- Mangaka : Akasaka Aka (Story), Yokoyari Mengo (Art)
- Genre : Drama, Mystery, Psychological, Romance, Seinen, Comedy
- Publisher : Yen Press
- Published : January 2023
Of all the new releases heading to the shelves and screens in 2023, [Oshi No Ko] has definitely garnered the most interest among fans. It even has an anime already slated for April 2023, to be produced by Doga Kobo.
Written by Akasaka Aka of Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai - Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen (Kaguya-sama: Love is War) and illustrated by the acclaimed Yokoyari Mengo of Kuzu no Honkai (Scum’s Wish), this star-studded duo has set out to examine the dark depths of the idol and entertainment industries.
Does [Oshi No Ko] have what it takes to succeed on the stage that is 2023’s manga market?
To find out, join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review [Oshi No Ko], Volume 1!
At its heart, [Oshi No Ko] is a mystery thriller wrapped within a layer of charming comedy, although the first volume of [Oshi No Ko] serves as more of a prologue to the future volumes.
Our main characters are Gorou Amemiya and Sarina Tenjouji—two fans of the 16-year-old idol, Ai Hoshino. Gorou works as an OB-GYN at a remote hospital and serves as Hoshino’s attending physician when she presents to his clinic twenty weeks pregnant with twins. On the day Hoshino goes into labor, Gorou is killed by a stalker intent on finding Ai—and subsequently finds himself reborn as “Aquamarine,” one of Ai’s twin children. Gorou’s newborn sister, “Ruby,” is also a reincarnated fan—Sarina, a young girl whom Gorou once looked after during his doctoral residency.
The majority of [Oshi No Ko]’s first volume follows Aqua and Ruby as they watch their mother’s career take stumbling leaps toward stardom. Thanks to their previous knowledge of the world, these two babies grow up as “wunderkind” children with their mother’s good looks and talent for acting and dancing.
[Oshi No Ko] doesn’t hide its feelings about the entertainment industry. From the very first page, [Oshi No Ko] is a heavy attack on the industry that takes children—often in their teens—and thrusts them into the spotlight for profit.
Akasaka and Yokoyari also examine the dark underside of fandom, and the expectations of mutual feelings that fans place on their idols—forcing idols to hide their true feelings, their romances, and even their own children.
[Oshi No Ko] Volume 1 ends on an explosive twist that we’ll leave unspoiled for now. Suffice it to say that, if you haven’t already heard about it, you’ll be completely shocked. The twist leaves us with some mixed feelings, but it also propels our main characters forward and gives them solid reasons to pursue the entertainment industry as they grow up.
1. President Akasaka Is Back In Class
Kaguya-sama: Love is War is easily one of the best comedy/drama manga of the last decade, chiefly thanks to Akasaka’s ability to bounce between light-hearted comedy and dark, thought-provoking moments. [Oshi No Ko] doesn’t have quite as many belly-aching laughs as Kaguya-sama, but the first volume is saddled with character and plot setup—so we’re hoping for more comedic moments in later volumes.
No matter which direction the series goes in, Akasaka’s talent for crafting believable characters is on-point once more, and is surely only going to get better as [Oshi No Ko] continues.
2. Industry Secrets
[Oshi No Ko]’s dive into the world of show-biz is rather educational, especially for those of us with only a passing knowledge of the entertainment industry. From revenue breakdowns to squabbling directors, [Oshi No Ko] shows how everything from pricing tickets to booking shows is carefully managed to maximize profits and ensure agencies are getting the most out of their talent.
[Oshi No Ko] cleverly uses single-page interviews with in-universe managers, directors, and actors to highlight different parts of the industry—and also provide other views on Aqua, Ruby, and their mother. It’s a novel idea and works well to add more layers to [Oshi No Ko]’s growing mysteries.
1. Old Man Yells At Cloud
As we mentioned earlier, [Oshi No Ko] offers an, at times, heavy-handed criticism of the idol industry. We’re not saying that Akasaka is wrong—both the Eastern and Western entertainment industries are rife with exploitation and very few who enter the industry reach the stardom they seek.
That said, [Oshi No Ko] can feel exhausting to read, with almost every other page forcibly reminding the reader that the entertainment industry is bad and going to ruin lives. Sure, it makes sense for the story, but we can’t help feeling like [Oshi No Ko] could have approached the subject with more nuance over a longer period of time.
[Oshi No Ko] is definitely deserving of its hype, and we’re confident that it’s going to be the series everyone is talking about in 2023. Although some aspects of the first volume left us feeling a little cold, Akasaka has once again proven his remarkable ability to blend comedy with drama, while Yokoyari brings the story to life with her signature style.
If you don’t want to be left out of your social group’s discussions this year, then grab [Oshi No Ko] when it releases in January 2023!