ADV Films // 2007 // 125 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // December 18th, 2007
Four beautiful boys vs. the Goth chick from Hell in the ultimate hostile makeover!
"Material Boy" Kyohei, explosive-tempered Ranmaru, ladies' man Takenaga, and far too feminine Yukinojoh are four bishonen (beautiful boys) who live together in a spectacular mansion. They are ordered by their wealthy landlord to transform her niece from Gothic mess to "fabulous!" or else the rent triples. If they succeed to make her a lady they get to live free for the rest of their lives. Seems easy for four sissy boys to make a girl look great, but their subject Sunako was hurt by a boy to the point she doesn't want to do anything but wallow in black clothes, horror movies, and stringy hair. It's like the "fab queer eyes" of Bravo have to make over the girl from The Ring. Sunako isn't going to let go of her Goth habits easily, and she's a real challenge as a girl who doesn't care.
Director Shinichi Watanabe headed up Excel Saga, and his anarchic brand of humor is still in full swing with this title. Wallflower, Vol. 1: Lesson 1 -- My Fair Bishonen is loud, over the top, and broad with nothing subtle about any of it. There's a sweet story buried in here, but most of the pace is so frenetic you'll barely catch your breath to savor it. It moves quickly from scene to scene with plenty of energy to spare and keep the comedy afloat. If you're a fan of bishonen, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, or humorous anime, this should be right up your alley. Nippon Animation is the company that adapted the manga, and they've done an outstanding job of improving on but still retaining a shojo style. Characters often appear in "chibi" or extremely stylized forms, and often we see stick figures or heavily modified drawings. The show is extremely entertaining, although you have to get used to the style or be a fan of Excel Saga antics. It's a fast-moving farce that should tickle your funny bone.
ADV Films offers the show in two forms with the original Japanese track or an American cast performing a more western world translation. There's no shock who was cast for the English voice adaptation as we get ADV regulars such as Chris Patton, Greg Ayres, Matt Greenfield, and Jessica Boone. There is newcomer Hannah Alcorn, who takes on the role of Sunako, and she's done a good job capturing the character. They all play the same intensity as the Japanese voice actors, often yelling the lines in an exaggerated fashion. It's a solid ensemble performance which is just as good as the original. Each episode is just over 20 minutes long, and this volume includes the first five of them. The transfers are a clean full screen with the Japanese track in simple stereo and the English version in full-blown surround. Also provided are a clean opening and closing, sneak peeks at other ADV titles, and an alternate on-air opening from the Japanese broadcast.
Wallflower, Vol. 1: Lesson 1 -- My Fair Bishonen is seriously fun.
The bishonen boys are ridiculously elegant, and their subject is feisty and
kooky in a Wednesday Addams kind of way. This is a hyper-funny title with a
sweet undercurrent which is an interesting mix when compared with anime's
typical robot fight titles. Girls will really love the idea of Sunako living in
a "reverse harem" of four boys, and being the only one who can kick
ass when called for. Imagine River from Firefly hanging out with four
dandies trying to make her over. Just be sure you like your comedy loud and
boisterous, because this one plows along at full volume the whole time. Not
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Running Time: 125 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Clean Opening and Closing