TRIGGER WARNING: This episode of Oshi No Ko contained themes and mentions of cancel culture, depression and suicide.
Welcome back! Are you ready for an emotional rollercoaster? Last week, we saw how the reality TV world works in Oshi No Ko episode five, “Reality Dating Show.” Aqua met his co-stars and is closer to uncovering more info on his father’s identity. We also got to watch masked bodybuilder Pieyon give a lesson in building an online audience to Ruby and Kana. Overall, it was lighthearted and fun.
This week’s episode focuses a lot on online presence and reality TV. It dives deep into how reality TV works and what it means to be a celebrity online nowadays. We’ll cover egosurfing, online consequences and modern-day cancelation.
The episode opens in the middle of a dramatic moment of the reality TV show. It seems like the “pure-hearted” Yuki can’t take the fame and is ready to call it quits. Thankfully, her co-stars are there to convince her to stay on. But what is really happening? In the real world, behind the curtain, Yuki is thrilled. Her threat to leave the show causes a huge online commotion, and she loves the attention. Though, Yuki claims she wasn’t lying, just exaggerating. Her co-star, Akane, takes notes on Yuki’s performance.
To celebrate a job well done, the cast heads out to eat on Mem-Cho’s dime, as she has the largest paycheck thanks to her YouTube career. Akane takes notes during the meal and watches her co-stars carefully.
Days pass, and the dating show seems to focus more and more on Yuki and less on the other stars like Akane. Her agency is livid at the lack of screen time Akane is getting, though there isn’t much more Akane can do. As we’ve seen throughout the episode, she does her best to learn from everyone and take directions from the producers, but trying can only go so far. She does her best to leave her mark and reviews her notes.
While this happens, we return to Ruby and Kana, who are still working on their online careers. This time, they talk about the importance of online brands. While regular people can complain about a soda, Kana warns Ruby against tweeting a brand’s name when complaining. When you’re a star, brands see what you say about them and might choose not to work with you in the future.
Ruby doesn’t seem interested in Kana’s insight as a professional until the lecture turns to egosurfing. Egosurfing is the act of Googling yourself to feel better, something Ai was heavily guilty of in episode one. Ruby seems to have inherited this from her mother. It turns out that Ruby has been doing it nonstop to double down on the point that Ruby can’t take what she says online lightly. Ruby isn’t just a person anymore but a brand and content.
Back to the dating show, Akane is taking notes from the producer to start playing the bad girl. This helps her get the screen time that her agency desperately wanted. In between shoots, Yuki does Akane’s nails, where it is established that Yuki isn’t going down without a fight. While Akane tries to steal love interests away from Yuki, we see flashes of comments about Akane on Twitter and other platforms. This brings us to another online phenomenon that entertainers must be aware of: cancel culture.
During a scene where Yuki once again steals the spotlight from Akane, Akane attempts to finally stand out by telling Yuki off. Things quickly take a turn for the worst when Akane accidentally scratches Yuki with her freshly done nails.
It looks bad, and Yuki quickly takes control of the narrative and has Akane apologize, effectively having her admit to the scratch. The conflict seems resolved, but Aqua is pessimistic about the world’s reaction to the scene.
His worries were right; Akane is barraged with hate online at every turn. It is devastating. An attempt to appease her agency turned into a wave of backlash. While Akane apologizes genuinely, she is seen as fake and terrible compared to the “Pure-hearted” Yuki.
Akane can’t even escape the hate at her school, where all her classmates gossip—egosurfing only fans the flames of Akane’s heartache. While before, people didn’t have much to say about her; suddenly, everyone hates her. Being the earnest girl she is, Akane takes every comment very seriously, which begins to impact her health.
We get a gut-wrenching montage of Akane growing up and mastering her craft as an actress while we hear hate comments in the background. Despite all of her hard work, this single moment in time has stained her career. By the end of the scene, we are left with an Akane that seems like a husk of her former self. She walks aimlessly and alone in a typhoon while the hate comments run through her head. We hear her say, “I’m tired … of thinking. I don’t want to think about anything anymore.”
It cuts to her face, looking out. She is on a bridge. Her feet slip forward. WHAM! A mysterious hooded stranger grabs her just in time and saves her life. She tries to escape, and the stranger pleads with her to calm down. It was Aqua. Had he been following her?
We don’t get the whole story, as the episode ends there.
That was some heavy stuff, right? The final few scenes seemed to stretch out for eternity while ending too soon. I loved how the show foreshadowed cancel culture with Yuki’s performance about online hate at the start of the episode. Where Yuki was able to use minor hate comments to her advantage, Akane was an actual victim of cancel culture and got pushed to the brink of suicide.
I’m disappointed by how little we got to see Ruby and Kana, as this episode desperately needed comedic relief from those two. However, I love the drama, and it keeps my eyes glued to the screen. My heart is racing, wondering how on earth they will cover the aftermath of something like cancel culture.
Will Akane’s career manage to recover? Was the scratch part of Yuki’s master plan? And when will we get to see B Komachi again?
If you’re dying to know, too, check out HIDIVE, where Oshi No Ko is streaming. Until next time!