When people ask me why I like The Wallflower, I tell them it’s because the author hates change almost as much as I do. With Volume 15, it seems that stance – wait for it – has not changed.
Writer/Artist: Tomoko Hayakawa
Translated by: David Ury
Adapted by: David Ury
What They Say
It may be hard to believe, but Sunako was once a typical junior high school girl. She hung out with her girlfriends and talked about boys. But when the guy she had a crush on told her she was ugly, Sunako turned her back on the world. Now there's going to be a reunion at school, and guess who will be there? You guessed it.. him! Can Sunako leave the darkness to face her archnemesis?
I talk about The Wallflower’s stagnation a lot. Usually not in my private life, as I fear alienating friends and family. In any review of the series, however, it’s hard to avoid mentioning the near stasis it exists in. At the same time I take pains to emphasize that while that sounds bad, it’s just the way the series works. You learn not to expect the unexpected.
So when you suddenly get the unexpected, it can be quite…unexpected. Until the unexpected is revealed to be the expected, just with a new hat and a false moustache. With two chapters addressing Sunako’s middle school past (and actually meeting the boy she confessed to), you’d be forgiven for thinking that The Wallflower has changed its stripes. But, like so many cartoon skunks before it, the paint soon washes off, and what we’re left with is the illusion of change. Which the series seems much more comfortable with.
The Sunako chapters are quite good, as illusory as the emotional growth may be, while the remaining two chapters are about average. By the end of the volume, everyone is still everyone. No one’s changed, and if they had I don’t know what I’d do with myself. Maybe sort of stare at the wall, slack-jawed, brow furrowed in a vain attempt to understand the situation. Although I may find the unrelenting unchange (or nonprogression; I like creating words) constricting, I also find certain aspects of it comforting. And isn’t this series all about the comfort of the familiar?
So if you’re a Wallflower regular, curl up and have a good read. All the characters you know are waiting for you, the same as they’ve always been. Don’t let the glassy stares and plaster smiles fool you, they’re happy to be here.