The perfect woman

I watched the first episode of Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge today.

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge title screen

Yamatonadeshiko is a phrase referring to the ideal woman, who, in Japanese tradition, has the following characteristics (compiled by Ben Bullock):

  • feminine
  • chaste and devoted to her husband
  • always respects and obeys her husband and never opposes him, even when she thinks he’s wrong (she should wisely find an indirect way to prevent her husband from doing something wrong without letting him know, that is to say without humiliating him).
  • looks weak, delicate and gentle (like a flower) outside her family, but is able to cope with householding, raising kids etc.

Bullock goes on to note:

During the second world war, the Japanese government promoted the idea of yamatonadeshiko as a kind of national propaganda. A yamatonadeshiko should be gentle and delicate but also be able to endure all the pain and poverty of life for her husband (a soldier) and the country, to win the war, and should always be ready to fight with halberds (or takeyari, a spear made of bamboo used when you don’t have a halberd) and to die any time for her country, or to keep her chastity.

Fans of Kyou Kara Maou will remember this term from the “apple tree” episode.

Shichi means “seven”. The last part of the title will take a bit more explanation. You see, the kanji there, 変化, can be read henge, which means “ghost; goblin; apparition”…but it can also be read as henka, which means “transformation”. I’m not sure what the significance of the 7 is, but given the plot of the series, that double meaning for 変化 is most certainly intentional.

Our story begins with four guys living in a mansion. They’re challenged by the lady of the house to transform her niece, Sunako, into a proper young lady. If they succeed, they’ll be able to live at the mansion rent-free.

But if they don’t…their rent will triple!

(It’s not explained why or how the boys came to be living with a rich, single woman, and as soon as they accept her proposal, she hops onto a ladder and is pulled up into a helicopter, off on a voyage for free love. Cheri, anyone?)

When Sunako arrives, the boys are devastated. She has dry, splintered hair, a stained sweatshirt, and an “amoeba-patterned skirt”. Beyond that, she has long bangs that completely cover her eyes.

they've got their work cut out for them

It comes out that Sunako is a very creepy girl. She collects grisly occult items and watches horror movies. Part of the terror she induces comes simply from the wall she has built up around herself after her devastating confession to her crush (voiced, amusingly enough, by series director Nabeshin). All that fear and self-hatred has made her extraordinarily anti-social and self-conscious…resulting in this:

Sunako-chan kowaii!!!

The premise is really interesting. Aside from the “wow, she can cook traditional Japanese food!” thing that seems to be a prerequisite for any anime heroine (or at least the ones who are candidates to be yamatonadeshiko), Sunako is intriguing. It’s apparent that she’d be very attractive if she took better care of herself. The series has the potential to teach a strong lesson. I’m also interested in watching her grow and move past the pain of being called ugly to her face.

In all, this looks like a really promising series.

However…I may not be able to continue watching it.

And this is why:


Those are supposed to be boys.

I have no problem with bishounen. Surely you know this by now.


These guys have pink lips.