Title: The Wallflower/Perfect Girl Evolution/Sunako of Many Forms/Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (Japanese)
Japanese Title: Yamatonadeshiko Shichihenge
Director/Author: Shinichi Watanabe/Tomoko Hayakawa
Licensed: Yes, originally ADV. But now Funimation.
Original Run (Japan) October 3, 2006 – March 27, 2007
U.S. Release Date: 2007-12-18
Episodes: 25 Episodes
The Wallflower is about Sunako Nakahara a high school student who shuns trying to be beautiful or feminine and enjoys such morbid hobbies as watching banned horror movies while hanging out with preserved body parts and creepy anatomical models. Why does Sunako act as she does? She was turned down and called ugly by her first love and she decided to stop caring about how she looks if the end result is that she will always be considered ugly. Sunako’s aunt is concerned for her niece and this lifestyle change. Her aunt is the owner of a beautiful mansion where four very handsome students are her tenants. She offers the guys free rent in her mansion if they can turn Sunako into a “perfect lady”. Thus the wacky and random challenge that this anime is based on begins.
This isn’t one of those anime where the character already begins to show signs of change in just a few episodes! Sunako is stubborn and unyielding much to the frustration of her roommates. It’s never tiresome to see Sunako do something scary and see the roommates turn white and shapeless with terror. Each roommate is an example of a stereotypical bishounen often seen in anime, and each of those typical qualities of their type of bishounen is over emphasized in each character.
The drawback to being considered ugly, and even attractive, by society is a main theme of the show. I think it’s original that the show also displays the “ugly” side of beauty, it’s sort of making it into an example of ‘the grass always seems greener on the other side’. As part of the commercial break there is a little tip segment that usually gives a random tip on how to be a “perfect lady” that is pretty darn humorous.
In addition to what was described above I’ll add that Sunako is an incredibly amusing character. This is the first time I have ever seen a female character get nosebleeds in an anime when confronted with someone good looking (boy or girl), Sunako’s nose turns into a fountain of blood. She is quite smart in school (besides math), is great at cooking, and she is also athletic. When Sunako is determined and seriously sets her mind to something she changes into a normal sized anime character that is actually very beautiful and is supposed to be what Sunako really looks like beneath her bangs and silly chibi form (she spends the majority of the anime as a silly looking chibi character though). I do have a hard time accepting that Sunako makes such a HUGE life change over just being turned down by a guy she liked. That makes her seem quite weak when every other aspect of her character is strong and stubborn; it’s a huge contradiction I don’t quite understand.
Kyohei is the strongest and most violent of the guys, he has a weakness for food and money. He was homeless when he was brought to the mansion by Sunako’s aunt. He is the most popular and attractive of the boys and is incredibly resentful of his good looks because of how often it causes him trouble. He has even resorted to violence with his obsessive female fans. He can never hold a part-time job because his fans will chase after him, or his boss (male or female) will sexually harass him. Kyohei is the roughest with Sunako and is the only one that can fight her as an equal. He probably cares for her the most of the guys.
Takenaga came from a wealthy family descended from flower masters, but he became overwhelmed by his responsibilities and became a social introvert. He was sent to live at the mansion in hopes of becoming less anti-social. He is incredibly shy around his girlfriend Noi. But otherwise he is the smartest and probably the most level headed of the guys.
Yuki is as gentle as a lamb and is the most easily frightened of the four, especially of Sunako. He comes from a normal middle class family (a commoner) and didn’t come to the mansion because of any particular problem. However he does have a complex about his appearance because he is sometimes mistaken for a girl and is forced to dress as a girl role due to his appearance. To be honest the fact that his face looks like the face of a little girl often creeps me out a bit.
Ranmaru is a real playboy and goes out with many women (often dangerous and/or married) he calls all his hordes of women his “cute kittens”. He also comes from a wealthy family, but was sent to live with in the mansion because he grew up as a spoiled brat and his parents wished him to become more normal. This character probably bothers me the most of the bunch cause he acts like a fruity playboy (which is what he is).
The animation is great! It constantly switches from over emphasizing the “beauty” of the four guys to portraying them as white shapeless figures in most comical situations. The guys spend the majority of the show either in a cute chibi form or their white shapeless form. I’m glad of this because it would be hard to appreciate that this is a wacky show if they always looked ready for the catwalk.
It’s a great random wacky anime! There is a little depth to the back stories of the characters but this shows purpose seems to be simply to amuse. As a side observation I’ll add that I’ve read the first bunch of manga and thought the guys were drawn WAY too feminine and I often had a hard time telling Ranmaru apart from Kyohei if I glanced too quickly. The anime improved greatly on the appearances of the four guys and I felt the wackiness of the story was best in its anime form. Although keep in mind the anime is only 25 episodes long and the manga is over 19 volumes long and still going (so don’t expect to get the entire story). This anime is just for those who wish to have something amusing to watch and don’t want something with a detailed storyline.