Manga-ka: Reiichi Hiiro
Rating: Mature (18+)
Released: September 2008
Synopsis: “Yu: shy, part-time florist. Ryo: street-walking playboy. Kaname: cool-headed defense attorney. These three couldn’t be more different — except that they share the same body! After a childhood trauma, Yu created his multiple personalities so someone would love him. But when Yu falls in love with Sugo, Ryo and Kaname’s jealousy makes it nigh impossible for them to meet!”
When I picked up Romantic Illusions, I had just finished a volume 2-6 mini-marathon of MPD Psycho. Could I possibly handle reading another multiple personality book right now? Yes, yes I could, and not only did I read it, but I loved every minute of it.
Romantic Illusions is about a young man named Yu. He’s cute, shy and works part time as a florist at little flower shop. But, unknown to everyone else, Yu also has multiple personality disorder, and two other personalities sharing his body with him. First there’s Kaname, who dyes their hair black, puts on a suit and heads out to his money-making job as a defense attorney. In contrast to them both is Ryo, a sharp-tongued playboy with an eye for attractive men and a lust for sleeping with them. The three can all communicate with one another and switch around taking control of the body and living their relatively separate lives.
To both the credit of the creator and the folks at DMP, the individual manners of speech between the three make a huge impact on how easy this story is to follow. You can always tell which personality is in control from how they speak, along with some distinctive body language. It’s the kind of thing that would’ve negatively impacted the story greatly if it hadn’t been given proper care to by the translator and writers, to maintain the difference in tone and phrasing. Fortunately, it was, and you can tell.
Entering into their lives is kind and handsome Sugo, who wishes to date Yu. Having had a crush on Sugo for sometime, Yu is thrilled. However, Kaname and Ryo are not. The two were created by Yu’s subconscious in reaction to his mother repeatedly telling him he would never be loved, so two personalities who would love Yu unconditionally were developed. Unfortunately for Yu, the two see Sugo as a threat, and an unnecessary one at that, since they both believe that no one could love Yu anymore than they. Not only is this an issue, but there’s also the fear that if Yu does truly fall in love with Sugo, and Sugo loves him in return, that Kaname and Ryo would disappear forever and Yu can’t imagine losing his family.
But the multiple personality love interest problems don’t stop there! Not only does Sugo have to prove himself to Yu’s ‘brothers’ but both Kaname and Ryo have some interests of their own to deal with. Some chapters that focus more individually on each personality were excellent reads and the added trials of a three-way shared life only served to make it more entertaining.
Adding to my enjoyment of this story was Reiichi Hiiro’s artwork because it’s just downright near-perfect as far as I’m concerned. The characters are all bishonen-title-worthy attractive but maintain distinctly male features and the attention given to body language per in-control personality was great. The whole thing is very consistently drawn with subtle details that make every page a fun little visual treat. Sexiness, humour, drama and comedy, the art adds (and in many cases solely holds up) all of it.
Come the end, Romantic Illusions is one of those books that makes me extra-happy about sitting down to write up a review because all I want to do is sing its praises. From the very likeable and diverse cast of characters, to the laugh-out loud comedy and sweet romances, and wonderfully suiting artwork, there’s plently to enjoy for boys’ love fans. I absolutely adored every page in this book and it’s one of the best and most memorable reads I’ve had in a while. I found it to be a tremendously fun read that I look forward to enjoying again and again.