I am a straight male.
This show is pretty good.
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.