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. Ten 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 ten years earlier, thinking Izumi was a girl.
At the end of Episode Six, we saw Izumi give in and tell Ichijo he can do what he wants to him. Ichijo takes the invitation at first, but after seeing Izumi cry, he backs off. It turns out that Ichijo is frustrated, and he tells Izumi not to mock his feelings.
During the episode, though, Ichijo does redeem himself when he takes Izumi’s manga manuscript and is actually able to get the manga author of Lala-Lulu to take a look at it and critique it personally. I was pleased to see that while the mangaka said that Izumi’s skill level isn’t there yet, the passion behind the work comes through clearly. He also encourages Izumi to get some more life experience and see more of the world so he can bring that to bear in his work. Like we learned before, Ichijo had gone through similar rejections while working his way up in show business, and he didn’t want Izumi to give up without trying for his dream. This action was definitely one of the more redeemable things that Ichijo has done in the series up to this point. Ichijo is definitely softening as a character, and he’s starting to become a little more likable when compared to what he was like in the early episodes.
But before all of that, we see Izumi have a dream where he’s obviously having an inner conflict; this conflict is played out in the world of Lala-Lulu. It was interesting to see him wrestle with hardening his heart or to try to make it past the rejection he’d gotten during Episode Six. We also get to see Izumi realize how he’s taken advantage of Ichijo’s feelings for him, as well as the fact that Rei actually cares about him more than Izumi had realized.
One of the most surprising things in this episode happened after Izumi saw the comments from the mangaka for Lala-Lulu. Izumi decides for himself that he wants to go into show business, so he can push himself to work harder and to also gain more life experience. The way Izumi had fought this so long, it actually came as a surprise when he announced this to Ichijo. Now I’m really curious to see what kind of show business career Izumi will end up having, and how this will affect the relationship he has with Ichijo.
Also, at the end of this episode, it’s hinted that maybe Izumi is starting to develop some feelings to reciprocate what Ichijo feels for him. How will this change the dynamic between these two characters?
I have to say that this was one of the better episodes of Love Stage!! that I’ve seen. Hopefully the remaining episodes of the series can be as strong as this one was.
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