Monday, June 20, 2005
Okay, it's now two for two, for Ai Yazawa. "Nana" was a stellar read in the new "Shojo Beat," as I mentioned previously, so I decided to check out her earlier work, "Paradise Kiss." And I am so glad I did. I caught myself laughing out loud several times during the story, chalk-full of quirky characters and fun plot twists. In the first volume of this series, we follow Yukari Hayasaka, model student, as she's drawn into Paradise Kiss, a label being created by art students. She's given an offer to become a model for them, something she weighs throughout the story. Yazawa's artwork, her characterization...it's just wonderful. Reading other shojo manga, like "Absolute Boyfriend" in "Shojo Beat," just didn't do it for me to the same degree. I think one of the big things that's set her apart in my mind is her pacing. She slows down at the right moments, drawing out the emotions in the perfect places, whether it be for comedic effect or drama or whatever. Ai Yazawa is just a master storyteller, at the top of her medium. I'm telling you, you have to check this out! If you're going to give shojo manga a try, let Yazawa be your test run!