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Film Friday- Loveless

Film Friday- Loveless

A 12-episode anime television series adaptation was made by J.C. Staff, broadcast in a post-midnight slot on TV Asahi and ABC from April 2005 to June 2005. The anime series was licensed and released in the US by Media Blasters in a set of 3 DVDs in early 2006. A 12-episode anime adaptation was made by J.C.Staff, and first aired in Japan from April 2005 to June 2005. The episodes covered approximately volumes 1–4, due to production starting in August 2004—about four months before volume 5 was published. Because the source material hadn’t finished its serialization, and with a limit of 12 episodes, the anime adaptation has quite a few differences. The most notable is the series finale, which was written specifically for the anime and left the storyline open to the possibility of a future sequel. The opening theme music was “Tsuki no Curse” and the ending theme was “Michiyuki”; both were composed by Yuki Kajiura and arranged by Masayuki Sakamoto, and performed by Kaori Hikita. Media Blasters licensed and released an English subtitled version in early 2006. On April 26, 2011 Media Blasters re-released the series with an English dub titling it as “Loveless: Vocal Collection”. The series is also licensed in German by Tokyopop.

Ritsuka Aoyagi 

is twelve years old and the protagonist of the story. He was named after the lunar day “Rikka,” which fell on May 5 in the year 2005. His “true name” is Loveless, although it is yet to be seen on his body as the other teams’ names are. He enjoys taking photographs and “making memories.”In the first volume, the story alludes to an abrupt change of personality occurring in Ritsuka two years prior. It is seen often through flashbacks, when his mother beats him and denies that he is truly Ritsuka and that he is actually someone else in his body. Before this change, he was a popular, yet academically average student; he doesn’t get along with his classmates, and he purposely points out their faults. In contrast to this, he is the perfect student now. In addition to the personality change, he suffers a loss in memory. The cause of these drastic changes is still unknown, although he has regular therapy sessions to determine why.On his first day at his new school, Ritsuka meets Soubi Agatsuma. Soubi confuses him with his sudden intimacy and puzzling claims that he was Seimei’s friend and Fighter Unit. As Ritsuka discovers, Seimei’s impromptu will dictates that Soubi shall “become Ritsuka’s” upon his death. Ritsuka and Soubi’s relationship is complex, but in many ways Ritsuka admires Soubi. However, Ritsuka has trouble trusting others, and Soubi’s various secrets continue to have an adverse effect on this. Despite his young age and inexperience, Ritsuka is very intelligent and approaches things with startling maturity. The circumstances of his life encourage his lack of innocence; however, there have been notable incidents that bare his naïveté, particularly in sexual love and healthy relationships. Despite this, he still has firm opinions and unrelenting ideas about those subjects. It is these opinions that clash dramatically with adults and authority figures around him, most notably Soubi. Ritsuka is a pacifist, and strongly opposes violence under any circumstance. Love is an uncomfortable subject for Ritsuka. He is wary of compliments, and doesn’t like affection. Ritsuka’s inner conflict over believing Soubi’s declarations of love becomes a source of great tension and bitterness in their relationship.

Soubi Agatsuma 

is a twenty-year-old student, studying Japanese art. He is a former student of Shichisei Gakuen (“Seven Moons Academy”), a school for fighters, where Ritsu Minami was his teacher. He arrived at the school and became Ritsu’s student after the death of his brother, who was Ritsu’s former partner. Ritsu raised Soubi and, incidentally, was the person that took his ears. Whether it was a consensual act or not wasn’t specified. It is hinted by another teacher at the school that Ritsu took Soubi’s virginity because Soubi had his mother’s face, which made Ritsu desire him. Ritsu explains to Soubi that he took his ears to make him a better fighter. Soubi is later partnered with Seimei. He doesn’t enjoy this, feeling attached to Ritsu and resenting that Seimei is younger than he is. Seimei notices this and mocks Soubi for feeling attached to Ritsu. He later carved the name ‘Beloved’ into Soubi’s neck, making him his fighter unit. As ordered, Soubi contacted Ritsuka after Seimei’s death. He introduced Ritsuka to the world of fighters and sacrifices and told Ritsuka he would be his Fighter Unit. He fought beside Seimei for some time, and many people believe that he is Beloved’s Fighter Unit. The appearance of Nisei in the manga, however, proves this to be false later in the manga. Soubi now fights for Ritsuka as Loveless, which is considered taboo because there is not a fighter-sacrifice bond between them. There is also a severe loss of strength, and in Soubi’s case, his markings bleed in battle. Soubi was revealed to not have a true name at all—in fact, Ritsu comments that he is a blank slate, and whatever marking he is given becomes his name. Since Seimei carved Beloved into his skin, it became his name. When given a command to break the windows, courtesy of Seimei, in volume 8, it is shown that he cannot disobey, no matter how strongly he is against it. Soubi appears to know much more about Seimei and his cause of death than he will divulge. Despite Ritsuka’s insistence that he tell him everything he knows, Soubi refuses. In volume 5 of the manga, he even says, “Seimei is my God.” He openly declares that he lives his life by Seimei’s orders, but still says he’ll obey Ritsuka’s every order, which is not necessarily true. Because Seimei told Soubi not to tell Ritsuka about the seven moons he cannot tell him.

 

 

Manga Monday- Loveless

Manga Monday- Loveless

Loveless is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yun Kōga. It is serialized in the Japanese magazine Monthly Comic Zero Sum by Ichijinsha and collected in thirteen tankōbon as of July 2017. Kōga plans to end the manga at fifteen volumes. The most immediately noticeable aspect of the story is that many characters are kemonomimi—cat-like features (in this case, ears and tails) are universal from birth, so there are as many catboys, including the protagonist, as there are catgirls. People in the Loveless universe lose their animal features when they lose their virginity. Those who no longer have animal features are differentiated by society as “adults”.

Plot

In his first day at his new school, a then twelve-year-old Ritsuka Aoyagi meets a mysterious twenty-year-old male named Soubi Agatsuma. Soubi claims to be a good friend of Ritsuka’s brother, Seimei, who was murdered 2 years earlier. Upon the inspection of Seimei’s abandoned computer files, Ritsuka discovers that an organization called ‘Septimal Moon’ was responsible for Seimei’s death.

As Ritsuka quickly discovers, Seimei and Soubi acted as a pair involved in spell battles invoked by carefully selected words. Now Soubi is Ritsuka’s ‘sentouki’, or Fighter Unit, and Ritsuka is his ‘Sacrifice’. Together, they challenge Septimal Moon to find out the truth behind Seimei’s murder and the reason for Ritsuka’s amnesia, and form an intimate bond as they unravel the mystery.

Tokyopop licensed Loveless for an English-language release in North America. The first volume was published on February 7, 2006 and the eighth was released on September 1, 2008; Tokyopop then went out of business. In October 2011, Viz Media announced that they had acquired the license and would continue publishing the series from volume 9. Volume 13 is available for pre-orders online and is set for a June 12, 2018 release. The series is also licensed in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment, in France by Soleil Manga, in Germany by Egmont Manga & Anime, in Italy by J-POP, in Russia by Comics Factory, and in Brazil by NewPOP.

 

Film Friday- Nana

Film Friday- Nana

The manga was adapted into a live-action film in 2005, with a sequel released in 2006. An anime adaptation created by Madhouse aired on Nippon TV between April 5, 2006 and March 27, 2007. All Nana media has been licensed for English language release in North America by Viz Media. They serialized the manga in their Shojo Beat magazine until the August 2007 issue, while also publishing it in the tankōbon format. They released both films in 2008 and their English dub of the anime was broadcast on the Funimation Channel beginning in September 2009. Nana won the 2002 Shogakukan Manga Award for Shōjo manga and has sold over 43 million copies.

Anime

Nana was adapted into an anime series, directed by Morio Asaka, written by Tomoko Konparu, and animated by the studio Madhouse. The first and third openings and third ending songs are sung by Anna Tsuchiya for the band Black Stones, and Olivia sings the second opening and first and second endings for the band Trapnest as Reira Serizawa. The first DVD release was on July 7, 2006. The anime series was intended to be equal to the manga and it was adapted until the 12th tankoubon to avoid filler. According to Junko Koseki (editor of Nana in Shueisha) and Masao Maruyama (president of Madhouse) a second season is probably going to be aired once the manga series is finished.

The anime adaptation was also licensed for release in North America by Viz Media. Funimation got the broadcast rights to Viz Media’s dub and it premiered on the Funimation Channel on September 19, 2009.

Films

Two live-action film adaptations have been made for Nana. The first, Nana, was released on September 3, 2005. The film stars Mika Nakashima as the punk star Nana Osaki, Aoi Miyazaki as Hachi (Nana Komatsu), Ryuhei Matsuda as Ren Honjo, Tetsuji Tamayama as Takumi Ichinose, Hiroki Narimiya as Nobuo Terashima, and Matsuyama Kenichi as Shinichi Okazaki. The DVD edition was released on March 3, 2006. The film did quite well at the Japanese box office, grossing more than 4 billion yen, and staying in the top 10 for several weeks. A sequel, Nana 2, was announced right after the debuted. However, on August 4, 2006, Toho stated that shooting would begin mid-September and that the film was to be released on December 9, 2006. Aoi Miyazaki and Ryuhei Matsuda would not be reprising their respective roles as Nana Komatsu and Ren Honjo; as such, their roles were assigned to Yui Ichikawa and Nobuo Kyou, respectively. Some locations from the manga had been changed for the film, and there also were many plot differences. Additionally, the film’s ending is not the actual end of the manga; “Nana” is an ongoing story.

Nana Komatsu

known as Nana K., comes to Tokyo looking to find her dream, though she initially comes in order to stay in a relationship with her boyfriend, Shoji Endo. Unlike Osaki, however, she comes from a large and happy household, though her childish outlook prevents her from living on her own at first and she is prone to falling in love at first sight, usually towards older men. Due to her kindness and faithfulness, Nana Osaki nicknames her Hachi, after the dog Hachikō. Nana Komatsu matures as the series progresses and becomes extremely protective of Nana Osaki, who becomes increasingly dependent on Hachi for stability. Later on, Nana forms relationships with both Takumi and Nobu and winds up pregnant by one of them, though it is uncertain by whom. Although she is in love with both, she marries Takumi since he could readily provide for the child’s upbringing. During the scenes of future events, it is shown that Hachi’s daughter was born and her name is Satsuki (as per Ren’s advice). Nana is presumably still married to Takumi, although her marriage does not appear either to be happy or unhappy. They are separated, and Takumi lives in London with their other son, Ren. Though Junko suggests that Hachi should divorce Takumi, she says there’s no need for it.

Nana Osaki

also known as Nana O., is the vocalist of the band Black Stones, also known as Blast. She considers the band Trapnest as her rival, most likely due to the facts that Ren decides to leave Blast for Trapnest and her roommate marrying Trapnest’s leader. Though Nana may look like a tough punk rocker, she has a kind heart and is a devoted friend. However, she can be possessive and dark, easily becoming emotional to the extent where she has trouble breathing. She is particularly insecure about losing people close to her, readily admitting to using means like bringing Nobu and Nana Komatsu together so she can keep Hachi with her. Abandoned by her mother and raised by her grandmother, Nana never knew the identity of her biological father. Nana was expelled from high school after she was falsely accused of prostitution. Despite these hardships, Nana “polishes the shards of her dreams” and is determined to be successful as the lead vocalist of Blast. She gets engaged to her first love, Ren. In the future scenes (Chapter 58) it can be interpreted that Nana ran away from Japan and cut all ties with her friends. This may be triggered by the death of Ren, her fiance, and the events that followed. Her favorite designer is Vivienne Westwood, and her favorite band is the Sex Pistols.

Manga Monday- Nana

Manga Monday- Nana

Nana is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa. It was serialized in Cookie magazine from July 2000 until June 2009 when it went on indefinite hiatus, with its chapters collected into 21 tankōbon volumes published by Shueisha. The series derives its title from the name of the two main characters, both of whom are called Nana. Nana Komatsu is a small town girl who goes to Tokyo to follow her boyfriend and college friends, with the hope of having her dream life. Nana Osaki was in a popular punk rock band in her hometown. She goes to Tokyo with the goal of making it big as a singer. The two Nanas meet on the train ride to the city. Later, they run into each other again when they happen to check out the same apartment, and the girls decide to become roommates. The series chronicles their friendship and their lives as each chases her dreams.

Written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa, Nana premiered in Cookie in 2000 where it ran until June 2009, when the series was put on hiatus due to Yazawa falling ill. Yazawa returned from the hospital in early April 2010, but has not specified when or if she will resume the manga. The individual chapters have been collected and published into 21 tankōbon volumes in Japan by Shueisha.

Nana is licensed for English-language release in North America by Viz Media. It was serialized in Viz’s manga anthology Shojo Beat, premiering in the July 2005 debut issue and continuing until the August 2007 issue. They published all 21 collected volumes as of July 6, 2010.

Plot

Nana Komatsu has a habit of falling in love at first sight all the time, and depending on other people to help her. When her friends, and then her boyfriend, leave for Tokyo, she decides to join them a year later after having saved enough money at the age of twenty.

Nana Osaki, the other Nana, is the punk-styled lead vocalist of a band called Black Stones (BLAST for short). She had lived with her boyfriend, bassist Ren Honjo since she was 16, but when Ren is offered a chance to debut in Tokyo as a replacement member of a popular band called Trapnest, Nana chooses to continue on with BLAST and to cultivate her own career instead of following Ren, as she has too much ambition to be relegated to a rockstar’s girlfriend. She eventually leaves for Tokyo at the age of twenty to start her musical career.

The two Nanas meet on a train by chance, both on their way to Tokyo. After a string of coincidences, they come to share an apartment. Despite having contrasting personalities and ideals, the Nanas respect each other and become close friends. While BLAST begins to gain popularity at live gigs, the two Nanas face many other issues together, especially in the areas of friendship and romance. The story of Nana revolves heavily around the romance and relationships of the two characters as one seeks fame and recognition while the other seeks love and happiness.

 

Film Friday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

Film Friday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

A 26-episode anime television series adaptation by Gonzo premiered on April 2, 2018 and was announced in November 2017. The series is directed by Yoshiko Okuda at Gonzo, with scripts handled by Tomoko Konparu, characters designs done by Yōko Satō and music composed by Takurō Iga. It premiered on April 2, 2018 on the Tokyo MX and BS Fuji stations. It will run for two cours, in which 3 episodes released in 8 of its DVD/Blu-ray release, as the ninth release has 2 episodes for a total of 26 episodes. The opening theme is “Tomoshibi no Manimani”, performed by Nao Tōyama and the first ending theme is “Sai -color-“, performed by Manami Numakura. The second opening theme is “Utsushiyo no Yume” by Nano, and the second ending theme is “Shiranai Kimochi” performed by Megumi Nakajima. Both Crunchyroll and Funimation are streaming the series. A stage play adaptation was announced in March 2017 during a pre-screening event for the anime adaptation.

Oryō

A Snow Woman servant of Tenjin-ya who works as a guest room attendant and appears to function as the Head Maid. She considers Aoi an unfit bride for Odanna out of jealousy. She further considers it her duty to prevent Aoi’s marriage to Odanna. She is in love with Odanna and has been known to call herself his mistress. After disgracing herself trying to get Aoi killed she falls ill with a fever and her unpopularity with the other servants is revealed when Aoi is the only one willing to look after her. Following this she becomes closer to Aoi and treats her like a friend.

Akatsuki

Tenjin-ya’s clerk known for his rough and meddlesome behaviour. He has a younger sister named Suzuran. His Ayakashi form is a giant purple spider with thick legs and red eyes.

Byakuya

A wise and strict servant in charge of Tenjin-ya’s finances. As Aoi frequently makes no profits running Moonflower he thinks she should give up and marry Odanna. He hated Shiro with a passion because not only did he owe Odanna 100 million yen he also cost Tenjin-ya enormous amounts of money over the years on broken furniture, unpaid bills and the theft of food and alcohol from the kitchen.

Chibi

A type of Ayakashi known as a Kappa with the appearance of a green turtle with a blue shell that acts similar to a pigeon but can speak. Chibi is a specific Kappa Aoi is fond of feeding in the park. She thinks of him as sly and ends up taking him with her to Tenjin-ya as a pet.

 

 

Manga Monday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

Manga Monday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is a Japanese light novel series written by Midori Yūma and illustrated by Laruha. Fujimi Shobo have published seven volumes since 2015 under their Fujimi L Bunko imprint. A manga adaptation with art by Wako Ioka has been serialized in Enterbrain’s josei manga magazine B’s Log Comic since 2016. It has been collected in four tankōbon volumes.

Viz Media announced at their Anime Central 2018 panel that they had licensed the manga.

Plot

Aoi Tsubaki is a college student who has the ability to see Ayakashi, a trait she inherited from her deceased grandfather. One day, when Aoi walks past a torii shrine, she sees an Ayakashi sitting there who announces that it is hungry. However, after giving it food, Aoi is kidnapped by the Ayakashi, an Ogre named Odanna. He takes her to the Hidden Realm, a world where all the Ayakashi live. He tells Aoi that her grandfather owed him a debt, and as compensation, she must marry him. Aoi negotiates with the Ogre instead, asking to work at Odanna’s inn, the Tenjin’ya.

Characters

Aoi Tsubaki

A human girl who inherited the ability to see Ayakashi from her grandfather, Shiro, who also taught her how to cook from a young age. She has a caring personality but has shown she can be stubborn and brave, preferring to work to pay her grandfathers debts rather than marry Odanna. Her greatest regret is that she was unable to share a final meal with her grandfather and that his last meal was poor quality hospital food.

Ōdanna

An Ogre who runs the inn Tenjin-ya in the Hidden Realm. He is known to be cold and merciless but is also loved and respected by his servants because of his kindness and large heart. He knew Shiro, Aoi’s grandfather, for many years and considered him a friend. As a result of Shiro owing him almost 100 million yen Odanna accepted Shiro’s offer of marriage to Aoi as payment. Other Ayakashi refer to him as either “Ogre God” or “Master Innkeeper”.

Ginji

A Nine-tailed fox Ayakashi who was the first Ayakashi in the Hidden Realm to show Aoi real kindness. He can shapeshift into any of nine physical appearances including a handsome man, a young boy, a beautiful woman and a baby fox with nine tails. He runs a small restaurant in Tenjin-ya’s annex building but does not receive many customers. He asks Aoi to take over the restaurant after tasting her human style food. He has a closer relationship with Odanna than the other servants, close enough that he is able to use his adorable young boy form to trick Odanna into buying him treat.

 

Film Friday- Paradise Kiss

Film Friday- Paradise Kiss

The series has also been adapted into a 12 episode anime series, produced by Aniplex and Studio Madhouse, and which was aired in Japan on Fuji TV’s Noitamina programming block and on the anime television network, Animax, who have broadcast the series across its respective networks worldwide, including Japan, Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia.

Produced by Madhouse Studios, the Paradise Kiss anime series began airing on October 10, 2005. Some well-known personages are staffed on the production of the Paradise Kiss series including director Osamu Kobayashi and Nobuteru Yūki, character designer and animation director for the opening sequence. It has been aired by the anime television network, Animax across its respective networks worldwide, including Japan, as well as Southeast Asia, South Asia and East Asia, where the series received its first ever international broadcasts. The anime was licensed for release in North America by Geneon Entertainment. On July 3, 2008, Geneon Entertainment and Funimation Entertainment announced an agreement to distribute select titles in North America. While Geneon Entertainment will still retain the license, Funimation Entertainment will assume exclusive rights to the manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of select titles. Paradise Kiss was one of several titles involved in the deal.

Live-action film

Together with the Japanese production company IMJ, Fox International produced a live-action, Japanese-language film based on Paradise Kiss; The film has an estimated budget of US$3–4 million.

The Paradise Kiss live-action features Keiko Kitagawa as Yukari Hayasaka and Osamu Mukai as George. Other cast members are Natsuki Katō as Kaori Aso, Aya Ōmasa as Miwako Sakurada, Kento Kaku as Arashi Nagase, Shunji Igarashi as Isabella Yamamoto, and Yūsuke Yamamoto as Tokumori Hiroyuki.

The film was released in Japan in June 2011. It featured the songs ‘HELLO’ and ‘YOU’ by YUI.

Characters

Miwako Sakurada

Miwako is the bubbly, pink-haired student of Yazagaku who works with George to run their brand, Paradise Kiss. She is the younger sister of the Happy Berry brand’s creator/president, Mikako Kouda, who is the protagonist in Ai Yazawa’s Gokinjo Monogatari work, and feels pressure to live up to her success. Miwako tends to act in a rather childlike manner, both in her Lolita style dress and unique vocabulary. She carries around a jar of konpeito candy that makes her feel better by reminding her of how she is loved. Because of her cute personality, she is adored by many of the characters and becomes Yukari’s closest friend, even offering her a place to stay when she needs it. Unbeknownst to Yukari, Miwako was a childhood friend of Hiroyuki and his first love.

Arashi Nagase

Arashi is a student of Yazagaku with a taste for punk style and alternative music. With his distressed jeans and safety pin piercings, Yukari flees when he tries to scout her in the streets of Tokyo. George enjoys harassing the serious-minded punk. Miwako reassures her that though Arashi looks intimidating, he is very kind. He is Miwako’s childhood friend turned boyfriend, and this was the cause of the split in friendship between Miwako and Hiroyuki, having told Miwako that she could no longer see him anymore. Arashi despises being compared to Hiroyuki for any reason as he secretly believes himself to be inferior to the clean-cut prodigy. He even breaks Miwako’s phone when he realizes she is texting Hiroyuki. By the end of the manga, Hiroyuki and Miwako help him to get over his inferiority complex, and the three childhood friends attend a New Year’s celebration together. When the members of ParaKiss engage in outrageous behavior, Arashi is usually the voice of reason. He is the one that talks most directly to Yukari about her decision to drop out of school. He is the son of a musician, Risa Kanzaki, who is a good friend of Mikako Kouda. (Both characters appear in Gokinjo Monogatari.) Arashi and Miwako eventually marry and have a daughter who looks much like Arashi (whom Hiroyuki believes would look cuter if she had looked like Miwako instead).

Isabella Yamamoto

Isabella is the mother figure to the members of ParaKiss. This tall Yazagaku student is the epitome of high class and femininity. Isabella inspired George’s very first dress during childhood, and often had the habit of taking every piece of clothing that he finished. As a child, she had always wanted dresses, and George was the one that fulfilled her wish. Isabella encourages Yukari when she needs it the most, whether it be regarding George or her abandoned studies. Notably, Isabella is a transgender woman, and she is mortified when anyone refers to her as her birth name, Daisuke.

Hiroyuki Tokumori

Yukari’s classmate, an intelligent and handsome prodigy who is the object of Yukari’s affections at the beginning of the story. Hiroyuki was once in love with Miwako, but Arashi forbade her from seeing him. He gives advice to Arashi on how to come to terms with his feelings for Miwako and his past actions and soon after the three of them mend their friendship. Hiroyuki is at the top of his class and aspires to become a physician. He eventually falls for Yukari, who foolishly assumed that a girl like her would never show interest in him. In the manga, Hiroyuki expresses his frustration at always being second-best in anything but academics, referring to Miwako choosing Arashi and to Yukari being in love with George. Son of Gokinjo Monogatari character, Hiroaki Tokumori (“Toku-chan”).

The music of ParaKiss is so great that I have attached the opening and closing songs below. I found one of my favorite bands from this series!

 

Manga Monday- Paradise Kiss

Manga Monday- Paradise Kiss

Paradise Kiss, abbreviated to “ParaKiss”, is a manga series written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa. It appeared as a serial in the Japanese fashion magazine Zipper. Shodensha collected the chapters into five volumes.

This comic and anime are widely popular not only in Japan, but in many countries around the world. The Paradise Kiss manga and anime has been translated and dubbed or subtitled from Japanese to at least ten different languages, Vietnamese, Chinese (Taiwan), Korean, Finnish, French, Italian, Polish, Thai, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese (Hong Kong) and English. The English version was published by Vertical, Inc..

Paradise Kiss occurs in the same universe as Yazawa’s previous work, Neighborhood Story, which has not yet been published in English. However, Paradise Kiss is a stand-alone story, as only three of the supporting characters are featured, who were only small children in Gokinjo Monogatari. Some of the main characters from Gokinjo Monogatari also make appearances throughout Paradise Kiss.

Tokyopop licensed Paradise Kiss for an English-language release in North America and serialized it in its manga magazine Smile. After Tokyopop’s dissolving in 2011, New York based publishers Vertical, Inc. acquired the rights to the property with plans on releasing the series in a three-volume A5 sized set with new covers, color plates and newly commissioned translation set for Fall 2012. Madman Entertainment distributes the series in Australia and New Zealand. The series is also licensed in France by Kana, in Poland by Waneko and in Russia by Comics Factory.

Characters

Yukari “Caroline” Hayasaka

Yukari is a pretty high school senior that studies dutifully for her university entrance exams. She cannot find meaning in her repetitive life and feels that she has not truly lived at all. As a student at a prestigious high school, she begins with a snobbish attitude towards the fashion design students. After she is scouted by Arashi and “kidnapped” by Isabella, her attitude towards them begins to change to one of admiration for the students’ passion and drive. Her intense relationship with George pushes her to grab hold of her identity, despite the fact that she feels he is a cold and manipulative man. The members of ParaKiss support her as she discovers new depths to her ambitions (becoming a professional model) and personality. She is often referred to as “Caroline” or “Carrie” by the members of ParaKiss. (Before the group knew her name, they called her Caroline. The nickname stuck.) In the manga, she eventually marries Hiroyuki after George leaves to pursue fashion design in Paris. In the anime, she gets married to an unnamed boyfriend assumed to be Hiroyuki. In the live-action film, she rejects Hiroyuki and finds George while on a modelling job in New York.

Jōji “George” Koizumi

George is a senior at Yazagaku fashion school with a gift for fashion design, particularly in haute couture. Although his personality can appear cold, he lives like a hedonist and has extravagant ideas on everything, most of which are not accepted by the mainstream. George is bisexual and explains himself as an “equal opportunity lover”. He refers to Yukari as both his muse and a tease. He wishes for her to become an independent woman that makes her own decisions and takes responsibility for them. His appearance is loosely based on Brian Slade of Velvet Goldmine, several references to the film are made by him in the manga. Yukari humorously questions if he is actually an alien because of his distinctive blue hair and eyes. The lifestyle that he lives is that of a wealthy young bachelor; he lives in a high-end loft and drives a vintage Jaguar. This lifestyle and his tuition are both paid for by George’s wealthy father, but because his mother was merely a mistress, he rarely sees him. His mother often complains that despite his ill will towards his father, he looks and acts just like him. In the end, he’s sad to leave Yukari behind but goes with Isabella to Paris to pursue fashion design.

Film Friday- Princess Jellyfish

Film Friday- Princess Jellyfish

An 11-episode anime television series based on the manga was produced by Brain’s Base and aired on Fuji TV’s Noitamina programming block between October and December 2010. The anime has been licensed by Funimation. A live-action film adaptation premiered in Japan on December 27, 2014. A live-action drama series will premiere in January 2018.

Anime

An 11-episode anime television series adaptation produced by Brain’s Base and directed by Takahiro Omori aired in Japan between October 15 and December 31, 2010 on Fuji Television’s Noitamina programming block. Four BD/DVD compilation volumes were released from January to April 2011, and each volume contained a bonus anime short. The opening theme is “Koko Dake no Hanashi” by Chatmonchy and the ending theme is “Kimi no Kirei ni Kizuite Okure” by Sambomaster. Music in the anime was composed by Makoto Yoshimori.

Funimation simulcasted the series on its video streaming website as part of their deal with Fuji TV; the first two episodes premiered on October 28, 2010. Funimation later licensed the series in North America in response to positive feedback from a fan survey posted on their Facebook page and released the series on BD/DVD on February 28, 2012. The series made its North American television debut on September 11, 2012 on the Funimation Channel.

Characters

Tsukimi Kurashita 

Voiced by: Kana Hanazawa (Japanese); Maxey Whitehead (English), Rena Nōnen (live-action film)
Tsukimi is an 18-year-old otaku girl who lives in Tokyo and wants to be an illustrator. Influenced by her late mother, she has a love for all kinds of jellyfish and is quite knowledgeable about them. She is the only resident of Amamizukan who knows Kuranosuke’s true gender. Like the other Amars, she has a fear of stylish people and will usually petrify in their presence. Tsukimi has a pet spotted jellyfish named Clara. Much to her chagrin, she often receives temporary makeovers from Kuranosuke; in these states, she becomes beautiful and Shū falls for her. She reciprocates Shū’s feelings but she is led to think that he is in love with Shōko Inari. She grows to be very comfortable around Kuranosuke when he is cross-dressing to the point she nearly forgets his gender, but conversely she gets very nervous whenever he is in his “boy” state in front of her.

Kuranosuke Koibuchi 

Voiced by: Mitsuki Saiga (Japanese); Josh Grelle (English), Masaki Suda (live-action film)
Kuranosuke is the son of a rich political family. He uses the alias “Kurako” in front of the other Amars to hide his gender. He enjoys cross-dressing, to the chagrin of his family. Unlike the rest of his family, he does not find politics interesting at all and desires to get into fashion. He is constantly looking for the address of his mother, who gave birth to him after having an affair with his father, hoping to see at least once more the wardrobe she kept with so much passion. After meeting Tsukimi and helping her rescue Clara from a pet store, he starts paying her visits, finding her more interesting than anything else in his life. Throughout his life he has been popular with pretty girls, thus he almost cannot believe it when he starts realizing he may have feelings for Tsukimi.

Manga Monday- Princess Jellyfish

Manga Monday- Princess Jellyfish

Princess Jellyfish is a Japanese josei (a manga written with older teen girls and women in mind) manga series written and illustrated by Akiko Higashimura. It was serialized in Kodansha’s manga magazine Kiss from October 2008 to August 2017. The manga is licensed in North America by Kodansha Comics USA.

Plot

Princess Jellyfish centers on Amamizukan, an apartment building in Tokyo, where the only tenants are otaku women, and where no men are allowed. While each character has her own particular fixation, the protagonist is Tsukimi Kurashita, whose love of jellyfish stems from memories of her deceased mother taking her to an aquarium and linking the lace-like tendrils of jellyfish to the dresses of princesses. Tsukimi hopes to become an illustrator and is an awkward girl terrified of social interaction, attractive people and the prospect of formal work.

The other tenants of Amamizukan are the same, being NEETs who refer to themselves as the “Amars” (nuns). Tsukimi meets the stylish Kuranosuke Koibuchi, the illegitimate son of a politician, who cross-dresses to avoid the obligations of politics and to feel closer to his mother. Tsukimi keeps the secret of his masculinity from her man-hating housemates, even as she is troubled by the intimacy of having a man in her room at times.

Amamizukan’s neighborhood is under threat of redevelopment, as opportunists aim to turn the quaint area into a more cosmopolitan region, with many of the buildings being demolished to make room for hotels and shopping centers. Although Amamizukan’s tenants fear and loathe attractive people, they are helped by Kuranosuke who does not want to see Amamizukan destroyed.

Manga

Kuragehime began as a manga written and illustrated by Akiko Higashimura. It was serialized in Kodansha’s Kiss manga magazine from October 25, 2008 in the 21st issue of that year to August 25, 2017 in the October issue of that year. Kodansha released the series in 17 tankōbon volumes from March 13, 2009 to November 13, 2017. Kodansha Comics USA licensed the manga for release in North America, which are being released in omnibus editions containing two volumes each starting in March 2016. Crunchyroll has also added the manga to its web distribution service. The manga is also licensed by Star Comics in Italy, and Akata in France.