Ah, toxic relationships abound!
Yukari is a typical high school student working hard to get into a good college under the guidance of an overprotective and controlling mother. One day after school she is accosted by and kidnapped by a group of college students who refer to themselves as “Paradise Kiss.” These students work in the fashion sector and want Yukari to model their collection at the big end of the yea runway show. Yukari finally finds herself having a passion for something, modeling, as well as falling in love with George, a pretentious stylist and all around fuckboy.
As Yukari is made over by her new friends, she learns more about herself and the strength of her character, while going through the trials of many teenage girls. Yukari finds herself in love with someone who, while maybe loving her, treats her pretty badly. She is constantly trying to figure out what she wants and why she isn’t enough for George, but the idea of returning home to high school makes he even more depressed. The whole series is full of questionable relationships, which I suppose sadly does reflect the true experience of many girls in their late teens to early 20s.
I can see why this series is so beloved. Even when George and the other characters in the series made me want to punch walls, I was still compelled to read it and find out where Yukari would end up in life. That being said there is a lot of abuse in this, especially emotional manipulation, on top of some dubious sexual consent. I would be aware of that before reading because I honestly thought this would be a romance manga and man I was wrong. Still enjoyed it, but it was a LOT heavier than I was expecting upon picking it up and scanning the description.
Title: Paradise Kiss
Author: Ai Yazawa
Three Descriptors: Of it’s time, dramatic, heavy