What’s the show? LOVE STAGE!! (2014).
Love Stage!? Let me guess, another anime about cute girls doing cute things and being thespians? Um, not quite.
Well then, what’s it about? It’s the age old tale of boy meets girl! Izumi Sena is the child of a showbiz power couple. At the age of 8, Izumi’s parents shoot a commercial for Happy Weddings magazine. On set a child actress did not show up so lil Izumi was thrust into the spotlight with a staring role as a super kawaii flower girl. This is when Izumi first meets Ryouma Ichijou, who plays a page boy in the commercial. 10 years later, and Ryouma is a super star and the Happy Weddings crew want him back to be the groom this time! He has one condition, that Izumi returns to be the bride.
Sounds kinda boring… Oh I forgot to say, Izumi is actually a boy.
Wait what?! Izumi is a boy!
Izumi is a boy? Yup! Izumi is a boy, and when transformed into a flower girl he leaves a lasting impression on young Ryouma. 10 years later, Izumi is a magical girl loving otaku who does not want to enter the family show-business and would prefer to be a manga artist. Problem is, his skills are not quite there. A bribe with a limited edition body pillow later, and Izumi is playing the bride in the reunion commercial and Ryouma is smitten all over again.
You watched a cross dressing love focused anime? Izumi is revealed to be a boy pretty early on.
And Ryouma was upset, and the relationship ended and then the series became something about cute girls doing cute things? Why does it need to be a series about cute girls doing cute things? This is a love story and sexual awakening of two boys that had not considered they may love boys.
Did you just say sexual awakening? Careful sweetie, spoilers.
Sorry I thought you just quoted mainstream pop culture again. My bad. So… is there a ‘best girl’? Not at all. Female characters are side characters in this series, and only there to serve as vehicles for the best boys to move forward (Izumi’s mother) or highlighting personality (Izumi’s magical girl crush Lala-Lulu).
I’m really confused. This is not something you normally watch. WHERE ARE THE CUTE GIRLS DOING CUTE THINGS? I can vary up my watching habits! Boy’s Love is a large genre in anime, and doesn’t get the recognition and appreciation it deserves. Like most anime genres, there are some winners and some losers, and this is certainly a winner. The characters are well thought out and not one-dimensional beings and this includes the other leading men Rei Sagara, the Sena family manager, and Shougo Sena, Izumi’s rockstar older brother.
I cannot believe I am going to ask you this… best boy? Izumi! He’s the ‘not really that black’ black sheep of the family, who is loved insanely regardless (including by his older brother Shougo who may actually love him a little too much). Watching him try his best to chase his dream, then struggle with his non predicated first crush is all to relatable. Plus, he is a nerdy little otaku. We need to appreciate our otaku brethren!
Your best boy is the main boy? I cannot help it! I fell for him just as hard as Ryouma did! But all the guys are great, and I have a massive soft spot for the family manager Rei. Rei is Izumi’s advisor of the heart, and the compassion and reassurance he provides for Izumi is perfection.
So you are recommending a ‘boy’s love’ anime… it’s like I’ve woken up in bizzaro world… Absolutely! ‘LOVE STAGE!!’ does boy’s love right. ‘LOVE STAGE!!’ beautifully explores the story of two boys falling in love with heart and humour and without falling into negative tropes about homosexuality, which are all too often present in anime. It delivers an amazingly real conversation about the worries of having sex for the first time with sincerity, compassion and a dash of humour that anyone can relate no matter their sexual orientation.
Right then… Final Score? Oh no, I don’t like to score things.
Wait what? That’s all you ever do. No, I don’t and it’s something that drives Cactus Matt up the wall. Him and his bloody lists!
Wait. You’re not Cactus Matt? Then who the hell have I been talking to this whole time? His “irl waifu” as he likes to describe me on here.
Ah… And suddenly the world has meaning again! Although… I thought I was a construct of his mind? But if you’re not him then who am I a construct of, THIS IS TOO MUCH TO PROCESS! Try not to think about it too much. He’s gonna be annoyed if I do not return you in one piece.
Well today has been a mindtrip. Anything more to say Cactus Matt’s “waifu”? Happy April Fool’s Day! But don’t worry Cactus Matt will return tomorrow for your regularly scheduled doses of mindless cute girl adoration and general pervertedness.