Love Stage!! 1×5 Review: Just A Little

LS3This anime continues to surprise me with both how absolutely adorable it is and how much each character continues to flesh out week after week. The characters could have been simple two-dimensional beings that exhibit only the cliched trademarks of their type (otaku, rock star, etc), but things are a lot more nuanced than that. Also, every time I watch an episode I have the finale song stuck in my head for at least 30 minutes. I don’t even really like that type of music. But damn, it’s catchy.  This show is magically delightful on so many levels.

LS2My favorite part of the episode is the complete role reversal between the “cool” pop star and the “nerdy” otaku. The pop star, Ryouma, is completely head over heels in love with the nerd, Izumi, who is just really annoyed at the whole situation. Part of Izumi’s frustration probably comes from the fact that being in any sort of relationship with Ryouma is going to put him even further into the world of celebrity against his will. He’s already surrounded by it at home and wants no part of it. When he rejects Ryouma, the pop star makes even more of a scene, attracts more attention, and essentially forces Izumi to relent. I’m not entirely pleased with the forcefulness of these interactions, but I do find the role reversal at the very least entertaining.

Ryouma is becoming more likable, however, despite his forceful tendencies. While he seems to have been initially put off by the whole “nerd” thing, he has come to see it as Izumi’s artistic side and sacrificed his one day off to help Izumi finish his manuscript. I don’t doubt Ryouma’s love in the slightest, even if he’s young and clinging onto something that he latched onto in his childhood. You don’t stay up an entire night and following day to help someone with a hobby you know nothing about unless your feelings for them are genuine. I’m sure there’s some infatuation on his part that’s inspired by his youth, but he’s clearly putting himself out there in ways that he probably wouldn’t have done otherwise.

Now here’s where I get a bit Negative Nancy on you guys. While it seems like most fans were thinking him kissing Izumi repeatedly while he slept was oh so adorable, I’m pretty bummed at the constant themes of dubious consent that this and pretty much all other yaoi/shonen-ai stories inevitably have to fall back on. Yeah, Ryouma is madly in love with Izumi. Yeah, he felt bad about what he did to him earlier and promised he’d never “hurt” him again. Yeah, kisses are pretty innocent. But Izumi was asleep, had no way to consent, and had previously rejected his advances. So while my review here is generally positive, I’d be completely remiss if I didn’t at least point out how screwed up this trope is.

LS4Now that I’ve Negative Nancy’ed this review, I’m going to squee a bit. Who else notices that Shouga and Rei are almost always together? And that they are more present in Izumi’s life than his actual parents? And that they are both extremely protective of him? Because I do, my friend, I do. And I ship those two hard. So hard that I broke down and started reading the manga and yes, my friend, it is canon. If you are enjoying their relationship as much as I am, read the manga. Once again I’m going crazy about a side pairing more than I am the main pairing (Kisa/Yukina from Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi deserve their own spin off, okay?), but I just can’t help it. They are like Izumi’s gay dads. Rei is his Uke mentor and Shouga is the badass Seme that protects his younger brother from other rival Seme popstar. It’s all very weird, very complicated, but very interesting and I’m loving every minute of it.

So another week of Love Stage!! is over and I’m once again enchanted, but frustrated that weeks move so damn slow. My willpower is not strong enough to wait these short breaks out, so I’ll probably soon pass the episodes with my manga reading. I will do my best to keep my anime reviews spoiler-free from what is in the manga, but I just can’t wait anymore. This story is too good.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.


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About the author

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She's contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She's written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.

Comments

  1. If you’ve only gotten your Shougo/Rei fix via the manga, you’re missing out on their actual canon, which can only be read in their novel “Back Stage!!” and is WORLDS away from the tone of the manga. Where the manga is very rom-com and sweet, the novels are much more dramatic and heart-wrenching (and also about 500% smuttier). If you love Shougo and Rei in the anime/manga, you’re doing yourself a disservice not reading their story!

    1. I do believe I recognize your name from scanlations 😉

      I will need to track down the novel because I’m loving their relationship very much.

      1. I won’t link them here, in case you want to keep this relatively professional, but I’m sure they’ll pop up if you just google ‘back stage novel translation’ 🙂 I recommend reading the one at pressbooks.com, as that’s our ‘official’ venue.

        Only the first (of three) has been translated in its entirety. The second is ongoing. All three have been summarized in detail on September’s site, though 🙂

        In all honesty, while I love “Love Stage!!”, Shougo and Rei’s story is so much more engaging and oftentimes heartbreaking (but that just makes the payoff sweeter), so I definitely recommend reading it!

        1. Thank you! We do try to keep illegal content off our site so I appreciate the forethought. I’ve found it. 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading it.

        2. I found it. I read it.

          And, well,

          Image and video hosting by TinyPic

          But that was REALLY good, even if really heart breaking and I look forward to more of it. I always seem to fall for the side pairing in my anime and manga so I’m delighted that this “side pairing” has essentially a spin off of light novels. Well, delighted and sad because, you know, pain, but at least I get to indulge a bit.

          1. Yuuuup, that’s the general response to the novels 8D; They’re really good, but MAN do they put you through the wringer. The novels are actually ahead of the manga, as far as timelines go, so it’s kind of interesting reading the manga and knowing what’s going on with Shougo and Rei in the background…

            1. That’s awesome. So judging by what you said earlier, only the first novel has been translated? Since your name is familiar to me I’m assuming I have you to thank for that. I look forward to the rest. You guys are heroes for translating this stuff for us. I’m on about chapter 11 of the manga right now and now that I’ve read the first novel I’m going to hop back over to the manga. My reviews will no longer be coming from my previously spoiler free perspective. I just couldn’t help myself.

              1. Yup! I’m in charge of the translations for the novel now 🙂 Volume 2 is ongoing, and I generally try to get one installment out a week. All three novels have been summarized in detail (also by me), for anyone who just can’t wait to find out what happens between them.

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