Monday, August 30, 2010

J-Drama: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge aka "The Wallflower" (2010)

Short marathon this past weekend with the live-action version of The Wallflower. I started reading the manga before it was licensed and watched the anime a couple of years back. During my research for the next drama to watch, this title ranked high on the site. After watching the first episode, with its cheesy horror set-up (lightning flashes, creepy music) and Johnny-boy fest (3 of the actors are Johnny's Entertainment minions) I felt it was completely silly and ridiculous. Manga and anime antics generally don't translate well in live-action. However, I didn't give up and continued watching despite my skepticism.

Our heroine, Nakahara Sunako is a morbid, horror-loving, recluse. She rooms in a house with four gorgeous bishounen. We discover what makes her this way and watch her life change as she cohabits with these four men. What's different about the drama in comparison to the manga/anime is that the story is mainly centered around Takano Kyohei less on Sunako. Kamenashi Kazuya as Kyohei gets a lot of screen time, A LOT! (which is totally fine with me). The other notable difference is character development for all five of the main characters. We get a glimpse into each character's history which really connects the viewer.

The most interesting aspects of this drama were the mother/son relationships. The one between the land lady and her son Takeru (new character for the drama) as well as Kyohei's relationship with his own estranged mother. This particular facet really resonated with me and I found myself crying through many episodes even though the general feel of the drama is comedic and fantastical. The final episode was absurdly predictable. I understand they had to find a way to end it given that the manga is still ongoing but come on, this method was pretty scary and illogical.

Overall, this one is fun and if you can overlook the silly stuff, there are touching moments that make it worth watching. 3 out of 5 stars.

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