The Wallflower Volume 13
I liked the premise behind this odd series by Tomoko Hayakawa — four gorgeous guys hired to bring a geeky horror fan out of her shell — but when I sampled The Wallflower before, I could never get into it. For me, there was too much emphasis on the horror references, not enough character development.
I was surprised, then, to find myself drawn into this later volume. I still can’t tell the guys apart, and it’s a bit unnerving that they’re drawn in detailed style while goth Sunako resembles a Fisher-Price figure, stumpy with no features but a simple round mouth-hole. But the first story, where Sunako’s aunt returns, has real feeling.
The aunt is a hoot, a jet-setter with an astounding wardrobe and expensive tastes. She’s returned so that homebody Sunako, skilled at chores, can teach her how to be a traditional Japanese housewife for her new husband. Sunako’s thrilled at the thought of spending more time with her relative, even if the goal is ridiculous, given the aunt’s personality.
But it’s really just the flip side of the book’s premise. The aunt wants Sunako to be more like her, more of a “lady”… why shouldn’t Sunako get a chance to desire the opposite? Both know that their relatives are more happy being their own unique selves, but they can’t help hoping. It’s charming.
The followup story, in contrast, is ridiculous. Through an incredibly convoluted series of events, Sunako winds up with an annoying talking diamond necklace. It wants to be shown off, so it somehow drags her, naked, into one of the boys’ rooms. After arguing with it for a while, she then winds up convinced she’s wearing more clothes than she is, resulting in her having to be rescued from a porno shoot. It’s dumb. So now I know there’s no need to follow more of this series, but the first story here is good. (The publisher provided a review copy.)