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The Wallflower, Vol. 1 by Tomoko Hayakawa
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The Wallflower, Vol. 1

by Tomoko Hayakawa

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Fun manga with nice art and characters, though it took me the whole volume to learn how to distinguish the different guy characters. Looking forward to the second volume. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Jan 8, 2012 |
I'm not entirely sure why I decided to read this manga. I think it might have come up on someone's list of excellent shoujo manga but I can't really remember. For whatever reason, once I actually had the manga I wasn't really convinced I'd like it. The premise of four high school boys being offered free boarding if they make the landlord's daughter "pretty" sounded awfully superficial. But, it actually turned out to be rather interesting. Yes, the four guys are really preoccupied with beautiful girls to the point that if they see anything ugly they each freak out in their own way, however, the way the story progresses you can kind of see how they evolve a little.

I really enjoyed the character of Sunako. She is certainly...different. This is not simply the hidden ugly duckling who wants to become a swan, this is a slightly psychotic girl who loves slasher films, keeps dummies and skeletons in her room to talk to and keeps herself in darkness having convinced herself that to step in to the light means she will melt. When the four boys intrude upon the dark little world she has created for herself it is quite traumatic. So traumatic, that her reaction to the boy who tries the hardest with her (and also fights the most with her), Kyohei, is to try and murder him but of course, can't quite accomplish her objective. It certainly makes for a rather darkly entertaining and amusing story.

The artwork is a bit angular and cluttered looking although I wouldn't say the overall effect is displeasing. The artist has taken pains to illustrate each character differently so they pretty much all stand out on their own.

I think this is an interesting series start and I will certainly pick up volume 2 to see where this quirky story goes. ( )
1 vote Jenson_AKA_DL | Jun 10, 2009 |
I'm happy to have started this series of manga over again. It's so funny and amusing with a dark twist of humor in it. :) ( )
  knielsen83 | Mar 5, 2009 |
First question: Why do these guys know so much about makeup and hair and clothing? Does it say this anywhere? Near as I can tell they're supposedly "normal" high school students. Maybe I missed something.

Four devastating beautiful guys, "Creatures of Light", are offered free rent for three years if they can transform their landlady's niece into a lady of refinement. Too bad for them, Sunako is addicted to horror movies and hasn't taken care of her appearance in years. Her hair's overgrown, she has a uni-brow and pockmarked skin, circles under her eyes, and her clothing is stained, ill-fitting and falling apart. If she talks to one of the four for longer than three seconds, she'll melt or sprout a gusher of a nosebleed.

It's quickly apparent that Sunako is capable of great beauty - she's got a great body, and fabulous bone structure - but she lacks the desire or dedication to make it happen. So for the boys the challenge is not to change her outward appearance, but to invoke some inner changes to make Sunako realize there's beauty in the world and she isn't ugly and blah blah blah.

I'm sorry. I don't get this manga's popularity, other than the pretty boys. Is that all there is to it? The "guys" act more like a band of girlfriends, and the whole scenario comes off as completely unrealistic. Sunako is perfectly happy living her crazy, horror-movie life and the only reason these guys want her to change is to save their own hides. That's not cute or charming, it's cruel. They should leave the poor girl alone!

Yet this manga has only 5-star, positive reviews on Amazon.com and even Librarything is 4.12 stars. I wonder what I'm missing. ( )
  makaiju | Jun 3, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345479122, Paperback)

MAKEOVER OF THE CENTURY
It’s a gorgeous, spacious mansion, and four handsome, fifteen-year-old friends are allowed to live in it for free! There’s only one condition–that within three years the guys must transform the owner’s wallflower niece into a lady befitting the palace in which they all live! How hard can it be?
Enter Sunako Nakahara, the agoraphobic, horror-movie-loving, pockmark-faced, frizzy-haired, fashion-illiterate recluse who tends to break into explosive nosebleeds whenever she sees anyone attractive. This project is going to take more than our four heroes ever expected: it needs a miracle!

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Four fabulous guys must completely transform a high school girl if they want to keep living rent-free in her aunt's luxurious mansion. But Sunako Nakahara, the most fashion-hopeless girl in Japan, would rather live like a hermit and watch her favorite horror movies than undergo a makeover.… (more)

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