It’s been a while since I watched or read The Wallflower (Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge). But I’ve thought about it now and then, attempted to watch the dubbed version, and reread my old post on the series. It’s easy to remember the premise, and easier still to remember the appeal of it. I identified with the main character, Sunako. I wanted friends to reach out to me like the boys in The Wallflower reached out to her. I wanted to be special to a group of people, and perhaps especially special to a single young man, like Sunako was. I enjoyed the light romance, and the characters’ more charming moments made me giggle. The Wallflower gave me - and millions of other girls - a way to live a fantasy. Yes, it was unrealistic. Still, it addressed real needs: the need for acceptance, companionship, love, to be pursued. In its own way, The Wallflower addressed our need for salvation from ourselves and the darkness that encompasses us.
Sunako is a high school girl who loves horror. She spends her days hiding in her dark room, watching horror movies. When she must leave the safety of her room, she hides behind her long hair. She does not put care into her appearance. Her clothes are frumpy, and her skin could benefit from basic care. She carries the pain of rejection with her; two years ago, the boy she liked called her ugly. Even before that, she wasn’t exactly a social butterfly. Now, it’s yet another reason to stay in the shadows.
The young men, also students at her high school, are determined. At first, they try to draw her out of darkness because they want free rent. This turns into genuine care. They don’t all compete for her love. Unlike characters in certain recent reverse harem anime, these boys have somewhat varied tastes in women (and some sense of respect). But they become her friends and defenders. One of them becomes the key love interest.
|One of the "ridiculous things" I'm referring|
to. This particular adventure is in ep 3.
Of course, I’m not a shoujo heroine, so only my family, psychiatrist, and God seemed to realize my situation. Faced with that reality, I settled for watching Kyohei draw near to Sunako. I knew that wasn’t sufficient for me. Here’s an excerpt of what I posted on February 4, 2011:
“Why then do I forget Him? I read manga, watch anime, and dream of young gentlemen to fill a prince-shaped hole. Yet Jesus already came to fill that hole, and I already accepted Him for the divine Prince He is. Do I, deep down, not truly believe that He is enough? Does some part of me think I need to prove myself worthy of His love? Jesus’ radiance outshines that of any manga or anime character. I don’t get a bloody nose when I realize His presence, but I do get overwhelmed. He is far more than a hundred times as great as Kyohei, Tankenaga, or any other character in The Wallflower. In comparison, I feel like Sunako in her most diminutive form. Part of me wants to hide in my room, turn off the lights, and escape into an anime the way Sunako does with her horror movies. But the other part of me wants to venture into that brilliant light, brave my “bloody nose,” and find out more about the dazzling Prince who gave up everything for me, who pursues a relationship with scattered little me.”
I felt helpless at that point. I knew the truth of what I wrote - Jesus was sufficient. He loved me. I held onto those facts and tried not to let escape define every moment of my free time, tried not to ignore Him, tried to rely on Him. But it would be two more months before I reached my turning point, and several more months before the heavy-heartedness was gone.
I am grateful for my time in darkness. I’m glad it wasn’t worse, but I’m also glad it wasn’t easier. My obsessive attempts to use anime as an escape, my attempts to hide those wasted hours and late nights from my parents and those who I thought lived in light, my attempts to sort out my feelings and live more organized, more productive, more like the other, “healthy” kids - these showed me my helplessness, my brokenness, my weakness, my sinfulness.
By the time I graduated from high school, by the time I took a year off to heal, I was a little mroe humble. My relationship with Jesus had weathered the storms of teenage-hood, thanks to His faithfulness. I grasped Him desperately with my eyes squeezed shut, and He held me securely in His arms. And I came out of it with a better idea of how much I needed salvation, not just from eternal punishment, but from the weight of sin and brokenness everyday.
|Sunako and the boys. I think we see their|
comedic/diminuitive expressions more
often than their normal facial features.
Now, I’m going to stop writing. “Rewind” posts are supposed to be short bits about shows I barely remember. Well, this post is about The Wallflower, but it’s also about things that have been on my mind in the three years since I first watched it. I could go on (in fact, I have), but I’ll save it for another post.