Love Stage!!: Episode 4 – “But I Do Like You”

Love Stage!! features an otaku named Izumi Sena who was born into a showbiz family. While his family wants him to go into entertainment, Izumi dreams of becoming a manga artist. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the talent that would be needed to pursue his dream. 10 years ago, Izumi found himself placed into a commercial his parents were involved in when a little girl cast for the commercial couldn’t make it, and he was dressed up as a girl. His co-star in that commercial was Ichijo Ryoma, who has gone on to become a very popular actor. When an offer to participate in a 10th anniversary commercial comes up, Izumi is forced to dress up as a girl again to reprise his role. It turns out that Ichijo fell in love with his co-star 10 years earlier, thinking Izumi was a girl.

Episode Four sees Shogo and Ichijo talking about what happened with Izumi after they finish taping the television program that they both appeared on, and Ichijo says he needs to apologize to Izumi. Shogo agrees to let Ichijo see Izumi, but only if Shogo is also there.

Meanwhile, Rei works at getting Izumi to leave his room and go back to school after Izumi locked himself in there after the incident with Ichijo. Rei reveals a shocker when he says he understands what Izumi is going through, and the two of them have a bit of a frank conversation. But this leads Izumi to decide to go back to school.

When Izumi gets to school, he finds a group of girls crowded around. Shogo and Ichijo are standing outside, waiting for Izumi. Ichijo sees Izumi, who runs off to get away, and Ichijo chases him. Shogo is separated from them when the girls in the crowd demand his autograph.

Ichijo eventually catches up with Izumi. He gets down on his knees in front of Izumi and says he wants to apologize. When Izumi agrees to hear him out, Ichijo says he needs to make preparations and takes Izumi to a fashionable area of the city to get his hair styled and to get him more stylish clothes. As I saw this unfolding, I couldn’t help but think that Ichijo was acting like a bit of a shallow jerk. Why did Ichijo feel the need to make Izumi look more fashionable in order to get an apology from Ichijo? It felt more like a selfish desire than actually trying to help Izumi, who didn’t ask for this help in the first place.

Ichijo gives Izumi an explanation for how his career had gone after doing the commercial 10 years earlier, which included being treated awfully by some of the producers he worked with during the time that he was begging for work after he got a little older. It turns out Ichijo liked the little girl he worked with in the commercial so much for so long, it was her smile that helped him get through those rough times. We also learn why Ichijo hates Shogo so much.

While I understand that Ichijo had a rough time, it was still no excuse for what he did to Izumi back in Episode Three. Fortunately, Ichijo also realizes this and issues a heartfelt apology. Ichijo then admits that even though he knows Izumi is a guy, he’s still in love with him. The episode ends with Izumi agreeing to be friends with Ichijo, and that they need to be texting buddies first. But with the way Ichijo was acting about getting Izumi’s number, I have a feeling that he’s going to act like a lovesick puppy and be texting Izumi way too often.

Yes, we definitely seem to be headed into boys’ love territory with this series. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. It’s all going to come down to how that aspect is handled. The main thing I don’t want to see is any more scenes like the one in Episode Three where Ichijo tried to physically force himself onto Izumi. I’m interested in seeing how this story will end up progressing over the course of the series.

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