「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.
WHAT’S MY AGE AGAIN?
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.
CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN
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.