Thursday, 6 October 2016

Manga Madness: Love Stage!!

Ni Hao

It's time for me to share with you another manga that I've been reading.
Love Stage is a Yaoi manga written by Eiki Eiki and illustrated by Taishi Zao. It began it's serialisation in the July 2010 issue of Kadokawa Shoten's Asuka Ciel magazine. The series has been licensed in North America by SuBLime as well as also being published in Germany by Tokyopop, Love Stage also has a spin-off light novel series titled Back Stage!! which began in May 2011. In 2014 the series got a 10-episode anime series which aired between July and September. So far there are 5 volumes of the series released in English with volume 6 due to be released on December 13th this year(2016).

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The series follows main characters Izumi Sena and Ryoma Ichijo, with regular appearances from Izumi's manager Rei Sagara and Izumi's brother Shogo Sena.
As a child Izumi was forced to dress up as a girl as a stand in for a commercial when he was 8 years old, things went wrong during the filming causing Izumi to now have stage fright and not want to step foot into the entertainment world again. Izumi filmed the commercial with a 10 year old Ryoma Ichijo. On the 10 year anniversary of the commercial the company decides to film an anniversary commercial showing the original children all grown up and getting married, Ryoma now 20 and a popular actor says he will only do the commercial if the original girl takes part also meaning he will get to meet her again. During the wrap up of the commercial Ryoma confesses to Izumi saying that he's waited 10 years to be able to meet 'her' again as he's been in love with 'her' all these years and couldn't forget her.
Shogo appears and reveals to Ryoma that the girl Izumi that he's been in love with is in fact a boy and his younger brother, causing Ryoma to lash out saying he never wants to be involved with them ever again.
As Izumi gets back into his regular routine Rei continues to try and convince him to get into the entertainment industry as all his family are in it, with his father being a famous director, his mother a famous actress and his older brother Shogo being the lead vocalist in a popular rock band, but because of his stage fright Izumi has his sights set on being a mangaka, something he doesn't really have the talent for.
Ryoma finds it difficult to forget his feelings for Izumi and contacts him in the hopes of starting a friendship between the two of them and in the hopes that one day Izumi will return his feelings.
Over the course of the series with the help of Rei, Shogo and Ryoma; Izumi begins to overcome his stage fright and steps into the limelight of the entertainment industry, and eventually begins to have feelings for Ryoma and rushing to tell him he's in love with him, a relationship starts. While working on a film together they fall out and Ryoma loses all his memories of Izumi and him together, will Izumi be able to help Ryoma recover his memories or will Ryoma move on leaving Izumi behind?

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I've made it no secret that I'm a fan of Yaoi manga and anime, I wasn't aware that Love Stage had been made into an anime till I read all the available chapters on my manga app and then noticed that I'd placed the anime on to my to watch list on Crunchyroll. I can't wait for the next update and I have also started buying the volumes to this series so that I can re-read without using up the battery up on my phone. You can always tell in yaoi which character will be the bottom and who will be the top and Love Stage is no different, I love that they make a joke of that in one of the chapters when Izumi threatens to top Ryoma and his think bubble states he's glad he researched on what to do. Shogo is definitely there for comedy value with how he seems to have a spidey sense when it comes to Izumi and always seems to appear at the wrong time. What I love about this series is that Ryoma falls in love with Izumi thinking he's a girl but he's feelings don't change when he finds out he's a guy, I think it's a way to point out to anyone that reads it that love is love no matter the persons gender. I think I've mentioned in a previous post how I find it odd that yaoi and yuri(lesbian) is pretty popular in manga and anime but in the real world most Asian countries are against it seeing it as a mental problem, to me the main moral of this series is gender does not matter, they both love one another a fight for one another. Even if you're not a fan of yaoi I would recommend giving this series a try it's funny and calls out to any romance fans. Strangely I'm not a chick flick fan as to me they are always the same but give me any manga that has a romance story and I'll give it a try. I've not really sold this series but what do you have to lose by giving it a try, yaoi is a love or hate genre I think and the only way to find out if they're for you is by giving some series' a try and for me Love Stage is at the top of my list of recommendations.

I'm always on the hunt for new yaoi manga to give a try so if you have any recommendations then let me know in the comments below.

See you soon!

Zai Jian

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