Love Stage!! – 02

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Izumi makes it to the photo shoot, has somewhat understandable panic attacks, which only make Ryouma fall for him harder. As he did 10 years before, Ryouma helps calm Izumi down, which also wins a bit of Izumi’s heart. The commercial is filmed and both characters have a strong respect, tipping on affection, for each other. Then Izumi’s secret is blown and Ryouma runs off angry, hurt and sexually confused…

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This week opens with a dream sequence I was way too dim witted to catch onto until it was over and, Man! What a hoot! Cute, artsy sequences, magic girls fighting plant monsters hand me going… and then back we went to the real show and I sure felt sheepish.

Beyond the obvious, this week also gives us a lot more of Shouga, Izumi’s older rock star brother. He pretty much controls Izumi, but not in a bad or creepy way. Shouga’s just the only one who can motivate Izumi in the first place… usually with creepy magic girl body pillows.

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What I liked last week remains the same: the cast is up-beat, nice and positive. Izumi pretty much shrugs off the social chaos of his gender reveal, his parents are supportive and happy regardless, and the family manager is beginning to understand how Izumi works (and cared about Izumi before hand, regardless).

Even Ryouma, who has a totally understandable name-calling freak-out moment after learning Izumi is a boy, also has a serious “What the heck does this actually mean to me?” moment, sans dialog, as he’s driven away by his manager.

I also really really appreciate that the show just jumps right in and reveals Izumi’s gender by the second episode. It tells me the show will be about consequences and “what’s next” more than a when will it all come crashing down house of cards event.

Also, body pillows!

7_ogk

Love Stage!! – 01

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I am RABUJOI’s resident Pessimist Reviewer. I’m impatient, hyper critical, caustic and, as an artist myself, particular about what makes a show visually worth watching. So, it is only fitting that my punishment for trash-talking Rail Wars!, Sailor Moon and Glasslip be to unearth ‘what is good’ about several shows on our B-roster.

My first show is Love Stage!!, a water color style rom-com about Izumi, a directionless, effeminate college boy and his struggles to find an identity within his massively tallented show-biz family.

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Love Stage!! is about consequences, decisions and misunderstandings. You see, 10 years ago Izumi played the ‘little girl who catches the bouquet’ in a wedding commercial and his co-star Ryouma, who was never told Izumi was actually a guy, has carried a torch for Izumi all this time. Fast forward to today and the wedding company wants to film a reunion commercial with the original cast, now with Izumi as the bride to be.

The ensuring chaos is fairly predictable: Izumi obviously doesn’t want to be a trap, his parents want him to take the job because he hasn’t figured out what to do with himself yet, and Ryouma is an episode away from experiencing a serious surprise!

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What is not predictable, and what makes Love Stage!! worth watching, is how Izumi comes to realize his crack-pot dream of becoming a manga artist is never going to happen unless he actually works on it — and he does really start putting work into it. In this way, Izumi himself is the first character to realize his own misunderstanding, and we see him make a decision to correct it and live with the consequences.

What also makes Love Stage!! enjoyable is how sincere and positive all the characters are. Izumi’s parents, while pushy, never shout at him for falling short of their expectations or making poor life choices. Nor does Izumi mope too long over the mess his life has been and the mess his life is about to be. Love Stage!! is just a warm, happy show and I respect that in a sea of otherwise broody or whiny rom-coms.

Also, i swear Izumi’s dad’s mustache is glued onto his face!

7_ogk