Love Stage!! Volume 3
Love Stage!! (published by SuBLime Manga) is now the boys’ love manga series I’ve followed the longest, making it to three volumes with me still enjoying it. That’s because the characters, as written by Eiki Eiki and drawn by Taishi Zaou, are so fun and most of their encounters so good-hearted.
Over the past two books, Izumi has come to terms with his burgeoning feelings for Ryoma. I imagine that the typical yaoi fan is something like Ryoma: comfortable with boy/boy interaction because they’re in love with the situation. Me, I sympathize more with Izumi — it’s the feelings and characters that matter to me, and I’m not always comfortable with the more explicit scenes (which have been fairly few so far).
Izumi has given in to his fate and accepted that he’s bound to become a celebrity… which usually seems to involve him dressing as a woman. Meanwhile, there’s a lot of publicity interest in actor Ryoma’s “secret lover”. At a press conference, it all comes out.
It’s the weird encounters in the world of fame that keep me entertained by this series. Izumi is basically famous for being famous… and for looking good as a member of the opposite sex. I guess it doesn’t take much more to briefly seize the imagination of today’s celeb-conscious culture, and at least super-manager Rei realizes that his lack of talent will eventually become an issue. (Rei is amazing, since he also ends up giving Izumi sex advice! Apparently, he’s a lead character in the spin-off light novel series, where he’s involved with Izumi’s older brother.)
The increased attention brings the couple’s feelings for each other out, making them finally confess honestly to each other, although first we get a sequence where Izumi, like Clark Kent, isn’t recognized as being famous so long as he keeps his glasses on. Of course, that trick doesn’t work for long, and some life-threatening danger is apparently just what he needed to be clear for himself about how he feels. I’m not sure where Love Stage!! will go next, as we turn an important corner this installment, but I’m curious to find out more.