Warning: The following discussion includes spoilers for Chapter 121 of 'Oshi no Ko' titled 'Sarina Tendouji' written by Aka Akasaka, Mengo Yokoyari, Felicia Sumali, and YKS Services, LLC, now officially released in English by Yen Press.
Oshi no Ko delves into dark and dramatic themes surrounding lies, grief, and a relatable emotion—regret. Within the story, the main characters are haunted by their regrets, whether it's the missed chances in their personal lives, professional careers, or both. Chapter 121 intensely explores this theme through the perspective of Ruby Hoshino.
Once known as Sarina Tendouji, Ruby Hoshino's past is filled with tragedy. As a young girl, she fell ill and spent years hospitalized before her untimely demise. Sarina carried not only the regret of leaving the world at a young age but also the deep disappointment of failing to realize her lifelong dream of becoming a figure skater. Surprisingly, her yearning for that unfulfilled dream outweighed the sorrow of losing her newfound birth mother, Ai Hoshino, who was an idol."
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The Unfulfilled Ambitions of Sarina Tendouj
The Resonance of Regret: Oshi No Ko's Most Relatable Theme
The prevalent theme of regret and missed opportunities resonates throughout Oshi no Ko, particularly impacting Ruby Hoshino's life. Chapter 121 highlights how regret holds significance for the major characters, especially Kana Arima and the late Ai Hoshino. Although Kana didn't physically perish, she experienced a loss as she matured—specifically, her faith in herself as an actress. During her younger years, Kana took pride in her popularity and success as a child actor, even securing singing gigs. However, those days are now behind her, and she laments the disappearance of her once-glorious acting career, despite it not being entirely her fault. Consequently, she approaches the prospect of transitioning to idol work in the new B Komachi with diminished enthusiasm. Oshi no Ko enthusiasts may empathize with Kana's regret over the conclusion of a remarkable phase in their lives that can never be reclaimed.
Ai Hoshino, too, departed from this world burdened by regrets and unrealized aspirations. As she lay dying from her injuries, Ai came to the painful realization that she would never witness her son and daughter grow up. Above all, she regretted doubting her maternal love for her children until her final moments. For nearly three years, she grappled with the fear of being an inadequate mother incapable of love, which deprived her of the joy of motherhood. Consequently, Oshi no Ko fans might reflect on their own lives and regret not expressing or recognizing their genuine affection for their loved ones more openly. Unlike Ai, they still have the opportunity to rectify this. Everyone carries something they regret losing or fear losing, and it is this aspect, more than the idol drama or revenge narrative, that makes Oshi no Ko deeply poignant—from Ruby to Kana to Ai Hoshino herself.