Love Stage!!

Love Stage!!

IMG_0953.PNGDaydreaming college student Izumi Sena is the black sheep of his family. With a model for a mother, a singer for a father, and a brother who fronts one of the most popular bands around, you’d think Izumi would be destined for stardom. Despite being born into a family of stars, Izumi has no desire to be in the spotlight, and his only dream is to become a world-class manga artist. But in an unexpected turn of events, Izumi finds himself not only pulled onto the set of a commercial, but forced to dress as a girl!

 

IMG_0954.PNGIn case the situation wasn’t awkward enough, Izumi stumbles into his costar, the handsome Ryoma Ichijo, and it’s love at first sight. Or, at least it is for Ryoma, who is so convinced by Izumi’s costume, that when the shoot is over, he makes it his life mission to track down the “actress” that sets his heart aflutter. But when Ryoma discovers Izumi’s secret, will it be sparks that fly or fists? And will Izumi be able to avoid his destiny as a superstar, or will he be sucked into the same fame-filled life as the rest of his family?

IMG_0724.PNGLove Stage!! is based on the yaoi manga series written by Eiki Eiki and illustarted by Taishi Zaou. It’s a typical coming-of-age rom-com where Izumi is pressed to make a decision about whether he should follow his parents’ ideas of beginning his career or stay true to his own dream about becoming a manga artist (even though his drawing abilities are downright diabolical). What gives this typical plot a twist that that love interest Ryoma is a super-celebrity and the obvious gender-identity confusion that strikes both of them.

For the most part, Love Stage!! was an absolute treat to watch. The character art was simply gorgeous. I was captivated by Izumi’s eyes as soon as I saw them – no wonder everyone adores him. All of the characters (particularly the guys) have something strikingly attractive about them and had their own personalities right from the very beginning. This wasn’t all, though – they actually do things and aren’t, literally, just pretty faces. The plot is detailed, but not so confusingly complex that it’s not believable, and is an interesting love story. I have to admit, I’m no seasoned pro when it comes to yaoi, but I appreciated it on the level that is was a cute and fun anime as well as considering if any of the more poignant scenes contained something more subconsciously thought-provoking.

IMG_0950.PNGUnfortunately, the only thing that stopped me really getting into this one was Ryoma. There was something I just didn’t like about the guy. I couldn’t really relate to his character because sometimes it felt like he was four people rolled into one. First he was angry, then he was sad, then he was maniacally sexually aggressive and then he went completely passive. I didn’t really see him coming to terms with his identity anywhere near as clearly as I did with Izumi, who’s progression was a lot more gradual and, I think, believable.

However, Love Stage!! was a great love story with a little bit of everything thrown in: catchy music, pretty characters, plot twists, romance, lots of drama and plenty of glamour.