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Manga / Love Stage!!

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Love Stage!! is a Boys' Love manga created by Zaou Taishi and Eiki Eiki, running from 2010 to 2016 in Asuka CIEL magazine. It received a 10 episode anime adaptation as part of the Summer 2014 Anime lineup.

Sena Izumi is an otaku in a family full of entertainers; his mom is an actress, his dad a singer, and his older brother a member in the famous music group Crusherz. His family wants him to join the entertainment business, but he doesn't want any of that, instead he wants to be a mangaka. But when he reunites with Ichijou Ryouma, an up and coming actor who had fallen in love with him when they did a commercial together as children, it seems like his family will get their wish.

Love Stage also has a side story by the name of Back Stage!!, which is a novel about Izumi's older brother Shougo and Sena's Production manager Sagara Rei. That novel eventually got its own manga adaptation in CIEL.


A live-action adaptation came out in 2020, with another (this time a Thai production) to follow in 2021.


  • Above the Influence: Ryouma was at first okay with using Izumi's body while he was at a real low point and didn't care what the other did to him, but he just couldn't bring himself to do it.
  • The Ace: Shougo is a genius so he's capable of doing a lot of things but it is for the same reason that he wasn't satisfied with himself or with life until he met Rei.
  • Alliterative Name: Shougo Sena and his father, Seiya Sena.
  • All Just a Dream: The Extra Stage, courtesy of Kisaragi, who was disappointed he didn't get to see Ryouma take it in the butt.
  • Aside Glance: When he's about to confess to Izumi in Episode 4, he proceeds to look at the camera and ask why he ended up falling in love with someone so dorky.
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  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Izumi.
  • Beat: Izumi and Rei have one after the latter reveals he understands the feeling of being assaulted by another man.
  • Becoming the Mask: Izumi agrees to become an actor to further his manga career, but finds that he actually enjoys acting and is actually very good at it.
  • Beta Couple: Shougo and Rei in the main story of Love Stage; they are the main couple in Back Stage and few other side stories in the Love Stage manga.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Shougo really loves his little brother. Rei is also very protective of Izumi.
  • Bishōnen: Both the leads are very pretty, but Izumi more so.
  • Blatant Lies: When Izumi spends the night at Ryouma's, he tells Rei that he is staying over a friend's house, and Rei complains to himself about how obvious the lie was.
  • Boys' Love: Besides the series itself being this, Izumi reads BL manga In-Universe to use as research.
  • Bridal Carry: Ryouma does this to Izumi when bringing him to his bed.
    • Satou, the lady who works in the Sena household does this to Rei when he passes out from his double all-nighter worrying about Izumi, much to the surprise of both Sotomura and Izumi.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Izumi's father Seiya is half-Japanese and half-American which makes Shougo and Izumi three-quarters Japanese and one-quarter American; explaining their odd eye color.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Implied In-Universe with the Magical Girl series Lala Lulu, as it seems to be well-known and has been running for a number of years.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: While the two aren't exactly Childhood Friends, Ryouma and Izumi met when they were ten and eight, respectively. Ryouma fell in love with Izumi at first sight and Izumi eventually reciprocated his feelings ten years later.
  • Clark Kenting: Izumi is not recognized as a celebrity until his glasses fall off, and he is able to get away from his crowd of fangirls after borrowing a pair of glasses from one of his friends.
  • Cicadian Rhythm: In Episode 5 of the anime.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Shougo is based on Eiki Eiki's little brother Daigo, who's a lead vocalist in the band Breakerz.
  • Compliment Backfire: When Izumi wants to thank Ryouma for helping him out, he says he's just like his older brother. Naturally, Ryouma is insulted considering his relationship with Shougo.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy:
    • Ryouma doesn't react well when Izumi forms a good relationship with Jin.
      • For that matter, he doesn't enjoy the realization that everyone will learn how cute Izumi is when he gets famous.
    • Shougo becomes jealous when Rei's glasses break and he gets fawned over. Shougo forces Rei to wear his sunglasses until they can get him a new pair.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Rei put a tracking device in Izumi's bag and uses it at least twice. Although, since Izumi disappeared for a few days before, he may not want something like that to happen again.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Rei is hard on Izumi sometimes because he cares about him. Izumi compares him to a strict mother and complains about Rei questioning his career choices, but Rei is right about Izumi needing to have a clear plan for the future.
  • Curtains Match the Windows: Izumi and Shougo both have blonde hair and gold eyes; their eyes also notably have purple tints.
  • Declaration of Protection: Ryouma accepts a part in a drama to protect Izumi from the director who seems to have become attracted to Izumi.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Rei distracts Shougo with sex a few times. In one chapter, Shougo wants to go home with Rei, but doesn't want to leave Izumi alone with Ryouma, so he puts Ryouma in handcuffs before leaving. Izumi takes advantage of the handcuffs.
    • Rei wears glasses actually to avoid this, he has perfect vision, but he wears glasses because without them, everyone falls for him and he finds the attention troublesome.
  • Double Date: Whenever Shougo knows about Izumi spending time with Ryouma, he tags along because he's suspicious about Ryouma, and Rei comes as well.
  • Dragged into Drag: Izumi, as young as the age of 8.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Downplayed, as it's more like being passed out.
    • Rei doesn't need Shougo awake to feel refreshed.
    • Izumi touching Ryouma at the party after he got really drunk.
    • An earlier chapter also has Ryouma kiss Izumi a few times while he's sleeping.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Izumi.
  • Erotic Dream: Izumi has one in chapter 22 when he tops Ryouma.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Izumi has made straight men consider being bisexual due to being so attractive and feminine looking.
    • Rei when not wearing his glasses causes this; he finds it troublesome.
  • Fan Boy: Izumi loves Lala Lulu a lot in the story.
    • When he realizes he's falling for Ryouma, he ends up purchasing anything and everything that has to do with his merchandise, too.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Happens to several characters during the electrical storm in the Extra Stage. First with Ryouma/Izumi, then Shougo/Rei, then finally Shougo/Izumi.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Izumi's name is androgynous and is more feminine than masculine, which also helps with Ryouma's initial confusion of Izumi's gender. Rei's name is also traditionally feminine.
  • Genki Girl: Majority of Nagisa's scenes consist of her getting excited over various things.
  • Glomp: Izumi does this in Episode 10 to Ryouma, and in the anime's opening.
  • Gonk: Two of the boys in the manga club are this.
  • Groin Attack: Izumi does this (something Rei taught him) to escape men who are attempting to rape him, as well as throwing sand in their eyes.
  • Happily Ever After: At the very end of the manga the main couples get everything they wanted: Rei and Shougo get married, Izumi tops Ryouma AND becomes a successful mangaka, Seiya and Nagisa decide to have a third child, it's even implied that Kuroi finally reciprocates Saotome's feelings!
  • Happily Married: Seiya and Nagisa, the parents of the Sena brothers, are very much in love and happy with their marriage.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: In the acting world, where relatives of already established celebrities break out much easier, Ryouma worked really hard to defy this and succeeded.
    • To his horror though, Izumi played this straight and had more than enough talent at acting to make him feel inferior.
  • Heroic BSoD: Izumi, after trying to enter his manga into a contest and being told he has no talent. Ryouma helped him by giving the manuscript to Izumi's favorite author, and begging him to give Izumi's work constructive criticism. Later on, Ryouma has his own moment, when Izumi floors him with his superior acting ability, proving himself a complete natural, in his very first acting gig, and Ryouma is affected so badly that he is unable to focus, forcing Director Kisaragi to attempt his hypnotism trick on Ryouma, to calm his nerves. Unfortunately, the hypnotism proves ''too'' effective, as Ryouma ends up forgetting not about his worries but the source of his worries: Izumi, even to the point that the hypnotism undoes their past progress, as Ryouma cannot even remember Izumi from when they were kids—which is a huge deal, considering the effects that first encounter had on Ryouma for the last 10 years.
  • Hypocritical Humor
  • Oh, Crap!: Ryouma when he sees how good of an actor Izumi is.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Stated word for word by Izumi.
  • I Have This Friend...: Izumi, when asking Rei a question about sex.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: Ryouma to Izumi since he wants to prepare him for his confession and for their first date.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In the most recent chapters, Ryouma has forgot his memories of Izumi due to being hypnotized by Jin to forget about things troubling him when he feels inferior to Izumi's natural acting talent.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Izumi was worried that he was an uke in a BL manga.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: In the Extra Stage, an electrical storm broke out across the whole of Tokyo, and switched around the bodies of anyone who happened to be touching. First with Ryouma and Izumi, then Shougo and Rei. Then after Ryouma and Rei are returned to normal, it happens again to Izumi and Shougo. It turns out to be All a Dream, courtesy of Kisaragi.
  • Love Epiphany:
    • Ryouma realizes he's still in love with Izumi when he sees him naked and is overcome with desire rather than disgust (though, Ryouma never fully did lose his feelings for Izumi when he learned he was a guy) and Izumi has one for Ryouma when he is being violated by three men and he says to himself that he doesn't want it if it's not with Ryouma.
    • Similarly, Rei realizes he's genuinely falling in love with Shougo after being attacked by a stalker and realizing that he only wants Shougo to touch him.
    • It's implied at the end of the manga that Kuroi finally reciprocates Saotome's feelings though we don't get to see how this plays out.
  • Love Martyr: Shougo. He falls in love with Rei, despite the fact that Rei is in love with his father, and sticks with Rei because he believes he can make Rei fall in love with him. Rei however is not very willing to let go of his feelings for Seiya, and despite feeling horrible about using Shougo as a Replacement Goldfish continues to do so and at times even manipulates Shougo to do his bidding for no other reason than to make Seiya happy. Even when Rei genuinely begins to fall in love with Shougo, he doesn't acknowledge these feelings until he's almost raped by a stalker. Shougo just accepts it as is because he really loves Rei and wants Rei to be happy.
  • Luminescent Blush: Whenever one of the characters starts blushing, it's often this.
  • Magic Feather: Ryouma's magic charm was just a marble that resembled Izumi's eyes and the hypnotism performed by the director was also fake. These were just tricks to get rid of Izumi's performance anxiety.
  • Megane: Izumi, sometimes, and Rei; while Izumi genuinely needs glasses due to poor vision (and eventually gets contacts), Rei's glasses are just for show, as without them, everyone around him gets Distracted by the Sexy and he finds it troublesome.
  • Multi-Gendered Split Personalities: Invoked. The protagonist Izumi, an otaku from a prominent family of actors and music talents, is cast in a TV Drama as the main character, a rich young master with three personalities, one of which is a girl. This difficult role shows off Izumi's prodigious but heretofore unseen acting abilities, causing feelings of inadequacy in his senior co-star and boyfriend, Ryouma.
  • Naked Apron: Rei dresses up in one for white day after he failed to bake a cake.
    • Cosplay: What Rei ends up doing for every holiday, including a Meido outfit.
  • Near-Rape Experience:
    • In chapter 4-5, Ryouma strips Izumi in order to prove to himself that Izumi is a man. He realizes he still likes him and almost goes too far before Shougo comes to the rescue.
    • Happens to Izumi again in chapter 14, with some thugs...Izumi has no luck.
    • With Rei, he gets a stalker and is almost raped until Shougo comes to the rescue.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Shougo is obviously based off of Daigo from the band Breakerz.
  • Nose Bleed: Ryouma got two nosebleeds in Chapter 9 all due to Izumi. This is after he walks in on Izumi naked in the bath and again when he sees him wearing Ryouma's oversized shirt.
  • No Sympathy for Grudgeholders: Izumi is known for holding grudges, 3 weeks being his record, so when he and Ryouma have an argument on set, Rei just tells him to get over it and make up with Ryouma so they can continue filming the show.
  • Not So Different: An amusing example. Both Ryouma and Izumi have situations where they regret saying or doing something to the other and roll around in their bed yelling about it being embarrassing.
  • Official Couple: Ryouma and Izumi, Shougo and Rei.
  • One Head Taller: Ryouma is a little more than a full head taller than Izumi. Averted with Shougo and Rei, as they are about the same height.
  • Only Sane Man: Rei serves as this in the Sena household for the most part.
    • Kuroi from the manga club is the only one who actually sees through the "disguises" Ryouma and Izumi have.
  • Outfit-Rip Sex Check: Shougo rips open Izumi's dress to show Sena that Izumi is actually a guy.
  • Parental Substitute: Izumi says that as a child, his parents were busy, so Rei and Shougo were like a second mother and father to him.
  • Reality Ensues: Izumi asks if having sex with a man will hurt (he tries to research it in BL manga, but they're all inconsistent/unrealistic), and Rei tells him that it would depend on the age, size, and knowledge/experience of his partner. Izumi is scared to do it again after Their First Time since it hurt too much. Their second time is better since Ryouma took the time to research how to do it right online.
  • The Rival: Shougo to Ryouma.
  • Running Gag:
    • Izumi locking himself in his room when he's upset about something and Rei kicking in the door.
    • Izumi trying to top Ryouma.
  • Sacred First Kiss: Izumi freaks out when Ryouma kisses him (Izumi didn't know about the scripted kiss) while filming the second commercial, and Izumi locks himself in his dressing room. He wanted his first kiss to be with a girl like Lala Lulu.
  • Seme: Shougo and Ryouma. Izumi tried being seme in Chapter 16 after being convinced by Rei to "turn the tables" on Ryouma after Izumi tells Ryouma that he was hurt pretty bad after their first time; when it got to the point of actually having sex for the second time, Ryouma took his place as seme. In the most recent chapter, Izumi decides the best way to win Ryouma back after him getting hypnotized and losing his memories of Izumi, is to study all types of semes and and have sex with Ryouma with Izumi as the seme; this finally happens at the end of the manga, though Ryouma hardly feels a thing!
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: The anime. When things are getting a little too-heated-for-television in the bedroom, we get a nice tour of Ryouma's kitchen cabinets instead.
  • Shipper on Deck: Rei tells Izumi that he approves of Ryouma because he thinks he's a good guy.
  • Shocking Swerve: In-Universe, in the drama Izumi stars in, it's revealed that there is a fourth personality who killed the butler's parents.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Ryouma says as much here. Shougo has been in love with Rei ever since he met him in the Back Stage novels.
    • In a joke What If? issue which featured a Crossover with Renai Idenshi XX (where the characters live in a Bad Future where men no longer existed), Izumi and Ryouma reject the advances of the women, with Ryouma saying that Izumi is the only one for him and Izumi saying he wants to marry a girl like Lala Lulu.
  • Split Personality: Izumi plays a character with three personalities.
  • Sleep Learning: Izumi got his acting talent due to his mother reading him her scripts as bedtime stories.
  • Squee!: Ryouma upon kissing Izumi while the latter is asleep does this internally.
    • Izumi does the same after being greeted by Ryouma through text while in denial of his feelings for him. He proceeds to chastise himself for doing it.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Shougo is basically the younger version of his dad while Izumi has Nagisa's looks which is evident when he is dressed as a woman. It also helps that the parent they resemble is also how their bangs are styled with Shougo's parting to the right like his father's and Izumi's are towards the left like his mother's. Shougo's resemblance to Seiya is also quite noted in the Back Stage novel.
  • Stealth Insult: Rei at one point states that Izumi has been making a lot of progress already for a "virgin otaku". Izumi proceeds to lampshade it.
    Izumi: Did you just casually insult me just now?
  • Terrible Artist: Despite wanting to be a mangaka, Izumi's drawing skills are…well, let's say that it sets the bar pretty low.
  • Their First Time: The last two episodes of the anime center around Izumi and Ryouma having sex for the first time. To prepare himself, Izumi even buys some BL manga to find out if it hurts to have sex with another man.
  • Uke: Izumi and Rei. In the in-universe doujinshis pairing Ryouma and Shougo, Ryouma is the Uke of the pairing.
  • Unrequited Love: Ryouma has been in love with Izumi for ten years and is greatly saddened when he finds out Izumi is a boy, but his feelings remain, but aren't reciprocated. Izumi slowly begins falling for Ryouma and eventually become a couple.
    • It takes Rei ten years to fully reciprocate Shougo's feelings for him and move on from Seiya.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Ryouma was sure that Izumi was a girl. He...didn't take the revelation very well.
    • Happens again during the debut conference. Izumi, while crossdressing, reveals his gender in front a crowd. Needless to say, the press was in complete shock.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: All characters' eyes are drawn in a distinctive style, though Izumi's are the best example.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Izumi, though never by choice.
    • While recovering from the shock about Izumi being a girl, Ryouma accuses him of being a Creepy Crossdresser, instead.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: For an otaku, Izumi can be pretty... idealistic when it comes to attempting the seme role in his and Ryouma's relationship. His BL research has him listing all known seme types, but he insists on being the super seme—which, as Rei later points out, is no where near possible for Izumi through physical requirements alone (though Izumi begs that a guy can dream). Izumi might have better luck as the shota seme.
  • Yaoi Fangirls: Shougo's and Ryouma's fan girls; so much that there's actually in-universe doujinshis pairing them together
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
    • Rei's hair color is green.
    • In the anime, Ryouma's hair is dark blue.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Izumi mentions that Rei is very scary when he's angry, such as when Rei saved a 9-year-old Izumi from a man who tried to lure him away with candy. When the director of the manga tried to sexually harass Izumi again, Rei made him back off, and Izumi remarked that Rei was so scary that he looked like a Yakuza.
  • Yakuza: Rei is apparently a former Yakuza, although he will deny it if asked.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: What little is shown of Nagisa's career has her playing the role of this in a scene. Though, she's not so much one in reality.


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