by Ai Yazawa
Paperback, approx. 280 pages, 5.75 x 8.25 inches
vol. 1 978-1-935654-71-1 Buy.
vol. 2 978-1-935654-72-8 Buy.
vol. 3 978-1-935654-73-5 Buy.
U.S.$19.95 / CAN$21.95
Yukari Hayasaka is a studious, straight-laced high school senior, racing towards college exams yet with no real sense of purpose in her life. One day she's kidnapped by a troupe of fashion design students and whisked away to their lounge-like atelier. There they ask her to be their model for their school fashion show. At first she resists, scornful of the odd-looking design students, until George, the lead designer, uses his wiles to join them while forcing Yukari to take a good, hard look at her life.
Ai Yazawa's entrancing artwork and spirited dialogue create a colorful of range of endearing, comical, and above all human characters who are struggling to define themselves and their life choices as they face the looming prospect of adulthood.
From 1999 to 2009 no shojo manga (girls comics) author in Japan sold more books than Ai Yazawa. Raised in Japan's Hyogo Prefecture, Yazawa grew up with ambitions to become a fashion designer, and as a youth enrolled in the Osaka Mode Academy, one of Japan's most competitive fashion schools.
In 1985, Yazawa made her manga debut in the pages of the monthly girl's anthology RIBON with the title 15th Year. While her tales focused on young love, but what captivated readers was her stunning sense of design. Since then she has gone to pen eleven more titles and has sold more than 100,000,000 books in Japan alone. Her title NANA was an international sensation, spinning off multiple movies, animated TV series, and even inspiring talents such as Gwen Stephani. Paradise Kiss has been translated into 10 languages and is considered her defining work.
"Already widely popular in its native Japan and far beyond in its various iterations Kiss is a more serious coming-of-age drama than the swirling, high-fashion illustrations might seem to suggest at first glance." —The Smithsonian's BookDragon
"Paradise Kiss is one of those series that stands the test of time in its own way as even though it’s dated with some references and some gender politics, it’s a work that signals a small but significant change that followed. It’s a work that broke its own particular ground and reminded to a larger audience that there are a lot more interesting stories to tell beyond just the chase... Paradise Kiss is a fantastic work that comes together beautifully across these three collections. There’s a real love in the work that you can see from what Ai Yazawa has done and it’s been translated and brought across wonderfully here. This is a series that belongs on most every manga fans bookshelf." —The Fandom Post
"Pure soap opera, with riveting characters, this was most people’s introduction to Yazawa in North America back in the Tokyopop days, and paved the way for Nana to be an even bigger hit. Glad to see Vertical putting [Paradise Kiss] back in print so it can get the attention it deserves." —Manga Bookshelf
"Admittedly, the premise of Paradise Kiss sounds like an improbable schoolyard fantasy but the emotions are real. That message of individualism is also clear to see in Ai Yazawa's art style, which freely diverges from "normal manga" and instead takes its cue from the worlds of high fashion and counterculture. Highly original character designs, along with opulent surroundings and elaborate design elements, add up to a unique aesthetic experience." —Anime News Network's, "Right Turn Only"
“For my money, Paradise Kiss is Yazawa’s best work to date.”
—The Manga Critic
Praise for Ai Yazawa:
“The art, as we have come to expect from Ms. Yazawa, is above reproach. Her line work is impeccable, her characters distinguished, and her eye for fashion forever focused on the pulse of today's trendy youth.”
—Anime News Network on NANA