Rensou Mode is a shoujo romance oneshot based in a school-life setting. On checking, I found the title means Delusional Mode. This could not fit our heroine protagonist’s personality more! It’s further highlighted with occasional offhanded comments made by the anti-hero of the story, accompanied by exaggerated expressions and snappy one liner-comebacks from the heroine.
If you’re an avid Shoujo/romance enthusiast, you know what you were probably like back in high school. You knew what you wanted (your very own Haruhi Suzumiya/insert prince of choice), and if you were enterprising enough, you knew EXACTLY how you were going to go about seducing the girl/boy of your dreams if you ever encountered them, but somehow the stars never aligned and you weren’t able to make a move or you never met the right person.
Well our heroine is sort of like that. She’s an otaku, an amateur managaka herself and very much in touch with her sexuality, enough to want some action for her own self, but not gifted with the type of popularity or inherent coquettishness which would have boys lining up to steal her first kiss. What’s more, she’s scared people in the past with her intensely passionate expositions about boys and what she’d like to do to them, so she mostly keeps to herself now and ends up being labelled a gloomy, overly strict prude and is left friendless (coz that’s normal in manga universe).
What happens when you cross this sexually frustrated otaku with the resident delinquent and the class prince? A love triangle? Nope, you get two of them scheming on how to get the best of the third and grant our heroine the perfectly orchestrated first kiss she so desperately desires! And let me tell you, I have never seen such elaborate planning! Or such immaculately drawn blueprints for the same! Some of the high-jinxes you’ll expect; others with catch you unawares and amuse you all the more with their audacity and outrageousness.
Art while clean and sharp enough by shoujo standards, is exceptionally hilarious in some panels: The expressions of all three main characters, when they’re daydreaming, reacting to the heroine’s far fetched delusions or trying to improvise Plan B on the spot, make for some truly chuckle-worthy moments.
The storyline itself was crisp, refreshing and not excessively steeped in stereotypes. I appreciated that the most. Geeks aren't always just mousy doormats waiting for life to happen to them. “Bad boys” can be surprisingly pure hearted and pushover-y (adorably so!) and perfect prince’s often disappoint. This is one story where I wouldn't mind a further serialisation based on the superb character development the mangaka managed. Dialogues are often entirely unexpected, bold and blush-inducing, as one of the characters points out.
Overall, I found the pace and delivery very engaging and couldn't wait to read more about the interactions between these characters. Very high re-readability factor, I enjoy this story and slap the table at the sheer boldness of the characters more and more each time I read it. I highly recommend this title to jaded shoujo enthusiasts who feel it’s all formulaic trope in the oneshot pool and any others willing to give comedic oneshots one shot (yes, you read that right).