"Oshi no Ko" - Anime - AniDB (2024)

So I watched the next highest voted anime on MAL, before it dropped in ratings a few weeks later and FMAB went back to no1 as it always does. If you are one of those people who think no1 means anything, FMAB will forever be no1, so you can give up on trying to excuse quality through rankings.

That aside, for a supposed masterpiece it bored me out of my mind. I was stopping every 10 minutes to go watch something retro instead. And I am talking about the movie-length pilot here; not about every episode after that which is white noise as far as I care. And I will admit that I am not part of the target audience, since I don’t care about pop idols or high schools, but it’s also the laughable view most in the community have about the show that makes it worse. Yes, it’s the most popular show of Spring 2023, but that means nothing by the time the season is over and everyone will find something else to support, just because it’s the next current thing. It happened with Bleach, it happened with any other show that was once above FMAB, and it will continue to happen with anything else that becomes no1 next season for a couple of weeks. If you don’t believe me, look how much they were hyping Chainsawman and then it was proven very few liked it. The community loves to support the current thing, not because they like it but because there is an unhealthy amount of hype addiction. People these days love the idea of being part of something popular, rather than the quality of the product they consume.

And, as always, what comes along with popularity are the usual claims that desperately try to justify seasonal hype as some sort of universal quality that transcends time and space, and which for some reason will forever be embedded in the collective memory of mankind as some subversive masterpiece, worthy of its own white marble pedestal. And each time it’s proven… it’s just seasonal hype. It comes and goes, nobody cares and life goes on. It’s no different this time for whoever yells about subversions and deconstructions and sh*t we haven’t seen before, only to be proven we have and in a far better form than this boredom. Did everyone forget Perfect Blue (1998) which was the exact same thing only better? What, it’s too old for anyone to remember it? Okay, what about the subversion and deconstruction of pop idols called Looking for the Full Moon (2003). The same year a critique on the entertainment industry came out, titled Kaleido Star (2003). Still too old? What about the subversion and deconstruction of pop idols called Skip Beat (2009). Still too old? Revue Starlight (2018) was also about the exact same thing. Are we going to pretend everything that is older than a year is erased from existence?

And can we please stop overlooking the bullsh*t in whatever is popular right now, just so we can pretend it deserves to be so overhyped? Oshi no Ko has its share of bullsh*t, don’t pretend it doesn’t, especially when it comes to exposition. There’s a notorious scene in Neon Genesis (1995) where two characters are standing still inside an elevator for a whole minute. Nothing is happening, it’s just them standing still, not talking to each other. Most people nowadays think that scene sucks because nothing was happening and they were just panning the episode with filler. Turns out that scene was actually showing how incapable the characters were at having a simple discussion. And they did that by not talking for a whole minute. If that scene was done in the likes of Oshi no Ko, it would be a minute of them repeating “There is nothing to talk about, oh yes I feel very awkward, I have communication problems because of social anxiety and my favorite color is blue!”

In Oshi no Ko they explain everything with talking, like you are 5 years old. The plot is almost entirely dialogue-driven, so there’s nothing going on on-screen. Or to put it more bluntly, it treats you like a moron who is incapable to get the slightest thing without telling you what you are supposed to think. “Oh your favorite color is blue, thanks for telling me about it, I wouldn’t have guessed it by the way you like to dress!” If you understand the language you don’t have to ever look at the screen, you can be doing anything else and you can still get what is happening, since they say exactly what they do and feel all the freaking time. What’s the point of having a tv series when there is nothing worth looking at the screen? The artwork ends up not meaning something, it’s just useless extra. Demon Slayer that airs along with it may be a generic action show that lives and dies by its animation, but at least it gives you a reason to look at the screen, since it has action. With Oshi no ko, you can have an audio version and you will miss nothing.

Oh, wait, I forgot, it’s full of sexy and cute looking UNDERAGE girls with big starry eyes. Yum-yum, look at all those jailbaits that make you horny. Turns out there is a very good reason to look at the screen. UNDERAGE girls with big starry eyes. I constantly find tweets with all sorts of twisted stuff about this show, and they get thousands of likes. The first was about a breastfeeding scene, the latest one was about one of the girls stretching her legs and showing her feet. There are thousands out there acting like this is better than sex. I don’t know about you but this is not the hill I want to die on, defending from criticism.

Also, it’s a dramedy about pop idols. Every attempt it makes to shed some light on the dark side of the industry, will be ruined with a stupid otaku joke. HAHA THE DOCTOR WANTS TO HAVE SEX WITH UNDERAGE GIRLS! HAHA HIS UNDERAGE PATIENT WANTS TO MARRY HIM! HAHA THE NURSE CALLS HIM A LOLICON! LAUGH, PEOPLE, LAUGH WITH THE OTAKU COMEDY! And yes, I get it, it’s a dramedy, it’s supposed to do that, it’s not supposed to be serious and that is why it has pop idol otakus getting reincarnated into talking babies for silly comedy moments. It undermines its own themes by doing that, not to mention it promotes the very thing it’s criticizing. It’s like anime shills who use a lot of self-deprecating humor so they can sell you merchandise. “This is a terrible isekai, I know it’s bad, but I joke about it, so buy the related products I am sponsored to sell you, although I just told you they are bad, but I make jokes about them so it’s fine.” HAHA! SO FUNNY, TAKE MY MONEY AND GIVE ME DEGENERATE DAKIMAKURAS!

Nothing makes the show special or interesting by using self-deprecating comedy, it just becomes another dramedy aimed at otakus. I’ve seen enough in my anime-watching life to be completely desensitized at this point. By the way, my anime-watching life is longer than most current anime-watchers, which is why I know of Perfect Blue, Full Moon, and thousands of other shows current anime-watchers don’t even know they exist. I know my sh*t, I am a guru.

Does this mean I wouldn’t like Oshi no Ko, no matter what? No, it had 2 points where it could have convinced me it’s actually good, and it failed in both. There are 2 murder scenes in the movie-length pilot episode and both are treated horribly. The doctor gets killed and the pop idol forgets about him, like he was nobody important. Then the pop idol dies and you are supposed to feel sad about it. But you can’t because she’s not really dead. Based on what happened to the doctor we can very easily believe she’ll just reincarnate into a talking baby and we will have a lot more silly otaku comedy full of self-deprecating humor of the likes: “I AM A DISGUSTING LOLICON, HAHA, BUY MY LOLICON MERCHANDISE BECAUSE I JOKE ABOUT IT!” And don’t pretend nobody wants that to happen. I found lots of theories where the very fans of the manga wish it will be so.

Comedy aside, the reincarnation bit completely destroys the drama aspect, since it gives you nothing to be sad about. Death is just a minor inconvenience in this show; it doesn’t have the gravity of the real world. In fact, like in any reincarnation isekai, it even gives you a headstart in life. You keep all the knowledge of your previous life to the next and you instantly become a child prodigy just because you know more than any other baby. Not just that, a child prodigy of the pop idol you just happened to be a great fan of. It’s the stuff self-insert fan fiction is made of. “I’m Ultragay, the hidden son of Superman, only I’m black and gay and better at everything! Peak fiction!”

So what’s so sad about dying? Getting murdered was the best thing that could have happened to the people in the show. There are no dire consequences and the twins go as far as not giving a sh*t about their previous lives. They care about a dead person in their current life but not about all the relatives they left behind them, who are still alive and grieving their deaths. It’s as if they don’t matter just because they aren’t pop idols. And no, saying their previous lives don’t matter anymore is a lie, since their pop idol fascination carried over from there. What doesn’t seem to carry over (when it should) is the boy’s medical knowledge. Why is he not saying or doing doctor stuff and instead turns into a Machiavellian mastermind? Where is the connection?

So yeah, as a whole I was bored out of my mind with it and felt my IQ dropping because it was treating me like a moron who is supposed to laugh with cringy otaku jokes about talking babies salivating all over underage girls, and to cry at deaths which end up being the best possible thing that could have happened to those people. And what a great moral message as well. Hoping to get murdered so you can hit the jackpot in your next life. Imagine any watcher’s thoughts if he happens to have depression and is watching anime for escapism. It will fill his mind with all the wrong messages. “Time to get isekaied! It will be so fun! I might even become a self-insert fan fiction talking otaku baby, salivating all over UNDERAGE GIRLS. And I won’t have to care about all my relatives and friends who grieve over my passing! Ultragay, here I cum!”

My boredom changed to anger midway through the season where one of the UNDERAGE GIRLS gets harassed online and they make a really big fuss about it, leading to almost suicide. It’s supposed to be a super amazing scene that shows the dark side of the industry, but all I was seeing was nothingsauce. Like, really, you don’t know people get harassed online? You needed an anime to tell you that? And I get that it’s a problem which gets addressed, instead of thrown in a closet full of skeletons (as is the case with most pop idol shows). But that also implies the show will do something with this theme and it won’t just have it there for the heck of it. Guess what, the characters just talk about it (like they always do) and the issue is then thrown to the side. There were no consequences, and all you saw was people talking about how mean it is. In the next episode they act like it’s no longer an issue and spend all their time talking about dates and first kisses. In what alternative timeline does that count as meaningful theme exploration that leads somewhere?

It didn’t even have any actual effect on the audience that is supposed to like this crap and be in support of. You don’t believe me? Half the comments on my profile are about people harassing me for not liking popular shows. The mother of a girl that lost her life in the real world received death threats from numerous fans of the show when she expressed her discomfort for the show basing the harassment incident on the actual events of her late daughter. Where is this deep impact the show had on the community when there are so many people harassing other people for a show that is supposed to be anti-harassment? It’s almost like it had no effect because it didn’t really affect them, since they spend more time saying nasty things online than becoming better people thanks to this show.

Heck, it didn’t even have any effect on me, an actual victim, despite writing such a long-ass review. I am not suicidal after years of harassment and I am not trying to fix the problem by talking about it. Wanna know why? Because it’s nothingsauce; a first world problem that for all I care merely culls the weak. If some people can’t stand simple words, they don’t have what it takes to survive in the field. Bulling is part of growing a spine and if that harassed UNDERAGE GIRL in the show is so bothered by words (not actions against her physical well-being, words) then she is better off not being part of an industry that treats her like a piece of meat. And let’s not kid ourselves; that is exactly how the industry treats pop idols. By not showing the long-term effects and by just having people talking about the problems, every point the show is trying to make ends up being a big waste of time.

And now for the part that made me angry in the second half. Yes, the above paragraphs were only the intro to things that had no effect on me; here come the meat and potatoes of the things that did. This show is all about manipulation. It’s about the Starry-eyed Bishonen exploiting people so he will find the killer. It’s about the industry exploiting UNDERAGE GIRLS for profit. And it’s about said UNDERAGE GIRLS exploiting their natural beauty and charisma for fame and money. Please tell me what exactly is dramatic in this show when everyone is in it for profit and is constantly manipulating others for petty materialistic gains. Nobody is a victim. Nobody is forced to do the slightest thing. The girls know what they are into and they don’t stop doing it, so when something bad happens to them, hey, they knew it comes with the territory. It’s their job to entice the audience by shaking their underage bodies in front of thousands of lonely men who treat them as goddesses and assume they will be loved back. What exactly is dramatic about any of that? They all had it coming and they all willingly allow to be exploited, so they, in turn, can exploit others. It’s a business they are willingly in for profit. Why should the viewers feel sorry for them? These characters are all vicious manipulators who trick people for money! They lure lonely men to give them all their money without really giving them something in return! Why should anyone like them for that? They are no better than e-girls on Only Fans! They are evil!

…Because the audience is into sexy and cute looking UNDERAGE girls with big starry eyes. Yum-yum, look at all those jailbaits that make you horny! The audience wants to be exploited by the industry, the same way the fans of these girls are being exploited. And when said audience is told the truth, oh my, look at all those harassment comments that fill entire pages! To those people I direct the lyrics of the classic Eurythmics song:
Sweet dreams are made of these
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused

Final verdict: It’s a meh show. You already see the decline as soon as the second episode begins, when the whole thing turns into a typical high school drama with first world problems. BOO HOO HOO PEOPLE SAY MEAN THINGS ABOUT ME ONLINE! And the sun rises from the east. Now spend all your money on dakimakuras with starry-eyed girls on them.

The ratings drop almost vertically because it never becomes some revenge murder mystery as the ending of the pilot episode implied. It’s just a bunch of UNDERAGE GIRLS talking and talking and talking. “Oh, but the boy is still looking for the killer after 10 years! Doesn’t that keep the tension high?” No, it doesn’t. Aside from how it’s not the main focus, but rather a side dish, what exactly can it lead to? Even if the Starry-eyed Bishonen finds and kills him, the killer will just reincarnate into a talking baby who wants to murder more pop idols. Big deal, go on with your life as a child prodigy and enjoy your isekai self-insert fanfiction.

Perfect Blue exists for decades and it’s eons better. It survived the seasonal hype period and it’s a true classic. Oshi no ko is just another seasonal hype type of show that rides all the typical nonsense about subversions and deconstructions, and will then be thrown on some bargain bin as yet another anime that does not care about its own subject matter. It wouldn’t be 90% talking if it did. Other anime already explored the same thing in a more serious manner and without otaku comedy about babies salivating all over UNDERAGE GIRLS. Ultragay!

"Oshi no Ko" - Anime - AniDB (2024)
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