First Impression, Team Edition: Oshi no Ko

Ok everyone, get comfortable—this is gonna be a wild ride! The most highly anticipated new series premiere finally dropped today not just with a single episode, nor even a double, but with a feature film-length special adapting the entire first volume of the manga. That’s right, 90 minutes of sparkly idol eyes, beaming smiles, and whiplash twists and turns that make it incredibly difficult even just to list the genre tags without spoiling. We’ll do our best though not to spoil you—though we are going to pamper you a little, as befits a series about babies and idols, and serve up a rare treat: that’s right, it’s time for a BtT Team Review!!!

But first, the recap:

Gorou is an OB/GYN and passionate idol otaku whose favorite, or oshi, is the charismatic center of idol group B Komachi, Ai. When he learns that Ai will be taking a leave of absence due to ill health, Gorou is devastated; that is, until she shows up in his examination room for her 20-week pregnancy check-up! After a minor meltdown, Gorou overcomes his otaku instincts and dedicates himself to helping her, as her doctor, to have a healthy pregnancy and welcome into the world the twin bundles of joy she is carrying. Everything goes well until he is confronted by another otaku of the creepy and sinister variety and the next thing he knows, he has been murdered and wound up in hell, as expected. Wait, no. Th-tha-that’s Ai-chan staring into his newborn eyes! Waahhh! Role opening title sequence. Mmm hmm, that’s right. We have a lot more to go yet!

If act one was the mildly uncomfortable “let’s poke fun at otaku, no wait, is it ok to laugh at this?” phase of the story, act two is the straight-up comedy phase. Fortunately, things don’t go the way of Mushoku Tensei and Gorou, now named Aquamarine, is a gentleman determined to protect the honor of his favorite, er, Mom. His twin sister Ruby, however, ventures a little more into Rudy territory, but the joke doesn’t linger and soon the babies, who have both retained memories of their past lives (which involved stanning Ai), can walk and talk and most importantly, do the glowstick choreography for all of Ai’s performances. They are in heaven. 

Act three is the slice-of-life, entertainment industry drama arc, revealing the seedy underside of television, music, and film production as Ai and her kids—whom she of course has to pretend are not hers at all, lest she put her idol image in jeopardy and alienate fans—try to make it in the biz and pay the bills. It’s a tough life, but one that is nevertheless sprinkled with many moments of joy for the little family. 

And then there’s the fourth and final arc. In traditional Asian storytelling, this is meant to be the part of the story where harmony is reached, but such is not the fate of this premiere film, because of course, there is an entire season yet to come. Instead, we shift gears and change up genres yet again, and Oshi no ko becomes, in Aqua’s own words, a tale of revenge. Things are just getting started, baby!

So, is it worth watching? Is 90 minutes a little too much of an ask for a first date, er, episode? Here’s what the BtT Team has to say!


When I heard that this first episode was going to be 90 minutes, I was relieved. This series needs a feature-length opener, demands it, and most of all, deserves it too. Anything less would sell short the absolute roller coaster of a ride series creators Aka Akasaka (Kaguya-sama) and Mengo Yokoyari (Scum’s Wish) lay out in the first volume of the manga. These guys know how to subvert expectations and keep you guessing about even the most basic things, such as genre, all the while reeling you in, hook, line and sinker. Just when you think you know what’s what, BAM! Plot twist! Time skip! Mayhem! Tropes going up in flames. 

That said, in terms of the animation, it started out a little lackluster, with straightforward layouts and sparse backgrounds, though Ai sparkles and shines from the get-go, as is right and proper. But things really picked up in the second half, to the point where it looked as well as felt like a new story as we hit the third arc, with some really stunning color design in the outdoor scenes in particular, and overall far more dynamic framing once the twins were more fully in play and Ai was back on stage. As it turns out, it was all building up to that final arc, which was downright cinematic, with some incredible shots and powerfully moody lighting, and beautifully scored as well. The climactic moment was handled so deftly that I could almost believe that maybe things would play out differently this time. But sadly, it was not to be. All I can say is, Thank you, Doga Kobo, for such a raw, moving piece of animation. You did a complex, multi-faceted character right, and for that, I am grateful. 

After this point, I have no idea where we’re going. Volume 2 of the manga has not yet been released, but more to the point, I’ve just relived having all my expectations shattered, my heart torn to shreds, and I really don’t have the capacity to make an educated guess right now. But I can tell you this much: I am along for this ride. (Also, there’s a post-credit scene you’re not going to want to miss.)


I’ve grown tired of double or movie-length opening episodes, finding most of them to be rather unnecessary. But as Claire said, Oshi no Ko demands the 90 minutes. What a cinematic experience, an opening episode that really felt like the first part of a film series. It’s not just a prologue, as a character states at the end of the episode—this is an entire story on its own. It has its rise and fall in action, shifts in genre, and a fully realized character arc.

That arc, of course, is Ai’s. There will certainly be more revealed about her background and story as the series moves along, but there’s enough here to merit the powerful emotions I felt at the climax of the episode (the first climax, at least). My heart! This series crosses so many genres, but it is grounded in the love we have for the characters. The writing has made us care about the journey ahead, even past all the shock of the episode (from beginning to end). There’s certainly more to come, too, I imagine. And I am so in.


I would be lying if I said that I didn’t approach this show with a bit of skepticism. I mean, a one-hour premiere? REALLY? Who does that? Then when the series finally dropped, I was informed that it was 90 minutes long—FEATURE LENGTH. Okay, whatever. This had better be good. Over 90 minutes later, and I can honestly say…this is not good. This is PRODIGIOUSLY OUTSTANDING. This show NEEDED the extra-long premiere. There’s no way around it. There was just too much story to be told in three episodes of what may very well be a 13-episode series. From the moment it started until the end credit sequence, this movie held my attention. For a show focused on a character who tells lies, it tells the brutal truth about the unsavory aspects of Idol life—the backroom deals, the never-ending chase to stay relevant, the unfair critiques, the dangerously obsessive fans…it’s all laid bare here with no doubt more to come as the series proper gets started. The ONLY thing I had a problem with is the fact that NOBODY seems to think it weird that these one-year-old kiddos are WAY, WAY, WAAAAAAY more advanced with regards to…well…EVERYTHING. They walk perfectly, they speak very well, and they possess an intelligence WAY greater than their years…or year in the beginning. Though I guess because this show does so many other things well and doesn’t insult my intelligence like other anime, I can overlook this. 

The animation style on this one is quite…UNIQUE. This show just pops on screen, and I’m glad I watched it on my TV instead of sitting at my desk as this movie (and yes, I’m calling it a movie—this is a FEATURE LENGTH movie doubling as an Episode 1 in my books) deserves to be viewed in the best way possible! I absolutely adore the character designs in this one. There is a clear differentiator between the beaming bright idols, the hard-working production crew, and the rabid fans. While some of the sparkly eyes did give me pause, especially on Ai, after a while, I found myself getting used to them, and truth be told, it does make her even more endearing.

So where does that leave us? Simple. Oshi no Ko is ABSOLUTELY a must-follow. I’m fully invested in this one. Heck, how can I be anything BUT fully invested? I just sat down and watched episode one which was as long as a freaking movie…AND ENJOYED IT. You owe it to yourself to check this one out, but remember—this is 90 minutes long. So settle in like you’re watching a movie…an awesome, awesome movie!  


Do we, the fandom, want to be lied to? Are we forcing our celebrities to become symbols that may only evoke some specific feelings, like Greek statues? Is it okay to pretend to be someone you’re not? What happens after we die? What is the most essential quality of an actor? What drives, in truth, adult fans of teenage idols? These are complex, interesting questions that keep exploding all around like fireworks as you follow the unpredictable plot of Oshi no Ko, which might be described as Erased meets Glass Mask meets… Boss Baby? No, seriously. And the thing is, it sort of fits together.

It’s fair to say that you shouldn’t expect a fully realistic exploration of these questions: we’re still in Anime Land, where things that defy our suspension of disbelief often happen all around for the sake of mystery, cuteness, (thankfully mild) fanservice or meta-commentary. But at the same time, I cannot but admire how boldly the plot, keeps throwing us off, juggling new, strange elements that seem impossible to fit together until they do. Oshi no Ko feels a bit like a run-of-the-mill show that can suddenly become unique, emotional and artsy all of a sudden, and smash its status quo into pieces.

After watching for an hour and a half, I’m not sure of what to say, and I’m not sure about how I feel about everything I saw. You see, though (or because?) The Idolm@ster is one of my favorite shows ever, I have strong feelings against the “idol world.” Plus, some choices the plot makes, while understandable and somewhat satisfying, mean nevertheless that I have a hard time connecting with most of the cast right now. The, shall we say, supernatural aspect of the plot and the relative lack of interest in it puzzles me (it may be a cultural thing, though). But I can say this: you certainly won’t be bored with Oshi no Ko. Give it a chance.

Oshi no Ko is streaming on HiDIVE.

4 thoughts on “First Impression, Team Edition: Oshi no Ko

  1. Seems like a very interesting series. I’ve seen a lot of talk about it and feel like some of the story has been spoiled merely by how people are talking around certain events.

    1. For sure. It’s one that is easily spoiled since so much is covered in that first episode! I’d say it’s a really rich series so far, with lots of layers and stunning animation—definitely worth checking out that full premiere episode at least to see if it catches your fancy!

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