Oshi no Ko Vol. 1 Review – An Emotional Rollercoaster Made Out of Lies and Love

    Title: Oshi no Ko Vol. 1
    Author: Aka Akasaka, Mengo Yokoyari
    Release Date: January 17, 2023
    Publisher: Yen Press

With a story by Kaguya-sama’s writer and illustrations by Scum’s Wish creator Mengo Yokoyari, Oshi no Ko Vol. 1 is hard to describe. It starts as an idol stan story, then drops a mysterious twist early on. Once you get used to a new concept, it pulls the rug from under you again and starts a tale of mystery and revenge.

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Oshi no Ko starts with a man called Gorou working as a gynecologist. In a remote hospital in the middle of nowhere, he gets the sudden visit of a young girl expecting twins. However, he feels conflicted about the situation, as giving birth will impact the girl’s career. You see, she’s someone he admires so much it would be a shame if this stopped her from shining bright on the stages.

However, soon he finds himself in a weird position: he becomes one of her kids. This supernatural situation is a fresh start he never asked for, the beginning of a new story for him. Now under the name Aquamarine, he and his sister Ruby have the privilege of living so close to an idol shining brightly.

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Oshi no Ko Volume 1 is all about these babies getting to see the show biz side from another angle. Not only that, these kids are really talented for their age, which points to a promising future ahead. Maybe they’ll follow in their mother’s legacy when they grow up, and it’s clear they are perfect to be on the stages instead of only rooting for their favorites from the sidelines.

However, once this new slice of life routine feels accommodating, a twist comes to mess up everything we started taking for granted. I won’t spoil what happens, but the volume was perfectly paced and conceived as the beginning of a potentially thrilling story. As someone who hasn’t read what’s ahead, I have absolutely no idea how things will play off though I understand Aquamarine’s determination.

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Honestly, it took me some time to get invested in the story. Oshi no Ko can get unhinged in its depiction of fandom culture, and characters are too on the nose at times. However, close to the end of the volume, it had already convinced me to abandon disbelief and immerse myself in the world it provided. Once I finally got comfortable, it severed my expectations and got me hooked on getting to the bottom of things along with Aqua.

If the story took a while to convince me, Mengo’s artwork, on the other hand, was instantly beautiful. It’s interesting how the story can go from the shining stages too much darker scenes in the very first chapter, and there’s a special detail to the eyes of some characters which makes them seem like something from another world.

It’s also interesting to note every chapter starts with a short scene from the future. These interviews are connected to the chapter’s story and offer a deeper look at where Aka Akasaka plans to take the whole thing. There are subtle hints and things that gain extra value by reading once again after finishing the volume and having a grasp on the story so far.

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Oshi no Ko Vol. 1 is a prelude that plants the seeds for an intriguing tale while subverting expectations at every corner. There’s no read quite like it as its supernatural premise gives way to a grim view of show business and human relationships and a thriller mystery we’ll only get to see better in future volumes.

4.5/5

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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.