I am going to review Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge live action (Japanese) because I want to … it’s long, but, well … lol
So … I know, I swore I would not watch this, but that was years ago when it was first announced, and now, I was bored, and so I figured, well, as long as I KNOW it’s “different”, then it’ll be okay, right? Umm …
Let me preface the rest of my thoughts with this: If you don’t know the manga or the anime, then you MIGHT like this drama. Big MIGHT. If you know the story? We-e-e-ell …
Okay, I didn’t like it. At all. In the beginning, I knew that things were changed, and I figured that it would be okay to give it some leeway, and I tried. I really did. I could stomach the incoherent leap from this chapter to that chapter without ever truly realizing the whole point of each thing that was taken and put wherever the powers that be saw fit, though, to be fair, as an author myself, it killed me just a little each and every time because there was no good REASON to change things around. The inclusion of live-action-only characters? It felt kind of like hollow self-gratification, and wholly unnecessary gratification, at that. The kid was cute. Was he necessary? Nope. Did he add to the story? Nope. Did he make me want to stop watching? Nope. The point is, I didn’t much care if he was there or not, and, as everyone should know, if there’s not a POINT to adding a character, then why do it? The barkeep? I don’t know if it was because of the time constraints of a ten-episode live action or if it was just a way to add narrative that wasn’t really necessary either, but again, it felt like mental masturbation on the part of the producers and writers of this piece of work.
Still, it is what it is, right? It’s still Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, right? I wonder about that. Think about it. When you ask someone who has read the manga or watched the anime, what is one of the first things they’ll say about it? Maybe something like, “Why isn’t that girl hospitalized for anemia or some connected complication from loss of blood?!” I can appreciate that live-action-ing a nose bleed isn’t an easy thing to do, especially gushers like Sunako-chan’s, right? The headbutt was a poor substitution. That, in my opinion, is one of the quintessential things about the character known as Sunako-chan (or, if you’re Kyouhei Takano, “Nakahara Sunako”). The other thing that might well be said? The idea that Kyouhei et al don’t normally call her ‘ugly’ after the first episode when he is referring to her behavior more than to her looks. Somehow, the thing I find the most unforgivable of it all is the way the powers that be have decided to call her BuSunako (a play on the Japanese word for ‘ugly’) whenever they want her to kick some ass. Really? I mean, really?! It was always my feeling that she would bust out “Super-Sunako” when she perceived her “radiant creature(s)” to be in danger (even if she only wanted to preserve them so that she could do away with them herself later on).
The other major annoyance for me? Why did it have to become the Kyouhei Takano Show? In what universe did the overall manga and story really have to belong to him? The story, in my opinion, is about a girl who is struggling to find herself with the help of the guys she lives with. Along the way, they all learn valuable lessons, but let’s be clear: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (the original work: the manga) has always been about her. Relegating her to a supporting cast member waters down the importance of the things that happen because, let’s face it, the things that happen, happen because they’re happening to HER. Sure, Kyouhei plays a significant role, even the starring role in the “Kyouhei gets kidnapped and taken home” chapters, but overall? It’s the proverbial ‘story of a girl…’
Casting … casting … casting … I liked Sunako-chan (Aya Oomasa). Granted, I didn’t like the rather stupid way she delivered all of Sunako’s lines (she only sounds that way in anime when she’s being besotted by the Dark Side). But it seems that most all live-actions tend to do this overly exaggerated thing with the way lines are delivered if the character is even slightly off-balance. I also liked Takenaga (Hiroki Uchi). Ranmaru was okay … Kyouhei … Kyouhei, Kyouhei, Kyouhei, Kyouhei …
Kazuya Kamenashi is a good actor. I truly believe that. I very much enjoyed his performances in Yuuki, 1 Pound no Fukuin, as well as a few other places where I’ve caught his acting. Was he Kyouhei? In this depiction of YNSH, yes, he was. Had the live-action been based more faithfully upon the manga? No, he was not. Remember, if you will, Kyouhei Takano is supposed to be a true show-stopper: tall, blonde, gorgeous with a red-hot temper and a completely skewed sense of self and of his world. Maybe the manga built him up to be too much, but honestly, I can think of a number of actors who would have done more justice to the overall image of this character in particular.
I could truly sit here and pick the entire thing apart, episode by episode, but what’s the point? And it’s funny to me that some people will defend this effort as, “Well, live actions are short. They did the best they could …” Did they really? I don’t think so. One shining example comes to mind: Nodame Cantabile. In 11 episodes, 1 special, and 2 movies, they stayed true to the manga with very little deviation and still managed to deliver a satisfying experience. Another example, you say? Kimi ni Todoke (the movie). The bottom line is this: I feel that this drama overall feels more like a half-plotted fanfiction where the characters are almost there but somehow, they’re just slightly off. The drama manages to lose that over-the-top ridiculousness that IS YNSH and tries too hard in places to be serious. It falls into the trap of wanting to make the audience “understand” too much, especially about Kyouhei’s family, like it’s trying to make excuses for Mama and somehow diminishing Kyouhei’s feelings in the process. It feels contrived, which can be said about a lot of the things that go on. It feels like the promises of things that come from the manga are only half-realized (where was the Valentine craziness?) It feels completely disrespectful to the manga and the tale that is told therein. To someone who is a fan of the manga or anime, it leaves a very disjointed feeling in the end.
Overall rating: 3/10