Rating: 4 (of 5)
In a recently posted interview on ANN, the writer for the source manga, Aka Akasaka, explains how he came up with the idea for this series and the process he went through to gather sufficient insider details to make the effort feel realistic. I recommend it as a complementary read for anyone who’s become a big fan of the show.
That research definitely shows in this episode. It effectively splits into two parts, one which focuses on Aqua’s foray into a dating show and the second which focuses on Ruby and Kana and their steps towards forming a new idol group, a balance I’d love to see maintained going forward. The more serious part is Aqua’s participation as the actor member of a teen dating reality show featuring established media personalities; the others include a dancer, a band member, a YouTuber, a fashion model, and an actress. It works in various details about how reality shows work, such as them not being scripted but still subject to direction – a situation which should suit Aqua’s talents well once he gets used to it. Among the others on the show, the two who initially seem to be the ones to watch are the fashion model (who clearly has a better sense for how to manipulate situations than she lets on) and the YouTuber MEM-cho, who is very prominently-featured in the opener and looks to be the eventual third member of Ruby’s new idol trio. However, actress Akane is also featured significantly in the opener (while the fashion model isn’t), so she may become important later on.
On the other front, the early part of the episode devotes itself to reeling Kana into the idol group. Intellectually, Kana knows that taking the idol route is a risky play, and her thoughts on the matter are doubtless reflective of the actual experience of real-life predecessors, but ultimately she succumbs logically to the need for greater exposure and emotionally to her own evident attraction to Aqua. This part is decidedly more light-hearted while still having its serious aspects; Kana is savvy enough to recognize Ruby’s charisma and potential, for instance. The interesting aspect here is the point made about how the traditional way to gather attention to newbie idols – which is still shown in most idol-focused shows – may now be an outdated approach. The new wave is all about getting your names and faces out on the Internet, and as small an agency as Strawberry Productions is, that’s its strong point.
Which bring Pieyon, the masked strength-training YouTuber into the picture. The character is clearly partly a joke (and possibly a reference to two different long-established top YouTubers) but also partly a commentary on the gimmickry which can feed into being a popular and successful YouTuber. Pieyon’s claim to pull in the equivalent of a million U.S. dollars in one year is hardly unrealistic; he might not have even cracked the top 100 in 2022 with that number, and the cream of the crop are another decimal point up from that. As silly as both the character and his exercise dance are, he also shows a lot of savvy, and this is certainly a novel way (for anime) for idols to get started down their path. The bombshell at the end is, of course, the name which Ruby settles on for the idol group. Given who she is and what her goals are, it’s the only name which makes any sense, and it damn sure will catch attention. Wouldn’t be surprised if Aqua approves. The broader point, though, is that the series is mixing its humor with its show business insight in a way which doesn’t interfere with either.
As a closing thought this time around, I watched closer “Mephisto” with the English translation for the first time, and yeah, it certainly keenly hits the nose on the series’ content, too:
Come now, O children of the star, sleep well
The radiance will not dull, if it is you guys
And yes, this is Queen Bee, the performer who did the wonderful opener “MYSTERIOUS” for Raven of the Inner Palace last year. He’s a name and voice to watch for.
2 thoughts on “Oshi no Ko episode 5”
Great post. I just wanted to point out that Queen Bee is a band, not a single performer. And they’re lead vocalist uses she/they pronouns.
Minor thing about Oshi no Ko, particuarlly after watching the new episode but man, Memcho just makes me hear Astolfo. I get it’s the same VA and similar roles but geez, it’s unnerving how similar it is to me