16 February 2008 | kb1004
Adorably charming, but the manga's better
The Wallflower: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge is a very charming anime and manga series, with beautiful artwork and fun characters. The theme songs are especially amazing, having been sung by the amazing artist Kiyoharu (a favorite of the manga's artist, Tomoko Hayakawa).
The plot centers on four very handsome young men - Kyouhei, Takenaga, Ranmaru and Yuki - who live in a lavish mansion. Their glamorous landlady decides to strike a deal with them one day: she'll let them live rent free if they can succeed in turning her reclusive niece, Sunako, into a lady, a Yamato Nadeshiko. If they should fail, however, she'll triple their rent. The boys think nothing of this, believing it will be a piece of cake, until they meet Sunako in person. Sunako is obsessed with darkness and has a morbid fascination with bloody horror movies, and avidly collects skulls and anatomical models. She also hates beautiful people, whom she refers to as "creatures of light" and suffers from extremely low self-esteem, even though she herself is strikingly beautiful (when she's not in chibi form, that is).
The series focuses on the boys desperately trying to get Sunako to become more self-confident and embracing of beauty, while Sunako tries to resist their efforts. However, as the series progresses, Sunako begins to realize her own inner beauty and has her old views on beauty challenged, while the boys learn to accept Sunako and other more unique things.
This series is very charming and humorous, and always has a good laugh here and there. I'll admit that I find the manga (which is still ongoing) to be better, but the anime still holds up well. The characters all have some kind of human flaw (Sunako's lack of confidence, Kyouhei's snappy temper, Takenaga's shyness, Ranmaru's lack of morals, and Yuki's fear of strange things) and they're all likable in some way. I'll generally recommend The Wallflower to anyone who loves shoujo stuff, or generally just loves to look at really pretty bishounen.