Finally picked up Love Stage again after dropping it halfway through a year or so ago and now that I’ve just gone balls to the walls to finish it, I have to say…my opinion of it still hasn’t changed…not a fan.  I guess that’s what I get for judging a book by its cover, but can you blame me when the cover is just so unbelievably gorgeous?  Eiki Eiki’s style is simply divine and incredibly polished and hats off to J.C. Staff for knowing how to work their way around an animation budget and translate the style so beautifully and accurately.  I just wish all that skill and talent had been put forth towards depicting a healthier, more functional relationship as opposed to one that’s so…off-putting.

My opinion of the show started to dip towards the end of episode 3 with Ryoma unfortunately deciding to act on his impeccable solution to overcome his 10-year obsession.  For those who have never seen the show, it went down something like this:

“No, but listen dude who I thought was a chick for 10 years and whose house I have currently scammed my way into…CLEEEEEARLY I need to gaze at your bare genitalia for much longer than necessary or appropriate to cement in my mind that you’re a dude and not a chick because no homo.

*fast forward to a half-naked, exposed, weeping Izumi pinned down to a couch after a frantic house chase*

…on second thought, let’s bone.”

Ah, Ryoma…what a treasure…that should have stayed buried on a deserted island far, far away never to be seen again.  Watching Ryoma teeter between the role of an awkward friend desperately trying to maintain a forced, platonic connection that was dead on arrival and a “don’t be concerned if you taste my chapstick on your lips after a long nap”, creepy opportunist was more painful than Izumi’s first time…OK, that might be a stretch…Let’s stop before these puns get out of control.  Point is it was a struggle to get through!  I honestly can’t remember being as annoyed or put-off with a yaoi before and it made me realize how much my taste in romance in anime has evolved and how much my taste in yaoi has fizzled over the years.

Back in my heyday where I consumed yaoi like water, I watched all the greats like Ai no Kusabi, Okane ga Nai!, and Papa to Kiss in the Dark without batting an eye.  Clearly, anyone who has seen any of these series can attest to the fact that the relationships depicted aren’t exactly what the kids call “consensual” or “functional” and lean more towards Stockholm syndrome, so the hypocrisy is not lost on me.  Thankfully, I have seen the light and the error of my ways and pick up on those themes more so than I did when I was younger.  I think with rape culture, campus sexual assaults, and other related subjects becoming national topics of discussion over the years has a lot to do with it.  Admittedly, I am not as current with all the new yaoi out there, but it has been my experience that a good chunk that come my way still share those same “rape-y” themes which is disappointing.  I admit I have some garbage taste in anime which I don’t expect will change anytime soon, but I do tend to avoid those types of yaoi which leaves my yaoi reserves pretty scarce.  If anyone reading this has any good yaoi suggestions, feel free to leave a comment!  I have heard good things about Yuri on Ice and Doukyuusei, so hopefully, I’ll be able to watch them soon!

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