Love Stage!! is an anime based on a manga written by Eiki Eiki and illustrated by Taishi Zao. The anime is produced by J.C. Staff, and is directed by Ken’ichi Kasai. As of this writing, Crunchyroll holds the North American streaming rights for Love Stage!!
Izumi Sena is the main character of the series. He’s born into a family of celebrities: his mother is major actress in both films and TV dramas, his father is a singer who starred in musicals and is now the owner of a talent agency called Sena-Pro, and his brother Shogo is the vocalist for a rock band. Izumi has no interest in showbiz, and he’s an otaku who wants to become a manga artist. His parents, along with their manager, Rei Sagara, keep trying to push Izumi into going into entertainment.
Ten years ago, when Izumi was a child, his parents starred in a commercial for a bridal magazine called Happy Wedding. The little girl who was supposed to appear in the commercial didn’t show up because her flight got canceled, so Izumi’s mother suggests dressing Izumi up as a girl. The director loved how cute he looked, so Izumi ended up starring opposite a boy named Ichijo Ryoma. Ichijo has now become a wildly popular actor.
Sena-Pro is approached by Happy Wedding magazine for a 10th anniversary commercial that would include all of the actors from the original commercial. Izumi wants nothing to do with it, and asks if they could get a girl who looks like him. He’s told that Ichijo has said he will only do the commercial if the original girl comes back. After having some pressure put on him by his older brother, Izumi agrees to do it; he looks at it as a chance to try cosplaying.
We learn that Ichijo has been interested in the girl he starred with in the Happy Wedding commercial all this time, so we know that hijinks could potentially be in store. We get to see the filming for the commercial near the end of the episode, and it appears there’s something in the script that managed to escape Rei’s attention until during the filming that causes a rather awkward moment for Izumi.
So what will Izumi do after this commercial is done filming? Will he continue posing as a girl, or will he end up revealing his true identity to Ichijo? And how would Ichijo react to this, especially since we know he’s been carrying a torch for him as a girl? In the opening credits, we do see Izumi as a boy holding hands with Ichijo, so could this series be headed in the boys’ love direction? Only time will tell on all of those questions.
I do feel kind of bad for Izumi. His family is pressuring him to do something with his life that he really doesn’t want to do, yet he doesn’t truly have the talent that it would take to pursue his dream of becoming a manga artist. Whenever he tries to draw the main character of his favorite manga series, Magical Girl Lala-Lulu, he can only make crudely drawn pictures.
Love Stage!! definitely leans more toward the comedic side. However, from what I’ve seen so far, focusing on the comedic elements appears to be working for the series.
After watching the first episode of Love Stage!!, it appears there could be potential for this series. I’m looking forward to seeing Episode Two to see how this story will continue and develop.
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