By Leroy Douresseaux
Dec 18, 2008 - 19:07
Rated “M” for “Mature Audiences 18+”
Yu Igarashi is a young man with multiple personalities. There’s the high-powered attorney with a demanding personality, Kaname (who actually works as an attorney). There’s also Ryo, a short-tempered playboy who has a different male lover practically every night. Yu acquired these personalities when he was a child; feeling unloved, he developed the personalities of Kaname and Ryo so that he’d have someone to love him.
A complication arises when a new man comes into Yu’s life. Tetsuya Sugo is a psychiatrist who first becomes interested in Yu because of his multiple personalities, but now he’s fallen for Yu. If Yu falls in love, however, he won’t need Kaname and Ryo, and they’ll disappear. They’re not about to let that happen!
THE LOWDOWN: In her jaw-dropping manga, Romantic Illusions, creator Reiichi Hiiro takes mental illness and perversion and transforms them into a highly entertaining romantic, slapstick comedy. So many things that happen in Romantic Illusions are socially unacceptable and a few are criminal (including a brief interlude of child abuse!). Somehow, that doesn’t hamper the comic romp that is Romantic Illusions; dare I say that this accentuates the spiciness. Also, Yu Igarashi isn’t the only character with multiple personalities. A character that appears in the second half of the book, Shinobu Kazami AKA Dionysus, has a personality that falls in love with Ryo. Confusion reigns – literally, but it makes for some nice comic misunderstanding.
Hiiro is quite good at drawing bishounen (beautiful boys), a fashion of presenting males as androgynous or even feminized. In fact, there is a love scene featuring Yu, in which his chest seems to become breasts. That aside, Hiiro’s compositions and draftsmanship strike the perfect tone for the kind of graphic storytelling that is yaoi.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: A top yaoi title, Romantic Illusions will appeal to fans of edgy yaoi comedy and romantic comedy.