Certain graphic novels are never meant to be series, especially if born from short stories or movies, but really help inform a person’s sense of culture at the time of its’ publishing.
To really understand the Gothic Lolita genre in a new way, you really have to start with Kamikaze Girls. If you’re new to Anime, you might not “get” the subculture of Gothic Lolita, but you will be exposed to Gothic Lolita far more than the other subcultures: Lolita, sans Goth.
Now, don’t confuse the look of Lolita with the movie of the same name, they’re meant to be different. Momoko from Kamikaze Girls would be the first to tell you: Being a Lolita is a lifestyle choice.
Momoko falls under the “ama-loli” or “Sweet Lolita” genre. It’s devoid of dark clothing, skulls, black striped socks. Her frilly clothing are actually her form of independence. She places high value on manners and appearance, as it gives her a sense of self and ownership. While this appears on the outside to be superficial, it also gains layers as she has focused her attention on following her “bliss”.
As opposed to being a burden, she finds comfort and meaning in her frilly umbrella and white-laced pastel clothing. It’s a freedom of expression for her. While she completely befuddles Ichigo at first, you get to play the role of her companion in the story: and as you read, you come to realize – once you understand Lolita, Gothic Lolita makes so much more sense.
(Kamikaze Girls are two short stories bound together. The first is PG13 rated, the paired volume is squarely R depending on the reader. The manga was inspired by a light novel, and there’s a movie by the same name.)