「漫画原作ドラマ」 (Manga Gensaku Drama)
“Manga-Based TV Drama “

Oshi no Ko’s latest episode forces Aqua back into the limelight as he’s roped into joining a doomed TV drama based on a popular shojo manga. But while Kana’s recommendation was an opportunity for her to be more familiar with her old screen partner, Aqua sees it as a chance to cross-reference what kind of relationship the show’s producer had with Ai before she was pregnant.


One of the things that hold back Aqua is how standoffish his character is of the people around him until it’s time for his revenge plot to shine. He comes off as the same kind of careless main character as someone like Light Yagami or Lelouch Lamperouge who let their ambitions turn them into miserable people to hang out with.

I don’t want to add logic to this because the show’s more fun without it, but I feel like with over 40 years on this planet, he should at least have some sense of emotional maturity instead of being quick to reject the people around him and quit acting due to some initial discouragement about aging. Again, the guy who went through years of medical school gave up acting because he felt like he couldn’t train hard enough to be good at acting.

Aqua should ideally be farther than he is because talent scouts and people he’s worked with all see him as appealing and attractive. Taishi and Kana have been pulling their hair out trying to get him back into acting because he’s a natural. But Aqua is the type of person to get irrationally angry at the phrase “the call is coming from inside the house”.

I suppose this lack of appeal is why his flaws cause him to lose out on auditions. Rather than his talent is not good enough for acting, he’s not properly applying himself because his revenge plot has left him coming off like an uninspired dill weed. The only times he does shine through as an actor are when he’s either trying to manipulate the people around him or when he wants to show off in front of everyone. There’s no honesty to his craft, so he only excels at acting when he can do it out of spite.

If the point of the show is how unearned Aqua’s success is, then I think I can see the humor of the show’s satire. Where being vindictive or gullible makes it easier to get ahead in the entertainment industry than having talent. It’s why most actors and actresses come from money, after all. Think back to Taishi’s lottery quote. “If you want to win the lottery you have to make the money to buy a ticket.” In that instance, you really need the money to have a shot at the lottery in the first place. The greatest actor in Iowa has less of a chance at landing a lucrative role than the son of a movie producer.

In this instance, Aqua pretends that he never had the ticket in the first place, but the main prerequisite of being massive in Oshi no Ko is being empty and soulless. On top of that, he and his sister are supported by talented producers who raised them like their own children. Aqua has the money and the ticket in his hand, but he refuses to cash it in because the revenge plot means more to him than his own talents do. The talent many actors would kill for is stuck with a joyless nutjob who wastes his skills on vengeance.


I think it’s why Oshi no Ko’s commentary on fame can be a double-edged sword. The artifice and fakeness of fame can come at the cost of a person’s autonomy, but when the cast is composed of unpleasant or gullible people, it doesn’t properly represent the genuine efforts of people who are putting in the effort to positively express their talents with the world until Kana is re-introduced.

When someone like Kana is fighting tooth and nail to have her talents taken seriously and prevent herself from being erased by the passage of time, it makes it look like a slap in the face to see how her craft is treated by both her friends and the industry. I’m guessing the point is that performers like Ai and her kids will have an easier time getting ahead because their antisocial tendencies and naivety make them gel well with equally anti-social execs in the entertainment industry.

Kana being equally naive about being discredited as cheap freelance talent and Taishi living with his mother adds to the whole idea that people who take their craft seriously are fools who are bound to either flounder into obscurity or live with their parents. Meanwhile, performers like Ai and her kids represent people who are uncomfortably gleeful about using their talents to manipulate people and get what they want.

To me, it’s why honestly Kana is my favorite character they’ve introduced so far. Instead of being a sacrificial lamb or an unfeeling monster, she comes off like a fully fleshed-out character who has enjoyed the bitter and sweet fruits of the entertainment industry as a child actress. She learned to wise up quickly after noticing her roles dried up as her on-set behavior became harder to deal with.

As a result, she makes an earnest effort to shine through on her own merits as an actress who would be talented enough to carry an entire TV drama on her back. Even though her most recent project had her trying to salvage a terrible script and hammy actors who were thrown in so that the producers could promote their male models and idols, she still perseveres and tries to prove herself.

Compared to the larger-than-life liars, Kana has a very refreshing and down-to-earth perspective that makes Oshi no Ko feel less like a funeral where the eulogies have a laugh track. Hopefully, Kana and her story will be able to reign in some of the edges because I am fascinated by her comeback story, and would be interested in seeing what steps she’d have to take to push against the current and breakthrough as she trains more and more to be the best actress she can be.

Rather than feeling like a symbol, she’s given enough depth to let us know how her experiences shaped her into being more down to earth. It leans into the child actress’s struggles in a way that is sympathetic to the adversity she faces in comparison to the idols who are depicted as either opportunistic or shameless.

Trapeze had an interesting take on this as well with the narcissism that can be bred when you are told for so long that you’re amazing for who you used to be. The crossroads Kana faces in this instance is how much she can cling onto past glories if she was being spoiled enough that it encouraged her not to grow until it was far too late.

While the TV show she’s on wasn’t intended to be the breakthrough comeback she was looking for, it’s a sign that she’s being more proactive to leave her ego at the door as she gains further experience to shine through as the one actress carrying the show.


  1. It sounds like this anime didn’t click with you overall, because you above all didn’t like some of the characters’ personalities. While I think that at times you overly rationalize or moralize your loose instinctive judgments about how considerate or personable these characters are, it’s understandable that each person has their own unique perspective of human behavior/nature. Good luck with this season’s other anime.

    1. I’m still planning on sticking around through the series. I find it to be an interesting show to talk about because the subject matter of the entertainment industry is something that fascinates me. I haven’t read ahead, so if the problem is me making snap judgments when I just have to wait for events that haven’t happened yet to explain why the characters are better than I thought, I can only apologize for my lack of clairvoyance.

      It might not click as easily and I’ve got my own contentions about how it depicts its main cast in relation to its themes. But I thought Episode 03 was nice because Kana’s struggles with the industry felt like they did a great job depicting how cruel the industry is and at the same time didn’t force Kana to be two-faced or mustache-twirling to get ahead. The past couple of episodes have had its girls written in a victim-blamey kind of way that does little to challenge the industry it provokes, so it was nice that Kana didn’t get the same treatment despite walking into a crappy TV drama that just appreciates how cheap her pay is.

      Oshi no Ko to me has a ton of potential to tap into that same level of depth with its supporting cast. But if you want to hear me be more critical about the show, I’d hope that these posts prove to be reasonable counter-programming from the unconditional positivity of other blogs or discussion threads.

      It’s a well-received show, so I feel it’d be more cathartic and intriguing to me to avoid pulling any punches with it. I want to take the show seriously, but if I’m going to do so, I’m gonna be a lot harder on it than most other writeups. I’d hate myself if I thought uncritically of a show that aims to have a message.

      1. No need to be a lot harder than you are now. You are quite fair regarding what you know about the story (and that could also become a double edge sword in the futur XD).
        Oshi No Ko’s story is a roller-coster.
        Aqua is is a “little bit” messed up in the head. I mean he was a 40-old creepy fan turned son of his then murdered preferred idole. He only saw the idole when he was a doctor, then saw the struggling human when her kid and now the reality his mother/beloved idole had to face in the industry.

        Kana is great, but her story is sad. She still hasn’t understood that that “talent” is useless. That the talent she hard earned when working hard as a child actor didn’t helped her to come back. But even now she still think naively that she just need to work even harder … while she literally had to lower her talent. That’s utterly ironical. She didn’t réalise that she had been swallowed by the industry.
        Aqua, on the opposite is not and he knows that “talent” is how good you are at lying to please the people that can give you work (what he did with the Director), but also that his DNA AND his 40yo messed up personality that don’t give a shit about acting can play a role (that’s what happen when he played with her when child) and help those who came from more unfavorable social ground than him and worked hard to get there.
        (When you know how the japanese society tend to glorify hard-worker, genes and so-called genius without addressing the social aspect of those “success”, the critic is on the spot coming from Asakasa.)

        It’s pretty obvious Aqua hates the industry that killed AI and wants to turn its own “rules” against it. So yeah, he is not a very likeable character.

  2. I’m not too fond of Aqua’s passive-aggressive behavior makes his scenes very flat and generic. I much rather prefer his old self, the handsome, witty doctor.

    Kana, on the other hand, I didn’t like her at first, but her screen time is much more lively and meaningful. Compared to Kana, Aqua seems like he has given up on life. Selfish when Aqua has received a second lease on life.

    If Aqua can learn one thing from Kana’s presence is how to move on and do what you need to do while living life.

    Ruby, weirdly enough, I feel as though she is in her separate storyline within the world of Oshi no Ko. I would like an episode devoted to Ruby’s perspective.


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