「コレッテモシカシテ」 (Korette Moshikashite)
“Is This By Any Chance”
Okay, I’m mostly digging this. I am digging this. Thoughtful gestures of friendship and love, a great support group, and finally some reciprocated feelings! It wasn’t perfect (maybe I’m just a stuck-up guy looking for healthier depictions of falling in love), but it was good nonetheless. Let’s dive into it!
Again, while forcing yourself on another isn’t the best way to show your love, the way that it’s used here is at least smart and purposeful. Rather than simply illustrating a dominant-submissive dynamic between Izumi and Ryouma, this particular scene helps show two things. First, Ryouma’s a real struggler. Whereas it was impossible for him to control himself before, his increasing self-restraint is a welcome sight. He’s not perfect, but that’s the point–even though it’s not the ideal situation, his imperfections add a sense of reality to certain parts of his struggle, making it all the more relatable and understandable. For this, it’s forgivable for the series to have Ryouma on top of Izumi, since it allowed him to really figure out what he wanted from his crush.
On the other hand, this event creates a change within Izumi too, who finally starts to understand the struggles that Ryouma is going through and what part he played in that struggle. It’s perhaps shakey ground for Izumi to start blaming things on himself, but unarguably that’s a common reaction we see from people in these situations–they find some blame in themselves even in situations where they were victim. However, in this particular situation I’d think his guilt is partially justified, since Izumi, bless him, shouldn’t be casually walking into the home of someone who has forced himself on him just recently before, even if they do seem like a last resort. It’s a sort of “fool me twice, shame on me” sort of deal. Due to this, Izumi finally starts considering Ryouma’s feelings, a key step in the eventual feelings we were all waiting for.
Before diving into that though, I would like to address this interesting Lala-Lulu story that’s been interwoven into the plot. During the first few episodes, it seemed that Lala-Lulu was a way to soften Izumi’s character, to make him more unique in a BL stage. She was a plot device that helped express Izumi’s obsessive and escapist nature, both through herself and the inspiration she gives to Izumi’s mangaka dreams. With these last few episodes, she’s become much more central to the plot, acting as a parallel story to Izumi’s life. Although I’m unsure as to what Lala-Lulu’s arch-nemesis represents, Lala-Lulu herself represents the constant hope and support that Izumi receives from those around him, even if that support may be misguided and hidden at times. It’s a bit cheesy in isolation, but as soon as that mangaka sent off his encouraging message to Izumi along with Lala-Lulu’s message, I couldn’t help but get hit in the feels.
This makes an excellent segue back into Izumi’s feelings, because the great thing I love about today’s episode is how positive it was in portraying not just people helping Izumi, but how all the characters don’t conflict in helping out Izumi. While it’s not uncommon in a romantic comedy to see everyone do their share in assisting the main character, oftentimes it occurs while butting heads for attention with other characters as well. It’s as if only one person is worthy to help the main character and the main character need not rely on anyone else.
Here we see a different take, where Izumi has many people supporting him, but they all seem to be working without butting heads, each helping out in the best way they can. Ryouma clearly fills the largest hole by believing in what no one else would take seriously, but the other characters also provide a supportive environment. Rei, instead of being amazingly mad, is portrayed as a doting bodyguard who’s seriously concerned for Izumi’s health. Shougo, although jealous of Ryouma, is willing to make amends for the sake of Izumi and Ryouma’s health, as seen a few episodes back. I predict Izumi’s parents will be also just as understanding as well, exhibiting patience and hope that their son will find his way.
Thus, after a quick kiss, when we see Izumi finally realizing how blessed he is and how in love he is, it makes a lot of sense. The tears from his face make perfect sense in this situation, because it is here that the realization of just how supportive everyone has been finally hits him. As such, it also makes sense why he’s now willing to try showbusiness–instead of fighting his parents’ suggestions, Izumi has matured in the process and is now open to suggestions that are in his best interests, a very fitting character development. We’ve gone from an Izumi that’s been fairly self-centered to narrow-sighted in his opportunities to develop, to a more open and flexible individual who is surrounded by a supportive group. It’s feel-good all around, a positive moment in the series that has made it worthwhile to watch up to this point.
Thus, seeing what the next few episodes have in store excites me. We can actually have closure on a relationship, all while seeing this visible character development from Ryouma and Izumi. Though this relationship will find its opposition in the media (both in LOVE STAGE!! and in the audience), the supportive nature of Izumi’s closest people is a breath of fresh air that will see it through). I can’t wait to cover the next few episodes with you guys–hopefully you guys found this episode as cute and heartwarming as I did. Let me know if you agree or disagree down below!