Oshi no Ko presents itself as a dark drama anime series that skillfully weaves together various themes, notably exploring the concept of found family. While other recent anime titles like Spy x Family depict the idea of found families in a positive and uplifting manner to captivate and motivate viewers, Oshi no Ko takes a distinct path with the peculiar Hoshino family. The Hoshino family's idiosyncrasies are evident through numerous reasons, some apparent and others nuanced.
At first glance, the three members of the Hoshino family appear to have a harmonious relationship. Ai, a diligent single mother, fosters a strong bond between herself and her reincarnated children, Aqua and Ruby, who act as brother and sister. However, beneath the surface, Aqua and his sister have been gradually growing apart since their reincarnation, and this divergence extends to their feelings towards their new mother. Significantly, Ruby affectionately refers to Ai Hoshino as "Mama" while Aqua simply addresses her by her name. This subtle disparity speaks volumes about the complex dynamics shared by the central characters in Oshi no Ko.
Ruby Hoshino Clings Too Tightly To Ai
In their new lives, Aqua and Ruby found solace in Ai Hoshino as their surrogate mother. Despite their adult minds trapped in infant bodies, they readily embraced Ai as their maternal figure. The deep admiration they held for Ai as their beloved idol, a passion that had persisted since their days as Sarina Tendouji and Dr. Gorou, further solidified their bond. However, as Aqua and Ruby matured and gained independence, their perspectives on the late Ai Hoshino began to diverge, revealing significant insights into their individual characters.
While both Aqua and Ruby profoundly yearned for Ai's return and cherished her memory, Ruby had a stronger connection with Ai than Aqua ever did. This became evident through a simple yet revealing fact: Ruby referred to Ai as "Mama," while Aqua did not. In Ruby's perception, Ai Hoshino was not merely a second chance at having a birth mother or an idol she could share her life with. To Ruby, Ai was her true mother, surpassing the significance of her biological mother, Mrs. Tendouji. Ruby harbored no genuine attachment to her biological mother, who had abandoned her, as Sarina, in the hospital and moved on, distancing herself from her ailing daughter. Undoubtedly, Ruby harbored deep resentment towards her, and her unwavering attachment to Ai as her new and "real" mother served as a balm to heal or conceal her emotional scars. Thus, Ruby consistently referred to Ai as "Mama," not only to maintain the façade of being Ai's ordinary daughter but also as a means of finding emotional solace.
Even years after Ai's passing, during their teenage years, Ruby continued to address her as "Mama," even in the presence of Aqua, who was already aware of the supernatural truth surrounding the Hoshino family. To Ruby, Ai remained the sole mother figure she ever needed, further fueling her unwavering determination to follow in Ai's footsteps and pursue a career as an idol with the newly formed B Komachi group. Ruby's aspirations to become a pop star were not merely the fulfillment of her personal dreams; they were a testament to her loyalty as a devoted daughter to her "real" mother, who had become her sole anchor in life.
Aqua Hoshino Kept Himself Far Apart From Ai
Meanwhile, Aqua Hoshino deliberately kept a significant emotional distance from Ai Hoshino, adopting a contrasting approach to his sister, Ruby. This detachment is evident not only in his manner of addressing Ai but also in his overall demeanor. With Ai's demise, Aqua becomes consumed by an all-consuming desire for revenge, disregarding the precious opportunity of a second chance at life that he has been granted. While Aqua still holds Ai dear as his favorite musical idol, his pursuit of vengeance is solely directed towards Ai Hoshino the idol, rather than seeking justice for his mother. Unlike Ruby, Aqua refrains from calling Ai "Mama" and instead addresses her by name. This intentional choice highlights the emotional and familial divide Aqua establishes between himself and his new mother, possibly contributing to his cold and detached mentality.
There are several reasons why Aqua opts to refer to Ai by name rather than "Mama." Firstly, mentally, Aqua sees himself as a grown man who no longer requires a maternal figure in his life, in contrast to the younger and more dependent Ruby/Sarina. Additionally, Aqua rationally acknowledges that although Ai gave birth to his new physical body, it merely establishes a genetic connection and not a profound emotional bond. Internally, he still identifies as Dr. Gorou, inhabiting a new flesh-and-blood vessel, and maintains a connection to his previous life and original family. Aqua may even perceive it as inappropriate to address Ai as "Mama," as it could be seen as a disservice to his original mother. Lastly, by refraining from considering or referring to Ai Hoshino as his new mother, Aqua aims to preserve his clarity of thought, preventing sentimental attachments from clouding his judgment. While this approach may not necessarily yield the intended benefits, Aqua firmly believes it to be the right decision. In his perspective, Ai is merely a tragic victim whose murder demands retribution—nothing more and nothing less.
Aqua's & Ruby's Found Family Has No Solution
During their infancy and early childhood, Aqua and Ruby Hoshino made efforts to form a found family with Ai. However, despite their endeavors, this unconventional family faced numerous challenges that ultimately led to its downfall. Ai's tragic murder was just one external factor that drove a wedge between the Hoshinos. Internally, Aqua and Ruby were fundamentally different individuals, rendering their sibling bond shallow, especially considering their significant age gap. While their physical bodies were genetically connected to Ai and each other, beneath the surface, this connection did not embody the essence of a true family.To Ruby, Ai represented her genuine mother, and she was willing to go to great lengths to honor and support her. From referring to Ai as "Mama" to forming the new B Komachi group, Ruby's dedication knew no bounds as she sought to preserve Ai's memory at any cost.
On the other hand, Aqua viewed this situation as an opportunity to spend more time with his cherished idol, who coincidentally happened to be the one who gave birth to his new body. While Aqua acknowledged the worthiness of avenging Ai, he did not deem her deserving of the title "Mama." Furthermore, he held reservations about involving himself in the exploitative entertainment industry solely to honor Ai's memory. Up until now, Aqua and Ruby have not engaged in serious disputes regarding their contrasting perspectives in the Oshi no Ko anime. However, such conflicts may arise in future seasons, leading them to realize that they were never truly siblings and that they cannot even agree on Ai's role as their genuine mother.In the event of a confrontation, the fragile bond of the would-be Hoshino family may finally crumble. Ruby would be incensed by Aqua's aloof attitude, while Aqua is already apprehensive about Ruby's intense attachment to Ai as a substitute mother. Should they address these differences, the family they once aspired to become may meet its ultimate demise.