Love Stage!! is based on the eponymous manga, written by Eiki Eiki with illustrations by Taishi Zaou. The anime follows Izumi Sena, an 18 year old otaku and the youngest son in a family of celebrities. His parents and brother are only focused on a career in showbiz and would preferably see Izumi in showbiz as well. When Izumi was younger they succeeded once in getting him to participate in a commercial, dressed as a girl. The shoot didn’t go smoothly and this resulted in stage fright. Now, after 10 years, the same company wants to do a new commercial with the original cast. After a lot convincing from his older brother, Izumi decides he will perform one more time. His former costar Ryouma Ichijou looks forward to their meeting a lot, mainly because he’s thought Izumi was a girl for all these years.
The beginning of the story shows a lot of potential for comedy and of course the anime is full of funny moments. Ryouma soon finds out Izumi is a boy. Of course he doesn’t respond well to this, because he’s been in love with his ideal girl, Izumi, for years. He gets really mad and yells at Izumi and his older brother.
The conflict within Ryouma when he realizes he’s fallen in love with a boy and continues to be in love with in spite of finding out Izumi’s true gender is well worked out and interesting to watch. The relationship between Izumi and Ryouma develops in a funny and adorable way.
As I am a big shounen ai fan I did see some familiar scenario’s come by. One example is Izumi’s transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan which happens basically overnight, but this doesn’t come across as illogical since Izumi’s main problems seem to be his glasses.
After his ‘transformation’ there’s unfortunately the more stereotypical scene in the entire series, he gets chased by straight men who think he is very pretty when he cross-dressed and want to touch him because of that. I’m not a great fan of these kinds of scenes, but in this series I didn’t mind as much because it wasn’t a reoccurring scenario.
These well-known scenarios always bother me a bit when I come across them, but you don’t seem to be able to dodge them when it comes to shounen ai. It probably sells. While watching Love Stage! it didn’t bother me as much because the rest of the anime had a good story with a lot of humor and adorable moment.
The characters in Love Stage!! are diverse. Izumi is somewhat shy and reserved, in his relationship with Ryouma as well, but he slowly gains more confidence. Ryouma is definitely not a stereotypical seme in his behavior. In the anime you see a lot of fun sides to Ryouma’s personality, both cute and tough. Rei Sagara, the manager of the Sena family is very firm but even so still very caring. He fits well with Shougo, Izumi’s brother, who is very carefree. The characters in Love Stage!! complement each other well and are also diverse enough to create conflict and interesting situations.
Because my preference often lays with shounen ai I’m not entirely impartial, but I definitely thought this anime was very fun to watch. The storyline is not entirely original, but nonetheless is full of fun, funny and adorable moments. On top of all of that the characters develop in a consistent way throughout the story and you really get to know their personalities.
Aside from the anime and manga an OVA was also released and a light novel by the name of ‘Back Stage!!’. This follows the story of Rei Sagara, the manager of the Sena family. In this story you find out how Rei came to live with the family and how his relationship with the other character from Love Stage!! developed.
Started airing: 9th of Juli 2014
Number of episodes: 10