss anime first, then of course I wanted to watch the movie as well. And I liked the movie(!) because of such beautiful actors! Moreover, I even fell in love with Mukai-kun. 😀

    peace everyone!! love each other!!!

  44. I actually kinda liked the movie… I know, I’m weird. I somehow liked it when I first saw it because its a bit lighter version of the story and that I could multi-task while watching it. And also because I cried so much on the ending in the anime. BUT, even though I kinda liked the movie, I must admit that I’m just a big sucker for rom-coms and this movie didn’t bring justice to the manga. Even though the real and correct ending of the story is sad because Yukari and George didn’t end up together, it is still a much better ending than the movie. And the photoshoot and runway walk and acting of keiko here is just blahhhh… Idk. I can say that some might like this movie BUT its just soooo wrong!
    WTF. They’re not suppose to end up together! Ugh… I wanna cry. Its supposed to be this tragic real romance thing, but the movie is all… Waaaah! Wrong!

  45. Hi, I know this is an oldish post but I just wanna add my 2 cents: 1. The gang was attracted to Yukari in the first place because of her bitch face & her height, and she has beautiful ebony hair. The movie Yukari has none of these. 2. The graduation ball gown: wtf it looked nothing like the one in manga, and where’s all the super important beadings (you know, the one that the entire gang plus yukari spent sooo much time and effort on), not to mention the awesome, intricate braids?? I mean, they could’ve at least try, couldn’t they? Aarghh!

  46. yo he leido el manga y he visto el anime y sinceramente lo siento mucho me quedo sin dudarlo con la pelicula,es verdad que faltaron muchas cosas de la historia de george y yukari pero en 120 minutos era imposible meter todos los momentos que pasaron.Ademas yo no soportaba al george de manga y aun menos el de anime en cambio en la pelicula me encanto su forma de ser pues a pesar de ser frio,arrogante y a veces brusco con yukari demostraba amor por ella con pequeños detalles y sobre la escena del hotel love estoy segura que su intencion no era forzarla en contra de su voluntad si no hacerla despertar para que viera que su personalidad y actitud no era la correcta.Entiendo que mucha gente queria que fuera fiel al manga con ese final tan… bueno mejor me lo reservo para mi pero prefiero el final de la pelicula donde el amor termina triunfando por encima de todo,tal vez hiroyoki era el hombre dulce,caballero y atento que yukari necesitaba pero el amor de su vida era george y su final donde ellos se vuelven a encontrar fue perfecto pues a veces una mirada dice mas que mil palabras y george y yukari con esas ultimas miradas en el final de la pelicula se digieron todo lo que sentian y que no llegaron a decirse antes de que george se fuera a paris.Me hubiese gustado 5 minutos mas de final donde ellos hablan y empiezan una relacion despues de tres años sin verse pero ese abrazo y beso apasionado me basto para que paradise kiss live action sea de mis favoritas.Si todos estuviesemos con la persona indicada pese que tu amor es otro hombre que no te conviene seria realmente horrible vivir.

  47. I learned the existence of this movie yesterday.

    I’m a huge fan of the anime Honey & Clover and loved the live action adaptation (both the J-Movie and Series).

    Paradise Kiss is one of my favourite anime, so I really wanted to love this live action but it did not deliver. Super disappointed.

  48. One of the most regretful story I’ve read in my childhood days, I remember crying my eyes out reading the last chapter and when I read it again recently, my emotion’s still intact.

    The movie is just… a completely different story with different characters, it feels like the screen-writer rewrote the plot without reading original story. But somehow it’s still fine for me, because in that world, George and Yukari ended up together, even if they’re not the same one from the manga.

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