Love Stage!!

Title:Love Stage!!
Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: EGUCHI Takuya
YONAGA Tsubasa
Izumi was born in a family of celebrities. His father is a singer, his mother an artist, his older brother the lead vocalist for the popular band Crashers. Izumi himself, however, is just a nerdy college student. He loves the manga "Magical Girl Lala Lulu" and dreams of becoming a manga writer himself. One day he is roped into filming a commercial where he wears a dress. Another actor on the set, Ryoma Ichijo, mistakes him for a woman and falls in love at first sight. As it turns out, though, they met ten years in the past. And Ryoma feelings don't change when he finds out Izumi is a boy.
(Synopsis courtesy of ANN)

[TV series, 2014, 10 episodes, 25 min; based on an ongoing ↗yaoi manga with 4+ volumes since 2010]
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent Stretch [series:2930#628]

(All episodes watched):

Guys fondling each other and getting intimate don't exactly turn me on, but this show has a touch of quality humor as well and therefore I decided to watch. The premise of Ryouma, the aggressive/leader guy falling in love with the effeminate and subservient Sena while thinking he was a girl is odd and the mixup provides a sort of 'excuse' to get this gay romance underway. Apparently neither of them start off gay, which I liked because I could sort of identify with them, at least at the beginning. When he learned the truth, Ryouma was appalled and furious, rather than casually accepting having the rug yanked out from under him without any change in his affections (which would be hard to take seriously and was what I'd feared might happen). This suggested that this show wouldn't just be a simple 'guy who's reluctant to be gay slowly falls for his assertive lover' plot; instead, both guys would have to go from being angry at each other to being lovers. I didn't mind watching a series like since these guys develop decent personalities and I found myself hoping the underdog Sena would wind up happy.

In episode three Ryouma's feelings seemed to leap forward in an abrupt manner, and I was left confused about how much change had actually taken place. There's a female rival for Sena's affection, the star Lala-Lulu who happens to transfer to Sena's school, but not much came of her presence; I sort of felt that she must have played a larger role in the manga and was hardly needed at all here in the anime. Whatever the case may be, I got several good laughs out of the episode. This show is definitely funnier than Romantica was, and has some colorful straight characters (though Sena's family manager makes an unexpected comment in episode four). For the time being Sena and Ryouma agree to be friends, which makes sense. The man-on-man action makes me a little squeemish, but the jokes are pretty good and the story is fairly interesting.

In episode five Ryouma almost seems to be around five years younger at one point, perhaps due to a little corner-cutting on the animation. At the end of the episode an intriguing plot twist is introduced, which is neat--better than just two guys getting it on, that's for sure. I liked the way Ryouma managed to fix a major problem Sena was dealing with in episode seven. That was plausible, given his stardom, and again there's a story going on, not just boy's love fanservice. I would quit immediately if that were the case. But here I really care about how things will work out for these guys, and the jokes are OK too. Comedy plays a large part in the series, which means BL must play a relatively smaller one. Ryouma's a nice guy at heart, who resists the temptation to press the romance with Sena too hard for the sake of short-term gratification. Sena is nice too, and needs to make an overdue career choice (and a choice regarding Ryouma), so you hope he'll make wise ones. They have personality, so whatever they decide they want is OK with me. I don't know if Sena mentioning he has a sore butthole was the best way to wrap the story up (it ended a little abruptly after just ten episodes), but Love Stage was a show which had enough laughs and interesting storytelling to be worth my time and trouble even though I wasn't into the BL element.

Last updated Wednesday, January 21 2015. Created Thursday, July 17 2014.

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