Wallflower Vol. #09 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: C
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 978-0-345-48527-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Wallflower

Wallflower Vol. #09

By Robert Harris     April 14, 2008
Release Date: September 26, 2006

Wallflower Vol.#09
© Del Rey

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Tomoko Hayakawa
Translated by:David Ury
Adapted by:David Ury

What They Say
Four of Japan's hottest guys have been trying to turn the gothic Sunako into a lady for months now. So far they've managed to keep Sunako's dark secret from her auntie the landlady. That is, until the landlady shows up unannounced and finds Sunako enjoying a slasher flick in the darkest recesses of her room.

Sunako's secret is out, and according to her aunt, there's only one way to turn her into a lady: send Sunako Nakahara and Kyohei Takano away on a little romantic getaway. Their accommodations for the evening consist of a vibrating bed, two-way mirrors, and a security guard who's blocking the only exit. Can Sunako survive a night alone with a creature of the light?

The Review
Reviewing a volume of The Wallflower is never easy. Many people might follow the series for a few volumes and quit, turned off by the lack of story progression and character development. They claim that none of the main issues introduced in the very first chapter (the boys' task to turn Sunako into a lady, Sunako's continued refusal to change) are any closer to being resolved, and the series has since been treading water in an attempt to stretch the founding concepts as far as possible.

These people are absolutely right. If you find it impossible to forgive a stationary story, or have grown bored with the setup and wish to know if this volume veers off into a new direction, keep on walking. It hasn't, and with every volume of The Wallflower released, it seems less likely it ever will. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Those who can appreciate comedy for comedy's sake along with some interesting drama and entertaining characters will find a lot to like here.

Volume 9 is dominated by two main story arcs: the Landlady's increased pressure on Sunako to become normal, and a surprisingly in-depth examination of Kyouhei's past. The former is particularly interesting, as Sunako's aunt has always been a very flamboyant and interesting character, and she's given a lot to work with here. Kyouhei's story is a little more mundane, but manages to remain interesting thanks to the insane extremes the townspeople from his hometown go through.

Part of The Wallflower that I find most interesting - surprisingly enough - is the section at the end where the author writes about herself. Not only is it quite long, the notes themselves are more than the typical thanks to friends and editors usually found in manga. These segments really give the reader an impression of the kind of person Miss Hayakawa is, and are quite entertaining in their own right. It's surprising that they are translated at all, given the amount of Japanese pop culture references and discussion, but thankfully an ignorance of those subjects is not a handicap. I can honestly say that with every new volume, I actually look forward to the author's notes at the end, and that's a very rare occurrence.

The Wallflower is not for everyone. Glacial doesn't even begin to describe how slowly the plot moves; 'absolutely stationary' would be a far better choice. The art has its ups and downs, and seeing too much of tiny Sunako causes a surprising amount of frustration. For those who do enjoy it, and I suppose I count myself among them, Volume 9 is particularly interesting. It manages to transcend its disjointed nature by throwing a few large(ish) story arcs at us, and almost makes it seem as if the story is really moving. And that is good enough for me.


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