Romantic Illusions -


Mania Grade: C

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translation Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 18 and Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 176
  • ISBN: 978-1569705773
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Romantic Illusions

Romantic Illusions

By Briana Lawrence     January 13, 2009
Release Date: September 23, 2008

Romantic Illusions
© Digital Manga Publishing

You know most not-so-straight guys would be happy to choose from three hot men… 

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Reiichi Hiiro
Translation: Ben Applegate
Adaptation: Ben Applegate

What They Say
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!

The Review!
So what’s better than one hot guy?  Two hot guys!  And what’s better than two hot guys?  Three!!!  A businessman, a playboy, and a schoolboy looking cutie.  The first thought in my head was, “How do I pair up these three guys?!“  Three attractive men on a boy’s love cover can mean one of three things:  a) love triangle, b) two overprotective brothers and one cute and innocent uke, or c) a mix of both a and b where it turns out they’re step-brothers/half-brothers/some sort of brotherhood that makes the sex a little justifiable?  The title of the story is done in blue and pink, and inside the “ILL” of the word “ILLUSIONS” are three guys done ala bathroom door style.  The back of the book reveals the situation with a summary of the story and we get a picture of the main personality, Yu, with his potential love interest, Sugo.  
So after learning that all three guys are the same person I sort of felt a Superman vibe; Yu would transform into a different guy via glasses and/or tattoos.  But unlike Clark Kent, Yu doesn’t just remove glasses and pull off his pristine white shirt, his entire appearance changes: his eyes, his facial expressions, even his physical build and age seem to differ from Kaname to Ryo (or maybe its because Yu is blessed with huge uke eyes while Ryo seems more muscular and is ready to beat the crap out of whoever messes with him).  It’s rather easy to tell each personality apart not only because of the change in attitude, but because of the art.  This is the most important part of the story so its good to see the art adding to the three personalities.     

The dialogue is just as important as the art when keeping Yu, Kaname, and Ryo apart.  There’s quite a few scenes where they talk to each other and there’s no real differentiation with the thought bubbles, but Kaname’s dialect is much more proper than Ryo’s, and Yu is more panicked and emotional.  Whenever anyone is thinking to himself its written outside of a thought bubble (so when Yu is thinking about his feelings towards Sugo, or when Kaname is thinking about one of his cases).  Despite all of the different personalities in the story, its really easy to keep up with whose speaking/thinking because of how the story’s written.  

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The story starts with Yu waking up in bed with another guy and wondering what the h-e-double hockey stick is going on.  The poor little uke’s feelings are crushed when Yu doesn’t remember him, and its here that we learn that Yu has two other personalities: the cool playboy, Ryo, and the handsome lawyer, Kaname.  Ryo is quick to come out and try and calm the uke down in his own way--by dismissing his feelings and telling him to get lost (ah, to be a cool, tattooed seme)--then Kaname comes out to pick up the pieces of the uke’s heart.  We get a summary of the situation from Yu and we quickly learn that he’s pretty down on himself, saying that there’s nothing special about the “real” him, but its revealed that he does have a crush on a man named Sugo who comes into the flower show where he works.  This makes Kaname and Ryo jealous and they advise Yu to stay away from Sugo because they don’t trust him.  There’s a quick flashback showing how he developed multiple personalities--his mother told him that no one would ever love him--and then there’s a scene where he proceeds to be “loved” by Kaname and Ryo.

By “loved” I most definitely mean “sexed up.”   

This is a moment I’d like to call a “shouldn’t be pretty” moment.  A “shouldn’t be pretty” moment is when something occurs that is just WRONG and SHOULD NOT be pretty, but nine times out of ten its pretty anyway.  It’s something I should’ve seen coming from an 18+ boy‘s love story with multiple personalities, but it still managed to take me by surprise.   Despite the moment of the threesome/masturbation being absolutely droolworthy it also serves as an eye opener to Yu who realizes that he wants to be loved by someone other than… well… himself.  After the pseudo-sex scene we get to see Yu’s hectic schedule as a lawyer by afternoon, playboy/thug by night.  In the mist of all of this Sugo asks to go out with Yu, which he’s more than happy to agree to, but both Kaname and Ryo push the man away every time he comes by.  Yu constantly apologizes for his “brothers’” behavior and Sugo shrugs it off and, much to Yu’s surprise, he confesses his love to him! 

What?  An early love confession in boy’s love?  Never! 

But this love confession is a major plot point, because once Sugo does that both Kaname and Ryo seem to disappear out of Yu’s life.  Even if Yu’s happy to have Sugo in his life he soon starts to miss his other personalities and fears that they may have ceased to exist. When he accidentally reveals this to Sugo he finds out that Sugo is actually, dum dum dummmmm: a psychiatrist.  So of course, he comes to the conclusion that Sugo was only interested in him because of his personalities, which is actually a little true except that Sugo started to really care for Yu.  His feelings are ignored, Yu runs off, and soon both Kaname and Ryo return to comfort him.  Though the situation with Sugo isn’t over, after Kaname and Ryo return he starts to come over regularly to study them.  At some point I guess Yu forgave him?  It’s not really explained at all.

Despite the sort of campy connection with Sugo being a psychiatrist and Yu “just so happens” to be “that case that everyone keeps talking about” the story starts to get interesting again because each of Yu’s personalities get their own chapter where we see their everyday life.  Kaname is in the middle of a big case and the lawyer he’s going against, Amamiya, is very brutal in court.  This ruffles Kaname’s feathers quite a bit, and the situation gets even weirder when Amamiya sees Yu and Sugo in the park kissing.  Now it “just so happens” that Sugo and Amamiya were old classmates and Amamiya is quick to question his relationship with Yu (since he knows him as Kaname), but Kaname comes out just in time to clean up the mess.  When he explains that him and Sugo are definitely not lovers Amamiya surprises him by asking him out on a date!  When Kaname refuses, Amamiya threatens to blackmail him since he saw him (Yu at the time) and Sugo kissing, which forces Kaname to go out on the date.  Sugo isn’t pleased with this at all, especially since Sugo remembers Amamiya as being a sadist back in high school.  Kaname goes through with the date anyway which ends with him being tied down to a bed and Amamiya molesting him.  Much to Kaname’s surprise he finds himself being turned on by the things Amamiya does to him, but before the sadistic lawyer can make Kaname fully “accept him” Sugo comes rushing in to save the day.  He explains that the Yu that he knows as a lawyer is completely different from the real Yu, and to demonstrate Ryo comes out and proceeds to beat the crap out of Amamiya.  But much to his dismay, Amamiya enjoys it, because deep down he’s a masochist. 

Right… moving on.       

Ryo’s story shows him meeting a rather hot guy named Dionysus.  Despite hooking up with a different guy every night, there’s something about Dionysus that makes Ryo want to see him again.  Kaname tells Ryo that he’s cheating on Yu, and Ryo snaps at him and tells him that it isn’t cheating.  So Ryo goes to find Dionysus but he doesn’t see him for a week, and when he finally finds him (or at least sees someone who looks like him) he’s completely brushed off.  One night he… get ready… “just so happens” to see Sugo at the bar with another guy who “just so happens” to be Dionysus, and Dionysus “just so happens” to be a patient of Sugo’s because when he gets drunk his other personality comes out.  Yep, Dionysus has multiple personalities too!  There’s the normal Dionysus, whose your average salary man, then there’s the Dionysus that Ryo met.  They find out that when he was a child, Dionysus’ father would make him drink and make him have sex with him, and after that a second personality developed that wouldn’t forgive him of his drinking and partying because of what his father had done.  Ryo realizes that “those eyes” that he fell for are the same eyes Yu held; eyes of someone who was unloved.  He confesses his love for Dionysus and everyone fears that he will disappear, but it turns out that Dionysus was the dominant personality the entire time.  Much to Sugo’s surprise, after the confession Ryo, Kaname, and Yu are all still intact, so that means that each personality can love someone and the others won’t fade away.  Sugo concludes that its because the love the three of them have for each other is a more familial love, which means that they can love each other and still have their own lives.  This leads to quite a ruckus when Yu, Kaname, and Ryo each have dates with their significant others, and Ryo is still stubborn about letting Sugo get close.  This, of course, leads to a scene where Sugo has to save Yu because Ryo isn’t strong enough to do so, though having Yu hanging off a tree branch over the side of a railing may have been a bit much?  Still, the point is made and Ryo finally accepts Sugo.  This leads to a pretty humorous ending of Sugo and Yu finally having sex and Ryo complaining about Sugo’s foreplay.  Then there’s an extra story where Yu, Kaname, and Ryo’s partners are out in a waiting room waiting for their turns to have sex.

I’m not going to lie.  This story is a bit weird but I found the concept interesting.  The only thing I didn’t like about it was the sort of cheesy coincidences and not well explained solutions to certain problems.  Sugo “just so happens” to be a psychiatrist that not only knew Amamiya, but Dionysus too?  That was just a bit much.  The world isn’t that small after all.  And just when did Yu forgive Sugo for leading him on?  Because he was essentially getting close to him because of his different personalities even if he’s come to care for him now.  You literally turn the page and its all fixed and Yu is all lovey-dovey with the good doctor.  The only relationship that really sort of shows the love between the two characters is Ryo and Dionysus, but even that one got a bit campy because Dionysus “just so happens” to have multiple personalities too, and his eyes “just so happen” to look like Yu’s pain-filled eyes so Ryo instantly understands.

Just so happens just so happens JUST SO HAPPENS!  ARGH! 

The humor is actually a bit funny, to me at least, especially at the end with the sex schedule between all of the pairings.  And the sex is definitely appealing, especially in the beginning with the sort of threesome between the personalities.  This is probably why the simplistic solutions kind of ruined the manga--the main situation is so complicated!  We’re told over and over again in the beginning that the doctors considered Yu’s case a “special” case for a variety of reasons: the personalities talk to each other, they talk to Yu, they lead their own lives, they both love Yu and sleep with him, sleep with other people… it’s a mess!  How exactly do you manage three personalities that aren’t going away anytime soon, especially when one is as overprotective as Ryo--whose ready to punch anyone in the face who comes near Yu?  Why, have Yu dangling from a tree branch, of course!  And have his love interest save him to prove his love!  Yeah… that was a bit over the top. 

And I can’t help but feel a bit ripped off with Dionysus, who had such a serious case of early drinking and molestation from his father, how did a simple love confession from Ryo take away the more “serious” side that quickly when he seemed so determined to shut Dionysus out?  It was all just too simple and I can’t help but feel that in the end it was all wrapped up in a pretty little bow just so we could have three couples to play with… except the three men are all playing with the same body.  I feel like the story started out a bit serious, with Yu wanting to find that special someone yet worrying about the personalities he himself created, then suddenly it sort of got… cracktastic.  Just when something serious would occur something would come along and ruin the mode (take Kaname‘s near date rape then Amamiya coming around in the end just to get abused--why is Sugo letting him come around so easily when he was so paranoid about him in the first place?).  I’m not quite sure how I feel about this, I mean, some of it’s funny but at the same time I was kinda hoping for more thought out solutions that didn’t feel like cop outs to get some hot guys in bed.  I don’t think it’s a story that everyone will get into, whether it be because of the weird personalities or because the personalities are interesting but the conflicts are resolved too easily and you feel like you’ve been cheated out of something.  In the end I’m not sure how I feel about this manga.  I like it and I’m disappointed in it all at once. 


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