(Note: Reviewing the anime)
The idea of The Wallflower is a simple one: Four bishounen men attempt to turn a creepy woman (the eponymous Wallflower, Sunako) into a beautiful and elegant lady—problem being, Sunako is anything but interested and despises the very men trying to change her. This concept is interesting because it creates a goal and a conflict right at the start, as well as potential for both drama and comedy.
Unfortunately, it never once gets used.
Even though Sunako is
the entire premise, what actually ends up happening is that the men take the spotlight from episode 2 and run with it all the way to the end. "Riveting" arcs focus entirely around them and their antics, and little screentime is devoted to actually making Sunako a proper lady.
For example, some episodes revolve around:
- A gang boss wanting to fight one guy (Kyohei) for Sunako's hand!
- The guys wanting to eat under a kotatsu for winter!
- Everyone needing to study for math tests!
- A sports festival for playing around!
These are not exaggerations, for the record.
This would be acceptable if the guys were interesting. Unfortunately, characterization is shunned in favor of ogling the bishounen. Numerous times they'll receive slow pans with sparkles to accentuate just how omghot they are, and frequently plot points hinge entirely off how omghot they are. For example, Kyohei is so beautiful that he is incapable of living a normal life—fangirls follow him everywhere, his parents kicked him out because of the drama, employers harass him, and even the police get enamored. Instead of taking a knife to his face (or at least wearing a disguise), he prefers the alternative of punching girls
The comedy of the series is hit and miss, and mostly relies on Sunako being a fish out of water when it comes to social situations. She is creepy! She is scary! People don't like this and react in silly ways! Similarly, the drama usually relies around Sunako being mistreated by people who don't understand who she is, and so she needs a kind word from the guys. It's touching at first, but then it gets old.
Could the concept have gone somewhere? Absolutely. And so it's such a shame to see it go completely ignored in favor of shallow slice-of-life antics emphasizing bishounen...especially when there's no lack of both in other anime.