Everyone who supported and loved Act – Age, doesn’t have good memories of the 8th August 2020: Tatsuya Matsuki got arrested for committing an indecent act on a female middle school student (received a 18-month prison sentence without suspension). The effect was huge: Act – Age got cancelled after 123 Chapters. Since then I always wished that Tatsuya didn’t commit the crime for more amazing Act – Age content. But life goes on and after many months I found [Oshi No Ko] somewhere on Anilist. I was curious and started reading it. After 40 chapters it’s already a masterpiece, which Act – Age also could have become. Hello I’m Robert and welcome to my review of Oshi No Ko, the most interesting manga.
Oshi No Ko is a japanese manga series written by Aka Aksaka (author of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen) and drawn by Mengo Yokoyari. It’s been serialized since April 2020 in the Weekly Jounen Jump (Shueisha). There are currently 3 Volumes available in Japan. Indonesia (m&c) and Germany (aniverse) have obtained the license for publishing the manga physically in their own language. As mentioned before, the 40th chapter Oshi No Ko has recently been published and this amount already describes perfectly contemporary the circumstances, the characters and the future in the world of acting and idols.
You can divide Oshi No Ko in two parts. The first part is the first volume, which gives you a very good prologue to the whole story. It describes the pre-life of Aqua (Goro being a doctor in the north-west of the Miyazaki Prefecture) and Ruby (Serena, a patient in the hospital having Anaplastic Astrocytoma). They both are huge fans of Ai and Goro is even watching a concert in the patient room with the patient inside. After some moments he learnt that Ai will have a break from being an idol because of health circumstances. Serena dies after some days in the hospital at the age of 12 and some time later Goro meeting Ai with her guardian because she got pregnant. She doesn’t reveal any information about the father. After a checkout the results were that Ai is expecting two twins. She wants to give birth and have a double life as a mother and as an idol, because her and the guardian’s career might be over when the pregnancy will be revealed. Some days before the expected birth Goro gets killed. Some moments later he realized that he was reincarnated as a child of Ai. They are living a wonderful life as a family and Ai being successful as an Idol. In 4 years, both Ai and the twins got much more famous. Aqua and Ruby had gone viral on twitter because they made the same move with their light stick like Ai. Some time later Aqua played a small role in a scene for a movie, where he met another girl (Arima). Ai in general got much more job offers and currently she’s a rising star being an idol. On her 20th birthday, someone is knocking on the door. There was an adult wearing a black jacket, holding a flower bouquet, asking how the twins are and stabbing her with a knife in the belly. He is insulting her for betraying her fans for having kids. She’s imagining a future with their kids and they could achieve and experience. Ai is dying from her injuries. Aqua is seeking revenge and being an actor, while Ruby is seeking to be an Idol like her mother used to be. The second part is basically everything what’s happening after the death of Ai. Ruby became an idol with other two girls (Kana Arima which I’ll analyse later and Mem-cho who used to be an YouTuber) in the reformed B-Komachii and Aqua is becoming a potential actor while getting more information about Ai. I’m a huge fan of Akasaka’s storytelling which was in Kaguya-sama already on a high level. Starting with the whole first volume and then deciding to”reuse” the protagonists in another role connecting it with a plot twist which nobody wouldn’t accept. Building surprising plot twists is a trademark of him which you can especially experience in Kaguya-sama. He’s not overusing them but knows the right moment and the current amount of surprising moments is very well fitting to the whole manga. At the same time Akasaka is truly showing off how to build in characters and showing their own individual characteristic. Everyone can identify with one of the characters and also give side characters an important role in the progressing story. Once again I’m comparing Kaguya-sama with the Kashiwagi X Tsubasa couple. Even though they aren’t the protagonist or even not much integrated in the whole series, they gave a huge impact on the progressing story (especially between Kaguya and Shirogane). I’m pretty sure Akasaka will use the same method in Oshi No Ko.
Starting with talking about the protagonists, we have Ruby Hoshino. She’s like Aquamarine reincarnated as a child of Ai Hoshino (I’ll talk about Ai in the end). In her previous life, Serene (her name) used to be a patient in a hospital located in the north-west of the Miyazaki prefecture. She had Anaplastic Astrocytoma (Specific type of cancer in the brain, for further information visit this website https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/anaplastic-astrocytoma/) and had a good relationship with Goro. She was a huge fan of Ai and tried to imitate her choreographies, but she always failed due to her cancer. Her only “friend” was Goro, who also was a huge fan of Ai. Serene died when she was 12 years old and reincarnated as Ai’s daughter (Ruby). Ruby’s dream is being as amazing as her mother so she’s seeking to be an idol. She joined B- Komachii (in which Ai was before) and already made huge success with the other two members (Mem-cho and Kana) by getting much attention on social media and giving their debut concert in the Tokyo Idol Festival. She’s like Ai: purposefully, fun-loving and optimistic. She has one goal and that’s being an Idol and she’s giving everything to it to fulfill her dream.
Aquamarine is also reincarnated as a child of Ai. In his previous life he used to be a doctor in the same hospital as Serena is located. As mentioned before, he’s also a huge fan of Ai (he even watched in a patient room a DVD of an idol concert with Ai participating) and loved to talk with Serena about her. One day before Ai’s birth, he got killed by a suspicious man, who also might have killed Ai. Compared to Ruby, Aqua is more serious and caring. Especially when he heard about Ruby’s dream of being an idol like their mother, he was against it because he doesn’t want to lose someone a third time. His caring character is especially recognized when he impersonates himself as Pieyon (a famous Youtuber) to help B – Komachii for their first “debut concert”. His main goal is specifially finding the murder of Ai, but while he’s getting more informations from Ai, he’s working more and more as an actress. Assuming from his character, his dream is also being a successful actress.
One other important protagonist is Kana Arima. Her first appearance as a young girl is already showing off her character. She’s a beautiful small girl showing off her cuteness. Her dream is being a successful actress but after meeting Aqua and Ruby several years later again, she decided to join B – Komachii and starting a career as an idol, even though she was more forced joining them, Kana is enjoying her time being there and already had with the group a successful concert. Simultaneously she wants to be a perfect example for everyone and gets nervous in difficult situations connected with the pressure being the reason for failing. She isn’t showing off her weaknesses at all and also her feelings towards Aqua. She’s acting like hating or disliking him but she got flattered when he showed his support for her in the concert at the TIF. I’d say she has the same characteristics as Kasumi Nakasu (Love Live! Nijigasaki) by both having a cute side but also the determination for achieving her own goals by not showing weaknesses. I think Akasaka had a lot of inspiration from the Love Live! franchise because in my opinion he did a good job forming characters both acting as an idol but also a realistic and normal character with a depth of character. This aspect is also relevant for Ruby and Ai, which is a good transition to the last “relevant” person who actually started the whole thing.
The last person I want to talk about is Ai Hoshino, who died in the end of the first volume. But let’s start from the beginning. Ai was a famous idol in the idol-group B-Komachii. Both Aqua and Ruby were a huge fan of her and Goro was surprised when she arrived at the hospital being pregnant with two babies. Ai was an open-minded girl who lives her life freely and doesn’t get out of control when something shocking happened. I’m referring to her pregancy and her sudden death being murdered by a stalker. Ruby always looked up on Ai and in her current life she wants to be a famous idol like her mother used to be. Ai made a good job living a double life both as a mother and as an idol. She worked hard for her mother role and even though she hadn’t much time with her kids and couldn’t live a normal family life, she made a great job being a good mother for her kids and for sure she’ll receive the same amount of love and appreciation by taking revenge to the murder and being an honorable successor. Sadly we currently don’t know that much about her but she’s an interesting person to interpret and we’ll definitely get much moredetailed and important information.
Compared to Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen, Aka Akasaka decided not taking the double role but only focus on the story. Mengo Yokoyari is focusing on the art and in my opinion it’s a good decision. I don’t dislike Akasaka’s drawing, but if you compare Kaguya-samas and [Oshi no Ko’]’s art you can recognize there are worlds between. One attitude on Ai’s and Ruby’s Eyes is a Star as their pupil which is showing the ancestry of Ai. You also can recognize much more details and I have the feeling that the amazing and detailed artstyle is trying to portrait the good and beautiful side of acting and being an idol. But compared to the “actual” story it’s the completely opposite. as I mentioned before, the artstyle is very much detailed and the characterdesign is on another level. Especially when I’m having a look at Kana I’m getting so impressed because it feels like being a real person or a screenshot from an anime. I’d say the artstyle is fitting like butter on toast and I’m glad that Akasaka found a very detailed draftwress illustrating an amazing story.
Disclaimer: Mostly there is no content from the manga but my personal theories or opinions. I’m trying to create parallelism to the real word because there are topics which I’m absolutely interested in . So if u don’t care about it, you can skip that part and you’ll get directed to the art of Oshi No Ko.
As I mentioned before, there is a parallelism to real life. I want to start with the death of Ai. She got killed because a stalker had sensitive information about her living and might know more information about her. I see two “problems” in it. Being a star or whatever has many advantages but also many advantages. For example you don’t have much privacy because everyone is recognizing you and wants to hang out. Also you have to create content of your daily life and be a perfect idol for someone. This means u cant tell your political opinion, always being positive and being in touch with your fans. Otherwise you’ll lose interest which has bad consequences for cooperation with companies because they would search for another celebrity to make money instead with you. In the case of Ai, she might have somewhere leaked or trusted the wrong person about having 2 kids and still being an idol. That’s speculation, maybe we’ll know it in the manga soon but that’s for now, otherwise it’ll be too off-topic. Of course I’m not blaming her if she did it. I mean it’s natural trusting people and telling something, but in this case it was a huge mistake for her. The second much bigger problem are stalkers. Before I’ll go further: What is actually a stalker? “A person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention” In other words, people are following you and wanting to know more stuff about your private life to make some money by creating a scandal or big news. In most cases the star/ victim won’t get killed (ofc there are cases like Rebecca Schaefer) but they might ruin your career like I said before. In the case of Ai, the stalker had sensible information about her having kids, which an ideal Idol wouldn’t have. He also blames her for lying to her fans and letting them suffer. For that she had to die. Imo it’s good that Akasaka built it in because stalking and harassment against celebrities is not talked about enough in the society. I’d say 90% (me included) wasn’t aware about stalking and the impact. Of course I knew stalking exists like other “social problems”, but it’s not talked about enough in the society. Not everyone is strong enough to tell them that they should stop it. If there’s a bigger impact from society, it might be possible to stop or at least reduce stalking.
The second topic I want to analyze is the whole thing about Akane Kurokawa. She participated in the show “my love with a star ♡ begins now”, but doesn’t have much screen time at all. Also she got under pressure because the chef of her agency of the show was angry for barely having screen time in the show. Her manager tries to protect her from him and saying she doesn’t have to worry about it at all and that she have her best in the show. She isn’t satisfied with it but being down and having bad thoughts. In the social media the fans of the show don’t like her either or saying that the producers can cut her off completely because she doesn’t appear in the series at all. Of course she was feeling sad and disappointed, so she wants to do smth extremely for both showing her manager that she’s actually capable of something and showing her “haters” that she’s not only a background character. She had a small talk about Yuki who understood the situation of Akane but saying in the same way that Yuki will keep the spotlight of the show. Some moments later she understood it won’t be easy at all. So she had to accept the fight and did it: She came in infront of Yuki and scratched her face with her nails made by her in the right side of her face. The mood in the room after the incident was already shocking and kind of negative. But that’s nothing compared to Twitter…
The whole situation got much worse for her. The “hate-comments” developed to harassment and bullying/cyberbullying. Akane’s got mentally in a very bad condition; she couldn’t eat properly at all, not saying to her mother what actually happened and in the end she tried to commit suicide. But Aqua rescued her and in the end she had another method getting more attention in the show. What Akasaka/ Oshi No Ko is trying to tell us is that harassment and mobbing in social media (especially twitter) can have a big impact on the victim. In my opinion it got perfectly portraied from the current sutuation of Akane till the huge impact of comitting suicide. And the “reason” for that were people who are hiding themselves in the internet and harassing people without actually showing any respect. In this case the situation is a special one, but it actually doesn’t need a big reason for getting bullied. It’s already enough being “weird” or/and having an opinion which people can’t accept and instead of arguing or ignoring it they are starting to write insults towards the person. And the worst problem is that companies like Facebook or Google doesn’t care about it at all. They aren’t deleting comments nor sharing those problems to the government (I’m not sure if they have to address it to the USA or in the country of the victim). Bullying in general a topic which doesn’t get much attention compared to other problems. It’s already starting to elemnatary school and the consequences are huge; not everyone is strong enough talking with the teachers or with the family about their problems which eventually can a human more broken and in the worst case getting diagnosied with depression and in the worst case scenario comitting suicide. The impact in the internet is on another level. As I said before, people are hiding themselves under an IP – Address and the companies don’t even try to solve it. There’s definitely a need for Enlightenment and companies should work together with the government, because the impacts are underestimated.
Oshi no Ko is an interesting manga combining real problems in society and at the same time creating a well-written story about being an idol and an actress. The art created by Mengo Yokoyari is on a top level and could be easily in the top 10 manga with the best artstyle. Akasaka is in a very good way creating another masterpiece which is already a respectable replacement of Act – Age and even getting more popular than Kaguya-sama. If you like reading a psychological story with amazing characters with not only showing the good sides being both an actress and idol.