Ren was an orphan who was abandoned outside a port warehouse as soon as he was born. According to Nobuo Terashima, the incident was even reported in the news. Subsequently, he stayed at the same orphanage as Yasushi. After Yasu was adopted by the Takagis, Ren frequently visited his friend, so much so that Yasu's foster mother offered to adopt him, an offer which he refused.
Later, he formed a band, Blast, with Yasu as leader/drummer, himself as bassist, Nobu as guitarist and Nana Osaki as lead vocals. He also fell in love with Nana. (Like Sid Vicious, Ren wears a chain with a lock around his neck that has the initial, "R" on it, to which only Nana has the key.) Blast was moderately successful in their town, but Ren doubted that they would make it big. He was offered to join Trapnest, but declined because of Nana. With Yasu convincing him, after a while he then joined Trapnest as their lead guitarist. Their leader, Takumi Ichinose (Trapnest's bassist), is a good friend of Yasu as well. As he left Blast, he and Nana also tearfully broke up.
After Nana K. found out about his relationship with Nana, she invited Nana to Trapnest's concert back in her hometown. The couple reunited, but Nana promised Ren that Black Stones (the name of the newly formed band) would become more popular than Trapnest; their new bassist, Shinichi Okazaki, wanted to surpass Ren himself.
Although the couple had made up, Ren was still afraid that Yasu may become his rival for Nana. Also, Nana was uncomfortable with Trapnest's vocalist, Layla (Reira Serizawa), who seemed to be interested in Ren as well. To make matters worse, a tabloid magazine, SEARCH, was determined to expose the couple's relationship, as Blast's popularity had been rising steadily.
After his relationship with Nana was found out by SEARCH magazine, Ren proposed to Nana because he felt that Yasu was going to take Nana away from him. Nana accepted, but they both felt unsure about the marriage.
In the manga, Ren wanted to try to quit his addiction of drugs before making up with Nana but failed. Reira chose to return to her hometown so that Ren could check himself in a hospital to get professional help without the media's scrutinty.
In the end of Chapter 77 Ren chose to retrieve Reira for the sake of Trapnest before going to meet Nana to celebrate her birthday. He mistook a cat for Nana while driving fast through the snow (while also being pursued by paparazzi members of SEARCH) and crashes into his old apartment. In chapter 78 it is revealed that following the car crash which concluded Chapter 77, on Nana's 21'st birthday, Ren has died.
In chapter 78.5, Nobu and Takumi confirm the identity of Ren's body. Although his body had suffered, Ren's hands were folded and left unscathed from the accident. It also appeared that the lock around his neck had been made a permanent part of his chest. Upon receiving news of Ren's death, Nana momentarily went into shock. Though she attempted to maintain routine and refused to go see Ren due to work, when reminded by Yasu that this would be the last time she could see him, she has come to full realization of the situation and broke down.
Ren is very handsome, as stated by at least four characters thorughout the show and manga. He has short black hair, spiked up, and dark brown eyes. He's very tall and shown as lanky, although with a muscular chest. He always wears a silver padlock, given to him and locked by Nana O., around his neck.
Personality and traits
Beneath his idol image, Ren actually has problems of his own. He's addicted to drugs, much like Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. He was provided drugs by the president of Cookie Music (their label), Mitsuru Narita. As leader, Takumi knew about this and warned him of the consequences, but he tolerated Ren's practice. Before his death, Ren attempted to quit drugs without outside aid or medication.
On matters concerning the band, he trusts Takumi completely. Using the series' running gag of comparing Trapnest to an army, he said, "We (Trapnest) do not need soldiers who won't fight alongside Takumi."
However, he could also be playful, frequently teasing Nana and Layla. Another gag in the series is that in front of Nana, he would purposely get intimate with Shin.
Ai Yazawa stated in an interview in Nana Fanbook that Sid Vicious is not Ren's idol. He used to like the Pistols, but is not as huge a fan as everyone thinks.
- Ren had a crush on Reira as a teen, but in adulthood they were only close friends, even best friends, despite the paparazzi trying to make it look like something more.
- Having lived in the same orphanage, Yasu was the closest thing Ren had to a brother. Yasu's adoptive parents even offered to legally adopt Ren, but Ren declined.
- Ren fell in love with his Blast lead singer, Nana Osaki, and was unwaveringly faithful.
- Friends by default through Nana, Ren became closer friends with Nana Ichinose after she became engaged to Takumi.
Behind the scenes
- Ren first appears in Nana Osaki's prologue chapter.
- In the anime, he is voiced by Kiuchi Hidenobu and Samuel Vincent in the English dub.
- He is portrayed by Ryuhei Matsuda in the first live-action film and Nobuo Kyo in the second film.
- In the PS2 game, he's voiced by Takahiro Sakurai.
- He may be based off of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols.
- The anime omits his drug problem, instead implying he and Nana O are happily married.