Hello ladies. Since February was all about girls clinging to one guy, this month is all for you. Oh yeah…we’re going to shower you in bishies the only way we know how–by reviewing anime of the reverse-harem genre…that is, one girl, many pretty guys. And, before you ask, we already reviewed THAT show already, during Risembool Ranger month last year. No, this one is a little different. It’s another Nabeshin anime, so you already know what to expect—randomness and plenty of it. Only this time, we got randomness and bishōnen. How will this work out? Can you really turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse? I’m Cajun Samurai, and this is my review of “Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge” [“The Wallflower”]
Warnings and Other Objectionable Content: Once you get past the opening theme song featuring our male leads looking up at the moon while in the nude…you’ll find a relatively clean series. If you’re sensitive to blood though, you might wanna pass on this one as our female lead tends to get nosebleeds whenever she is forced to look upon “The Radiant Creatures of Light” [AKA Anyone who, in her eyes, is insanely pretty or handsome…]. There is some PG language here and there, but nothing too strong for sensitive ears.
Series Availability – [In my never ending desire to use as many tables in reviews as I humanly can in a review, here’s a new layout that I’m trying…lemme know what you guys think!]
Negative, at the time of printing for both brick and mortar and online purchase.
Affirmative. Best Buy’s online anime selection is really decent, even if their brick and mortar stores are cutting their anime sections in half.
|F.Y.E [For Your Entertainment]||
Affirmative. You’ll probably even find the original individual volumes then-ADV Films used to sell for a great price used.
Affirmative for Online Purchase only.
|Other Purchasing Sites||
Affirmative for all major online retailers like Amazon, Right Stuf International and eBay, however, as always, please exercise caution when buying online from a non-official retailer!
Funimation, of course, currently streams “The Wallflower”. Aside from that, online streaming is pretty lean for this series. Of course, there are OTHER sites you could check out, but…well, I’ll leave it up to you fine folks to decide if you wanna go down that road.
Story Premise – “Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge” [Shortened to “The Wallflower” for the purposes of this review…] is a 25 episode anime series based off a manga created by Tomoko Hayakawa. The series centers on a group of high-school pretty boys who live in an elaborate mansion rented out by their jet-setting landlady, who never hangs around for very long, as she is searching for the next love of her life. One day, she gives the boys a challenge—to convert her niece, Sunako, into a respectable and elegant lady. If they succeed, then all their living expenses including the rent will be waved. Should they fail, the rent doubles. The boys eagerly take on the challenge, but when they meet Sunako, they quickly question whether or not this is a good idea. While Sukano is not physically unattractive, save for a few little things like skin care and wardrobe, her dark, occult loving personality coupled with a traumatic incident from her past leaves much to be desired. In addition, she also tends to be extremely anti-social and socially awkward. It’s therefore up to our group of bishōnen bombshells to tweak and refine Sunako into a presentable young lady. If there’s one thing I like about this show, it’s that the premise is so simple. It can easily be written in one line, and it’s nothing too complex. However, this show is directed by Shinichi Watanabe, who is known for taking the most simple of premises and turning ti into something as complex as all get back. This show is given the complete Nabeshin treatment; establish the premise of the show in Episode 1, bring in seemingly random yet plot affecting events and characters in Episodes 2-22, then bring everything together for a grand, over-the-top, multi-episode finale. It happened in “Nerima Daikon Brothers” and “Excel Saga”, and it happens here. It’s a signature of the director, and in the case of “The Wallflower” it works. I also love the fact that, even though all these boys are prime girl fodder, none of them, save for Ranmaru, are particularly interested in trying to get a girl, focusing all their attention on Sunako, much to the chagrin of the female student body including the unofficial fan club cult, the “Goth-Loli Girls”. In fact, to a certain degree, the boys’ pretty looks seem to be played more as a curse than a blessing, for various reasons explained in the series. The ending is decent and gets its message across clearly. [23/25]
|Sunako Nakahara||Our Female Lead Character. Because of a traumatic incident that happened when she was in school, Sunako dives into the world of darkness and despair, finding comfort in the occult and letting her self-image degrade severely. Because of this, her aunt decides to make her live with our male leads in her mansion so they can help transform her into a lady. Of course, because the boys are so pretty and she sees herself as anything but thanks to an incident in her past, she develops a severe inferiority complex, referring to our fab-four as “Creatures of Light”. Sunako as a character is one that you can’t help but love. She’s so cute without even trying. Even when she goes into her occult mode, she’s so adorable…especially when it comes to dealing with Kyohei.|
|Kyohei Takano||Reverse Harem Member #1. While on the surface Kyohei only seems to care about getting free rent and free food, below the surface we find a very interesting character with a dark past. Watching him and Sunako interact is like watching a classic love story play out with a new-age twist.|
|Takenaga Oda||Reverse Harem Member #2. He’s our Tsundere character; somewhat cold on the outside, yet he genuinely cares for his housemates. He’s a very admirable character and acts as the brains of the operation, but he’s not annoyingly smart. He’s a lot like a toned-down Kyoya Otori from “Ouran High School Host Club”.|
|Yukinojo “Yuki” Tohyama||Reverse Harem Member #3. Our resident shota character. He is the youngest of the group and his girlish looks often make him the go-to guy during “missions” to dress in female clothes, much to his disappointment. Yuki is very kind, and always willing to help out Sunako if she needs it. Yuki is an awesome character and acts as the heart of the whole show.|
|Ranmaru Morii||Reverse Harem Member #4 and the only male character that seems to really appreciate the fact that he’s a babe magnet…for better or worse. I’m not 100% sure what he brings to the table, but he fits in enough where he doesn’t seem like just another extra.|
|Noi Kasahara||A Non-harem member, but none the less a very pretty girl who helps the guys out with their hair-brained schemes and also helps Sunako down “The Road to Womanhood”. She also has a major crush on Takenaga which is adorable to watch in its own right.|
|Mine/Honey Nakahara||The landlady of the mansion where our harem lives and Sunako’s aunt. She is the one who brought our male leads together in the house and she is the one who tasks them with the job of turning Sunako into a lady in order to have free rent. She is seen sporadically throughout the series, flying [quite literally…] in and out of love with different guys. She is probably my favorite character in this series.|
Overall, the characters of “The Wallflower” are the ones that truly bring this story to life. Because we have such a mixture of personalities, it doesn’t feel stale or bland and because they are all relatable on some level, it makes the show that much more believable. [25/25]
Animation – The animation of “The Wallflower” is pretty decent. Character designs are very well done. I love the fact that our characters are not 100% Bishie all the time, and that there are times when they look like your standard anime characters. One thing I found endlessly amusing is when Sunako would go into a “Chibi-Mode”, which is a simplistic, short version of her normally tall self. While in many anime, “Chibi-Mode” is just a momentary transformation to bring home a point, in “The Wallflower”, Sunako could go an entire episode in Chibi-Form, and the characters treat her as such—picking her up and throwing her around as though she were just a doll. Some might find it distracting, but not I. [12.5/12.5]
Music – The music for “The Wallflower” is a very interesting combination of rock and classical overtures. Our opening theme “Slow” by Kiyoharu is cool. The song itself is not that memorable but the animation used for the title sequence certainly is. Pretty much, you have our main male cast at their “bishiest”, and their “nakedest”. Thankfully, nothing is shown, but much is left to the imagination…especially towards the end with regards to Kyohei. The ending theme, “Carnation”, also by Kiyoharu, is cool, but this time, not that memorable…even with the odd dancing skeleton. Incidental music is good…nothing too memorable. [10/12.5]
Performances & Production – “The Wallflower” was created by Nippon Animation with venerable director Shinichi “Nabeshin” Watanabe at the helm. Of course, it goes without saying that he is one of the most well-known anime directors around. As I said before, Nabeshin has been known for creating some of the most in-your-face, off-the-wall series the anime community has ever seen. From “Excel Saga” to “Puni Puni Poemi”, Nabeshin has always given the viewer something to cock their heads to one side and ask themselves “What the hell am I watching and why the hell can’t I stop?” for better or worse. Here in the US, the project was dubbed and licensed by Then-ADV Films and tag-team directed by veteran ADR directors Matt Greenfield and Chris Ayres. Let’s break down the cast:
Japanese Voice Actor/Actress
English Voice Actor/Actress
|Yukinojo “Yuki” Tohyama||
As you can see, for the most part, I was satisfied with the way this dub was handled. Nobody was particularly BAD in it at all, but with regards to Kyohei, there were times when I felt Josh Grelle went a little TOO over the top with the voice. This could just be a case of personal preference, but I found it to be a little much at times, but on the whole, it was good. The same could be said for Chris Patton as Ranmaru…I think it was just a little too much “I’m Too Sexy For My Own Good”…but on the whole, he did a good job. [23/25]
Story Breakdown – 23/25
Characters – 25/25
Animation – 12.5/12.5
Music – 10/12.5
Performance and Production – 23/25
Final Score – 93.5/100 = 95.2% – (A-)
Lagniappe (A Little Something Extra):
As is customary in all the series he directs, Nabeshin makes a cameo appearance in “The Wallflower”. During “The Road to Womanhood” segments, Nabeshin can be seen [and heard…] as the two dancing idols on the intro screen.
- Interestingly enough, Brett Weaver again plays the voice of Nabeshin in the English Dub.
- Interestingly enough, Brett Weaver again plays the voice of Nabeshin in the English Dub.
- Speaking of the English dub, this is the second Nabeshin-directed series that features the Ayres brothers; Chris directing and Greg as one of our male leads.
- Once again, Tiffany Grant’s multi-lingual vocal talents are called upon as her character, Honey Nakahara, bids farewell to her tenants in various languages including German.
So where does that leave us? Well, simply put, “The Wallflower” is a Nabeshin anime, for better or worse. It’s random yet freakishly cohesive story coupled with eccentric characters makes this an anime that deserve attention. Whether that attention is good or bad is up to you, but from what I’ve seen, the story and characters coupled with the unique animation, awesome music and good ADR work makes this a series that anyone, male or female, pretty or ugly, can relate to and appreciate. Speaking of things to appreciate, here’s something for all our female viewers to appreciate. Enjoy. [::points to picture::]
Finally…FINALLY…I’m done! Guys, once again, I am so sorry about the lateness of this review! You have no idea how busy things have gotten for me work-wise. It was difficult to find time to hash this one out, but thankfully it got done! April should prove to be a much easier month, but for now, we got one more Reverse Harem for you guys; a submission from Otaku Andrain. I was originally going to do this one, but for various reasons, I felt that Andrain would give this show a much fairer shake than Yours Truly. Honestly, I was not a big fan of this next one, especially the female lead, but rather than hear me rant on and on and potentially skew the overall score, I figured I would let a 2nd party take it on. In any case, stick around for his review of…