Well, it’s finally time to wrap up Paradise Kiss.
The final chapter is also the shortest in the book, but I’ll start with the cover page.
Me too, Isabella. Me too.
I remember liking Isabella’s character the first time I read through Paradise Kiss. Isabella was the first transgender character I was aware of who wasn’t treated as a punchline. One of my favorite side stories showed her shared childhood with George, when she was being raised as a boy. The first dress George made was a gift for her, and helped her find her identity as Isabella. Throughout the manga she shows herself to sweet and caring, and has a deep bond with George, sticking with him through thick and thin.
The first volume focused mostly on Yukari and Miwako, so there wasn’t a lot of room for Isabella this time around. But this cover page almost makes me want to continue reading Paradise Kiss just to see more of her.
Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen in this book’s final chapter. But we do see Yukari start to grow up. Up to this point, she’s idolized her crush, Tokumori. But in this chapter she starts to see his flaws, too, and realizes he can be mean and petty. Instead, she turns her attention towards George, waiting for him to call her.
Except that she pretends that she’s not. This is another instance of “so high school”: acting like you’re not waiting for him to call, or pretending that this guy isn’t in your mind all day. When they finally do meet up, Yukari shouts at George for making her wait and for not calling, and George gives her a chance to back out of modeling. Tears running down her face, Yukari says that she’ll keep working, and she and George finally share their first kiss.
There is a lot of high drama and angst, and Yukari and George’s relationship ultimately doesn’t last. But it’s still rather sweet: your first kiss, and your first love. That’s also pretty high school, but in a good way.
The last section of this book is the “omake”, or bonus. Omakes are sometimes at the end of a manga volume that might show behind-the-scenes creation, or just have the characters being silly. What caught my attention, though, was just how dated it was. There’s a reference to the Sega Dreamcast, discontinued in 2001, and Geocities, closed in 2009.
Time waits for no man, I suppose. For no man, and no manga.