When the going gets rough, it's time to turn to manga! Allow me to pimp out one of my favorites series of all time.
The Wallflower has long been a favorite manga series of mine, it's got beautiful artwork, absolutely gorgeous men (HELLO REVERSE HAREM), a grumpy, evil, and seriously dark heroine (you can probably tell I like her), and surprisingly enough for a reverse harem...just the right amount of romance. It's fucking adorable. There is no love triangle, despite the reverse-harem premise.
**note: Manga is read right to left :)
The Summary: Four absolutely gorgeous young men have got the opportunity of a lifetime. They're going to get to live in a gorgeous mansion free, for three years...there's just one caveat: they have to turn the mansion owner's niece into a charming, lovely young women. It sounds pretty easy, after all, these guys are some seriously skilled guys. They're handsome, they're popular, they've got young women swooning at their feet. What could be easier?
Well, as they say...famous last words, because this is what they've got to work with.
Meet Sunako. Acne-scarred face. Greasy, unkempt hair. No sense of fashion. A love for the dark and supernatural (there's a skeleton in her room).
Needless to say, the guys are absolutely fucking horrified at their challenge.
Sunako's not exactly happy about sharing her home with these...creatures. THEY'RE SO FUCKING BRIGHT. THEY'RE SO HANDSOME. SHE DOESN'T WANT THIS. Sunako just wants to be left alone in her darkness with her skeletons. Handsome men? So what? Go away. Great. She can't even eat outside of her room now.
The guys are nice, well, most of them. There's Kyohei, Takenaga, Yuki, and Ranmaru. They're bent on charming Sunako...well, most of them. Some are more..blunt...than others.
Sunako's not happy about this, she doesn't want to be transformed, she even tries to run away...but the guys are unexpectedly kind, and she's neither as...murderous...
...nor completely talentless, as she seems. SHE CAN COOK. And, the apparently heartless Sunako is capable of an apology.
Sunako isn't ugly...she just needs some work. Actually, a lot of work and polishing. Underneath all the grime, she's fairly presentable. At times.
But does Sunako want to change? Why is she so resistant? It's an impossible task, but if anyone's up to it, it's these four.
And man, this book is worth reading to look at them alone ^_^
Sunako: Quite the opposite of the beautiful, charming, adorkable manga/anime heroine.
Sunako is dark. She is obsessed with death and murder. She loves horror movies like Friday the 13th, and spends her entire day watching them. She keeps anatomical figures in her room (and even has a coffin). She is anti-social, she is resistant to change, she just wants to be left the fuck alone.
Sunako wasn't always like this, she was once a normal person, wanting to be beautiful, wanting to be loved. Something happened in her past to make her change into this creature...and it's up to these four guys to bring her out of it. Sunako isn't purely apathetic, she is quite capable of defending herself when she needs to. She's skilled in martial arts, and she's not afraid to kick some ass to defend her friends.
Kyohei: The tough guy, the bluntest of them all. The rest of the guys are there to comfort and pamper Sunako to get her to snap out of it. Kyohei takes a different approach. He's not afraid to give it to her straight. He's not afraid to hurt her feelings, he tells Sunako she's being stupid when he sees it.
He understands her most, and he defends her most. Their relationship is a complex one. If anyone can bring Sunako out of her shell, Kyohei and his take-no-prisoners approach proves to be the most effective.
Takenaga: The sensitive ringleader, Takenaga Oda.
He is handsome, gentle, and kind. He is the most considerate of Sunako's feelings, and always seeks to be the peacemaker among them all. He especially tries to coordinate the peace within the household (as well as try to prevent Sunako and Kyohei from killing each other). He's the faithful counterpart to playboy Ranmaru, Oda is dating a beautiful girl (Naie/Noi depending on translation) who is as beautiful as she is kind. Oda is also there to comfort the childlike/overly sensitive Yuki when Sunako scares him so much that he starts crying.
Ranmaru: The playboy, the trickster, one who is willing to go to dirty lengths to get Sunako to listen to him ^_^
Yuki: The most androgynous of the four. He's the shortest, most child-like, and most prone to bursting into tears.
Overall: A beautifully-drawn, very well-written manga with interesting characters and an unusual heroine. A highly enjoyable play on the My Fair Lady trope.
And in case you guys needed any more enticement to read this:
Note: I do own the translated volumes of the manga. The scans from this review are taken from an online scanlation site.