Love Stage!!: Episode 8 – “Love Stage — Men’s Style”

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 Eight focuses on the buildup to Izumi making his show business debut. A lot of the episode is done in a documentary style, complete with narration. Some of the early part of this “documentary” felt like it was a recap episode, since it focused on what we’d seen before that ultimately led to where we are now. It felt so much like a recap that I was convinced this would simply be a recap episode to kill time before moving the story along. Fortunately, I ended up being wrong in that assumption.

My favorite part of the buildup is a scene with Rei, where we get to see an event from his past. It shows how he met Izumi’s father and it explains why Rei is so loyal to the Sena family. While this may have been a relatively short flashback scene for Rei, it conveyed just enough for the audience to understand Rei and his devotion to the family.

The episode ends with Izumi making his debut. Since I saw they had him dress up as the girl from the Happy Wedding commercial, I had thought the series was going in the direction of having Izumi make his debut and building his career as a girl. I know this is going to be a “spoiler,” but I’m glad to see that I was also wrong about that assumption.

From what I’ve seen, there’s apparently only supposed to be 10 episodes. This means there’s only going to be two episodes that focus on Izumi and his show business career. I’m afraid that the ending for this series may not be very satisfactory, because I’m afraid the story may end up being rushed after it progressed naturally up to this point. I’ll keep watching and I hope the series will prove me wrong.

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