Oshi no Ko GN 2

Oshi no Ko GN 2

Warning: spoilers may be forthcoming if you haven’t read the manga’s first volume or seen the anime’s first episode.

Aquamarine Hoshino has two tragedies on his mind—his past-life murder and the death of his mother in the present—and we all deal with tragedy in different ways. Except for the fact that solving one entails solving the other, their connection hardly matters. He has a lot to deal with despite the fact that he is a grown man in a teenager’s body. This second book, which marks the start of the plot, according to series creator Aka Akasaka, is notable for several reasons, one of which being the way Aqua has established himself as the so-called man of the house in the 1950s sense. He considers himself to be the Hoshino family member that is the most responsible. He scarcely considers their adoptive mother in his goals as he feels it as his duty to defend his twin sister Ruby from both herself and the hungry Japanese idol industry.

This is perhaps in part because of his prior career as a doctor. Ruby was a young teen named Sarina when he first met her, and she passed away while he was a patient. He may still bear that scar on his soul even if there was nothing he could have done to help her. He was also in a position to be able to take care of people; it was actually his job, and because he has mostly preserved his mental faculties, he is unable to recognize himself as simply a young boy whose mother was killed. Additionally, as a grown man, he ought to have been capable of more. The ways that Aqua ruthlessly thwarts Ruby’s attempts to audition for idol groups are a brutal manner of assuaging his sentiments, even though Aqua himself does not appear to perceive this as remorse.

Additionally, he is more aware of the negative effects the Japanese entertainment sector may have on a person. This is due to the fact that he passed away as an adult while Ruby was still a child. The fact that he has long collaborated with Director Gotanda makes it also likely. Aqua first believed that by becoming an actor, he could uncover the mystery of the double homicides; nevertheless, he ultimately made the decision to try his hand at working behind the camera, and Gotanda has been providing him with that perspective for ten years. Aqua may believe that the idol machine is a monster that eats up young people before spitting them out to fend for themselves because Gotanda is a bit of a cynic himself. Aqua believes it to be the reason Ai was killed, and he does not want that for Ruby. While his methods may not be the finest, they provide a fascinating contrast to Ruby’s wide-eyed optimism.

What gives this narrative its edge is how Aqua is the ultimate cynic when compared to his sister (and, to a certain extent, his adoptive mother, who isn’t quite as pessimistic as he is). I’ve already remarked that it’s a little bit of a Perfect Blue remake, and Aqua’s cold-hearted personality plays a big part in what makes Oshi no Ko unique. He is given the opportunity to get closer to one of his potential suspects in the death of Ai, but to do so, he’ll have to assume an acting role, when he runs across his former acting partner, Kana, now a second year at the high school he and Ruby enroll in. By the end of the volume, it appears that Kana may be correct in thinking that he isn’t giving his acting abilities enough credit because Aqua single-handedly saves a subpar drama series. But he is able to do so because of his cynicism and knowledge of human evil, which isn’t entirely what Kana is getting at…or maybe it is. Kana is hardly her own Little Miss Sunshine because she went from being a beloved child star to a virtually bankrupt has-been. The message is that you have to be more like Aqua than Ruby to succeed in the entertainment world, and it might be that Kana hits the ideal balance.Oshi no Kocomes into its own with this second volume and the start of the major tale. The first volume was excellent, but it ran the risk of alienating fans with its gritty murder mystery twist; in fact, it wasn’t keeping its word to its audience, which is always a risky course for a writer to follow. (Less so given the age range of the series’ intended audience, but it didn’t click with me.) The criticism Akasaka makes of Japan’s entertainment industry and how it affects young people who enter it with Ruby’s starry-eyed ambitions of fame, however, could use a little more nuance now that the story’s core is revealed. It says something that many members of the production team aren’t happy about Aqua repairing their dreadful drama as he unearths the squirming insects lurking behind the glittering rocks as Aqua advances through the plot in his quest to discover the mystery. This series wants viewers to notice its cynicism and darkness more than it revels in those qualities. When you combine that with a two-pronged murder mystery, the narrative gains greater appeal as you read it.

Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. Yen Press, BookWalker Global, and J-Novel Club are subsidiaries of KWE.

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