I initially wrote off this show after seeing the now slightly famous intro scene, but soon, a joke amongst friends turned into a marathon of the six episodes that were out at the time. Every week after that, I looked forward to Wednesdays, where I'd get to see the next episode of Love Stage. At this point, after completing the series, the true question is this:
Why did I enjoy the show to the extent that I did?
I mean, it is quite normal for one to enjoy a show that is that is directed towards a different target
audience, (I.E. shoujos) and I have nothing but respect for yaoi and the culture, but me enjoying this would seem as a bit extreme...except its not.
What this show does well, and likely the biggest reason to why I enjoyed it, was the characters. I will say, I enjoyed the mere presence of almost every single character in this show. The first of the two protagonists is Izumi, the more feminine character of the relationship, and the youngest member of a family of world class entertainers. He has a dream to become a manga artist, however his complete lack of skill causes his family to worry to quite a large extent. Now, there is more to Izumi's wonderful eyes- His character is well developed throughout the show. We get to see all the trails and tribulations he goes through, whether it be with the relationship between him and the other protagonist, which I'll get to in a sec, or the constant tension with his family, who almost sees him as a lost cause. Izumi certainly does go through some entertaining developments throughout the show. The largest cause of this is the other male in the relationship, Ryouma. Ryouma is a growing celebrity in Japan, being seen in commercials and dramas frequently. As the masculine man in the relationship, is it his duty to take charge and progress the relationship along, and this works to create a dynamic between the two characters that I personally found quite entertaining to watch. The other characters, while not particularly developed, certainly add to the overall show- They accentuate the protagonists, while at the same time, being likable. Characters like Izumi's brother, a member of a rock band modeled off the actual manga writer's brother, make for good laughs, as well as Rei, the manager of Izumi's family. The beautiful thing is, all of these characters are likable: you can relate to their issues, and actually care about what becomes of them. When a character cried, I felt sad. When they were happy, so was I. This is the shows strongest point. All characters have their own moments in the story which makes for a good time.
(Speaking of good time, I will warn that the show, while not a hentai, does contain its fair share of...*scenes* in it, so do be prepared for that.)
As for the story, it is actually nothing quite special, however this is not necessarily a bad thing. Does it take risks? Not particularly, but for what the show is trying to accomplish, (Displaying the relationship between the main characters.) it is quite serviceable. Without spoiling too much, the show begins with a standard romantic, almost love at first sight affair, but quickly turns into a comedic tale about a yaoi relationship. The best part about all this, is that it is quite hilarious. The actual chemistry between the characters is almost more important than the story said chemistry is attempting to progress in the first place. Every scene attempts to have a funny moment, whether it be regarding the hilarity of Izumi's manga, or the conversations between him and Ryouma. So honestly, the story may be weak, but that may be the point.
Technically, the show is quite decent. Animation is quite solid here. Nothing to write home about, honestly, but character movements are crisp, and the palette is quite vibrant, adding much to the style of the show. (I mean, Izumi's eyes!) Keen eyed individuals would notice some shoddy art quality on occasion, such as inconsistent character drawings, but this is a nit-pick at worst. Regarding the soundtrack, I would not likely listen to the tracks outside of the show, but they do serve the show well. Songs play at the right times, while the tracks do not stand out, they certainly do fit well with the emotions a particular scene is trying to emanate. The OP, but SCREEN mode, fits in very well with the show. These guys are fairly new to the anime scene, and I do hope to hear them featured in more shows down the road. The ED is slightly less appealing to me, but still works quite well.
So yeah, Love Stage. This is the first yaoi show that I've every completed, and while I do not believe that I'll be actively searching for more in the genre, I would be lying if I say I did not enjoy this show. The show is only 10 episodes, and while the length did not hurt the show, I definitely believe that it would have slightly benefited from the extra two episodes, for developmental reasons which you will likely see. Nonetheless, I'd recommend it. Go watch it, you will invested in the characters, feel their emotions, and...yeah I still cant believe I watched a yaoi.
This is now one of my favourite animes, this is my first review so bare with me, I've never felt like writing one til i watched this anime. As a fan of yaoi/shounen ai this was a breath of fresh air as it's so hard to find decent animes in this genre because there are little to choose from and they're lacking in every department.
This is a -absolute must- watch for fans of the yaoi and shounen-ai, but also i would highly recommend it for those new to it and want to check it out, it would make a good starter into these genres
because it's quite cute, nice animation, likeable characters, good development in only 11 episodes and also it's quite tame when it comes to the sexual things compared to other ones like Junjou Romantica, yet it's still enough too excited about.
Izumi stared in a wedding commerical with Ryouma when they were younger and since then Ryouma has loved her..ahem him... ever since. Later they meet in a reunion commercial and Ryouma's love is releaved.. and so is Izumi's real gender, but that doesn't stop his love. And so Ryouma pursues Izumi. Izumi plays the Uke, he's very cute, and loveable i just wanted to squeeze him to bits. Ryouma as a famous actor I wasn't expecting him to be a such a lovable character. He was so sweet, caring and kind.. it was cute seeing what love does to him, he was the kind of guy I would want as my man. Overall I really liked them as a couple. The supporting charcaters were great aswell, especially Izumi's brother he's quite funny.
Though there's only 11 episodes I was worried no way that's enough and I'll be disappointed cause it will leave me hanging incomplete. But actually it developed further than I thought in such the short time it was nice. Unlike other romance animes you have to wait for 24+ episodes just for a confession or even a kiss. I was excited for each episode and how it'd progress next.
The art was nice and especially the detail in Izumi eyes, so pretty. Only bad thing was lets say Izumi is walking down the street.. he will be detailed and everything but all the background people are whited out figures like ghosts or something which was a bit lazy.
There's not really any music in the anime it'self other than the OP and ED, they're really catchy I would always sit through them, usually I skip through the Op and ED on animes and get straight to watching the anime.
Only downside was that Izumi is a hardout fan of a anime La la Lulu which i found a bit childish but it goes with his cute character but after awhile it was bit annoying, especially that La La Lulu alarm clock omg lol. But it effected the anime to where there were La La Lulu scenes.. some which toke minutes that I had to skip and I didn't see the point of myself and just wasted the screen time.
Make sure you watch the OVA aswell for a total of 11 episodes. Though i wish there was more - there's alot of potiental for 2nd season, though the 11 are still satisfying.
Overall don't miss out on this anime even if you don't watch shounen-ai, this is a good place to start especially if you're into the romance genre. I tend to watch only romance animes and the romance in this anime was great it got me excited and fangirling on the other side of the screen. So give it ago you won't regret it :)
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
Love stage is a Shounen-ai anime. Most of the male population really won't enjoy this but it's mostly for girls. The anime is really good and was enjoyable with Comedy, Romance, Drama etc...
Story's pretty good. Izumi wants to become a manga artist. His family is in show biz and so they want him to enter the show biz world. Note that he is only in college. He is often mistaken for a girl because of his cute looks and such. Ryouma, our main male character number 2, mistook him for a girl when they had
to do a commercial when they were young. After meeting 10 years later, Ryouma still has feelings, even after finding out Izumi was a guy. Izumi struggles to draw manga. It gets rejected and gets into despair. I really like Izumi's character development through out the show. He slowly realizes his feelings for Ryouma and gets into show biz in the end.
Art - 8
Art is beautiful but there were times were the art was iffy but it's good overall.
I love the OP and END. There both really amazing and also the background music
Characters are great as well. A lot of development with Ryouma and Izumi. Shougo, Izumi's brother who is a musician, has some secret affair going on with Rei, the Sena family's manager. But no one really actually realizes it unless you really pay attention. Izumi's parents are side characters and so are his friends. Most characters get a development.
It was really enjoyable. It made me laugh. There was some sexual moments and they were steamy. The drama is good and they left us some cliffhangers. Romance is beautiful as well. Though no one knows Izumi and Ryouma are gay hehe.
Overall this anime is great. If you're a yaoi lover than give it a watch, you'll love it. If you're a guy and watch Yaoi then I also recommend it. It's not as amazing compared to Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, but it's close. There isn't a lot of intimate scenes, maybe few. Unlike most of them that are M ;)
So give it a watch, and I'm sure you will like it, unless you hate Yaoi dont bother watching.
As with any genre, yaoi/shounenai is often criticized by people who doesn't like it. Actually shounen ai (and shoujo ai too) is mostly the same as ANY romantic comedy anime out there, the only difference is that the main couple features homoromantic characters, which tends to scare off straight viewers.
The thing with "Love Stage!!", what makes it so special, it's that for some reason it seems to have broken that genre barrier, and a big part of their viewers are straight male people who don't usually watch shounenai/yaoi shows.
The premise of the story is very simple: Ryouma, a famous actor, fell
in love with a girl when he was a child and has been obsessed with her memory since then, and once he meets 'her' again, now as a young adult, he discovers 'she' was actually a him: Izumi, a clumsy otaku with a showbusiness family.
What makes it SO good is both the comedic value, because the story is tremendously HILARIOUS, and the characters itself, which are really very well developed in just a few episodes.
The art is pretty cool, nothing out of the "shoujo norm", but myself, i love the character design a lot. But i'm biased because i really love Zaou Taishi's drawing style.
So, i must say that if you are a fujoshi/fudanshi or a person who appreciates the genre just like me, this is a MUST watch.
If you are a viewer who usually doesn't like yaoi/shounenai, or you haven't watch one ever, i will give it a try. Odds are you are going to like it... and if not, at least it's worth the laughs.
I first heard of this show by accidentally coming across its opening somewhere on the internet. From what I saw, it looked like this show was going to be about a healthy, consensual, small-age-gap relationship, which is a relationship I still have yet to see in yaoi. I find it a lot more in yuri, but hardly in yaoi. The two boys were holding hands, looking into each others eyes and had smiles on their faces. They both looked happy rather than one looking sexually pleased while the other wishes he was somewhere else. I really wanted to see if Japan can actually make a
show about a HEALTHY guy-on-guy relationship, and I thought this was going to be the one. I was wrong.
The first couple episodes were highly entertaining. One of the main characters, Ryouma is coming to the realization that he has feelings for another guy, Izumi and is going through a bunch of conflicting emotions, considering he thought he was straight before hand and he, at first, thought that Izumi was a girl.
One day, Ryouma goes over to Izumi's house. They start off with the usual awkward greeting. Then, Ryouma ends up chasing Izumi around the house and tackling him. Ryouma pulls his pants down and puts his mouth all over Izumi's lower half while Izumi is crying praying that this stops soon. Luckily, soon enough, Ryouma was caught in the act by Izumi's parents' manager and was forced to stop.
At first, I was glad that this scene was taken by the characters in a negative way. In the crunchyroll subs I was reading, the manager even referred to it as assault when reporting what happened to Izumi's brother, which I was really impressed with. In fact, Izumi's brother was ready to beat up Ryouma the next time he saw him as punishment for what he did to his little brother. I was even more pleased to find that Ryouma shortly thereafter revealed how guilty he feels about what he has done to a person he cares so much for and even apologizes to Izumi in the most sincerest of ways. I thought, "Thank God Japan knows that rape is a terrible thing!!" A couple episodes later, there was a scene that made me completely change my mind about that.
Izumi went on for days without sleeping because he was trying to finish up a manga in time to enter it into a contest. As a way of strengthening their "friendship", Ryouma volunteered to help Izumi finish the manga in the last couple days before the contest. Just after the manga is finished, Izumi collapses to sleep and Ryouma carries him to his bed. Just before leaving Izumi's room, Ryouma couldn't resist, but take the opportunity to kiss Izumi while he is out cold. He planted a short one and then was ready to walk out, then thought, "well, one more wouldn't hurt". He kisses him again, and then thinks, "Nah, maybe one more. Now one more. I swear, this will be the last one. No another wouldn't hurt." He ends up kissing Izumi all over his body and apparently it's alright because Izumi's unconscious. If I were in Izumi's situation, especially if I woke up in the middle of that, I would be furious. I stopped the episode in the middle of that scene and swore to never continue. I came out of it feeling extremely disappointed and in utter disbelief.
After they showed one rape scene where they acknowledge that what Ryouma did to Izumi was terrible, they show another scene where he gets away with doing something not that much different. I never found out what happened after that scene, but I knew that it was either going to result in Ryouma getting away with what he did because no one was watching and Izumi was unconscious, which is not something I was going to like in the slightest, or that Ryouma does get caught, in which case, I can hardly imagine Izumi wanting to stay friends with him, let alone start a romantic relationship with him.
Let me ask, do any of you know of any queer anime (especially yaoi) where the two main characters are in a healthy, consensual, relationship? I really want to find something out there that does. It would make me feel really happy to know that Japan realizes that gay relationships are not that different from straight ones. The only one I've come across that has come to that realization is Aoi Hana (highly recommend you watch that show instead).
I never quite know whether I should try to rate BL anime within its own genre or not, but since MAL makes no genre distinctions when showing top anime, it seems fairer to rate it as I rate all other anime. But I will point out where it stands within its own genre.
I am gay and used to read a lot of BL. Tip to North American audiences: in these reviews most people use confusing terminology, so here's a quickie refresher. BL (Boys Love) is what the Japanese call boy-on-boy manga and anime mostly written by women and mostly directed at women.
Yaoi in Japan only refers to very explicit BL doujinshi (fan fiction), which are basically pornographic without much plot. In the West, people tend to misuse yaoi for boy-on-boy romantic works with some amount of actual sex being portrayed, while some call romantic works without explicit sex shounen-ai. Again, that's not the term used in Japan, where shounen-ai only refers to a very narrow part of BL produced in the 1970s and 80s by a specific group of mangaka who expanded very romantic, idealized, exoticized shoujo concepts to boys. Do yourselves a favour and learn to call boy-on-boy manga and anime BL, that way you're in tune with the country that actually produces most of it, and it'll reduce confusion. This anime is BL, without graphically explicit sex. Here endeth the lecture ;)
Love Stage!! turned out to be a fluffy, mildly amusing, quite inoffensive BL anime. I have not read the source manga, but BL anime is almost always less explicit than its source. If you think homosexuality is a sin, don't watch it. If the thought of boy-on-boy sex makes you a bit uncomfortable because you're a straight guy, I think you can fairly safely watch this without breaking out in hives. There is clearly some sex happening, but it is stylized away in a rather imaginative way; nothing is ever shown graphically, other than kisses, and even those are darn tame; no lips as much as move. I gotta say I especially loved the pink elephants, that had me laughing out loud. Most of the humour is also not suggestive, and while there is some fan service, it doesn't even get close to hetero ecchi -- we get some naked torsos without nipples, woohoo. Most of the anime consists neither of lovey-dovey action nor of sex, it spends more time on Izumi's attempts to find himself, career-wise and romantically.
Story 4/10: Anime in general doesn't necessarily come up with believable stories, but the fluffier BL often takes the cake. Ryouma, an up-and-coming hot actor, when he was a boy apparently fell in love with an 8 year old crybaby girl based on a single encounter, and carries that flame in his heart for the next 10 years. Yeah, tell me another one. When he has a chance to meet that girl again, he grabs it, and finds his love confirmed as the girl has grown up into a super-cute young woman. Only, she's not actually a girl, she's a boy. Henceforth we get the usual disgust upon the denouement from both Ryouma and Izumi, the cross-dressing boy in question, but love naturally conquers all in no time flat, without a whole lot of hesitation. This is basically completely unrealistic on all levels, and because it's also thoroughly tropey, and one of my least favourite tropes are the stereotyping of seme/uke roles (sexually dominant / submissive), and the feminizing of the uke, I don't give it a lot of points. Redeeming factors are that Ryouma actually tries to connect with Izumi on a personal level, and that Izumi doesn't get stuck in his panicked reactions but thinks further. Still, it's all very shallow. Most of the comedy wasn't funny to me, though I laughed at some of the visuals.
Art 5/10: I'm not a big fan of Zaou Taishi; I find her mouths very unattractive, and her lines too heavily inked. But it's all very bright and colourful, with lovely eyes in shades no human ever had. ;) The animation is decent for BL, not so much in general -- BL anime tends to have very small budgets and it always shows, though this is better than what it used to be.
Sound 5/10: nothing special, neither in regard to music nor voice talent.
Character 4/10: Izumi actually experiences some growth, though it's minuscule. Ryouma gets over his initial disgust so fast it must have caused whiplash, but at least he didn't turn out as arrogant as he first came across -- never have I seen somebody kowtow more, which was interesting. The other characters are all barely there (I imagine the manga probably expands at least Rei and Shougo's roles, since they're obviously the secondary couple).
Enjoyment 7/10: I enjoyed it more than one might think from reading the preceding paragraphs, because the pacing was good and the characters were likeable, and I am grateful for any BL anime at all. But I want to add something here for the reviewers who said: "yay, at least there was no rape or dubcon (dubious consent)!" You have been conditioned by too much bad BL. There damn well was dubcon -- Izumi gets kissed many times without his consent, he gets nearly raped by Ryouma who only stops because Izumi is crying (though that actually tempts him too, which is a Japanese bullying trope I hate), he gets nearly raped by 3 strangers upon whom he comes in the process of a robbery. On the plus side, the creators are at least not valorizing any of that, which is a step forward, but they're still playing it for laughs, and I can't express just how much I want BL to get further away from all the dubcon. Enthusiastic mutual consent is sexier than dubcon any day.
Love Stage started as a romantic comedy manga by Eiki Eiki and Zaou Taishi. In 2014 our old friends at J.C. Staff, behind such titles as Yami no Matsuei, Hachimitsu to Clover, Shakugan no Shana, Toradora and a bunch of other anime I've reviewed, started releasing an anime adaptation. Is it a romance that's worth your time? Let's examine it and find out. As it was Valentine's yesterday and this seems like a good week for some romance.
Sena Izumi comes from a show business family. His mother is an actress. His father is in theatre and his elder brother is the lead singer of a
band. Izumi, however, doesn't want to be in show business. He wants to be a manga writer and artist. In spite of not being good at drawing. I know how he feels. That's why all my writing just uses words. Things change for Izumi when he receives an offer to be the bride in an advert that's a follow up to one he was in a decade ago. He initially refuses but finds out that the other intended star, Ichijou Ryouma, won't take part unless the casting is the same as it was a decade ago. Reluctantly, Izumi agrees to take part for the sake of his family's business. Little does he realise that Ichijou's insistence has to do with the feelings he's harboured for a decade and little does Ichijou realise that the co-star he's been pining for is actually a boy. I detect incoming hijinks.
The biggest flaw with this series is that a lot of the early stuff involving the romance is questionable, at best. Ichijou carries around a picture of eight year old Izumi and he's been obsessing over him. That's pretty creepy. You'd think a mentally stable person would have gotten over their first crush given a decade. There's also a scene where Ichijou actively tries to force himself on Izumi which begs the question of why a light-hearted comedic romance involves attempted rape. That's not remotely suitable for the tone. To its credit, the series does acknowledge the atrocious nature of Ryouma's actions and spends a good amount of time having him try to redeem himself but it's still really tonally awkward and poor form for the start of a romance. There's also some awkwardness involving Izumi's brother harbouring a complex for him that borders on incestuous.
On the positive side, the romance does get pretty decent once its past the initial awkwardness. The comedic elements of the series also generally work pretty well. It's not uproariously funny comedy, but it is pretty good.
This series has two types of characters. The first are the major characters who are a step or two above archetypes. They develop, albeit in kind of shallow ways, over the course of the series. The second are the side characters who are pretty much the epitome of generic. The interactions vary a bit. Izumi is unrealistically quick to forgive Ryouma but their latter interactions after that whole plot point dies down are pretty decent and develop almost naturally. My favourite interactions by far are between Izumi & Rei, a gent who acts as a guardian and parental figure towards him. It's a multi-faceted dynamic that can be genuinely heart-warming at times. Then we have the brotherly relationship which is far too clingy and a bit creepy.
The artwork is, as a whole, pretty decent. The series does suffer a bit from the whole comedic undetailed moments that you get in a lot of series. The mouths are also a bit awkward both in how they move and in their appearance. I do quite like the way they do the eyes in the series, although the spectacles look awkward, and the regular scenes where they aren't doing something odd for comedic effect look quite nice. I also do like that Izumi's drawings are realistically amateurish. They don't make them look exaggeratedly bad like a lot of series that have a character who's supposed to be bad at artwork do.
The cast in this is pretty good. Eguchi Takuya, Hirakawa Daisuke & Yonaga Tsubasa all deliver nice performances and the rest of the cast are all competent. The music was handled by Nakanishi Ryosuke and he did a decent enough job. It's not a soundtrack I'll be listening to on its own but it does get the job done.
I've already talked about Izumi And Ryouma quite a bit but there's more homo-eroticism in the series than just the two of them. Towards the end it's heavily implied that Izumi's brother and Rei are in a sexual relationship. I don't know why they didn't do more that instead of focusing on the kind of creepy brother complex.
Ultimately, Love Stage is a series that has a massive shadow hanging over it. The shadow of the messed up way the main romance starts. And while the series does markedly improve over that very poor first impression, it never quite breaks away from it. Ultimately, those things it does well kind of strike a balance with those it does poorly. Is it a bad series? No. It has quite a few funny moments and the latter stuff with the romance is decent enough. Is it a good one? Also no. It's simply hurt too much by the tonal awkwardness in the beginning and by the whole brother complex aspect. In the end, it's pretty average. My final rating is going to be a 5/10. If you like romances and can forgive the whole way things open, you'll probably get some enjoyment from it. Next week I'll look at JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders series 2.
The teenage years are often referred to as the best years of your life, but they can come with their own set of challenges... It’s the time of life where you’re still finding out who you are, who you want to be, and what’s important to you. Even as late as the crucial age of 18, it can be difficult to find your place in the world, especially if you’re struggling to find the place where you belong. This is even worse for Sena Izumi, because in addition to his more normal adolescent woes, he’s the youngest member of an entire family
of entertainers and celebrities... His sly father is a stage actor, his spoiled mother is a model/actress, his doting brother is the lead singer of a popular rock band, his family has it’s own talent manager... And he wants to be a manga artist. Naturally, this has caused a bit of friction in the family, as the excitable and outgoing Sena family is beginning to seriously worry about their youngest son, who’s locked himself in his room like a hermit and dedicated his life to a passion that they believe he has no talent for the field that he dreams of finding success in, and they’ve decided to do whatever it takes to get him out of his introverted shell.
Fortunately for them, an opportunity to do so has just presented itself. When Izumi was only eight years old, he was dressed up like a girl for a wedding scene in a commercial, and the company wants to do an anniversary commercial... A sequel, where the children from the original classic have grown up and are marrying themselves. After some creative persuasion from his brother, Izumi agrees to don the drag dress one more time, but little does he know that his walk down the aisle is leading him into the arms of destiny. His costar, the now famous Ryoma Ichijou, has been in love with him since the first commercial, and this isn’t just imprinting... The sight of her face has gotten him through ten long years of hardship in the entertainment industry, and it was HIS idea to get the original cast back so he could finally make his dreams of seeing her again come true. Will his discovery of his bride’s true gender bring his longing to a grinding halt, or has he come too far to turn back now? And what kind of effect will getting caught up in all of this have on Sena’s routine lifestyle? They may only be married in fiction, but the red string of fate is all too real.
Love Stage comes to us from JC Staff, who I believe I’ve said before has no real consistency in it’s visual presentation. It goes all over the place in terms of quality, but out of the three general camps that I mentioned in my Kill Me Baby review, I’d say Love Stage fits nicely into Camp 3. This is, once again, the camp where anime has a modest budget, there’s no real room for excess, and they do whatever they can to make the show look as good as possible without putting themselves into a compromising financial situation. Much like other shows in this camp, Love Stage never really goes out of it’s way to impress you with it’s animation, but it still looks fucking great. The characters use very simple movements whenever motion is needed, and it never tries to do more than it needs to, while at the same time never feeling like it’s skimping. There are budget saving tricks at play, but the producers were clever enough to make sure it all felt like part of the visual style and tone of the series, which they succeeded at.
And speaking of the visual style, this is a very beautiful show just in terms of it’s art alone. For about 90 percent of the series, the color palette is bright, warm and welcoming, almost like it knew how intense it’s kind of subject matter could be, and was designed to put viewers at ease right from the early stages. The other ten percent of the time, when the show does get a bit darker, what with the characters dealing with issues and internal turmoil, the palette changes to reflect this, but it’s never for long. The level of detail is also stunning, with it’s depiction every little crack in a shattered marble only being the tip of the iceberg. Just about everything in the background is shown with intricate detail aside from the people, who are drawn as colorless silhouettes, and while I’d normally rag on a show for this... RWBY season 1, how ya doing... The fact that it only really happens when a character is busy with internal monologues does make it feel like an accurate portrayal of their distracted mindset.
While I’m not a fan of shiny white halos surrounding a character’s hair... I’ve bitched about it before, and sorry, but I’m not cool with it here either... The character designs are otherwise very attractive and tell us a lot about the characters as people. Ryouma and Izumi in particular were designed to fall right in the middle of masculinity and femininity, as they’re obviously coded male, but they still have the big moe eyes, slender bodies and feathery hair that’s just long enough to frame their faces, and the details that would normally code a character as seme or uke are more than just there, they’re ingrained into their personalities. Izumi’s eyes in particular are multi-colored, mostly amber but touched by a subtle swirl of blue at the tops, giving them a mysterious quality that you can understand someone getting entranced by. The other characters in the cast are fairly generic in design, but it doesn‘t really hurt anything, as their looks do inform their personalities. I do feel that the blushing artwork is a little too over-pronounced, but that’s a minor issue.
The music is a bit on the generic side, but it’s not bad or anything. I didn’t find any of it to be repetitive or annoying, like in a lot of shows I’ve seen. The character songs are a lot more interesting, with LalaLulu’s song being a delightful parody of the Magical girl genre, and Izumi’s brother Shougo has a really cool song called Love or Die, and yeah, I can see why the band Crusherz became famous. The opening, Lovest by Screen Mode, is awesome. Not only is the song catchy, upbeat and fun to listen to, but the video is just as fun and fits every beat perfectly. The constantly changing visuals are simple enough to grasp what they’re showing you in the time they have, and they match the energy and tone of the show. Surprisingly, the ending theme is more of the same, a catchy song with visuals that are pleasing to the eyes and match the beat of the song, and while most of it features posed characters, there’s an actual burst of expensive animation towards the end. I can’t remember another show where I watched all the way through the opening and closing as often as I did with this one.
There’s no dub, and I’m not a good judge of Japanese acting, but I’d just like to point out that if there’s ever a dub for this show, I hope they cast Chris Patton as Ryouma and Greg Ayres as Izumi. Moving along.
Okay, let’s just rip this band-aid off right now... Love Stage is a yaoi. It’s not a shonen-ai, oh no, it’s a full on yaoi. I’ve never reviewed a yaoi before, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen any. While I’m no expert on the genre, I have dabbled a bit, and unfortunately, what I’ve seen prior to Love Stage wasn’t all that impressive. I read the first few volumes of Loveless, I saw the first four episodes of Gravitation, I’ve seen the movie Fake, and while it’s more subtextual than anything else, I sat through the first season of Black Butler. In short, my exposure to the medium has revealed it to be a minefield of problematic situations and over-all just shitty story-telling, relying way too heavily on love at first sight, people turning queer out of nowhere on a dime because the plot demanded it, romanticized sexual assault, writers who forgo necessary information and development because seem to just want to get to the action already, and way too many couple where the age differences lay on different sides of the law. I’ve been told by people far more versed in the genre than I am that most if not all of these observations are persistent from title to title.
Now, does that mean there are no good Boys Love material out there? No, not necessarily. I plan to watch Yuri on Ice and Nabari no Ou in the future, and I’ve even seen some shows that I thought would have been improved if the main male characters went gay for each other... Kids on the Slope, for example. But alas, thank the LGBT gods, there is at least one good yaoi anime out there. I’ve already praised the art and animation from this show up and down the wall, but the number of problems and genre cliches Love Stage avoids, subverts, or just has fun with is insane. Now keep in mind, I’m not saying it’s an accurate portrayal of homosexual people or homosexual couples, and I’m not saying it presents it’s gay characters as realistic people or that it exists for reasons outside of tickling the libidoes of ravenous fujoshi, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. Yeah, I made a big deal about figuring out whether or not Strawberry Panic was faithful to it’s subject, but that show was garbage and needed the extra point. Love Stage doesn’t have that problem.
Right off the bat, we’re introduced to the main character, Sena Izumi, the uke of the situation. Oh, but we find out much more than that about him. After making sweet promises to us in the form of it’s animation, Love Stage wastes no time establishing Izumi’s character. We find out who he is, what he wants from life, what his family’s like, what his backstory was like, what his issue is, several possible resolutions to it, basically everything you need to know about him, and this is expressed without a lick of unnatural dialogue or exposition, and even better, we learn all of this before the first kiss is even taken. We don’t learn quite as much about his seme Ryouma until much later, but we know about their shared history, and through his actions revolving around his interactions with Izumi and his coworkers, we do learn enough about him to not have any lingering questions about him that really need to be answered. I can’t say they feel like people I’d meet out there in the real world, but they still feel like fully developed and fleshed out characters.
They also both have personalities that tie directly into their seme/uke coding, with Izumi being childish and submissive, but still driven by his own interests and possessing a decent level of propriety and agency. Ryouma is tall, dark and mysterious, quick to anger and somewhat closed off, but still struggling with the conflicting feelings inside of him and trying his best to control the parts of himself he doesn’t quite understand yet. While it takes them a while to work out their personal hang-ups and finally come together, they do make a really likeable couple. I also really liked the Izumi family, as viciously manipulative and backstabbing as they can be. Shougo, Izumi’s older brother, dotes on him and gets clingy to the point that he honestly can be a little creepy at times, but he still has plenty of moments where he redeems himself by showing a genuine concern and protecting him. We don’t see much of Izumi’s parents, but despite Dad acting like he knows best and Mom acting self-centered, they both clearly love their children.
Perhaps the most nuanced character is the family’s manager, Rei, a cold and calculating character who’s not above pulling the strings whenever necessary, selling people out to family obligations and looking for every possible advantage in his day-to-day dealings, but he still cares enough about his employers that he’ll set aside all of his business concerns if it feels like the right thing to do. Izumi’s manga club, only one of whom kind of registers his presence, is designed so that he’ll look out of place there, not that he ever notices. Similarly, the fictional character of Lala-Lulu, his fantasy Waifu idol, is so far removed from bearing any resemblance to actual girls that it’s not hard to see how disingenuine his attraction to the fairer sex really is. A few of the characters can get annoying at times, the fat otaku feel like an unjust stereotype, and I’m pretty sure I’d have a gripe with Izumi’s parents if they were given more to do, but over-all, I really liked all of these characters. I’ll admit that Ryouma does test me a little, but that just leads me to a few other cliches.
First of all, there’s the love at first sight cliche, which Ryouma falls neatly into. He’s been in love with a certain girl since they were 8, and while that would normally earn an eyeroll at best from me, the fact that his love for her carried him through the entertainment industry... A field of work where you NEED to hold onto some form of innocense to survive, let alone succeed... I can give it a pass. Plus, with Izumi turning out to be a gut, and Ryouma being unable to shake the feeling anyway, it does feel like Love Stage is having fun with this cliche, rather than using it straightforwardly. Ryouma’s feelings are portrayed as crazy, but not the stalker kind of crazy... The romantic kind, where you know your love for someone makes no sense, and is totally out ofl eft field, but you’ll still stay true to who you are and who you love, the world be damned if it stands in the way. This is probably the best usage of love at first sight that I’ve seen in an anime, let alone in a yaoi, but unfortunately, Ryouma falls into other cliches that are much harder to forgive.
A constant occurrence in yaoi is rape. It may not be carried all the way through, but it’s there, from gay characters in non-yaoi shows that speak in exaggerated falsetto and frequently make unwelcome advances on straight characters, to attempted rape that’s played for laughs, to actual rape that’s romanticized and sparks a new level of romance as a result. And yes, there is a point where this show gets... Rapey. I won’t tell you exactly what happens, or the reason that it happens, but three episodes in, Ryouma does something, and he winds up losing control of himself and coming within a hair’s breadth of doing something he’d never be able to take back, before he’s interrupted and the unforgivable thing is just barely prevented, but here’s where Love Stage takes a major step away from the worst of it’s genre... What he does is considered to be a bad thing. The writers don’t try to sweep it under the rug, oh no, it’s painted exactly the way it should be, and it’s this turning point that really got me invested in this pairing.
After the... thing... Ryouma feels genuine remorse, and he has to apologize and earn Izumi’s trust back before he can even THINK about pursuing a relationship. He’s accepted his feelings by this point, but Izumi is a much harder sell, and even though he buries the hatchet with him... Mostly out of pity... It isn’t until Ryouma proves his devotion by getting involved with Izumi’s lifelong passion, helping him along towards his goal, and doing everything in his power to encourage him and build him back up when things don’t go the way he wanted. He slips back into problematic territory when he kisses Izumi a bunch of times in his sleep... I mean, come on, seriously? But he earns those points back when he refuses a carnal offer that he can tell Izumi doesn’t really mean. I won’t say whether or not these two wind up together in the end, but... Isn’t that alone a breath of fresh air? The fact that you can’t tell? Yeah, they have numerous encounters, both as friends and as romantic prospects, but the outcome of their time together is just as engaging as the journey there.
Love Stage is available from Sentai Filmworks. The original manga by Eiki Eiki is available from SuBLime. The original light novel is not available stateside, but the series can also be viewed on Crunchyroll. There’s an OVA episode on the DVD that I highly recommend, and as for what it’s about, let’s just say it’s more of Ryouma being a pain in the ass.
Now, after all the time I’ve spent talking about how good this title is compared to other titles in the Boys’ Love genre, and how it deconstructs and subverts a bunch of troublesome tropes, the reaction I’m probably getting from most readers is... So what? Even if it’s a good yaoi, it’s still a yaoi, and most of the anime fanbase will have no interest in that kind of content. Well, there is one thing about Love Stage that I feel gives it a more universal appeal: This show is fucking hilarious. I was hooked right from the first time that Shougo manipulated Izumi with Lala Lulu merchandise, and Ryouma’s reaction to Izumi’s gender reveal was just icing on the cake. It’s visual style works extremely well with it’s comedic timing, which follows a healthy combination of gag and character-based jokes, most of which hit their mark. It was almost enough for me to forgive some of the more problematic scenes, including Ryouma’s missteps and an attempted gang-bang towards the end that came right the fuck out of nowhere. It’s a yaoi, so it’s going to be a mixed bag, but it’s a bag I won’t mind reaching into a few more times. I give Love Stage an 8/10.
Is no one going to mention how ONE OF THE MAIN CHARACTERS NEARLY RAPES THE OTHER???
That ruined the whole anime for me. The characters are acting like it's not a big deal! It's infuriating!!! I will not ship a man who nearly raped another one WITH the victim. That's just fucked up.
Sure, at first the older brother was mad, but he saw that the rapist was seemingly depressed the next day, and THAT got rid of his anger. BULLSHIT. How dare they normalize rape instead of condemning it? There's no warning that it's going to happen, either. It just RANDOMLY happens. I can't even
think of a reason as to WHY this led to the man trying to rape the other. This scene is completely unnecessary and, my best guess, is only inserted for "fan service."
Assault isn't fucking okay. Stop trying to normalize it in the LGBT+ community. You won't see this shit anywhere else in anime.
Love Stage!! is a pretty good surprise in the BL genre. It's not incredible but gives us a fair love story and enjoyable characters.
The setting is common and overused in both shounen ai and shoujo manga, but it's not too long and unfolds well. Once you get into it, it can be pretty heart warming and has its inspirational moments. It's a relief that there are no dub/non-con in this story (and it is pretty sad that I have to mension this in my BL reviews).
Pretty good for a BL anime, and still very pink.
The opening song,
LΦVEST by SCREEN mode is a cheerful and happy tune, not unlike every other j-pop songs you could have heard in animes so far.
I admit it... I started watching LS!! because I knew Hirakawa Daisuke and Yonaga Tsubasa (respectively Rei Ryugazaki and Nagisa Hazuki in Free!) were acting in it. It was nice to hear their voices in the same anime again. Overall the voice acting is good.
The characters aren't especially well written, but they come off as funny and enjoyable. They all have a little something that makes them likable in the end, and it is all we can ask for. I especially feel for Izumi, the main character.
Yes! a decent BL love story! It's common and unoriginal but it keeps its promises.
If you want to watch a cheesy BL story, Love Stage!! is a pretty good choice. It's short and nice. Don't expect a masterpiece and you will be pleased with what this anime has to offer.
this is the first yaoi anime I have ever watched and I want to admit it was very good. I thought that this anime would be uninteresting and the plot would be very bad but actually it was not. You may not be a yaoi fan but if you love romance animes you would enjoy this too.
The story is about a major otaku Izumi Sena who just entered college and wants to become a mangaka like his idol Saotome (the writer of Lalalulu).
ten years ago when he was 8 his parents were making appearance in a advertisement "Happy Wedding". this was the
first time when he met Ryouma. (The girl for the commercial couldn't show up because her flight was delayed, so Izumi's mother volenteered him for the missing girl's role. Izumi ended up doing the commercial with Ryouma, and ended up dressing like a young female. )
Ryouma fell for Izumi because he thought "she" was a girl. After 10 years they were shooting this commercial again. And this was the time when Ryouma found out that Izumi was a boy but after this his feelings didn't change. He continued loving Izumi and even confessed to him saying that he didn't care that he was a boy he still loved him. But at that time Izumi didn't love him so they remained as friends but after a short time Izumi fell in love with Ryouma and they ended as a couple.
maybe my review wasn't the best but the story is quite good. I would give it 8. Also the art was very good I liked it very much and I would give it 9. I enjoyed the opening and the ending very much too. Also I loved character's development.
The anime had many comedy/romance moments and some dirty ( not too much ) moments which every fangirl (like me) would enjoy. So for the enjoyment I would give 8.
The only thing I didn't like about the anime was that it was only 10 episodes ( I know that it had Ova too) but it would be better if it had more episodes.
But I am a big romance fan and as my first yaoi anime it was quite very good . I recommend you this anime.
- sorry for my bad english. also this was my first preview so don't judge me-
I had very mixed feelings about this anime. While as a whole I didn't hate it, i spent a lot of my time screaming at my computer and I doubt I'd be able to recommend it to most of my friends. That being said, I'd be lying if I said it doesn't have good points. The artwork is detailed and interesting without being overwhelming, the music is good, The voice acting is nothing short of brilliant, I like the characters and *most* of the story works really well.
But it's big problem is it's use of sexual assault in the story. I actually would've been
alright with this had the character been properly called out for his actions and faced some kind of consequence for his actions, since a character with flaws doesn't fault the story itself if used correctly. But this doesn't happen, us as the audience aren't shown that this character has learned from his actions and are expected to root for him. It really says something about a love story when you can't morally root for the main pair.
I thoroughly enjoyed this anime even though I'm usually not usually into this genre.
TO keep it brief, the reason why I liked it is because it is so funny, there are moments when you are rooting for the supporting characters as well as the main, and the characters are generally well developed in just the mere 10 episodes.
Because I am not usually into this genre, I found it a little bit uncomfortable in the intimate scenes, but if you substitute Izumi for a girl, it would be totally fine. However making him a guy makes it all the more hilarious. But yes, I would
warn people who are not usually into this genre that it may make you feel a little uncomfortable in some minute parts but all in all, please give it a go, it was very fun to watch. :)
If you are looking for a sweet, light-hearted love story, then regardless of your gender go for it, it will surely put a smile on your face. But if you are looking for some love story full of all types of emotion and struggles people go through when in a relationship then definitely Love Stage isn't for you.
Story: The story is full of sweet and funny moments, there is hardly any scene that can make you sad or feel pity for the characters. Everything worked out well for the lead characters well, and I found this approach quite unrealistic. In a relationship, struggle becomes part
of your life but our characters hardly faced any struggle. And I think that's what make this anime so lovable and cheerful. It really puts a smile on your face.
Characters: The lead characters are surely awesome but the same can't be said for the minor characters. The feminine features of Izumi are well justified and you can actually feel love busting out of Ryouma. Anybody in love can easily relate to Ryouma and that's what makes him the best character from this anime.
I like to think of myself as being open minded, but this show just has some effect on me, I just watch it and get all hot and bothered, sweat trails down my armpits all the way down to my underwear since that's all I'm wearing while I watch this show and I just get drenched.
Now I'm not saying this show will make you go gay, but it's one of the best romantic comedies ever made even without the yaoi aspect in place, there's a few scenes some closed minded kids might think is close to rape -but as we say in the west, "if
it doesn't go in, it didn't happen", and so I'll start off by letting you know this is one of those series that gets better as you go, you'll watch episode 1 and be like "eh this is like a 7.5/10", then you'll see after the credits and think of that one asian guy in school yelling "Ha! Gayyyy!" from that movie none of us have actually seen. Then you'll go on to watch the next 2 episodes and just think to yourself "I like where this is going", then you watch a few more episodes and you're just like "Oh man!" and then you think to yourself "If this has a good ending I'm gonna shit myself...." because it's just that good. You finally get to the last episode, episode 10, everything is totally wrapped up and you just fell in love with 2 men and don't even feel gay about it and you're just left with this sense of fulfillment with your life.....then you find out there's an OVA literally titled "Episode 11" and you're in shock and dismay at the same time because you just hope they don't screw up those last 10 episodes for you, and then the planets align and a comet shoots by during a meteor shower and you snap a picture of them all in the same frame to have the OVA not only continue the story where it left off, but to make it even better....I know it doesn't seem possible, but this is the show you'll watch and right as you finish it you'll be covered in a thick white sticky substance and everyone will come in the room and you'll have to explain that there was a spooky ghost and it got ectoplasm everywhere like Randy Marsh from South Park.
Go ahead, go watch it, but if you don't watch the OVA after the series you might as well give up on life.
its about a guy who meets a guy that is dressed up as a girl. then the guy falls in love with the guy that is dressed up. when the guy realises that the girl was a guy all along he still loves him as much as he always had. The main story is following the girly guy discovering if he wants to be gay or not.
Nol complaints and great voice acting
All the characters have amazing personalities and amazing character progressions especially the two male leads
Absolute guilty pleasure. It was so funny and the tension between the male leads
It wasn't fan-servicy like i expected it to be. It never went overboard with the love scenes or anything. It had the perfect balance between love and comedy!! definitely recommend to those who love romance and comedy anime!
I have seen many a yaoi genre anime. In fact, maybe around 30-35% of anime I have seen falls in the yaoi category. But, I have to say that Love Stage!! has been my absolute favorite.
Most yaoi or yuri go ahead and jump into the relationship aspect and everything that comes along to being in a relationship. However, nothing "touchy touchy" came along till the very end. The creators made sure to throw plenty of character development in which I looooooove. So if you enjoy an actual story and character development, but also want something that has a relationship aspect to it, this yaoi anime
is for you. I gave this anime a 10 overall for those reasons.
However, the art and sound could've been better. Admittedly, it wasn't my most favorite artwork I've seen. BUT, for a yaoi anime, it was decent. That's why it received a 7.
The music in it wasn't very catchy or enticing which is why I gave that part a 6.
The character and enjoyment obviously catches my attention more than anything else in an anime. If there isn't good character development, or none at all, and if it isn't enjoyable, it is automatically dropped. This wasn't the case for Love Stage!! I was captured all the way through the ten episodes. I was upset to find that there were only ten; however, which is a little disappointing only because I really got into the show.
All in all, Love Stage!! was highly enjoyable and even a straight male would enjoy it. If you haven't watched yet, I recommend you start it soon. (I've watched it twice.)
So recently I finished a re-watch of this show a few weeks back and only now I'm reflecting it. So what can I say about the show? I really, really liked it.
From the yaoi anime I've seen (JunJou Romantica) there seems to be a format with yaoi that goes on. There's the obvious seme and uke, the fact that the uke may not like the seme or the other way around, and there's a LOT of pinning down.
Love Stage fulfills these criteria, yes, but I feel that has a charm that surpasses JunJou Romantica at least. The humor definitely springs from the main character
Izumi Sena, who gets wrapped up in his family's popular lifestyle, when instead he wants to be a mangaka. Plus, his Mom's name is Nagisa - and the seiyuu for Izumi voiced Nagisa in Free!. Rei is also here, with the same seiyuu too!
The roles for who the seme and the uke are in this show is Ryouma as the Seme and Izumi as Uke. This is obvious in their appearances; Ryouma is a young, fit acting superstar. Izumi is an incredibly femmy young adult who has the ability to look EXACTLY like a girl with makeup and proper clothes - as expected with any closed, shut in otakus, I suppose. Their relationship is off to a rocky start, but then there's the whole thing with another trope I notice in yaoi anime, the eventual realization of being a homosexual. Ryouma begins with Izumi thinking he was a girl, but after a mishap with Izumi's brother (who's also gay) he horribly finds out he was a dude all along!
Of course, as time ravels on, he continues to think of Izumi. This leads him to eventually have Izumi pinned down naked. Unlike with JunJou Romantica, the sex here is stylized and not as explicit. The manga, however, is extremely explicit, to which I HIGHLY recommend it on that basis! Either way, Izumi is creeped out by all this but eventually warms up to Ryouma once he does something FOR him! Wow! After buying Ryouma's bought him clothes and food on a date, it's only after he helps with Izumi's manga project is that he realizes he's not a bad guy after all. This struck me as weird on Izumi's character.
Eventually, both parties come to realize their love for one another after some weird trials. For me, this is one of the things I can't credit Love Stage for is the story. It's bothersome that Izumi has to realize his affection for Ryouma after Ryouma has done so much for him. It seems like to me he doesn't really love him at all. Another thing is how Ryouma even starts to love Ryouma in the first place. He latched onto a picture of a shota Izumi dressed as a little girl for 10 YEARS! Then in the manga, the story dives an irritatingly cheap plot line that'll be disclosed later.
After all that rambling, what can I say overall? Well, Love Stage has a plot line that, while not frustratingly dumb or anything, is a bit questionable but still pulls off it's cute moments. Izumi and Ryouma aren't shallow and underdeveloped, they're real entertaining but still have their times when you want to seriously ask, "Why?" on what they do. Side characters like Rei and Izumi's brother, another couple in the show, are also good. Not dished to the side or anything, they work into the plot without being an annoyance half the time.
I recommend this show, definitely should watch it if you're considering it.
It's hard to rate an anime when there's very little basis for comparison (the genre being extremely limited) but I’ll do my best. Love Stage is, while definitely a cut above the majority of the genre, still not what I’d consider a remarkable anime. The characters are one-dimensional, their motives are dubious at best, and they show little to no growth throughout, all of which is a typical and recurring issue in yaoi/shounen-ai series.
I think the most disappointing aspect of the series is that it had a lot of potential – potential which was never realized because of
the obvious effort put into it to keep it from being ‘serious.’ In the process, important themes were left unexplored, critical issues were hand-waved, and overall, it just left the impression that the creator…didn’t really care. Not about the characters, or the plot, or about making the story believable. And it wasn’t.
If you’re wondering why I gave the series an overall rating of ‘6.5/7’ when I’ve done nothing but criticize it so far, it’s because I went in with very low expectations, as I tend to do when it comes to this genre. I didn’t take it seriously, didn’t anticipate character depth or development, and didn’t hold high expectations of gaining anything from it (i.e., a moral, sense of awe, etc) aside from amusement.
Love Stage did have its pros: the art was decent (I do adore Zaou Taishi’s style, but you can tell they were on a budget with this one), the audio was clear, the voice-overs were very fitting, and the subs were sharp. There was nothing special about the opening/ending music, including the video(s), but it wasn’t terrible. Typical J-pop songs, though certainly less catchy than others.
The romance was…cute, if you disregard the attempt at sexual assault between the main characters at the beginning (which, at least, the author did attempt to address and treat with due seriousness, though she didn’t really succeed, and I believe that stems from different cultural attitudes towards rape more than anything). The attempted assault towards the end of the series was also tasteless, but unfortunately it’s common in shounen-ai/yaoi as a plot device.
TL;DR – Overall, it was a decent anime, for its genre, and I’d recommend it anyone who 1) is in the mood for a cheesy BL-romcom with little in the way of substance, 2) doesn’t have assault-related triggers, 3) loves gay stererotypes (i.e., seme/uke), romance cliches, and/or crossdressing, and 4) likes watching cute boys kissing other cute boys.
This is the first yaoi type anime I watched and so I really enjoyed it.
The beginning shows you a little bit about Izumi and when he was younger. It's exciting and a little funny.
But since this is a first for me, I can't really say if it's one of the best out there. It's probably not very original in the anime world but it is a pretty interesting story.