Nothing sparkles like an idol! Oshi No Ko has dazzled anime fans with its stunning animation and enchanting story. It is shaping up to be the largest success that streaming platform HIDIVE has had to date. In Osi No Ko, we follow the story of the twin children, Aqua and Ruby, of a late idol, Ai, and their journey to solving their mother’s murder and entering the entertainment world on their own. Throughout their journey in this unforgiving world, we get some interesting insight into how the entertainment world functions. Here are 9 hard truths about the entertainment world from Oshi No Ko:
WARNING: The following listicle has major spoilers for Oshi No Ko episodes one through three and minor spoilers for episode four. Proceed with caution.
Parasocial Relationships Are Deadly
The scariest part about Oshi No Ko is when Ai’s stalker kills her in front of her two children. The stalker was a displeased fan who felt that Ai having children was betraying him personally, as a fan.
Ai reveals as she is collapsing from blood loss that she remembers the fan from her handshake events years ago, and that she is sorry he feels sad. The fan had a one-sided relationship with Ai, as many of us fans do with the people we like, but to an extremely unhealthy level. He was possessive over her and thought that he, as a fan, had some sort of say in how she lived her life or that she owed him something. Showing just how far some fans are willing to go for these parasocial relationships.
Authors Hate Bad Adaptations Too
Have you ever wondered how the manga/book authors feel about bad anime or drama adaptations? In the episode “Manga-Based Drama Series,” we watch Aqua and his classmate Kana work as actors in a new drama based on a manga. The director is apathetic and cares more about getting the job done than doing a good job. As a result, the show isn’t faithful to the manga and changes the story drastically.
The characters who are fans of the manga are quick to call out the differences and express their immense disappointments about the adaptation. One voice that we don’t usually see in these discussions is the author of the source material itself. It was heartbreaking when we got a glimpse of the author’s reaction to the on-set performance. We don’t think about how crushing it is for the author when their life’s work is turned into something unrecognizable.
Capitalism Can Kill Art
In the same episode where we watched an author grimace at her work being poorly adapted, we got a glimpse at why this happens. In the show, we learn that the director working on the drama was never interested in creating a faithful remake, but in casting the models he was working with. The entire point of the show was to get a bigger eye on the models and to promote the sales of what the models advertise.
As a result, the drama acts more like one big commercial and less like a show people would tune in to watch for genuine enjoyment. It is obvious to the actors. It is obvious to the audience. And it is obvious to the author. Despite none of the parties truly enjoying it, everyone continues. At the end of the day, it isn’t about the art. It is about the money.
Being a Good Idol Isn’t Enough
Ai was an extremely talented idol, actress, model and personality as a whole. If her life hadn’t been cut short, she would have garnered even more success. While Ai was extremely talented and was finally getting the big break she deserved, other idols weren’t as lucky. The show talks about how some idols end up having to retire and work in service industry professions. Highlighting that even if you’re a good idol, you might end up out of the entertainment world. Unless you’re, not only talented but extremely lucky, you won’t be able to move on from idol to actual celebrity.
Jealousy Is Rampant
Turns out not even celebrities and immune to envy. In episode one, and throughout the rest of the released episodes, we see examples of jealousy among entertainers. Child actors are upset that someone else acted better, actresses not wanting someone to outshine them, idols are jealous of the fan favorite and so on. There probably isn’t a single branch of the entertainment industry that isn’t plagued with intense envy. Meaning even if an idol is fortunate enough to see more success than their peers, that wouldn’t be without social consequences.
The Three Types of Actors
During the scenes where Ai is acting in her first role in a drama, a director introduces us to the concept of the three actors. There is the “Real talent,” being the actor that is good at acting and keeps the project at a certain level of quality. Then there is the “Big name” actor that draws in more viewers with their face or their name. And lastly, there is the “Newcomer”, who probably won’t make it in the industry but is needed to create more of the first two.
We see this same sentiment last when Aqua has his first role in a drama series. Like his mother, he is categorized as the newcomer, while his classmate is the real talent and the male lead is the big name. The real talent is the glue that holds the show together and knows their job the best, while the big name doesn’t necessarily have to be as good. Once we know of these actor types, it gives us a different perspective when we watch movies and shows we like. It seems almost every actor is one or a mix of the three in some way.
Some Underground Idol Groups Are Shady
Ruby desperately tries to become an idol once she is a teenager, but her brother does everything he can to prevent that from happening. Understandably so, because he knows more than anyone how dangerous the idol world is. However, nothing can prepare him for when she is recruited into an underground idol group while she is out.
Tokyo Girls Update goes into the differences between underground and mainstream idol groups, stating that underground idols perform in smaller and usually underground venues and make considerably less.
In the second episode of Oshi No Ko, we learn that these idol groups also have an extremely high turnover rate due to the idols being severely underpaid and overexploited, on top of favoritism taking place. The people in charge of the group, instead of fixing the problems, recruit new young girls to just join the group as others leave. Maybe these idols should unionize?
Child Actors Can Have It Tough
While Ai is acting in her first role, Aqua is recruited by the director to play a part in an upcoming movie. Aqua agrees, and there he meets his future classmate, Kana Arima. Kana is an extremely talented child actress, who thinks very highly of herself. When faced with Aqua, she feels insecure about her acting and jealous. She works to improve herself, but despite her amazing skills and best efforts, she becomes a washed-up child actor in her teenage years.
In just a decade she went from acting prodigy to working in subpar streaming shows. To Kana, and many child actors, acting is their life and they can’t imagine a world without it. Normally these children don’t have regular childhoods. While Kana got to go to school, child actors in the real world don’t always have it as lucky and end up having to do distance learning while on the road performing. Even in Kana’s case where she can live a somewhat normal life, there is no denying that she still had it rough.
Not Too Lucrative
When Ai was working exclusively as an idol with other opportunities few and far between, she was taking home 200,000 Japanese Yen a month. Don’t let that fool you! That large number doesn’t amount to much. That averages out to be just under 1,500 USD a month, at the time of writing this. That makes her job the equivalent of less than 9.40 USD an hour, 40 hours a week. Not too glamorous now, huh?
Another example of the not-so-luxurious life of entertainment is the director of the movie Aqua and Ai act in. While he has directed many films and shows, he also isn’t exactly rolling in dough. Instead, he lives with his mother in his childhood room. This really shines a light on the idea that working in entertainment will make you rich.
What else will Oshi No Ko tell us about showbiz? Be sure to check out weekly episodes streaming on HIDIVE.
With only the first five episodes released, we’ve seen a lot about the overly glamorized world of performers. Were any of these surprising to you? What else did you learn while watching this anime? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
This article was originally published on 5/9/23.