I first heard about Love Stage!! after reading an anime review on Kotaku, and I’m glad I decided to give this uncomfortable yet ultimately satisfying anime a watch.
Love Stage!! follows Izumi, a shy, die-hard otaku whose whole family is in show business. The story begins when Izumi is a small child and his mother, a model, is working on shooting a commercial for Happy Wedding Magazine. When the little girl who is supposed to catch the bouquet 💐 does not appear for the commercial shoot, Izumi’s mother volunteers her young son to dress like a girl to finish the commercial.
The difficult experience of acting on screen is traumatic for the shy child, and he resolves to never go into show business, instead wanting to become a manga artist, despite having no talent for drawing. The problem begins when his costar, a little boy from the commercial who has now become a mega-star, agrees to do a 10-year anniversary re-shoot of the commercial with the stipulation that the cast has to be the exact same as it was 10 years ago. thus, Izumi is pushed into show business once more for the sake of his family’s desire to work with Japan’s most trendy idol. Little does Izumi know, this idol, Ryoma, has been in love with the little girl he shot the commercial with ever since he met her. Little does Ryoma know that the “little girl” is now a teenage boy.
At first, the family tries to hide Izumi’s identity as a girl, but later when it’s discovered he is not, Ryoma is surprised and confused to learn that his feelings don’t go away so easily. Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of frantic behavior and, to be frank, gets a little rapey in some scenes, which the show definitely treats like ecchi/erotic fanservice. I recommend making a habit of watching awkward or uncomfortable things with a blanket, so you can pull it around your head (peeking optional) if you get too embarrassed when watching. 👻
I won’t spoil any more of the story; there are only 10 episodes, and they can be found on Crunchyroll. I hope you enjoy watching! Enjoy the squee! 💖