Pure Asian Entertainment: Film, TV, Anime & Manga

The Wallflower

2 Ratings: 4.5
Funimation DVD Release
1 review about The Wallflower

A Comedy With a Dark Side

  • Sep 5, 2009

Quick question- exactly what is a wallflower?  Answer: One who does not participate in activity at a social event due to shyness, unpopularity or a combination of the two. The origin of this figurative sense dates way back to 1820 in reference to unpartnered women sitting along the wall at a dance in a work by Mrs. Campbell Praed entitled County Ball. Although originally used to describe women at dances, these days the term can just as easily be applied to men as well and used in situations beyond just a ballroom.  That’s a good thing because in this context, we’re talking about a psychotic teenage chick and modern day ugly duckling saga.  But before we get ahead of ourselves here, let's take a look at the hard facts.

Originally released by ADV Films, Funimation has recently acquired the rights to the show and has wasted little time in getting a Complete Series release out to the public. Coming in at a total runtime of 625 minutes, the Wallflower the Complete Series spans 4 discs (25 episodes) and comes packaged as a pair of thin packs within a cardboard slipcase.

The show wears an appropriate TV 14 rating thanks to some drug innuendos, a little disturbing imagery (both hallucinations and supernatural), and young adult themes.  Nudity, graphic violence, or obscene language is pretty much nonexistent here.

Language options are typical sub & dub meaning the option of original Japanese dialog track (stereo) or an English dub (5.1 Dolby Surround) and English subtitles available under either language choice.

Extras are limited to clean opening and closing themes and a host of Funimation trailers.

The story could best be summarized like this: Four handsome and popular teenage guys find themselves in a bit of a predicament: their landlord has agreed to allow them to live rent-free for life if they are willing to spend time with her slightly eschew niece Sunako, who is coming to live with them in the house, in effort to convert her into a “proper lady”. The catch is that if they fail, their rent triples (be thankful this isn’t legal here in the US).

Next thing the guys know, the exceedingly depressed, creepy, and antisocial Sunako shows up on the scene and makes it clear that she would rather brood in her bedroom than to have anything to do with the guys, who she calls “Creatures of Light”.

Like you may have imagined, the poor girl has developed a wicked complex about being ugly and society’s judgmental ways have forced her to retreat to the dark side, a slightly supernatural realm of reclusive-ness.  Suffice to say, the guys have their hands full.

The pacing is brisk and clean with many opportunities to draw laughs.  The guys already had full schedules thanks to the habit of women everywhere swooning to them but it’s the goth-queen Sunako who steals the show.  In addition to her overtones, wardrobe, and dialog, her favorite sidekick just so happens to be an anatomical dummy named Pedro.  Comedic overreaction happens frequently early on but weans off in the later installments as the plots become more conflict-oriented.

Soundwork is pretty slick throughout with metal-inspired guitar riffs melding with upbeat jazzy numbers, and eerie low-tones when the situation calls for them.  It may sound like a hodgepodge of musical styles but it works on the whole thanks to the ever-changing flavors of the story.

As has been the case with many of the ADV Films/ Funimation properties of late, the vocal work is tight in either incarnation.  The English version is slightly less amusing as the original Japanese but the jokes are pretty universally appealing and hence aren’t lost in translation.

In all this is but another unique anime title that would probably have been lost to the cracks of the industry if not for Funimation’s rejuvenation/ decision to release the entire series as a single and complete collection.  Best of all the price of the complete collection is actually a little less than each of the individual season sets were going for.  It’s tough not to get excited about that!

Cover art for Funimation's release

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September 09, 2009
Great review! usually I wouldn't think of checking this out because it may not be my style (juding by its cover) but your rating has me curious.
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