Shouga comes to sympothize with Ryouma, who is a gloomy mess and doing poorly at his job. To break Izumi out of his post-rape funk, Rei tells Izumi he’s been molested by a man before and answers a few questions. Izumi feels better and more confident that he isn’t somehow tainted by BL and has an unintended show down with Ryouma, who apologizes and convinces Izumi to stay friends, as long as they take it slow…
This week’s Love Stage does it’s best to move on from last week’s rape-fest. Ryouma is shown as deeply remorceful over his actions (as a rapist), Rei is shon finally comforting Izumi and sharing common ground over the apparent horrors of man-rape in the entertainment management business, and Izumi is shown bouncing back from post-rape-victim-funk when he learns that being aroused while being raped is not the victims fault. More specifically, Rei convinces him that it doesn’t mean he’s gay.
Then Ryouma chases Izumi through the streets to apologize and catches up because Izumi’s escape is blocked by bear-headed sumo wrestlers. They have a lengthy conversation, where Ryouga basically says every hardship he’s ever had (almost all because of Shouga) has been bearable because of his memory/lust for Izumi. Then they share phone numbers and Izumi agrees to stay in touch as long as Ryouma takes it slow.
The disconnect, at least for me, as how LS presents everything. Sometimes, characters respond to the drama like it is: sexual assault. Other times, they take it as just some embarrassing thing a dude did because he was so worked up over a cute fem-boy.
It doesn’t help that the show still throws 4th wall breaking weirdness into the mix like the sumo wrestlers (which would be funny/weird in another show about a less serious topic). It also doesn’t help that LS goes way way way out of it’s way to show Ryouma is a sympathetic character… just makes it even more creepy.
Other reviewers have equated these plot choices as integral to the BL/yaoi genre. That may be true but they seem odd to present if Love Stage’s goal is to present a more approachable version of BL to the audience. I really must wonder how many viewers were repulsed enough to stop watching?
Meanwhile, it is implied that their conversation was over heard by an unknown party, probably up to no good. What will this mean for Ryouma’s career? What will this mean for Izumi’s chances to stay as an anonymous manga loving man-boy-girl? Depends on how much you care about the show anymore, I guess.
For now, I will continue watching. If only to witness the next, off handed, indifferently handled horror it unleashes.