The Wallflower Volumes 1 and 2 by Tomoko Hayakawa (amazon)
Recently I’ve started going back and rereading some series that I thought I should give another try. I was able to swap for the first couple volumes of The Wallflower (thank you Mangatude) and I was glad to revisit this reverse harem comedy manga. I’d read a few volumes of The Wallflower a couple years ago, but I didn’t end up collecting the series.
A quartet of beautiful boys live in the same rooming house. Their frivolous absentee landlady has promised them free rent if they manage to turn her niece Sunako into a proper young lady. Their leader is Kyohei. He’s accompanied by Ranmaru (the ladies’ man), the Yukinojo (the cute one), and Takenaga (the studious one). They agree to take the task on, but when Sunako arrives they see that they will have to work much harder for their free rent than they expected. Sunako was called ugly by a boy she had a crush on many years ago and as a result she has turned herself into a hermit whose main forms of entertainment are watching Italian horror movies and talking to an anatomical model named Hiroshi. She hides her face behind a curtain of bangs, and is frightened of interacting with anything good-looking. Sunako calls her new roommates “Creatures of the Light” and thinks she’s going to melt if she comes into close contact with them.
As the first volume progresses Kyohei becomes a little more protective of Sunako, although he might be motivated by her excellent cooking. Kyohei is so sick of all the attention focused on his looks, it is easy to see why he might like hanging out with a girl like Sunako who seems to find him repulsive. The plot elements in both volumes aren’t very surprising – there’s a school festival to prepare for, a visit to a hot springs, and Sunako is possessed by a vengeful spirit. The Wallflower still manages to provide an interesting twist on the reverse harem genre for those who like plenty of macabre humor. I’ll be interested to find out if Sunako is actually turned into a proper lady by the end of the series, or if she manages to retain her dark and somewhat psychologically damaged personality.
The art is attractive although the character designs for the boys are a little interchangeable. I enjoyed seeing all the details in Sunako’s gothic lair of a room. Sunako is frequently drawn in super deformed mode and her interactions with Kyohei leave her with gushing nosebleeds. At 19 volumes this is a fairly long series. I’m not going to run out and purchase every volume, but I’ll definitely be trying to check it out from the library.