Even before the Spring 2023 season began, the anime community was abuzz about [Oshi no Ko]. This mystery thriller set in the cutthroat world of show business, coming to us from the creator of Kaguya-sama: Love is War, is a captivating watch that keeps viewers guessing every single week. So if you need something to scratch that itch between episodes, here are 6 Anime Like [Oshi no Ko]!
Spoiler Warning for the first episode of [Oshi no Ko]!
Similar Anime to Oshi no Ko
1. Perfect Blue
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: February 1998
For a truly vicious takedown of Japanese idol culture, look no further than Satoshi Kon’s disturbing masterpiece Perfect Blue. Pop idol Mima graduates from her group to pursue a serious career in acting and modeling, but her fans are... not pleased. Someone impersonates her online with disturbingly accurate details of her private life, Mima keeps seeing a stalker out of the corner of her eye, and the people in charge of pushing her into more risqué and violent roles start dropping dead. Who is the real Mima – the idol or the human? Not even she can tell anymore.
Perfect Blue goes for more of a psychological horror angle than [Oshi no Ko], but its themes line up perfectly with Ai’s struggle to separate truth from strategic lies. And in the end, it’s the delusional fans who can’t see the real person underneath the idol persona who pose the greatest danger.
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2019 – December 2019
Society only holds together because we all agree to wear masks in our daily lives. That’s the main premise of Beastars, which takes place in a reality where carnivores and herbivores co-exist “peacefully”, but the threat of baser instincts looms heavily at all times. So when an innocent alpaca student is found dead at Cherryton Academy, the killer is bound to be hidden somewhere in plain sight...
Main character Legoshi has a lot in common with Aqua – both pursue their unknown targets through a world that’s much more corrupted than it seems, and both start to change the longer they stare into the abyss. What lengths will they go to in order to drag these criminals into the light?
3. Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2016 – March 2016
When Satoru Fujinuma is falsely accused of murder, he’s suddenly sent 18 years into the past, to a time when he was 11 years old and his classmate Kayo was killed under mysterious circumstances. Armed with the knowledge of his adult self, Satoru realizes that the murders are connected and resolves to save Kayo this time around. But can he meddle with the past without accidentally making things worse?
This is the only anime on the list with the “adult in a child’s body” element that makes Aqua’s internal thought process so intriguing. Satoru and Aqua both have to play the part of a clueless kid while executing their plans in secret, all in the pursuit of a noble goal that they might ruin if they don’t think things through. ERASED also has some very cool stylistic elements – like the tangled video tape that represents the flow of time and the spider’s thread that compels the killer to act – that you’ll love if you’ve enjoyed tracking every time stars are used in [Oshi no Ko].
Any Anime Like Oshi no Ko ?
4. Kageki Shoujo!! (Kageki Shojo!!)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2021 – September 2021
Making it in the entertainment industry isn’t for the faint of heart, and nothing shows this better than Kageki Shojo!! Following a tense encounter with a male fan, Ai Narata is kicked out of her idol group and joins an all-female school for aspiring totally-not-Takarazuka-Revue actresses. Jealousy, in-fighting, and trauma taunt her at every turn, but perhaps with the help of her endearingly obnoxious (and tall) new friend Sarasa, Ai can achieve the life she’s always dreamed of.
Many idol anime at least touch on the harsh and unforgiving nature of show business, but Kageki Shojo and [Oshi no Ko] go the extra step of showing how young girls are taken advantage of by people who just want to chew them up and spit them out. If only Ai Hoshino had had a Sarasa in her life, perhaps she could’ve found something to truly love about being an idol.
Kageki Shojo!! Trailer
- Episodes: 74
- Aired: April 2004 – September 2005
Can you ever really know if you’re doing the right thing? Dr. Tenma is a brain surgeon of unparalleled talent, trusted to handle patients no one else could successfully operate on. He makes the controversial choice to save an orphaned young boy named Johan instead of a wealthy politician, but years later, he learns that Johan grew up to be a serial killer... who poisoned Tenma’s disapproving superiors to “thank” him. Now under suspicion of murder himself, Tenma sets out on a desperate chase to take down the monster he helped create.
The way Monster portrays Johan as a sort of supernatural creature – with visions from his victims that may or may not be real – echoes [Oshi no Ko]’s treatment of Ai’s killer. Aqua dedicates his entire life to bringing this person down, based only on the conjecture that it must be his biological father. Is he chasing after a real human, or just a boogeyman he’s created in his own mind?
6. Mousou Dairinin (Paranoia Agent)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: February 2004 – May 2004
A character designer under pressure to create the next big craze. A popular grade schooler whose life suddenly isn’t so perfect anymore. A dirty cop whose bribes and corruption are finally catching up to him. These are just a few of those visited by Li’l Slugger – seemingly a kid who assaults people with a baseball bat, but who has never even been caught on camera. Who... or what... is Li’l Slugger, really?
Like Perfect Blue (Satoshi Kon’s other entry on this list), Paranoia Agent savagely deconstructs the Japanese tendency to ignore problems by glossing over them with cutesy escapism. Ai, Aqua and Ruby are also deeply entrenched in this culture, both participating in it as actors/singers/fans as well as feeling the anguish that comes from putting your hopes in what’s ultimately a fantasy.
Paranoia Agent OP
If you’re looking for even more anime like [Oshi no Ko], we’d also encourage you to check out Death Note, IDOLiSH7, and the works of Junji Ito (although you’re better off reading the manga versions rather than watching Junji Ito Collection or Maniac).
But what did you think of our list? Have you been enjoying [Oshi no Ko] this season? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thank you so much for reading!