Love Stage!!: Episode 6 – “What Kind of Test is That?”

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.

When Rei returns to the Sena’s house in the morning, he notices shoes that belong to a visitor. He’s surprised when he discovers Ichijo is there. Unfortunately, Ichijo is rushing out to meet up with his company president and can’t talk long. All he can say is that he was there to assist Izumi. This phrasing seemed like it was meant to be misunderstood by Rei, and the audience believes he has this misunderstanding with the expression that Rei has. But it turns out that wasn’t the case, though, because we learn that he had thought that Ichijo had assisted with the manga all along. Rei isn’t very happy when he discovers that Ichijo had helped Izumi with his manga, but he is happy about the fact that Izumi finally seems to have a friend.

When Ichijo makes it to the company president’s office, he’s yelled at for being so late. The president berates him so much, he almost forgets the reason why Ichijo was summoned in the first place. While Ichijo did need to be reamed for how late he was, the president has quite a temper. I find it rather surprising that people are willing to be represented by a company run by a man like this, but I guess if you want to get your foot in the door for show business, you have to be willing to put up with someone like this.

As was hinted at the end of Episode Five, paparazzi had snapped pictures of him and Izumi together and that they will be published in a gossip mag with an article. Ichijo calls Rei because he doesn’t know how much about Izumi he can reveal, and Rei rushes over to help out. Unfortunately, the negotiations to bury the story break down, so Rei comes up with the idea of having a press conference to announce that Izumi is a boy and to use that to launch Izumi’s show business career. As expected, Izumi wants nothing to do with show business. In fact, he’s on his way out to submit his manga to the contest. Rei gives Izumi a challenge: if his manga gets a favorable review, he can make his manga artist debut. If not, Izumi will have to make his showbiz debut. Izumi hastily accepts the challenge, which is a decision he comes to regret.

As I expected, the editor who sees Izumi’s entry tells him that he doesn’t have any talent and has no hope in the manga field. Izumi feels defeated, and pathetic sympathy is on display when it starts raining as Izumi leaves the Kadoyama Shoten office. On the one hand, I did feel kind of bad for Izumi because rejection and being told you have no talent by a professional really sucks. However, he’s also heard criticism of his work from others but refused to listen because he was so overconfident about his abilities. This overconfidence could make Izumi a little unlikable at times.

So Izumi turns off his phone and decides not to return home. He’s able to get Ichijo’s home address through his contact information and shows up there unannounced. This section is played for humor, especially when Ichijo walks in on Izumi while he’s taking a bath and gets a nosebleed when he sees Izumi without anything on. Another nosebleed shows up when he sees Izumi in his pajama shirt. Things turn serious the next day when Izumi says he doesn’t want to go home and wants to stay at Ichijo’s for a while. When Ichijo says he loves Izumi and would have a hard time keeping himself from touching Izumi, Izumi appears to give in at the end of the episode.

Ichijo finds himself in a bit a predicament now that Izumi is at his place. Not only does he have to try to restrain himself physically, but the company president had told Ichijo not to be in contact with Izumi. If the company president found out what’s been going on, I’m sure he’d be absolutely pissed off.

And now the question is: how does this story progress from here? Has Izumi really resigned himself to Ichijo’s lust for him? Is he really going to try to stay with Ichijo? Will Rei track them down, and will Izumi be forced to make his show business debut?

According to what I’ve seen, Love Stage!! is only supposed to have 10 episodes. If this is true, that means that we’re already a little over halfway through. With the type of story that’s being told here, I think 10 episodes is the right length. Any more than that, and the story would more than likely be stretched out and wear out its welcome. While Love Stage!! isn’t a bad show, it’s just not quite as strong as most of the other series I’m watching during the Summer 2014 anime season.

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