Renai Control

Author: Hasekawa Ai
Format: Manga


Even though the kanji should read Renai Sousa, the actual title is Renai Control because that’s how it’s romanized. Among the manga I have read lately, this is my favorite manga. This is a link work to Anata no tonari ni suwasarete and though you can understand this story without reading the prequel, it’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED you read the prequel as well because that will double the fun.

In the prequel, we were introduced to Yamashiro Kei (CV:Narita Ken), an extremely handsome interior designer (with glasses), who was Takamiya Shinjin’s (the furniture designer) close friend. He seemed to have interests in Jin (CV: Ishikawa Hideo) but since Jin already found someone he loved – a cute 19 year-old college student Yoshino Azumi (CV: Shimono Hiro), Yamashiro was left alone with nothing but his work. In the meantime, he was actually working for the owner of a chain restaurant Okumura Takashi (CV: Konishi Katsuyuki). Okumura was interested in Yamashiro since their first meeting but it was not easy to woo a cool beauty as Yamashiro, especially when the latter’s pride could reach the moon (by Shiki (CV: Kamiya Hiroshi), Okumura’s nephew). Okumura tried really hard seducing Yamashiro but the latter did not respond according to his wishes.

Here are a few memorable scenes in the manga:
1) Okumura asked Yamashiro to design his house and so Yamashiro went around the house taking pictures of the layout. When he was done, Okumura was sleeping like a baby. At the lift, Okumura seduced Yamashiro to stay longer but the latter remarked that if Yamashiro were so tired he slept like a baby, maybe he should get some sleep. Then in the lift, he burst into laugher.

2) Okumura kissed Yamashiro for the first time but instead of blushing or looking shocked, Yamashiro just cooly said he thought Okumura’s kissing skills would be better than THAT. Then in the lift, he panicked.

3) In the snow, Okumura was waiting for Yamashiro and finally Yamashiro confessed his true feelings (but still retained his pride).

4) When Yamashiro looked at the glass and saw his own reflection, he suddenly realized how deeply he had fallen in love. He panicked and fled and then started to build up a distance again.

5) The last breakdown when Yamashiro finally confessed all his feelings to Okumura (extremely sweet).

This is the manga that proves that Hasukawa sensei is not just good at drawing but she can also write a brilliant story as well. Of course, the success of this manga is the set of characters because both seme and uke are likable and charismatic, not like the other work where both are nearly negligeable. Before I move on to describing the characters though, I must say the best part of this manga are the DIALOGUES. Since Yamashiro is set to be a pretty poisonous tongue cool beauty (more obvious in the prequel), naturally his dialogues are very intelligent and witty. Also, the artwork has obviously improved in this manga over the prequel and the background details are also very beautiful. I particularly love the idea of the crystal tables created by the lightning effects. The tempo of this manga is also brilliant and is nothing as boring as the prequel. This manga is simply SO MUCH BETTER than the prequel I hope Hasukawa sensei can keep up this style and abandon her older, more boring style (laugh).

In the prequel, Yamashiro was a total badass, making fun of the cute Azumi and was trying to interfere in their romance, causing both Azumi and Jin some distress. Here though, he is not much better because he is gving Okumura all the headache as he never does what Okumura would like him to do. He is doing this on purpose though. He thinks that Okumura likes the strategic challenges in love and he constantly seems to feel that ONLY HIMSELF has fallen deeply in love and Okumura is not loving him as much as he loves Okumura (which is obviously not true). Yamashiro also surprisingly has a childish side to him though normally he looks so mature and poised. An example is when he is descending the lift, he is laughing like a child because he saw Okumura\\\’s sleeping face. Also in the prequel, the way he bullied poor Azumi, it is really not how an adult should act (sweat). The combination of a very mature and intelligent Kei as well as a childish and tsundere Kei makes this character extremely interesting and lovable.

Since Yamashiro is such a T.S.U.N.D.E.R.E.L.L.A., Okumura really struggled to woo the heart of his princess. He had to wait in the snow, he had to bear the pain of keeping the distances because Yamashiro did not want other people to think he got the job because Okumura was interested in him, etc. Still, the harder the process of wooing, the greater the joy when Okumura finally got Yamashiro – at the expense of his sunglasses though (laugh). Okumura is extremely perfect (handsome, successful, and can even cook pasta!) Yet, he has his hetare side and that is the best part of it. The balance reminds me of Wakamiya in Freezing Eye, where the seme is also extremely successful but occasionally crack old man\’s jokes (and incidentally, Wakamiya is also attracted to a FREEZING BEAUTY, haha).

Shiki is another very interesting character. In this story, he just acts as a third person who tries to promote the romance between Okumura and Yamashiro. He is very poised, has a good sense of humor and emits a little mysterious aura. I really hope there will be another story about him later on but that would mean the end of the Okumura family (all homo), haha.

While the manga is close to perfection (at least for me), I am quite disappointed with the drama CD. Individual performances by the seiyuu are great but sadly, the producers seem to have forgotten the gap in age between Okumura and Yamashiro such that however you listen to it, Narita’s Yamashiro appears to be much older than Konishi’s Okumura. For fans of the manga, this can be frustrating because the voice simply doesn’t match the images. For seiyuu fans though, this might be quite interesting because Nariken’s uke is not common and delicious.


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