The following includes spoilers for Oshi no Ko Season 1, Episode 1, “Mother and Children,” which is now available on MangaMonster.
About Oshi No Ko
Aka Akasaka has become a name associated with high-quality manga. Following the success of Kaguya-Sama: Love is War, Akasaka’s second manga, Oshi no Ko, has received an anime adaptation by studio Doga Kobo for the spring season. Immediately winning over audiences, the series now sits at number one on My Anime List based on over 10,000 ratings, overtaking such beloved classics as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Steins;Gate, and Attack on Titan. While this may seem shocking, it’s really a testament to both the quality of the adaptation and the strength of Akasaka’s writing. Apart from being gorgeously animated, the anime is a perfect blend of drama, comedy, and mystery, and explores difficult themes in a sensitive manner. The fact that it does all this in its pilot, an hour and twenty minute long behemoth of an episode, is truly impressive.
Oshi no Ko is difficult to describe, precisely because it explores so many different genres and thematic elements. Centrally, it follows idol Ai Hoshino as she grapples with a teen pregnancy and eventually gives birth to twins. Her son, Aquamarine, and daughter, Ruby, are the reincarnations of a doctor and a terminally ill fan who both idolized her and had access to the dark side of the entertainment world due to their mother’s proximity. The first episode of the show is a caustic examination of fandom culture, parasocial interactions, and the sexualization and exploitation of minors in the arts and entertainment industries. At the same time, it maintains Akasaka’s distinctive wit, cynicism, and irony, capitalizing on his comedy without compromising actual tension or drama. It’s an absolute must-see for aficionados of his work.
How Oshi No Ko Became the Most-Rated Anime Debut
Before delving into truly spoiler-heavy area, it is prudent to highlight and explain the series’ more evident merits. Oshi no Ko’s animation is amazing, and this is especially evident in situations where Ai is performing as an idol. The fluid, colorful views that make up so much of the series’ duration make it a visual feast, and they also serve as a wonderful contrast to the darker themes that appear later in the show. Overall, the art and animation are evident strengths of Oshi no Ko, serving to make it visually stunning in a way that only complements its narrative brilliance.
Pacing is another aspect that contributes to the uniqueness of this pilot. The plot moves in such a way that it is quick without being rushed. While a movie-length anime pilot episode may not be to everyone’s taste, the anime’s creators clearly took care to make Ai’s story progress in a satisfactory fashion without rushing to the episode’s huge plot hook until the end. Every moment of this show feels intentional and important, and this, too, distinguishes this pilot episode from other anime. What Really Makes the Series Special.
One of Oshi no Ko’s greatest strengths is the way it meanders, never fully committing to one genre and putting itself in a box. While the pilot begins with a strong dose of humor and sarcastic jabs at, namely, the doctor who would later become Ai’s son, the second half concentrates mostly on the drama and mystery components that are key to Akasaka’s story. Mixing genres in this way is not unique to Oshi no Ko, but it does allow for unexpected twists and discoveries through subversion of genre clichés and the unpredictability of its narrative.
Ai’s gruesome death by a fan near the end of the pilot episode serves as the show’s climax, confirmation of the series’ overarching theme, and a masterful parody of the typical idol/musician scenario in anime. Although though the Gorou murder by a shady Ai fanboy early in the pilot gave away this twist, it nevertheless comes as a surprise because it occurs when it seems the story is content to focus on Ai’s connection with her reincarnated daughters, Aqua and Ruby.
This scenario also occurs after the show first attempted to play with humor by exploring how the children’s knowledge of their previous lives gave them more mature minds. This tonal dissonance makes the scene even more interesting. This scene abruptly and dramatically shifts the focus of the story from the prologue to the action that follows Aqua’s quest to identify the accomplice in his mother’s murder and exact vengeance.
The anime’s high MAL rating appears to be largely the result of this narrative change, which has also sparked extensive discussion about this series among anime fans. The brutal murder of a young, attractive idol, with the apparent cause being that a deranged stalker believed Ai had betrayed him by having children, highlights the condemnation of the Japanese entertainment system that is hinted at before the revelation. That is masterful narrative work to accomplish so much in a single moment, and it is probably safe to argue that this is now the most arresting aspect of the pilot and series.
Oshi no Ko is the kind of highly polished anime that only comes around once in a while. In a medium where time is of the essence, it’s clear from viewing the pilot of this series that the creative team behind it put in a lot of time and effort to make this adaptation the best it could be. Aka Akasaka’s superb writing shines through here, while the aesthetics, character designs, tempo, and voice acting performances only add to the story. For all of these reasons, it warrants its 9.27 My Anime List rating, and every anime lover should be excited to watch how this series unfolds.
Oshi No Ko now is available on MangaMonster with the high-quality scans and newest updates at speed of Japan.