Love Control Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1-56970-725-8
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Love Control

Love Control Vol. #01

By Julie Rosato     May 16, 2008
Release Date: April 22, 2008

Love Control Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Ai Hasukawa
Translated by:Melanie Schoen
Adapted by:N/A

What They Say
When Takashi Okumura hired Kei Yamashiro, an interior designer, to fix up his place, he never expected to pick up a lover at the same time! But the two have pretty strong personalities and both are intent on taking the lead and setting the pace of their relationship. Will Okumura's sweet talk or Yamashiro's pride win out in the end?

The Review
Tension, pride, salarymen - what's not to love here?

At work here is JUNE's standard packaging; the A5 size and glossy dust jacket being the significant features. The original coverart is used, featuring our sexy businessmen leads, though the grainy reproduction leaves something to be desired. I can't say that I adore the logo used or its bright yellow color, but these are small complaints, one supposes. Inside, the printing looks very good and the paper is decent. It's not the bright, heavy stock used for the best JUNE releases, but it's definitely a cut above the ultra-flimsy quality of the worst.

I like my salaryman BL, I really do, but suits just don't usually do it for me. But these guys...these are businessmen I can love. Hasukawa really knows how to draw a beautiful man with presence and cut a figure in a suit I wouldn't mind waking up to ... ever. Full mouths, piercing eyes, long brows, floppy bangs - Okumura and Yamashiro are bishies all grown up, manly without being macho. But character art isn't the only place this manga delivers, either. At first glance the backgrounds feel cold, unyielding, and sterile. Comprised mostly of buildings, cityscapes and a few sleek-looking interiors, it's as though we're viewing a perfect city, romanticized from some high-rise window, ignoring the life that struggles just outside the view. But that is in fact the very essence of these characters and suddenly these precise but lifeless backgrounds reinforce the very tone of the story. Even SFX are used sparingly, as though not to disturb the rigidity and order of setting or mood. It's fascinating, really, yet most likely to be overlooked by the reader. Art reproduction by JUNE is surprisingly good; tones aren't lost in the darker backgrounds and lines are crisp and clean.

The script reads well and text looks good overall, though I spotted a typo right at the beginning. SFX are few, but all are subtitled unobtrusively in complementing fonts nearby. I do wish JUNE would overlay signs and the like, rather than draw extra text boxes that cover artwork, however.

Contents:(please note the following may contain spoilers)
Yamashiro is an interior designer hired to do a remodeling job on a local bar by its owner, Okamura. So taken by his work and his person, Okamura asks Yamashiro to redecorate his home, too. What starts out as a bit of teasing (these two have some sort of history from their days as side characters in another manga), soon turns serious, as Okamura finds himself genuinely interested in Yamashiro. But convincing him of that is another matter entirely.

Yamashiro is a man who doesn't like being at a disadvantage, and try as he might to convince himself otherwise, he just can't keep up with Okamura's cool, confident intensity, and is easily flustered by his attentions. He tries playing hard to get (really hard to get), and finds it only spurs Okamura on all the more. But stuck on his pride and determined not to lose to smooth, calculated come-ons, Yamashiro is completely unable to see how Okamura really feels about him. Even after he manages to rattle Okamura's cage a bit, Yamashiro can only twist it into an ego trip. You can hardly blame him though; Okamura's calm demeanor really is almost mocking.

Over the course of their work together Okamura continues his pursuit, but Yamashiro outwardly remains his stubborn, prideful self. Inside, however, his feelings are turbulent and unrelenting - despite his every intention, he's falling for Okamura! Eventually, the two do get together, but the more his feelings grow, the more Yamashiro fears losing control. It doesn't help that Okamura seems so untroubled by the whole affair, causing Yamashiro to doubt himself. He tries to fake indifference, thinking he can clamp down on his emotions, but when things blow up, he's forced to realize "control" just doesn't have a place in love.

Also included is a short story about a no-nonsense salaryman who thinks all one needs in life is oneself and the lonely illegitimate son of a bank president who changes his mind. (Woof, there's a mouthful.)

There isn't a big story here, but I don't mean that in a bad way. At the risk of dipping into fanish babble: It's sexy business men! Being stubborn and coy! It's just so good! It's great watching Okamura fall in love, and watching Yamashiro try so hard to fight it.

Of course, you can dig deeper if you like. Our leads are two prideful salarymen; one wants to win, the other wants not to lose. Which sounds like the same thing, but it's not - it's all about the control. These are men who pay attention to detail; straightforward and precise, every space in their life - and interior design can be used as a metaphor for self here - is used just the way they want it to be. Only, love isn't the sort of thing that can be tucked away, neatly and orderly, into a corner. This is not an ooey-gooey romance; it's a tense, smoldering fight for control - control of oneself, of another, of love.

But don't forget: Sexy businessmen. In suits. Being sexy. Yummy. Oh, Hell yeah.


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jnager 3/13/2012 9:34:55 PM

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