「ナンノシレンデスカ」 (Nanno Shiren Desu ka)
“What Kind of Test Is This?”

So it finally happened. Rejection and the shattering of one’s dreams, spitting in the face of one’s hard work. It must be hard for Izumi to swallow right now, but as an audience member, I can’t help but feel that this path was a little too obvious. While it’s surely refreshing and funny to see Izumi’s skills in this state, there was no doubt from the start that all of Izumi’s happiness would come crashing down when someone sane finally broke the news to him. It’s also not surprising that the person consoling Izumi is Ryouma, considering how eager the rest of his family is to use this opportunity to guide their youngest into acting. Thus, a little of the magic is sort of lost when the path is so clearly laid out. I remember in Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo how similar themes of failure are portrayed, except in that show, it wasn’t so clear who would win and lose in each of their individual battles. Their skills were apt enough by any standard, but the main message–“your best sometimes isn’t enough”–rang bitterly throughout the show. Here in LOVE STAGE!! though, it would be foolish for any of us to cheer Izumi on seriously. If by any chance he’d won, it would’ve been out of luck and convenience, rather than any merit of his skills.

However, it seems the message of the show isn’t about failure, but rather the misguided efforts of one’s dreams. The show heavily hints that Izumi is destined to enter the actor life, as evidenced by his apt acting skills during the wedding commercial. As such, much of the focus is on the subtle efforts of Rei, Shougo, and Izumi’s parents to guide him onto that path. They all are looking out for him without much selfish intent, but it’s also clear that in Izumi’s heart, his passions lie somewhere where his skills do not align. This leads us easily into our next section, because there is exactly one person who still believes in Izumi and, ironically, becomes the only person who really looks out for Izumi the person, rather than Izumi the misguided son.

Considering how Ryouma acted last episode, he exhibited a surprising amount of self-restraint this episode. Save for some uke-seme dynamics towards the end, Ryouma was respectful of Izumi’s situation, especially taking into account how emotionally fragile the poor mangaka is. Seeing Ryouma curled up besides Izumi’s bed was a sight to see and I was really glad that he didn’t steal any kisses that time. He did get rewarded through that bath scene though–fanservice for the audience must be had after all. It’s a bit of a convenient leap how Izumi and Ryouma reunited, but I think this whole setup is leaning towards something much greater and less convenient. With the whole press conference being set up, it’s looking like Ryouma may stand up for Izumi once more, though how exactly is still up in the air. It’s a subtle evolution, but the relationship between Ryouma and Izumi is definitely changing, more so for Ryouma than his crush. He’s messed up a few times, but hey, no one is perfect. What does matter is the respect and diligence that comes afterwards, which is definitely something I’m seeing from Ryouma, and something I want to see more of.

The dynamic of dominance is slowly fading, where instead of Ryouma succumbing to his desires, instead is fueling his love with kindness and understanding, rather than some sexual power struggle. This is great, and I hope the target audience here is enjoying that part of our main couple. After what was a rough tumble in episode 3 and 4, we’re finally seeing the fruits of what this show can be, and it sure tastes delicious.



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  1. It sure is refreshing to find a BL anime that is less about the fanservice and has a bit more interest in the character development. I’m looking forward to the next episode very much.

  2. Practically in most yaoi the guy would just go in for the kill but…..
    Ryouma showed that not everyone can succumb to the urge, even though in future chapters it happens but for now… ^///o^
    Cuz I’ve read lots of yaois and I’ve barely seen any guy holding back so….
    this is why I love guys like Ryouma <3333

  3. I know I’m beating a dead horse here but I just cannot get over how damn pretty this show is. Maybe I’m just sort of used to Yaoi genre anime looking like crud all the time but I don’t care what anyone says, if anything that Kyoto Animation does is any indication, fluid and pretty animation can make ANY show slightly more enjoyable. Another!

  4. Just had to end when Izumi goes, “Do what u want”. I can see Ryoma probably flying off the handle after that. I mean, who wants to continue the mood with an invite that isn’t really sincere anyway? But gosh, it makes me squeal when Ryoma loses his tolerance and pins Izumi down the bed. Kya~~~

    Which actually also reminds me of poor Tama in Barakamon… I am with you, sista. 😉

  5. As much as I enjoy the humor of this show, the main couple is starting to bore me. I guess I was hoping for more push and pull (as seen in episode 4), but with Izumi so defenseless now this show has become like the many shoujo I have read/watched before (since this is the first time I’m watching BL, I guess I was hoping for something different).

    So far the only thing that’s keeping me from dropping this is Sagara Rei. He’s hilarious and incredibly complex for a side character. I doubt the show will go into his past (does the manga?), but so far I find him to be the most interesting and endearing character on this show.

    1. The manga has not (not sure whether it will) talked about his past. An extra set of chapters called “Back Stage” showcases Rei, but the timeline is the present. I think his past is written in an ongoing novel or something. September Scanlations are translating them. Probably won’t be shown in the manga or anime.

    2. The manga didn’t delve too much into his past and the anime unfortunately already left out quite some parts about his relationship with Shougo Sena, so I doubt we will be seeing much more of his side aside from his regular involvement with the main plot (which is still absolutely hilarious!)
      There are a total of (currently) 4 novels called “Back Stage!!” though that concentrate solely on Rei and his point of view in it all as well as his past and relationship with Shougo.

  6. As destined for failure and oblivious about his lack of skill as Izumi was, I can’t help but feel a little sad for him. I kind of sympathize with the feeling of wanting something desperately but getting shot down when you try to pursue those dreams.


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