Manga Review: Love Control (vol 1)

"He certainly is hard to get.  It's a first for me.  ...When I'm with him, I enjoy myself so much I can't stand it.  I wish he'd feel the same... I'd like to think he does." - Okumura

The main story in "Love Control" revolves around the serious and confident interior designer Kei Yamashiro and his client, elite businessman Takashi Okumura.  Although Okumura took an immediate liking to the talented designer, Yamashiro found it frustrating to be around Okumura, who openly flirted with him and was never short of a response.  Because they were so similar, Yamashiro found it difficult to not be the one in complete control and didn't know how to deal with his client on a personal level.  He decided that two could play at his game and planned to have Okumura fall for him so that he could then be the one to end it.  However, as the story usually goes, he fell in love with Okumura in the process and ended up in too deep before he could do anything.  There is also a short bonus story included in this book about a lonely salaryman and a lonely high school boy who meet because of an e-mail.

I bought this book because I had heard good things about it, and I am glad I did because it was very enjoyable.  It's nice to read about older characters every once in awhile, and even nicer when the story is solid and the characters are likable.  I actually liked both of the main characters and found their interactions to be believable.  Even after they become lovers, their relationship was anything but smooth sailing as Yamashiro was confused about his own feelings and what Okumura wanted from him.  And instead of facing his feelings, he instead turned them against Okumura, leaving his lover confused and hurt.  I thought that a good amount of time and build up was put into their growing relationship, and I thought their interactions were actually very human.  One thing that did bother me a little was how as soon as Yamashiro admitted his feelings, Okumura immediately started calling him by his first name.  If there had been a little more explanation or something about that it probably wouldn't have stuck out as much, but it just seemed really abrupt to me.  Their relationship sort of reminded me of Hiroki and Nowaki's in "Junjo Romantica", because the prideful Yamashiro resisted falling for the devoted Okumura just like Hiroki did with Nowaki.  And even after ending up with their partners, both Hiro and Yamashiro retained their strong and stubborn personalities, which was refreshing.

All in all, I thought this was a good book that I would recommend to others that are fans of this genre.  The art was clean and detailed, the main characters were well rounded and developed, and the storyline was interesting.  I believe that there are more volumes of this coming, and I hope that is true because I would like to read more about Yamashiro and Okumura and see where their relationship takes them.

- Liz