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Title: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge
Genre: Comedy
Episodes: 10
Cast: Kamenashi Kazuya (KAT-TUN), Uchi Hiroki, Tegoshi Yuya (NEWS), Miyao Shuntaro, Oomasa Aya
Plot: Four beautiful male college students take on the challenge of turning their landlady's reclusive, horror-loving niece into a lady in order to obtain free rent.


Let me just start by saying that if you love the manga and are particular about characterisation, especially when it comes to Sunako, you might be better off giving the drama a miss. If you hate the random introduction of drama-only characters who take away screentime from your favourites, then do the same.

If, however, you're prepared to take the drama on its own merits and not compare it to the manga (or even the anime), there's a lot here to love.

Nakahara Sunako (Aya) is a horror-loving shut-in who renounced her femininity and all hope of a normal life after being called ugly by a guy she had a crush on. She wears a cape, hides herself in dark rooms, calls anatomical models and skeletons her friends and has a bad reaction to "dazzling" people - basically, anyone she deems to be bright and beautiful. Her rich, gorgeous and eccentric as they come aunt would like her to become a proper lady, and since she's too busy travelling around the world in search of love to attend to this matter herself, she sends Sunako to live at the boarding house where four beautiful young men (and her young son, Takeru) live. These men are:

Toyama Yukinojo (Tegoshi) - a gentle, innocent boy with girlish looks that occasionally lead to him having to cross-dress. Despite this, he's actually the most normal of the bunch and has the least emotional baggage; not to mention, he has a girlfriend, albeit one living elsewhere for now. Yuki has a heart of gold and a great deal of courage, though he's physically the weakest of the bunch, and he's always thinking of others.

Morii Ranmaru (Miyao) - a suave womaniser who routinely sees multiple girls in the same day, excels at seducing married women, and sees nothing wrong with hitting on every woman in sight. They don't usually turn him down, but of course Sunako's not one to fall for his charms. He's rich, selfish and shallow, but a pretty decent guy once you get below the surface, and he's got his own reasons for not allowing himself to fall in love.

Oda Takenaga (Uchi) - as befits the heir to a flower-arranging school he's quiet, studious, mature and responsible, which is great for his father but not so fabulous for the lovely Noi, who would very much like to date him properly if he only had the courage to tell her how he feels. Takenaga is the brains of the household, the one to think things through calmly and rationally, but he's got more emotions bubbling beneath his cool exterior than he'd ever let on.

Takano Kyohei (Kame) - I won't go into Kyohei's angsty past because I'd be here all year, but the short version is that he's so beautiful that he can't even keep a job because all his bosses try to molest him (so he beats them up and gets fired) or his many fans/stalkers show up at his workplace and cause problems for him. Kyohei hates his looks because they bring him nothing but trouble, and being the violent, hot-tempered type he uses his fists to sort it out, more often than not. He loves food, the idea of free rent, and being able to do his own thing without stupid restrictions - and that includes staying well away from love.

Rather ridiculously, the four of them act as guardians to Nakahara Takeru, their landlady's young son, a boy who lost his father at an early age and wants to protect his mother as a consequence. As Sunako's cousin he's the only one she can deal with at first, and she looks after him as a mother would.

Sunako does all the housework and balances the budget, keeping largely to the house unless she has to go out to buy groceries, but despite her best efforts to be an anti-social hermit she manages to make friends, sometimes in unexpected places. A "horror girl" she might be, but there's nothing monstrous about her heart and she cares deeply about her friends, whether they've got a heartbeat or not. And if they get in trouble, the world had better watch out, because Sunako is Kyohei's equal in a fight (and she's a whole lot scarier).

Will Sunako ever become a lady? Will Kyohei get his free rent? Will Noi ever manage to persuade Takenaga to wear matching shirts with her? Will Ranmaru become a home-wrecker? Will Yuki ever win a fight? Watch the show and find out for yourself. Just remember not to take it seriously, or you'll be felled by the final episode!

J-drama review index is here.
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