OP: 「アイドル」 (Idol) by Yoasobi
「三つ目の選択肢」 (Mitsume no Sentakushi)
Oshi no Ko carries on as we follow Aqua and Ruby on their way to high school. But while Ruby is intent on trying to become an idol, Aqua puts his best foot forward to make sure he can thoroughly crush those dreams to protect her from following in her mother’s footsteps.
AY AY AY
I was hard on the first episode since the cautionary tale of Ai’s fate felt like it was more for people who were blissfully unaware of the idol industry. I went through this with Wake Up Girls! where it became a self-defeating parody of itself once it went from mocking deadbeat producers to making the voice actresses an idol group and having them make music for Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody.
But it makes sense why they’d want to break the ice about Ai’s journey since it makes sure everyone’s up-to-speed with the nature of the beast before approaching the topic any further. Oshi no Ko was going to have Ai make every telltale mistake to paint a target on her back for the filthy otaku who would rather see their idol die than watch them dating, let alone have children. I guess that’s why it rubbed me the wrong way. Laying out the ground rules involved Ai being the sacrificial lamb who could easily be blamed for not being savvy to the rules of the game.
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY
It’s also why it’s odd that Ruby is depicted in the same way. Where after what her mother went through, she still insists on jumping headfirst into the idol industry instead of doing her homework like Aqua. While she was imbibing in her favorite celebrity’s breast milk, Aqua was outlining what NOT to do if they want to ascend the ladder in the entertainment industry without falling into the same traps that got Ai murderous stalkers.
Miyako also tries to make this clear when she has to step in and remind Ruby that she’d be facing stalkers and creeps just as her mother did if she pursues this passion further. Additionally, Aqua’s tampering with her initial path to fame wound up causing Ruby to resort to getting excited over shady recruiters, assuming that it was the exact same path her mother took to gain success.
I know that Ruby’s past life hadn’t made it past 12, but they really make her out to be as reckless as Ai with how willing she is to jump into ANY opportunity without double-checking if it will get her as brutally murdered as it got her mom. Ruby’s insanely lucky that Miyako put together plans to rebuild their idol division after spending years trying to get their version of Trash Taste off the ground. If not, Ruby would have to keep chasing after every shady production company that gave her a chance and get stuck sharing a band with creepy managers and jealous bandmates.
If Ruby is the type of person who would think antifreeze would taste like Gatorade, the Aqua is the type of person who would greet every guy his sister tries to date with a steel bat.
That’s to say that Aqua’s overprotectiveness could prove to backfire immensely on him. Considering how Ruby went from auditioning to a legit production company to accepting some back alley deal for an underground idol company, he’s already driven her to desperately cling to anyone offering her an opportunity to perform.
By trying to sabotage her career path, he does more to push Ruby into making dumb mistakes that he’ll have to work twice as hard to “correct”. He’s already gone far enough to impersonate an idol company rep and a shady recruiter to push her away from her dream of chasing after her late mother’s dreams.
On a personal level, Aqua’s biggest problem is that he’s so obsessed with playing the Machiavellian mastermind that he also has a problem alternating between a talent for acting and a control freak mindset that’d make him a better manager. I’m guessing his pivot toward General Education is going to sharpen his mind toward being a manager so that he can investigate his father more successfully.
He channels his acting skills more toward impersonating industry people and lets himself become quickly discouraged by some bad auditions. It’s likely that he let it get to his head that he wasn’t nailing auditions, and figured he’d just go with being behind the scenes because acting wasn’t the same “get rich quick scheme” he thought it might’ve been.
Rather than being fake on camera as a talent, he’s fake with the people around him. But when you’re fake to someone’s face, they don’t realize who you are or what your intentions are. So if anyone jumps into danger because he’s not direct with them, it’s entirely Aqua’s responsibility to make sure that his own private crusade doesn’t involve endangering the people around him. He seems cool with that setup, but it’s also given him an unhealthy outlook on controlling the futures of the people around him.
The one person to try to set him straight is Gotanda, the director who wound up taking Aqua on as an apprentice. Even with his red flag movie posters, he’s the one positive influence in Aqua’s life because he kept encouraging him to not let his dreams go unanswered, and even chastises him for constantly dashing his sisters’ dreams. Although there’s no insider baseball on why rent is high enough to discourage a movie director from moving out of his mother’s home, at least he knows enough to keep Aqua from having only the negative thoughts in his mind to keep him company.
It’ll be interesting to see how Aqua is tested now that Kana recognizes him as one of his new classmates at school. Part of me doesn’t have high hopes because Kana seems more enthusiastic to reunite with an old co-star than Aqua does. Kana looked genuinely happy to recognize Aqua and saw their reunion as a chance to work with an old acquaintance once again. Whether Aqua doesn’t share this sentiment because he remembers her being a diva onset or if he’s too one-track-minded about his revenge plot to recognize her will be something the next episode would likely answer.
Just to be clear, I am fascinated by Oshi no Ko. I’m critical of it because I wish to engage with the material and pick its brain a bit. It scratches an itch for media analysis that leaves me both curious and skeptical about its intentions by turning the entertainment industry into a battleground for our protagonists
ED: 「メフィスト」 (Mephisto) by Ziyoou-vachi