I’m assuming you’re here because you loved Love Stage just as much as I did! But in case you wandered in here without watching it, here’s a little recap:
Love Stage is a short BL RomCom between an otaku boy and a famous actor. Izumi is the youngest of a family of entertainers and he is pushed into the acting business, which is how he meets Ryouma, who has been in love with him for 10 years. How, you say? Well as a child, Izumi played the role of a little girl for a commercial and ever since, Ryouma fell in love with his smile… but believed he was a girl all this time! When he finds out the truth about his long-time crush, the BL starts to bloom!
In fact, Love Stage is a slow paced love story of two straight guys turning gay for eachother because of their emotional and physical attraction. Since the series is only 10 episodes and one OVA I will break it down in episode sets. Let’s fangirl over this super-adorable BL couple from Love Stage!! Izumi + Ryouma BL scenes!
1st Moment - Episodes 1~3: The cat is out of the bag! or... the elephant is?
The first episode is only to wrap up the back story between our protagonists, no BL scenes here. In the second episode we already get to see the first kiss between Izumi and Ryouma but it's not quite BL yet! They were just acting and of course Ryouma thought he was a girl. We do get, however, a hint that Izumi’s big brother Shougo and the family manager Rei may share some romance as well. By the end of this episode Ryouma discovers that Izumi is really a guy when Shougo literally lifts Izumi’s dress showing him his adored little bro’s p***s but we just see a super hilarious small, cute, pink elephant stampede running towards Ryouma!
Episode 3 starts to slowly introduce the BL into the series when Ryouma can't stop thinking about Izumi even knowing he’s a guy. Fighting past his manly pride, he has the great idea that he must see Izumi naked so that his mind can once and for all see that he is a boy and that his love cannot be.
Ryouma actually goes to Izumi’s house and tries to take his clothes off by force! Izumi fights against it, but gets pinned down to the sofa! Oh gosh~ Guess what? Ryouma actually gets turned on by Izumi’s crying puppy face and now it starts looking like rape! He loses it and starts kissing Izumi all over admitting he wants to “eat him up!” By now, Izumi seems to not be fighting so much anymore and then...
Shougo comes into the scene and stops them, buu.
2nd Moment - Episodes 4~6: Sweet indecisions.
In the 4th episode Izumi calls himself a BL and admits that he has been aroused by the incident with Ryouma! At the same time, Rei vaguely admits he has been in a physical relationship with a guy too! Ryouma starts to act like an overly attached girl because he can't forget his love for Izumi even knowing he’s a guy (in fact, he thinks that as a guy, he’s the cutest thing ever). At the end of the episode, there is a super cute and honest love confession from Ryouma to Izumi but Izumi only agrees to become text buddies because he feels pity for Ryouma.
By the 5th episode, Izumi starts to see some good in Ryouma and after they finish some manga drawings, Izumi falls asleep exhausted and Ryouma steals several kisses in a super cute way! Aww! To make things better, in the next episode, after Izumi’s manga gets rejected he decides to run away from home and ends up in Ryouma’s house and begs him to keep it a secret.
After a funny bath scene and the mandatory exaggerated nosebleed from Ryouma, things start to get serious when he admits that he cannot resist touching Izumi if he’s in his bed. Izumi, not yet wanting to go back home says to go for it if that’s what it takes!
3rd Moment - Episodes 7~8: I kissed a boy and I liked it. Still bro-zoned him.
The 7th episode starts with some yaoi action as Ryouma gets the green-light from Izumi! Although they’re already in bed and everything looks good, Ryouma decides to stop because Izumi is actually sobbing a little and this is not how Ryouma wants it to be! He wishes for it to be mutual attraction, but secretly Izumi is actually disappointed they didn't do it! Maybe he already was developing an emotional connection with Ryouma?
Later we see another kind of BL when Rei shows his motherly love for Izumi; he was deeply concerned for Izumi’s well-being. This episode is kind of the climax of the series because of what Ryouma does. He take’s Izumi’s rejected manga folder and makes Saotome-sensei review it, sign it and draw Lala-Ruru on it making Ryouma’s image go up 101% in Izumi’s eyes. This makes Izumi confess his honest feelings for Ryouma, but he BRO-ZONED him! Ouch!
Ryouma later kisses him to let him know he loves him as a man and not a brother. Smooth move! And oh, what’s this? Izumi is not refusing his kisses! After this, he realizes he kind of loves Ryouma as a man too.
The 8th episode starts with this backdrop. Izumi feels love for Ryouma but want’s to brush it away because he’s certain that he likes girls like Lala-Lulu. But as he is dwelling on his mixed feelings he gets super excited to get the regular morning text message from Ryouma. Later he decides to start his debut as an actor and Ryouma calms his nerves with more kisses! These two are adorable!
4th Moment - Episode 9: He loves me, he loves me not.
Thanks to the debut, Izumi becomes instantly famous and now Ryouma thinks the whole world is his rival in terms of getting Izumi’s affection. Little does he know that Izumi is locked up in his room fangirling over Ryouma and hoarding all the Ryouma-themed merchandise he can. Rin confronts him and asks him directly if he likes Ryouma because his feelings seem so clear. Regardless of what Izumi said, Rin approves of the relationship.
Izumi is relieved to hear that his BL relationship is accepted. Izumi goes to the set where Ryouma is filming a drama and everyone starts to praise him and touch him so Ryouma gets super jealous and snatches him away to another room. Ryouma looks his best when jealous, right!? He pins Izumi down to the floor right away and asks him what kind of relationship they share, because he is scared that someone might pull him away from his arms! Kyaa! As Izumi is about to reply, Ryouma collapses because of a fever! How cliche!
Later on, he’s locked up in his room to research how to handle his feelings with the best information resource an otaku can find; reading a TON of BL manga. Rei goes to console him, like the good mother figure he is, and convinces him to tell him everything. So Izumi just goes ahead and asks him if a sexual relationship between guys hurts!! Rei tells him that it might hurt a little! This resets Izumi's fear of being with a man making him think he doesn't want to have sex with a guy.
Izumi decides to go out with his friends for a while but many crazy fans start to recognize and follow him so he escapes by slipping inside a building under construction. Inside, he finds some guys robbing a salesman and they decide to punish him because of what he witnessed.
5th Moment - Episode 10: Love hurts in more than one way!
The robbers from the previous episode approach him but somehow the guys turn all gay towards Izumi and decide to rape him instead... What…? This feels wrong even for yaoi! Izumi manages to escape but thanks to this near-rape experience, he discovers he only wants to be touched like that by Ryouma!
When Izumi reunites with his friend Kuroi, he confesses he is working as an assistant for Saotome-sensei, so he describes what Ryouma did to get the personal message from Saotome sensei we mentioned earlier. Now knowing that Ryouma lowered his reputation for him, Izumi finally decides that Ryouma is the love he's been waiting for.
Ryouma is dwelling on whether what he said was right or wrong, so when Izumi shows up at his door he is sure he will be heartbroken. But without saying a word, Izumi just jumps at him and kisses him willingly! Ryouma stops him out of confusion, while the only thing Izumi says is “let's do it!! And make it urgent!” Without hesitation, Ryouma agrees because he had already refused once! Can't miss the second chance! this is the series finale! a super adorable and innocent BL scene in bed!
Suddenly, BL time stops and we just have Izumi pissed off at Ryouma because IT HURT A LOT! Ahaha! But he gets serious and remembers he didn't say that he loved him properly so he takes the chance to say it, and then Ryouma... starts to cry! Out of joy, of course because he has always loved him so much.
6th Moment - OVA: To please the fans.
This OVA is only to see what happens a bit after the series has ended. In all, it feels like it was unnecessary but we do get our fair share of fan service - the best one being the image of the perfect date ending of Ryouma - but it all feels a little bit forced. Izumi is butthurt, literally, so he doesn't want to end up going with Ryouma.
For some reason, Izumi never thought that he could be the one giving instead of receiving… until Rei suggests that he does. Really, Izumi? He quickly goes to Ryouma's house with this motive but ends up being under again because Ryouma assures that he’s done his research and that this time it won't be painful. In the end Izumi decides that it was ok because he plans on growing and learning together with Ryouma as his partner.
In conclusion, you can see that this series was more about honest boys love instead of just spamming the viewer with fanservice. But this is what makes Love Stage great! It makes us fall in love with the romance of the story instead of only the sexy characters’ bodies. And when we finally see some action, although it looks simple, it becomes a big deal because we already have an emotional connection with the relationship.
In my opinion, the best part of this series was how it shows normal men slowly developing feelings for each other as persons and disregards the gender barrier that was set by society for love standards. I wish they some day make a special episode of Shougo + Rin!