Oshi no Ko: Exploring the cutthroat entertainment industry
From the authors of Kaguya-sama and Kuzu no Honkai, Oshi no Ko is a manga series about the dark side of the entertainment industry and everything that goes on behind the big screen.
The story starts off following Doctor Gorou, a 30-year-old avid idol fan. One day, Ai Hoshino, an emerging 16-year-old pop idol, is suddenly rushed to the hospital he works at, pregnant with twins. Doctor Gorou is tasked with her delivery but meets his untimely demise at the hands of an obsessed stalker. However, by supernatural means, he gets reincarnated back into the world as one of Ai's twin babies with the name Aqua, thus, getting another life with his adored idol as his mother.
By the time our protagonist settles into his new life as the secret child of an increasingly popular idol, certain events unfold that result in him being unceremoniously thrown into the world of showbiz that his mother resides in.
From the beginning, the manga exposes the harsh reality of the people working in the entertainment industry, their struggles, and the shady aspects of idol culture. It takes an introspective look into how appearances can be painfully deceptive, how the idols with their bright smiles are far from perfect.
The first thing Oshi No Ko makes clear is that the entertainment industry is not about art, or even entertainment for that matter. Rather, it is about the business. Companies groom idols and actors as products that are to be sold to the audience. In order to cater to said audience, these performers must be adept at lying to their fans and to themselves as well. Anyone who does not fit that criterion is cast aside and forgotten, since second chances are virtually non-existent in such a cutthroat environment.
However, despite going all in with the critiquing, the series is not only a condemnation of the industry. It is an exploration of everything that makes the industry good and bad, with the good popping up in more controlled doses than the bad.
As keen as the series is to portray the truly loathsome for what they are, it goes to even greater lengths to examine the inner lives of each and every one of these characters, exploring their ambitions, dreams and what makes them do the things they do.
That is what ultimately makes up the core of the manga. Through its writing, Oshi no Ko is able to explain and show people's desire to be famous and adored, the lengths they can go in order to fulfil that desire, and how that desire is exploited for profits by their industry. It can, at times, be a rough and upsetting read, but an adequate amount of comedy and silly interactions are sprinkled in to cut back on the intensity.
Oshi no Ko is still an ongoing series, so it is difficult to say how it might conclude or where it will eventually end up on people's radars. But, following the recent announcement for its anime adaptation, one can hope that it will garner the attention and fame it deserves.
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