「Mother and Children」

Written by Kaguya-sama author Aka Akasaka, Oshi no Ko was a solid argument that Akasaka’s talents went beyond critiquing the class systems that caused their previous manga’s characters to fight for their love.

But while that series is known for its wacky comedy and analysis of class structures, Oshi no Ko is a dramatic thriller that satirizes the idol industry and sends Doctor Gorou Amemiya on a journey to save the life of his favorite idol Ai Hoshino. Little did he realize that saving her would involve being resurrected as her newly born son. This one is destined to be a smash hit, but the real question to ask would be whether the anime adaptation would do justice to its high-concept premise.


I had to do a double-take at the length of the episode. I honestly didn’t feel as much of Kimetsu no Yaiba’s 50-minute run time oddly enough, but 90 minutes is quite a bit for it to not be split up into multiple episodes. I was upset to hear it was theatrically released way after I posted Episode 01’s impressions, so now I have the opportunity to say that this was theatrically released ahead of time, justifying it’s run time.

It also clears through the first volume pretty easily like a breeze, ending right at the moment when Aquamarine and Ruby deal with the aftermath of Ai Hoshino’s death. By speedrunning the Three Episode Rule with its run time, it does more to cut to the chase rather than build up suspense.

Had it divvied up this first episode into three, there might’ve been a neat Madoka-esque level of shock at the twist that Ai dies. It’s always good to have more episodes so dumping it all in Episode 01 is charitable, but the theatrical part of me feels like it’s a bit of a waste for Volume 01’s big twist to be given away immediately rather than pull the rug out from anime viewers who aren’t savvy to what happens.


As stated earlier, Kaguya-sama’s greatest strength thematically is how it ties in the characters to their class and status as a means of developing them and explaining their personal motivations. But with Oshi no Ko, its approach to the idol industry is disappointingly simple.

Anything you might’ve heard about idol agencies or Vtubing agencies that aim to mirror the idol format is everything you get here. You have seedy career men looking to make a quick buck off of exploiting young girls, aspiring talent happy to lie to their handlers and their fans for 15 seconds of fame before being pushed back into public life as washed-up nobodies, and selfish fans who would insert themselves into the personal lives of celebrities in an entitled parasocial haze.

If this is the first time you’re hearing about the exploitative nature of the idol industry, then the insider baseball in Oshi no Ko might come as a shock to your system. But if you’ve seen Minami Minegishi’s apology video and read about the reason behind it, then you’re already caught up to speed about the idol biz, and Oshi no Ko might just feel like a glib jab at people who thought it wasn’t fake.

Much of this is presented through how its characters who aren’t Aquamarine/Amemiya are depicted. Ai herself is a ditzy fool who is in over her head as she’s oblivious to the snowball effect of her choosing to remain an idol after having a pair of twins. Her ignorance is harped on by her opportunistic handlers who scramble to make sure no one ever finds out she was pregnant and had secret children. Gotta keep up the illusion of availability to the poor lonely NEETs who love idols as if they’re star-crossed soulmates and would go so far as to track down and kill her and her doctor if they ever knew.

It doesn’t fare much better for the people who got Ai into acting as now you’re dealing with the one-two punch of movie starlets getting upset about being upstaged by her and her secret son. Then you move from a surface-level critique of idols to a surface-level critique of the film-making process. Because Oshi no Ko really likes being hard on women, the pure angel is robbed of her glorious scene-stealing takes as to not upstage the insecure main actress, the manager’s wife is pining for a movie star husband to be her second husband, and the main character has to contend with a jealous child actress who tries cry-bullying for another take where she isn’t upstaged.

Even Ruby, who was a fan of Ai before she succumbed to an illness, alternates between being an obsessed fan who feels entitled to Ai’s body as her family and a mouthpiece to criticize how the media looks down on idols and entertainers by sapping away at their life force before discarding them like used goods. Her own take on child actresses is called out by Aquamarine because she’s eager to join in on the kind of pressure it would take to drive Kana to sob at the idea of being upstaged at a time when all eyes are on her to be exceptional or rot in obscurity.


But you didn’t come to this show to learn about what to do and what not to do as an aspiring entertainer; you came for the real meat and potatoes that is the suspense. The plus side is that this is where the show really excels as it

Much of the first episode gives us some good build-up towards what Amemiya’s goals are going to be now that he’s Aquamarine. With his new life, he immediately thought of how to navigate to both preserve AI’s secret and secure a future as one of two nepotism twins.

He’d already planned to get his foot in the door for Ruby to become an actress and performer, but his measures ended up landing him in all kinds of crazy situations. Through his own lack of tact, he became a surprisingly good child actor and jump-started the career he had intended on getting Ruby involved with.

The main hook of the series at this point is going to be it’s heaviest plot point with Aquamarine trying to find the reason why his and AI’s killer had so much info to go off of. At the moment, his M.O. is to find and kill his father since only he’d know about Ai having a child, but part of me thinks that there are others tangled up in an overarching conspiracy. Where multiple people with ill intent wound up leaking AI’s location twice to Ryousuke so that he’d jump in and do the dirty work for whoever led him to Ai.

It’ll be interesting to see how everything pans out, especially with the flash forward where we see Aquamarine and Ruby navigating life as teens. With their interest in fame and their status as the bastard children of a tragically killed idol, I’m curious how they’ll be able to gain a high profile. I might not have found the show’s take on the industry to be as compelling, but on a narrative level, it’s the perfect backdrop for the kind of murder mystery that the story feels like it’s heading towards.


  1. The concept of a self aware reincarnated child of an idol trying to find his mother’s killer is actually kind of interesting.

    The idea of that boy being that idol’s OBJYN, and a fan of that idol when he was alive is…weird, and actually really creepy. I just couldn’t get past that central plot detail.

  2. *scrolls*

    *scrolls scrolls scrolls scrolls scrolls scrolls scrolls*

    … you know. I’m starting to get the feeling this is not a half-hour episode. I do wonder what the rest of the format for the season will be like.

    This anime looks VERY weird. Not to mention how in the USA, a teen getting pregnant and having to raise two kids when the father dies is very much frowned upon, while in Japan they kind of just have to deal with it due to the different laws there. So a patient dies, and then the FATHER dies too?? What is this?? I honestly do not know what message this story is trying to tell.

    1. Where did the ‘father dies” come from??? It was an unstable stan who murdered Amamiya (the doctor) after Amamiya confronted him for stalking Ai (and probably was there to hurt her) and was successful on the second try since I presume and now Aqua also that the stan was tipped off again by the real father of the twins on where Ai and her family lived.

  3. In theory I would probably agree with possible “social criticisms” the authors have to make in the story, however… I also have 90% confidence that I’ll detest the authors particular style of story telling and character building, that’s why kept myself far away from the manga.
    Seeing how long the first episode is maybe I could try to watch it just to have a better idea of what and how it is, though I would do this knowing that I’ll stress myself in doing so.

    I much prefer stories with a more positive energy.

  4. Sorry. It’s rare, but this time I disagree with almost every criticism you lob at this show.

    Not splitting up the first episodes until the big “Mami death” style revelation did not waste anything. If you go through Youtube reaction videos, you can say that the shock was universal for people without prior knowledge, and even those (like me) who knew what was coming rarely made it to the end of the episode with dry eyes. Because when it happened, an expectation of “wholesome idol show with some social criticism” had long been established already. Splitting it into 3 or 4 eps would only increase the risk of spoiling the surprise.

    Blaming the anime for depicting what was already known since Minami Minegishi’s apology video is silly. Sorry. Oshi no Ko was written way before all this. “Its approach to the idol industry is disappointingly simple.”, you say? Actually, it’s the opposite. The people working in the entertainment industry are _not_ depicted as simple exploitative villains, but as perfectly normal people whose JOB it is to deliver to the masses what they want. They do what they do for rational reasons. They change their mind where it’s warranted. They accept real-life pressure and try to compromise where possible. It’s the industry in itself which acts like a meatgrinder, while most of the people working in it are just regular people. Nothing “simple” here. Many shades of grey.

    What makes Ai a “ditzy fool”? That she wants to combine being an idle and being a mom to kids? That hardly makes her stupid at all, it rather shows that she has the determination to see things through her own way. She is not deluding herself about the problems she has to deal with (think about her decision to give natural birth instead of a cesarean as another example). She invests a lot of work and effort in her job and isn’t easily dissuaded by adversity. If anything, she is very clear-eyed what being an idol is about: Delivering a fake message to the fans for emotional consumption. And she is perfectly aware that this cynical outlook collides with her second task of being a mother. This distress is something a “ditzy fool” would hardly feel.

    Why is the criticism of the entertainment industry “surface-level”? Based on confirmation from people who actually have inside knowledge, what Oshi no Ko soberly depicts is very accurate, and it is delivered refreshingly without moralizing preaching of bad-characters exploiting good-characters, rather with sober realism. Grey instead of black-and-white, just like the real world is. I would be curious to hear from you what kind of depiction of the entertainment industry would be “deep” in your opinion.

    I would by no stretch call this episode perfect, but it was excellent. And I am genuinely puzzled why the characters – which I consider pretty well-defined – come over as simple flat caricatures to you.

    1. Yeah, I must admit that I was puzzled about the comments on the “surface-level critique” of entertainment media in general and the idol industry in particular. Like seeing criticism of Saving Private Ryan for its brutal and explicit showing of the horrors of war. In particular, I feel that the argument overestimates the awareness of the problems among the intended audience, what xkcd lampshaded as “Average Familiarity”:


      The truth is that, as far as manga and anime are concerned, more often than not the idol system is idolized (pun intended). How many stories about characters simping for idols, or wishing to be idols, or idols saving the day with their generic J-pop songs? Idol groups even have manga and merchandising to continue selling that ideal. I still remember the dissonance when reading AKB49, since the bad stuff was swept under the rug and their draconic policies were presented as worthy of praise.

      Heck, the awareness of that dark side can also be awareness of how little criticism there is inside the industry. Outsiders may see Minami Minegishi’s apology and similar cases as bad things, but that stuff has been tolerated or, worse, hailed among fans for years, some of whom could be as deranged as the murderer here (Mayu Tomita’s stabbing comes to mind).

      That’s the kind of situation Oshi no Ko is living with, so I can’t fault Akasaka for assuming that the lowest common denominator doesn’t pay enough attention or doesn’t realize the extent of the harm. In that regard, I see the series’ critique of those aspects a welcome novelty in the typical anime landscape.

    2. A few points:

      There is a whole “NO SPOILERS” mentality that’s around the story because the big twist felt like a gut punch once you got to the end of the first volume (At least that’s what Youtubers who outright spoiled the manga in their thumbnail could attest to). I also had a strong response to it so I’m not saying this on any high horse. But leaving yourself unspoiled only works if you’re gradually making your way through a longer story.
      Ai’s death at the end of Volume 1 has a greater impact to me than it happening at the end of an extended Episode 1 because the gradual build-up means having to finish a comic book just to find out the story you thought you were getting was completely different. 

      Having it smackdab in the very first episode defeats the purpose of keeping it a secret if we’re also dealing with the same EPISODE where Amemiya is also brutally murdered. If the first chapter of Oshi no Ko revealed both Amemiya and Ai bit the dust, you’d also feel like it was just a part of the story and not a shocking rug-pull.
      I don’t know how anyone would get the idea that this would be a fun innocent idol show where Ai raises two dead people imprisoned in the bodies of her children as she risks publicly-endorsed character assassination if anyone finds out they’re biologically hers. Outright learning that the main character was murdered should’ve put the notion that this was just going to be Love Live or Idolm@ster to bed. 

      Of course, it was going to depict it in a morally grey area since Aquamarine and Ai still manage to find plenty of support within the industry. People begrudgingly have to wait on paying those two their dues until the perfect opportunity like the positive idol show and the horror movie. But none of it’s kosher. The staff sees it as an ugly business of fabrication that see talent as a passing phase that will need to sink or swim. From jump street, it was always going to paint the entertainment industry as unsafe and unwell for Ai and her children both because of their dog-eat-dog mentality and their emphasis on purity. It being a meat market for young girls was always bound to rear its head, but Oshi no Ko was kind enough to regulate that towards the mentality that’d breed a killer like Ryousuke and not the kind that would force Ai to sing something like “Sailor Fuku o Nugasanai de”.

      I admit Ai’s “ditziness” comes off as harsh on my end since I can see it’s also a symptom of the idol industry critique of swiping up talent while they’re just kids trying to navigate through an adult world. Ai wanted the experience that she was robbed of by having no parents but is set up to fail by her ex-boyfriend and wasn’t explicitly made aware of the limitations idol groups have with relationships, let alone parenthood. She’s a teen mother and is going to have the mentality of a teen mother, so she’d be very ignorant about thinking she could still continue her career when the idol industry would rather her either be a full-time parent or a pariah for having children out of wedlock.

      I’d find it hard to believe that Oshi no Ko’s story was written before 2013 when the Minegishi incident happened. Or the Aya Hirano incident? Or the Morning Musume scandals? The idol industry already had the stink of lethal puritanism, prepubescent lust, and cutthroat cruelty attached to it by the late aughts. I’d have no doubt in my mind if the direct inspiration for Oshi no Ko wasn’t in the very public outrage that’s happened on mass media whenever there’s an idol scandal. Heck, Aggretsuko was also on the uptake around the same time Oshi no Ko went into circulation. By that point, it was a given that most idol media that wasn’t made to sell app games was going to be a scathing critique of the idol industry.

      I just wanted to clarify that my harsher position on the show’s themes or structure isn’t out of ignorance or malintent. That my justification for being hard on it is that it wants to revel in how terrible the industry is at the cost of its characters. Where the cast feels less like real people and more like caricatures based on what you could infer happened in a hot button news story.

      To me, it lacks the humanization necessary to make an effective critique of how exploitative yet survivable the entertainment industry is. Basing characters off of archetypes works in comedies, but in dramas, you need to have more intent than just an archetype. Otherwise, all you have is just the same level of character development you’d get from reading a news article.

      “Britney’s New Look” on South Park was like this where they wrote an empathetic take on Britney’s abuse by the media, but through a lens that almost felt like it was mocking her for attracting negative attention. That also had a very short run time to justify its criticism of Britney’s media coverage, which wouldn’t have been enough time to make her out to be anything more than a victim. To add to this, Britney didn’t see the humor of the episode.

      As a narrative, that’s why Ai dying from the get-go makes it clear that Ai is less of a character and more of a symbol. She’s given as much depth as any woman in a tragic film noir movie as an angel too pure for this world, and she has to die for her life to be given any meaning. Her death also immediately humanizes the remaining characters as her handlers and the director are set up to be the mentor figures that they had a hard time being back when things were strictly business.

      I still think the show will turn out fine. It seems like Aquamarine is the focal point of the show, especially since the story’s women tend to be written more like props that exist to serve the narrative’s themes of what the entertainment industry drives them to do. With that in mind, Aquamarine should steer Oshi no Ko towards a more interesting introspective sphere of the entertainment industry than just “look at this little girl get sensationalized and robbed of a private life until she’s dead and forgotten in favor of the next flavor of the week”.

      1. Okay – let’s try to sum up where we have to agree to disagree.

        Your point “But leaving yourself unspoiled only works if you’re gradually making your way through a longer story” gets a flat “nope” from me. Proof: See reactions on forums, blogs and Youtube reaction videos. Not just the majority, but the VAST majority (90%) was completely blindsided and explicitly said so. And I have no idea what you are arguing about it being “part of the story” – it obviously _defines_ the direction the story is taking and is not a mere story-unrelated flash in the pan effect to shock the audience.

        I also don’t understand what exactly you are criticizing about the entertainment industry. In your initial post you berate Oshi no Ko for “surface criticism”, now you seem to revert course and concede that it paints an appropriate varied grey picture. It’s clear that you dislike something, but what exactly is it? The fact that the entertainment industry _is_ as depicted? That having the show depict it rubs you wrong? That the characters depict it in a way you dislike?

        You are right with the “Minegashi incident” – I was confusing this with an apology from Lovely’z Jin from earlier this year, which was about idol dating and legal actions against malicious comments (which is exactly what’s relevant in Oshi no Ko). In your original post you seemed to complain that the show doesn’t offer anything new, since we’re “already caught up on the idol biz”. I would venture the guess that only a small fraction of viewers would be informed indepth. Many viewers will know that the entertainment business is a harsh and unpleasant world, but no more than that. Therefore, having this show thematize it (particularly in its sober and non-preachy way) is worthwhile and instructive.

        “To me, it lacks the humanization necessary to make an effective critique of how exploitative yet survivable the entertainment industry is.” – another flat “nope” from me. I mean, truth is in the eye of the beholder, but Ai, Aqua and Ruby are no mere “archetypes”. To me, they are fairly well-defined with personalities of their own, and the show managed to make me emotionally invested in them. If this wasn’t the case, Ai’s death would not bring viewers to tears in the final scenes. You don’t cry over a template.

        “As a narrative, that’s why Ai dying from the get-go makes it clear that Ai is less of a character and more of a symbol.” – good lord! This is even worse than “ditzy fool”. What made her character so charming for me was her positivity in tackling what life had in store for her, no matter how bad it was. Look at her dialogue after being stabbed, for example. I cried for Ai the likable person, not a symbol for narrative purposes.

        To sum it up: I sense a weird set of preconceived notions in your descriptions which the anime has to fulfill your expectations. Taking the show for what it is freely seems to have led to a much more pleasant viewing experience for me.

        1. I’m fine with being proven wrong if the show winds up telling an interesting or nuanced perspective on fame as time goes on.

          If it uses Aqua & Ruby’s teen years as a way of conveying their co-existence with the entertainment industry, I could see it using that as a better opportunity for the show to elaborate further on its subversive take on the industry.

          I wasn’t a fan of how Ai’s personal story was told, but the story is more focused on her children, so I shouldn’t be harping on the show too much about Ai if her POV wasn’t meant to be our eyes and ears in the industry.

    3. @ Mentar I was going to post exactly that.

      @Choya I don’t understand the “surface level” criticism either. I live in Japan and I can assure you that many people only see the spark and the whistle of this industry. This may have something to do with Japan’s particular view of work and labour.
      What’s very fresh about Oshi No Ko is that it doesn’t sugarcoat anything that comes out of the industry and puts everything into perspective. When I was reading the manga, I couldn’t help but think that this or that line wouldn’t appeal to someone who was toxic towards a celebrity on Twitter, or that this event wouldn’t appeal to someone who worked in the industry. It was the same in the drama Elpis (+ politics). Something Act-Age never did because its themes were different (and it was a WSJ manga).

      The Minegashi incident is just an extreme case, and when I expressed my concern that it had gone too far, my wife’s answer was: well, she betrayed her agency, she didn’t do her job properly. She wasn’t the only one who said that. They just don’t care, they don’t want to care, and they don’t really want to know. It’s like the anime industry, only those who care know, but the vast majority don’t. I’d even go so far as to say that “every Japanese knows because of this and other incidents” is a Western bias.
      In fact, Aqua herself says it at the end (“Three days after her death, she disappears and the news channel is talking about the weather”).

      The adaptation is 11 episodes because of those first 3in1 episodes, and it needs that to show all aspects of the story, which is crucial for an anime. I don’t think it would make sense to end the first episode with Goro’s death, since the second episode never deals with that and goes into full slice-of-life/entertainment comedy, like Goro’s death is nothing more than the death of an MC at the beginning of an Isekai (“I was killed by a jealous fan of my favourite idole and now I’ve been reincarnated as her son”). And then the third episode would introduce new characters, still give no information about Goro’s end, reincarnation, and end with another death? I’m pretty sure a lot of people would say “ok, this show is all over the place”.
      But if you knew it was going to be 90 minutes, you would be drawn into the “why” of it being so long, and in practice … you would make time in your life to watch it, and be prepared for anything, because there won’t be a “to be continued” 20 minutes later. Yeah, this might be a stupid point of view, but watching an anime took more time and resources than reading a chapter or a whole manga tome, especially when the story has so much to show XD.
      On top of that, the poster, the pitch, the length and all the communication around Oshi No Ko itself has been about its main theme from the very beginning of the series: lies, in a sense where all of it was lying to you and make people think it was a Shirobako/Bakuman with idols kind of show/manga. It fits perfectly, and judging by all the reactions, it worked.

      As a fun fact, my sister is the manager of a famous chain of bookshops in France and she told me that Oshi No Ko wasn’t doing well … because of its covers: too pink, too girly and a pitch about how two characters become stars like their mother. She hoped that the anime would change that. That starting with a 90-minute episode and a theatrical release definitely attract the attention needed … to lure everyone into the depths of the abyss MOUHAHAHAHAHAH.

      Now I’m sure the manga will get a big boost in sales in France.

  5. There are two twists, and they both upset me, the reincarnation idea as an atheist; when I see this, I’m like sheet.

    The murder of Ai at the end is also not cool. That same guy that killed the MC has met his quota on how much he can love an idol.

    What was the point of the MC being reincarnated to a world only to watch his idol/mother die?

    1. I’m an atheist too and the reincarnation thing doesn’t bother me.

      It’s a fiction/fantasy story. It’s not like they are doing a docummentary saying reincarnation is real.

    2. The reincarnation thing is one thing I took with a grain of salt. Especially when it falls apart as soon as you notice that Sarina and Amemiya are born together even though they died 4 years apart.

      For most religions that believe in the soul either being brought to a baby in conception or during the fetus process, Sarina would’ve had to have died again as a completely different four-year-old to have her soul recycled back into Ruby in time for Ruby’s conception.

      And for that matter, Amemiya wouldn’t have soul-transferred into Aquamarine under most religions since he warped into Aqua right when Ai was pushing him out.

      And if you discard religion altogether, it’d make even less sense because if Amemiya’s soul went to Aquamarine by the time Ai was pushing him out, then that means there was a major 4-year delay in Sarina’s soul going into Ruby.

      Whoever was in charge of doling out the souls in this universe is either sending them out too soon or too late.

    3. Tell me if I am wrong, but Aqua stated in the car that his previous death is actually a homicide that has yet to be discovered and is connected to the murder of Ai – Hence his reincarnation is to serve karma and bring closure as we have a serial killer with Amamiya’s murder, Ai’s murder, and I highly doubt the stan committed suicide without external interference.

  6. The doctor being creepy at the beginning makes this difficult to recommend it to anyone. He could still be just a big fan of hers and the plot would still be the same. But nope. They just had to include loli dialgogues and jokes. Why? Why do the Japanese feel the need to insert cringe loli dialogues and jokes into everything?

    It just turns something that could considered art to a cringe fest of weirdos.

  7. See i really don’t agree with the 3 episode divvy up. I actually really like how they did the first episode. Because the series was recommended to me i read it before knowing about the adaption, and i gotta say that the anime did a fantastic job of it, and it hit me real hard, probably harder than reading it quite frankly.

    I don’t really think narratively speaking Mami’s death and Ai’s death are the same. I can see the comparison, given the relatively shocking nature that both are meant to evoke, but fitting into a story arc, Ai’s death is your background flavor and Mami’s death is your call to action.

    Also apart from making a prequel OVA series (that likely wouldn’t have gotten official translations) or a movie that would have come out after the series, i really don’t think there was a better way of telling Ai’s story while making sure people got most of the story without having to look elsewhere.

  8. OK, so I finally got around to watch (and re-watch) this 90-minute(!) premiere (basically speedrunning the “Three-episode rule/guideline”) and let me get my biggest praise out of the way: Rie Takahashi (also voicing a certain explosion loli this season) pulls off a convincing heart-wrenching performance as a young idol mother who finds herself on death’s door thanks to an obsessive stalker who “OD’d on IRL Halu.” Why am I using a certain VTuber fandom term of Indonesian origin? We’ll get back to that later. Honestly, there’s a lot to take in from (and so much to say about) this premiere episode regarding the dark, behind-the-scenes underbelly of the entertainment industry and its effects on the people involved.

    Goro in his past life (before Sarina) was one of boring, almost cynical routine, with the only thing he lived for (probably) was doing a good enough job and surviving to the next paycheck. His old dreams have probably been dashed by cynicism and reality a long time ago. All that changes once the terminally ill Sarina entered the picture and nudged Goro into the idol rabbithole.

    Now, I empathize with Sarina and why she’s obsessed with Ai–it gives her something to live for despite her terminal illness. And for those fellow dwellers in the VTuber rabbithole, it reminded me of Jimmy the Mukiroze (genderbent, buff Aki Rosenthal) cosplayer as well. (Jimmy’s tweet for context.) But unlike Jimmy, who survived his stroke, eventually quit smoking and survived to do his Mukiroze cosplay at Hololive’s 4th Fes., Sarina would eventually die from her illness. And while the whole reincarnation subplot (and the Hoshino twins still having memories of their past lives) stretches my willing suspension of disbelief, it feels like…”cosmic compensation” for such a cruel fate.

    As for Ai… She really wanted to have her cake (give birth to her children/happiness as a mother) and eat it too (stay as an idol while keeping her children secret/happiness as an idol)…if I got that blasted idiom right. Still doesn’t feel like an excuse for her life to be ended tragically like that. That aside…

    “[Idols] sparkle through the magic of lies. Lies are the most exquisite love! … Piling on lie after lie, we look happy as we sing on stage no matter what struggles we might face. What a fun job!”

    NGL, that half of Ai’s spiel to Goro about being an idol gives me the creeps. And even more so knowing that I’m in deep in the VTuber rabbithole (as in “YouTube algorithm sometimes snitching ‘forbidden knowledge'” deep).

    “Still… The happiness part’s something that I wanna experience for real. No one realizes it, but we’ve got our own feelings and lives, too.”

    I do get this part of Ai’s spiel, though. It’s a pretty natural/normal human desire.

    “It’s fine to dream of the entertainment industry, but you’d best open your eyes to reality once you wake up.”

    Anyway, let’s go back to the mention of “Halu” (shortened form of the Indonesian word halusinasi, used to describe someone delusional). As someone in the VTuber rabbithole, this parasocial s**t can sometimes be one hell of a drug. And a really scary thing at times. It also says a lot about humanity where it’s often difficult to find a meaningful human connection, so people flock to the next best thing–commodified parasocial connection. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike VTubers. The people behind those avatars are pretty talented and really entertaining, plus don’t get me started on the art and tech-side work that makes those live concerts or even a “simple” live stream possible. But I’ve seen some glimpses of how dark the industry can get (And those are relatively tame–who knows what other worse dark s**t actually goes on and are covered up [pun intended] behind the closed doors of those agencies?), how harassment (especially coordinated harassment) can mess with the mental health of the talents–even if they have the proverbial “thick skin” to keep going, how it encourages parasocial connection (e.g.: the “Girlfriend Experience” propagated by some VTubers like the former Uruha Rushia)–sometimes to the detriment of the talents’ actual personal lives/relationships and (again) mental health, and how it all crashes down if even a slight hint of their personal lives makes it to the more unhinged segments of the VTuber fandom–segments that are attracted by the promise of a worthwhile parasocial connection in the first place.

    Watching this premiere was a pretty sobering experience, and while one can still find happiness in watching VTubers/idols, Oshi no Ko‘s first episode is a (personal) warning not to get invested in the VTuber/idol fandom any more than necessary.

    And for those who want me to GSH[ Get Some Help] and/or GWS [Get Well Soon], or are having similar “parasocial attachment” experiences to mine, I’m just gonna leave these here (apologies for going over the three-link limit):

    “Lying is fine. In fact, pretty lies are what fans want. Lying is a talent, you know. It’s all good. Go on and lie up a storm!”

    The Producer’s spiel also made me remember a quote often misattributed to Nazi Germany’s Joseph Goebbels: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” Basically the go-to tactic of many authoritarian regimes to gaslight and brainwash people into accepting their version of the “truth”. No wonder I found it disgusting to hear.

    Seeing Ai murdered thanks to one loony (Haloony?) fan was already heart-wrenching enough. But what’s even more tragic is that Ai was so used to lying she no longer realizes her real feelings (and truthfully tell her children she loves them) until she was at death’s door. Not sure if I even want to continue watching Aquamarine and Ruby’s own forays into the entertainment industry after that (or see more of that industry’s dark underbelly), even if there’s still the mystery of who knocked up Ai.

    I do appreciate some of the “black comedy” jokes/memes about Ai, though. Like how she’s now the newest member of Franchouchou (though there will be some confusion with Mizuno Ai), or how helpful it would have been if she had Kontakt-1 ERA on her belly (damnit, r/NonCredibleDefense…). Plus that one wholesome joke about YAGOO getting to Ai first before the murderer does (likely with the help of Amelia and Kronii) and recruiting her to be a VTuber.

    O.T. P.S.: And if I had an actual choice of where to reincarnate, I’d rather pick the world of Ishuzoku Reviewers instead (with my past life + weeb memories and knowledge intact), TYVM.

  9. You know I have to disagree with your assessment about this show. I may not be articulate about my thoughts, but I feel that this series is all but surface criticism. Sure it does have its flaws as I am much flabbergasted about the naivete of Ai wanting her cake and eat it too. And how she could keep such a lie going even beyond her death that she was a teenage mom with twins. As someone who didn’t read the manga and was looking into the series belatedly as a recommendation, the ending of the first episode literally propelled to me binge through the next three episodes simply because of the perception of thinking this is gonna be another IdolM@ster- fluffy slice of life-happy go lucky to be gobsmacked into a subtle reminder of underneath the façade of the colorful palette is the dark and brutal reality of life. If it was broken up as a build up suspense as suggested – I don’t think I would have much of a reaction as I would have the foresight to pick up the clues. Even if there was a touch of reality sprinkled into the series, I thought at most the series was gonna show along the lines of Bakuman with its superficial gloss of what it was like to be a female idol. I mean the intense reaction I got beside binging is to find out that the author of the series wrote Kaguya-sama: Love is War and that the series is classified as seinen. And by the wrapped of the first episode, I knew the main character isn’t even Ai or Ruby, but Aqua. Not just the fact that he is seeking revenge for the death of Ai, but that fact that he has multiple unfinish business: he was took up worshipping Ai because of Sarina who died young and now Ai was murder in front of him who was in a medical profession whose previous death is also connected.


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