Saturday, March 2, 2013

JDrama Review: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

The Gist: Takano Kyohei (Kamenashi Kazuya) is thrilled when a wealthy woman offers him and his friends free boarding at her huge mansion. The offer comes with a catch though: the good looking students must transform the owner's niece into a proper lady. The task turns out to be a bit overwhelming when they meet Sunako (Oomasa Aya), who loves creepy and scary things like skeletons. She is even scared to show her face, hating bright things like her incredibly good looking new housemates, mostly Kyohei, who is obsessively harassed by the women around him. The more he gets to know Sunako, the less inclined he is to change her, but he needs to stay in his new home, a sanctuary from the crazy people who overwhelm him.


1. Oomasa Aya 

A familiar face in recent Jdramas, I was surprised to see her playing such a bizarre role. Her versatility really shows in this drama though, as she is perfectly believable as a creepy recluse - completely opposite her stuck up role in Mei-chan no Shitsuji or naive, energetic chick in ParaKiss. She's loveable beneath her creepy factor and her bond with Kyohei is well crafted. As they say, opposites attract. I would not have picked her for this role, but after watching it, I'm so glad they did because she nailed it.

2. The Boys

While their outfits at times were perplexing, I thoroughly enjoyed the guys flanking Kyohei as much as Kyohei himself. Their relationship was heartwarming, but it was also very funny to see them knocked down a peg as they meet a woman they can't deal with. When you think about it, Sunako and the boys are a perfect match because she's more afraid of their looks than admiring, so she doesn't feed their egos. It makes them have to know each other for who they are, rather than their appearances.   

3. The Funny

While I enjoyed the serious moments, really the best parts of this drama are the silliness of the situation. I especially enjoy Sunako's friendship with her mannequin (whose name escapes me at the moment, sorry), when she retreats to think through things in her dark room. Her total fear of the boys she has to live with is  treated lightly and is more humorous than anything else.

4. The Romance

It's a little unconventional in its execution, but Kyohei and Sunako make for a great pairing. It's not that unusual to start out with leads who don't particularly like each other and YNSH follows that, but I think the best romances flourish when each lead is better for knowing the other person. Kyohei doesn't have to feel threatened by Sunako and Sunako is brought out of her shell by Kyohei. Still, they can both just be themselves and be accepted by each other, which is pretty much the running theme of this story. Love it, but I also would have like to see a bit more of it between the characters.


It's an over the top premise, but YNSH doesn't stick close enough to reality, often blowing things way out of proportion. As well as Aya does as Sunako, she's sometimes too weird and the boys can be over dramatic. I mean, what aunt leaves her niece alone in a house with four incredibly hot guys? It's a stretch, but so are most manga/anime adaptations, so you have to be a bit willing to let it do what it's going to.


1.Kyohei's Problems 

I can not even express how ridiculous Kyohei's problem seems to me. OMG I'm too good looking and it's ruining my life? BOOHOO. I can't believe that his mom would really abandon him like that or that girls would really be that persistent for an average Joe who's just hot. I mean, if he was famous (like he actually is), I'd understand the pressure, but as handsome as Kazuya is, I find the overinflated issue silly when it's supposed to be very serious.

So: popular as this show is, I wouldn't say it's as good as something like Hana Yori Dango, even though the reverse harem set up is similar. Still, the characters work on a different level that makes them utterly likeable. At times, it seems laughable that Kyohei's problem is that he's just so ridiculously good looking, but hey, he is kind of ridiculously good looking and that's happy for everyone but him. The affinity between the characters makes up for this flaw, making this show a definite must watch (especially if you love your Johnny's boys)!

Final Grade: B+

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