The following article discusses suicide and self-harm. It also contains Oshi no Ko Episode 6 spoilers, "Egosurfing."
Oshi no Ko's recent episode elicited mixed reactions among Japanese viewers for the same reasons it got positive feedback.
Many people have made comparisons between what occurred to Akane Kurokawa in Oshi no Ko and the real-life tragedy and death of pro-wrestler Hana Kimura since the airing of Episode 6, "Egosurfing," as both had been victims of cyberbullying after appearing in a reality show. According to a Yahoo! Japan article, Kimura's mother, Kyoko Kimura, was unhappy, not at the tale itself and how it mirrored what happened to Hana, but at how the malicious comments featured in the episode looked to be lifted directly from the Tweets sent at her daughter before she died. Kimura's mother expressed her displeasure with how her daughter's death was used to advertise the anime. She also mentioned that the episode's release date, May 17, coincides with Kimura's death date, May 23, compounding the grief for those close to her daughter.
Oshi no Ko Fans Criticized Hana Kimura's Mother
Some fans supported the episode, claiming that the mangaka wrote the chapters months before Kimura's death and that cyberbullying is an industry-wide problem. The mangaka has never mentioned that he was inspired by Kimura's death. Others, however, have dismissed Kimura's mother's fears and have done the precise thing that led to Kimura's death. Fans have mocked Kimura's mother, asking things like, "What if the author gets depressed and commits suicide?" and "What if the anime gets canceled because of you?"
Kimura's mother has stated that she does not blame the mangaka and does not want the anime or manga to cease showing or serializing. She has indicated her willingness to encourage works that put a light on the industry's dark side, but only if done in a way that only adds to the anguish of people who have been victims of cyberbullying. Kimura's mother stated in a rough translation that she will contact the production to speak with them, but she is unclear if they will listen.
Who Was Hana Kimura?
Hana Kimura, a professional wrestler, became a cast member of the reality TV series Terrace House: Tokyo 2019-2020. In one episode aired in January 2020, Kimura had an argument with another housemate for shrinking her wrestling costume in the washing machine, and grabbed his hat. Viewers flooded Kimura's social media platforms with malicious hate comments, eventually leading to her committing suicide on May 23, 2020, at the age of 22.
While Episode 6 of Oshi no Ko made it clear that the program was a work of fiction and therefore had no ties to any real-life incidents, this message came at the end of the episode after the ending credits have rolled. The only other time Oshi no Ko made this announcement was at the beginning of Episode 1. The production team from Oshi no Ko nor the mangaka have made a statement.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, get help from the National Suicide Prevention Hotline by dialing 988.
Source: Twitter, via Tweet Soku and Yahoo! Japan