「スキジャタリナイ」 (Suki ja Tarinai)
“Love is Not Enough”

Wait a minute, it’s already over!? I wasn’t planning on writing a finale post for another two weeks! Apologies for the gross delay (on this post and on Hanayamata, which will be double posted tomorrow), but the show must go on (details at the end). Let’s give a bow to the show that provided lots of laughs and moral support to its characters, despite all the stumbling blocks it had in between.

That beginning scene at the construction site had its good and bad points. Good in that it allowed Izumi to defend himself and his body (all in the name of love), but bad in that it trivialized the gravity of the act with the tone being set. So Izumi, midway though the scene, has been molested, with a heavy possibility that he could get raped. The scene so far is alright, considering how it ends up setting the stage for Izumi’s defense. However, what bothered me was the immediate switch to a lighter tone when the guys found out that Izumi was a guy. Suddenly, these delinquents are turned into caricatures of people who cannot resist Izumi’s charm, switching the tone of the scene to one of impending loss to a really bad “I’d still hit that” joke. The tone switches over to Izumi’s sadness, but that switch of tone was perhaps not the smartest idea.

I point these scenes out not because I have a stick in my bum, but because I want to call out bad taste when I see it. Every show is free to trivialize any issue they want, but it doesn’t absolve them from criticism, BL shows included. This example is part of a larger problem of what I’ve had with LOVE STAGE!!: the lines of consent that it constantly crosses in questionable ways. For Ryouma to cross these lines, it’s partially justified–his character is one that is meant to be flawed, which causes him to constantly question his integrity as a person. That’s a smart way to do character development, as well as illustrate some of the sketch scenarios that people would never try in real life (such as kissing your unconscious crush) for fulfillment value. On the other hand, this scene was just…weird and inappropriate. It’s not a great shining point for the show to make Izumi’s risk feel comical.

However, for every bad moment there was in portrayals of consent, the show did two great moments for portraying a supportive network for Izumi. It can be a bit tiresome at times for there to be an “us vs. them” mentality in certain romantic comedies. The teachers hate him, but his friends love him. The girls despise her, but the boys adore her. In these types of situations, there are distinct groups or important individuals that have to create this antagonistic atmosphere, which results in the protagonists suffering in some way. For LOVE STAGE!! to paint a large support group that doesn’t have to have a clear opposition was a godsend in making this anime be a feel good romance. Izumi’s parents, instead of being background door-greeters, are given enough screentime to emphasize their support and love for their youngest son, marrying a family element that often is ignored in anime. Rei may get mad at Izumi, but never at critical moments. Even through all the awkward questions, runaway stress, and sloth-like nature that comes from Izumi, his patience was steadfast. Shougo was a good brother to the end, even though his intentions may have not been the purest. Even his club members are patient towards him, making sacrifices to assist him whenever he stumbles in life. I am glad that the series continued this trend to the very end, all without introducing some unnecessarily heavy opposition meant to generate drama. The tabloids were only antagonizing enough to serve their purpose, all without mentally scarring any of the main characters.

Of course we can’t forget Ryouma, who clearly won Izumi’s love by the end of the day. His is an example of perseverance and actual effort, despite many stumbling blocks along the way. He’s not perfect, but we like him that way. He is nothing like the overconfident and over-abled protagonists, nor is he completely oblivious to his situation or how he affects others. Ryouma had to climb a ladder like everyone else, has moments of doubt like everyone else, and is sensitive to when he’s wrong…like everyone else. Despite all the bad things that I may have said about Ryouma, he is actually a great character and a really relatable one at that. The dude makes mistakes, but at least he tries to own up to them as best he can. Even then, he’s not perfect at owning up, which lead to a string of mistakes that makes his character more endearing than despised. Just as the story hinted at with his backstory, Ryouma just gets up every time he messes up and constantly tries to fix his wrongful ways. That’s powerful character development, and a development that I believe rightfully earned Izumi’s love (and lust). When it all came together for Izumi and he realized his true feelings, it was a natural moment to witness, not feeling rushed in the slightest. Through hard work and dedication, these two finally got together, with a bond that’s been formed correctly–through trial, error, and gluing it all together carefully.

Even though LOVE STAGE!! rushed its conclusion after the bed scene and confession of love, everything leading up to this moment didn’t feel that rushed at all. It was a naturally paced romance intertwined with the drama of failure and rebirth. While it is a shame that we don’t get to see Izumi pursuing his dreams of being a mangaka, or Ryouma’s continued bonds with the boy he loves, or Rei and Shougo’s relationship, we did get to see our two main characters grow, which is why I give LOVE STAGE!! my seal of approval. Along with the reasons stated above, along with great scriptwriting, animating, and directing, LOVE STAGE!! has earned its place as a good boys love and romantic comedy anime, for simply making its characters…grow.

A very dangerous tendency in romances is to have characters that appear to be developing over the course of the show, but in reality are just static caricatures who have their layers peeled whenever convenient. The male softens for the female because he had a soft spot all along, or the female was always weak at the knees because she used her strength to hide her weaknesses–these are characters that simply ‘create another side’ of themselves as time is appropriate. Accordingly, the revelations would sound like, “he’s not such a jerk after all!” or, “she’s got a soft spot when it comes to X,” which aren’t surprising revelations in the context of a romance.

What LOVE STAGE!! did was take two characters–both with inherently negative flaws that were shown from the start–and whittled those flaws away through sheer determination and effort. This was done not by simply adding a new dimension to the character, but by rather using the traits given to them at the very start and continually using them to better themselves. For Izumi, his manga-obsessive nature was a detriment to his future and socialization right from the start, but at the same time also helped fuel his determination to become a better artist, a better actor, and a better lover. For Ryouma, his uncontrollable lust and insensitivity was his initial burden, but thanks to the sense of humility he’s had since he was a child, one mistake won’t break his resolve to earn Izumi’s love and trust, as well as master his own self-control. We knew about these positive traits from the start. As such, it felt very natural and planned out when these character developments happened, because their internal characterization was working together to modify itself, rather than slapping some new traits in to keep things temporarily fresh. This sort of reinvention through a framework made the main couple of LOVE STAGE!! feel dynamic, alive, and most importantly, accomplished. Their romance was one that was not initially set in stone–Izumi was completely creeped out by Ryouma at first–but with enough time and actual effort, their romance finally kindled, all by episode 10.

Again, while I am sad that the series has ended so abruptly, I don’t hold many bad feelings against it–the show achieved much more in 10 episodes than what any other romantic comedy could do in 12. Although this was not a show targeted towards me, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it to the end. Along with Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou, these shows have renewed my faith in romantic comedies, where the caliber to be both funny and meaningful still exists.

A meta-note on blogging.

Thank you dear reader for all of your patience. I apologize once again for being amazingly late, but this grossly late post signals the beginning of my sabbatical away from the blog. College life has suddenly gotten a whole lot busier and I am unable to write about anime again until the spring season rolls around, at the very least. I was hoping I would be able to stay strong until then, but I severely underestimated how busy life would get, and my blogging schedule has suffered in the process. Therefore, after I cover the finales for Hanayamata and Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun for Stilts, I will be retiring until at least Spring 2015. I assure you it was a pleasure to blog continuously for these past two and a half years, but I have to take a break, both for my sanity and for the sake of timeliness that you guys deserve. It’s out of respect for your guys’ time and my own. I will be double posting Hanayamata tomorrow for anyone who is curious.

Again, my apologies for anyone who has been inconvenienced these past few weeks by my lateness, but I could not have possibly predicted how swamped I am right now. I recognize this means the end of blogging for now, but it’s not a permanent farewell. I’ll be back soon, hopefully with a renewed allocation of time, as well as a renewed vigor to blog the shows that deserve to be talked about! Thanks to everyone that has been following me these past two and a half years, it has been a pleasure. I’ll see you guys later, and thank you dear reader for sticking with this show–and me–to the end. ^_^


End Card


  1. Haha, ofc the anime would end soon-ish, poor EIKI-EIKI squeezed every penny for the good art :), there is an OVA plan for this so we’ll get more and the manga has A LOT more so it’s not the end, by all mean that guy at the end is… the new trouble (>.>;;)

  2. If you need a break, you need a break. I also wish you luck with college life, being a student myself.

    Onto the end of LOVE STAGE!!, this was a good place to end from the manga. While the ending was rushed, I have to applaud J.C.Staff for the effort they put into this series. It was faithful to the original source material, but also had a touch of the studio’s personal style, making certain scenes like Ryouma’s dream of Izumi even more enjoyable. There were areas that could have used more improvement, but I’d say this was a pretty good experience overall.

    I’m not into the Boys Love (BL) genre, but LOVE STAGE!! is an exception for its emphasis on how it is okay to love someone, no matter who or what one is. The fact that Izumi and Ryouma were straight at the beginning but developed a mutual love connection to each other had me give the series another look. If that is actually a main component of BL manga, however, I apologize in advance as I have little knowledge, lol.

    As a final note, I would have never found out about this series (and Anime-Planet) without this wonderful site so thank you for that, Zanibas and Random Curiosity!

  3. Oh look, a romance story/anime that doesn’t treat love and sex like the most awkward battle between shy people. If more anime and manga stopped teasing viewers with “what is this feeling? Is this love? No way!” and making sex sound like some uncommon and disgusting thing I’d be a lot more content.

    Liked this show

  4. We need too condense the Lala-Lulu into a short because none of them where in the manga for the most part. It was an interesting addison to the anime but also a fitting one.

    Ep.08 still got to me. that did happen in the manga but weaving the whole thing into a documentary type style was funny. But the scene in the Cab had me in more stitches then manga did for some reason with the hidden camera.

  5. I give Zanibas props for finishing a show outside of his comfort zone (at least that’s what I imagine it is like for non-fujoshi watchers).

    I’m actually surprised I finished this show, there were many points in the anime where things got so awkward I wasn’t sure if I could continue watching (like when Ryouma first assaulted Izumi, when Izumi asks Rei abt “those” questions, and-LOL-this very last scene where Izumi and Ryouma finally consummate their relationship..which made me laugh so hard because it was just so awkward for me and it felt like it was awkward for the staff involved too, like those shots of Ryouma’s furniture were almost like “ok, things are getting awkward here…so while the two lovebirds are busy, let’s show them around his apartment.”).

    Well, anyways, I’m glad I finished this series in the end, because like Zanibas pointed out in his post, it was refreshing to see the romance trope tackled in a different way where it felt like we’re actually watching individuals w/ their flaws and strengths grow instead of characters who fit the romance heroine/hero mould. I also thought the animation was great t/o all ten episodes, and while there were a few things that made me cringe (like Shougo’s “WISH” and that horrendous ED song), it was a fairly entertaining experience. Thanks for covering it on Random Curiosity!

  6. I was pretty happy with where they ended in respect to the manga as I feel like the only other option would have been a cliffhanger. Although it was far from perfect, I actually think this series has done really good at showing the progression of the characters through their relationship even if the beginning was a bit creepy (though I think no more creepy than many other anime out there). As someone who used to be totally obsessed with fujoshi manga, this series has been so entertaining and funny to watch as well as having a good story.

    Thanks for finishing this series! I’ve really enjoyed reading your thoughts on it. I know it wasn’t an A-list series for this blog to cover to begin with but it was really cool seeing it be covered each week. Good luck in school!

  7. I reacted the same way, Zanibas! I saw somewhere that the episode count was 10 and I was hoping it was a mistake! But I really enjoyed the ending regardless. I agree with you about the character development making this show amazing rather than typical. I also really liked how this show portrayed falling in love versus your standard romance. It gave us all the messy (even sometimes humiliating) parts that a lot of stories leave out. It was nice to see their relationship develop from square one instead of Izumi feeling something for Ryouma from the start. In that aspect, the show always felt very real and that was a nice change. As for the scene in the beginning with the attackers switching gears when they found out Izumi wasn’t a girl, I definitely went “Oh come on, really?” I could’ve lived without that because it did make light of the danger to Izumi and was just in bad taste. But aside from that I loved watching Izumi be the one to take them down! I figured his friend was going to show up but that was WAY better! All in all, great show! I really enjoyed it and may pick up the manga to find out more about Izumi’s future acting jobs.

    Thanks so much for all of your blogs, Zanibas! I’m really glad your faith in romantic comedies has been restored! It’s one of my favorite genres and I’ll never give up on it! Best of luck in school and hang in there! I’m looking forward to seeing you back in Spring 2015. Until then~

  8. Good luck w/ College and thanks for blogging one of my fav anime!!
    10 episodes….of BL.lol it felt soo short yet I was pretty happy with the ending, love all the characters <3
    Cute seeing the shy side of Ryouma w/ Izumi's approaches.hehe

    I'll definately miss Love Stage!
    Let's support by buying manga/goods and can't wait for the soundtrack coming out in October~ XD

  9. I have no idea if this was mentioned by someone else in previous episode comments, but if anybody liked this show and was hoping to find something similar with more story after the couple gets together – check out Gravitation. One of the leads is a famous author, and the other is a singer in a pop band like Shougo.

    1. Somehow, my entire highschool anime club wound up watching Gravitation–guys and girls included! It was pretty funny and it was a combination of it being one of the first box sets that we bought for borrowing and curiosity about this strange anime with good music and gay men that everyone seemed to like. It is much more “implied” than Love Stage as far as it doesn’t show much skin.

  10. I haven’t been watching this show and probably never will but damn, I guess a break for you was bound to happen eventually. I expected it earlier(I believe Moondoggie even suggested it once) but I almost forgot about it, but I guess a busier life was needed to make you go through with it.

    A break like this is definitely for the best though so that you’ll be able to continue blogging with as much enthusiasm in the long-term. So…good luck and hope to see you back in spring!

    That being said, maybe you can still join some podcasts on occasion 😛

  11. Yet another great episode to bad its the last one but its good place to end it cuz in the manga the next arc would have started right after and currently right now the manga is not that far for more episodes so I think this was good place to stop for now XD
    We all know for a fact it’ll get another season once the manga just progresses a little more cuz at the ending we saw the new character at the end… his name is Kisaragi and is in the current arc of the manga he is the one who saw in episode 4 for a moment, is the guy that sexual harassed Ryouma. So for fact we are seeing him at the ending is already hinted that we will get another season in a years time most likely XD
    I’m glad that they didn’t censor the sex scene with IzumixRyouma cuz i can understand from the previous episodes but I was really proud that even though it was more graphic in the manga they made this scene watchable for ppl that are not used to watching yaoi ^^That said I’m glad that they didn’t cut the scene out cuz I bet a lot of ppl wouldn’t have been happy with that <XD
    What I'm more dissapointed is that they hinted ReixShougos relationship in this episode but I don't find it fair that they couldn't get an episode about how they met and how they got into the relationship but it doesn't really matter, when the OVA comes out on Nov22nd it'll show more scenes of them together as I've seen from the manga ^^ But still like the scene at the end when Rei persuaded Shougo was perfect X3 Nice Rei he pulled the sex card, and it seemed it works all the time for him lol
    Hope in the ova it'll show the scene between ShougoxRei <3333
    But enough of me ranting this was a very good series and just by watching this I think that some yaoi mangas deserve some animes because mostly we get yuris or harems with girls and its the complete opposite for the yaoi genre or shounen ai.
    I'm just only saying that some yaois deserve an anime adaption. But anyway I'm glad that they made a anime with Love Stage
    and that we will be getting a Season 2 eventually so for now lets just all PRAY that we will get another season after that manga gets far enough. So I'm looking forward to some of the Fall Shows and I'll bid farewell to Love Stage for now bye bye^///o^
    I also wish you good luck ZANIBAS, do your best ^//w^

  12. Good luck to you Zanibas! And congratz on taking a leap on covering this up! I never thought you could post the uncensored scenes but you did it anyways! Great review! Though you might want to take some thought on covering other BL anime too? Hahaha! We’ll wait for your return so come back asap! ^_^


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