Yukari has been living the life of a model student: going to school, going to cram school, doing homework, and then doing it all over again the next day. One day, when she is walking to cram school, she is accosted by a punk guy who wants to talk to her. Yukari, being who she is, wants nothing to do with a guy like that, so she runs off -- only to bump into one of the punk's comrades.
Yukari faints, and when she comes to, she is in the atelier of 'Paradise Kiss', the fashion label a few of the arts college students have set up. They aim to win the Grand Prize at the school festival with their dress -- but they will need a model. Yukari fits the bill, and so they ask her to model for them.
Yukari blows them off, but when she makes her escape, she loses her student handbook. This allows the lead designer of ParaKiss, the androgynous playboy George, to locate her. He takes her on a tour of the fashion college, and then asks her again to model for him/them.
Due to various circumstances, Yukari (nicknamed 'Caroline' by Miwako) accepts their invitation. This shakes her up from her usual life, and she gets to see a different side of life -- that of fashion and hardworking designers...
Yukari's mother is quite pushy -- she wants Yukari to get into the top schools (which doesn't always work out as she had planned), and Yukari just follows the motions. But when she falls in love with George, she wants to forge her own way, and runs away from home to live with him.
She tries to get a job at the boutique of Miwako's sister, but she ends up being the model for a photo shoot! Thus she decides to become a professional model, but since she is still a minor, she will need her mother's permission for that...
Obviously, there are more things going on - the relationship between Arashi, Miwako and Yukari's classmate is a minor sub-plot, which seems a bit rushed. There are a lot of characters that play a more important role in the manga, but get a tiny part of the anime because all the plots have to take a backseat to the plot of how Yukari finds out what she wants to do with her life. This is a bit of a pity, because there are some interesting things there, but it's good the makers decided to make the main plot the main focus of the series.
The series is refreshingly mature, and shows Yukari basically growing up in a very short period of time. The designs are pretty nice (and faithful to the manga), but the animation is pretty basic -- which doesn't detract much from the series, because it's more about the interaction between the characters than the action.
The music is pretty nice (I especially like the opening theme, 'Lonely in Gorgeous' by Tommy February6) to boot.
- Edgy, street-wise characters;
- Mature plot;
- Nice designs.
- Sub-plots are not given too much attention.
All in all, an 8.5.