Love isn’t Enough – スキジャタリナイ
Not the best ending I’ve seen so far but I thought it was rather appropriate for Love Stage!! to have concluded with Izumi and Ryouma realising their mutual feelings for each other. This nicely concludes the 10-episode-long journey of cuteness, hilarity and *cough* love. I’ve certainly enjoyed Love Stage!! more than I’ve expected myself to and I hope anyone who has watched it did too! Looks like we might actually have a second season some time later?
Picking up from the cliffhanger of the previous episode’s end, Izumi got chased around and half-stripped because the punks wanted to “confirm his gender”. It seems like they were honestly just trying to confirm his gender; now that only happens in an anime. The punks were about to settle for just robbing Izumi when Izumi’s charm overpowered their rationality and they started the process of “raping” Izumi, but hey, this is Love Stage!! and nothing ever gets too serious. Employing the very effective self-defense moves (which according to the manga, was taught to him by Rei), Izumi manages to escape from the punks. I loved how elephants were used, both here and in the earlier part of this show.
Izumi ran out of the construction site and into Kuroi-kun who has been searching for him. I did talk about my fujoshi imagination running wild with some delusion of Kuroi having feelings for Izumi, but there wasn’t even a hint of it during this whole scene of Kuroi and Izumi. I guessRyouma won’t be having any love rivals yet. After a short scene which hammered the fact that Kuroi-kun and Izumi are nothing more than a pair of good friends, the focus shifted over to Ryouma who just got released from the hospital.
He just got out of hospital and Ryouma has already started worrying over what he did prior to getting hospitalised. Again, Eguchi outdoes himself for being so cute while Ryouma rolls around in bed agonising over how uncool he was and how he must have made Izumi dislike him. Awww Ryouma, if only you knew how Izumi is feeling about you! Just when he mustered up his courage to call Izumi (this is random, but I just want to say that whenever I find myself in his situation, I’ll always write a script of things to say so that I won’t forget anything and get tongue-tied!) his doorbell rang and it was none other than Izumi himself who has come to… offer his body to Ryouma?
When he was close to getting raped, Izumi suddenly realised his feelings for Ryouma and he rushed over to convey these feelings. He was very certain and assertive when he hugged and kissed Ryouma; I don’t really like assertive ukes but thanks to him we got to see a shy and cute Ryouma – which is such eye candy. In Love Stage!!, Izumi seems to be more of the “man” sometimes while Ryouma the “woman”, it’s different and a very refreshing change from the usual couple norms I’m used to. On a side note, I wonder if Izumi learned it from the countless BL manga he must have studied in detail; rushing into the full course right at the start?!
We’ve seen all sorts of fluffy or sparkly scenes but we’re having none of that sort during the final episode of Love Stage!! I’m glad to be having a normal scene which, despite leaving much to imagination, was relatively more explicit than the previous fluffy scenes. After finally giving up his “first time” to Ryouma, Izumi realised that he hasn’t really conveyed his feelings to Ryouma yet. “Let’s do it” doesn’t really equate to “I love you”, unless you’ve half-stepped into the world of BL. Again, Ryouma behaves more like the girl here, as he cried when Izumi finally says the three important words. Oh Ryouma.
It was a painful few episodes of Shougo during the start of Love Stage!! but I’m glad that he had more airtime during this episode, he is still Izumi’s loving brother after all. Shougo’s amazing radar which runs on his love for Izumi was so scarily sensitive that he sensed something wrong when his favourite cup broke just as he was thinking of Izumi. He begged/blackmailed Rei into checking out Izumi’s location using the GPS tracker they have on Izumi (tsk tsk, they are still doing that?!). Upon discovering that Izumi was actually at Ryouma’s apartment (and probably doing some hanky panky things) Rei skilfully distracted Shougo in order to let Izumi have more time with Ryouma. Although I did suspect Rei of impure intentions before, but I think Rei truly wants Izumi to find his own happiness. By the way, if you’re still unaware of Rei and Shougo’s relationship despite the not so subtle giveaway during the ED, this scene should have spelled it out clearly for everyone. Well, it just so happens that almost everyone in a BL show would be gay.
The ending would have been rather abrupt without the inserted scenes during the ED and it seems like they are planning for a second season. I can’t say that Love Stage!! was an extremely good anime, but it was still one of my highlights during this season, something to brighten my day and complete the (quote Kiseki) Thursday’s BL experience. In general, the anime adaptation did not disappoint at all and this might be one of those adaptations that are actually better than or on par with the manga. Guaranteed that having colours, animations and sounds are always better, some animes tend to lack in plot. I liked how Love Stage!! managed to remain faithful to its manga while adding in extra scenes or details which weren’t used in the manga. Those were what spiced up the experience of watching Love Stage!! for a manger reader like me.
One of the key bonus features of having a manga animated, and what keeps us writers at Koekara kya-ing (or triple kya-ing) is still the presence of voice actors. We had skilled voice actors like Eguchi Takuya playing Ryouma and Yonaga Tsubasa as Izumi, and wow I think they did a really good job at portraying their characters. Although I wasn’t a fan of either of them before the start of this anime, they grew on me during this season and I started to really appreciate how good these two voice actors are. The highlights of Eguchi’s voice acting, for me, was his super seductive “motto… (more)” during the first pink scene (episode 3 16:17), his triple kya when he first gave Izumi a peck on the lips (episode 5 19:20), and many many more moments which I can’t recall right now. Eguchi has got everything to do with how much more I’m loving the anime Ryouma than the manga Ryouma. Really, I don’t remember Ryouma to be that suave, caring or cute while I was reading it. The same goes for Izumi, Yonaga made him into a 100 times more adorable and spoiled otaku boy whom I just can’t seem to hate. And, of course I can’t not mention Hirakawa Daisuke who plays the shrewd manager, Rei. I didn’t find Rei more attractive than Shougo while reading the manga, but the Rei in the anime was way more lovable thanks to Hirakawa. I’ve been listening to a lot of Hirakawa lately and he’s another skilled veteran with a special voice; I loved how he goes all violent suddenly, then reverts back to polite speech the next moment.
So, that’s the end of Love Stage!! for now. Thank you for reading my reviews and putting up with my nonsense, and let’s hope to see a second season soon!