Love Stage!! introduces the audience to Izumi Sena, a college student who dreams of becoming a manga artist in a family where entertainment is the career path of choice. Despite all of the opportunities and offers for help Izumi has received, he declines them all because his heart lay in pursuit of manga; he even joined the Manga Club at school to better his drawing. However, when a magazine approaches Izumi’s family for a redux of a commercial they did ten years ago, Izumi is bribed into participating by his rockstar brother Shogo Sena with an alarm clock programmed to wake him with a personalized message from his favourite anime character. There’s a catch, however, as Izumi must reprise his role as the girl who caught the bride’s bouquet and face his paralyzing stage fright; if he doesn’t, the entire commercial is off. Turns out, the boy from before is none other than Ryoma Ichijo, a popular young actor who was the one who demanded that only the original cast of the commercial be used for the redux.
It’s all a bit ridiculous, but it’s fun and light. The fact that the main character is a recognized otaku with a dream that seems too far out of reach in a life rife with opportunity most would kill for is surprisingly relatable. Sure, it’s a fantasy from the get go, but at the same time Love Stage!! asks a very pertinent question: how do you pursue your dreams when you don’t know where to start? I have a feeling, however, that this is going to be a secondary story thread in this romantic comedy yaoi and yet, I am okay with this. The first episode is full of enough bright characters, pleasant animation, and laughs to pleasantly entertain. It reminds me a bit of Princess Princess, which I also quite enjoyed despite its ridiculous set-up as well.
Given the premise – a cross-dressing bride reuniting with an actor who clearly has a crush that’s lasted ten years (Ryoma introduces himself eagerly with a giant bouquet, if that’s any hint!) – it makes sense that Izumi would be a feminine character… but what happens in the next episodes will further flavor my opinions. How will Love Stage!! navigate the predicament it’s set up for Izumi and Ryoma? I sincerely hope it won’t just be another stereotypical ‘trap’ scenario.
Overall, it’s a fun, fluffy bit of entertainment and I’m looking forward to the conclusion of the commercial’s shoot next episode.