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Manga / Oshi no Ko

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In the world of entertainment, lies are weapons.
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like if you were born as the child of a celebrity?

In the rural town of Takachiho, in Japan's Miyazaki prefecture, a man named Goro works as an obstetrician in a hospital. His life changes dramatically when the 16-year-old idol he admires, Ai Hoshino, suddenly takes a break from work and appears before him because she is pregnant with twins. Right before Ai bears her children, though, Goro is killed by an unknown man. Moments later, he wakes up in the arms of his idol, reincarnated as one of her children.

Now living his second life as Ai's son, Aquamarine, and with his memories intact, he wishes to watch over the life of his idol in the entertainment world. Then it turns out, his twin sister reincarnated just like him...

Oshi no Konote  (推しの子), also known as My Star, is a collaborative work between Aka Akasaka (ib: Instant Bullet, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War), who serves as author, and Mengo Yokoyari (Kimi wa Midara na Boku no Joou, Scum's Wish), who serves as the artist. Since April 2020, it is published in Shueisha's Weekly Young Jump.


An anime adaptation was announced on June 9, 2022, to be produced by Studio Dogakobo.

Oshi no Ko contains examples of:

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    A - N 

  • Armor-Piercing Question: Aqua asks one to the director of "My Love with a Star Begins Now", after the director tries to shift the blame of the social backlash on Akane, since she's a professional.
    Aqua: It doesn't matter if she's a professional or not... A 16-year-old is just a brat who makes lots of bad life decisions. What good are adults if they don't protect the kids?
  • Bad "Bad Acting": All actors of "Sweet Today" are just terrible and act without emotion, because they are inexperienced and have no training. They were mostly hired for their good looks and the drama is produced to promote these actors. Kana (and later Aqua) is the only serious actress that was hired, but she willingly performs worse to not bizarrely stand out.
  • Be Yourself: The cast members of "My Love with a Star Begins Now" are encouraged to do so to promote themselves and show their best side to the audience without really acting, as there is no real script to follow. Aqua thinks this is dangerous, and he is later proven to be right, as Akane's real self is shy and timid. She tries to go out of her way to be someone she really isn't which leads to an accident that is dramatized by the production and causes heavy cyberbullying against Akane.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In Chapter 25, Akane attempts to jump off a bridge to kill herself. Aqua appears in time to stop her.
  • Big Damn Kiss: In Chapter 78, After finding his (Goro's) corpse, Aqua and Akane kiss after he gives her a Declaration of Protection.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Sarina dies in a flashback, and Goro is killed in Chapter 1. Both are reincarnated at the end of the chapter as Ai's children.
  • Bland-Name Product: YouTube is actually mentioned by name, but when images in the manga are shown it's called "Youlobe". The same goes to other platforms like TikTak, Woyback Wochine or Twit.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • In Chapter 5, Aqua meets Director Gotanda for the first time. However, Gotanda is impressed a two-year-old like Aqua can already talk so eloquently, which Aqua explains by supposedly watching a lot of YouTube. For some reason, the Director instantly believes this and is impressed by the "progressive era [they] live in".
    • In Chapter 23, Ruby gets jealous because Aqua gets to eat out (yakiniku) with other beautiful young celebrities, which he is clearly happy about. Aqua denies this, but Ruby can easily see through his lie because he can't look her in the eye and his face clearly shows his satisfaction.
  • Bottled Heroic Resolve: In Chapter 27, Aqua can be seen drinking energy drinks like Monster Energy and Lipovitan after an intense night of video editing.
  • Buxom Is Better: In Chapter 19, the first girl Ruby befriends, Minami Kotobuki, has a big buxom, which she finds amazing.
  • Call-Back: Aqua brings up in Chapter 31 how unusual it was that MEMcho immediately came up with Ai, when he vaguely described his ideal woman in Chapter 28. MEMcho then tells him that before she became a YouTuber her dream was to become an Idol Singer and that she admired the old B-Komachi. Aqua then brings up the possibility to join the newly formed B-Komachi.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Since the cast members of "My Love with a Star Begins Now" are supposed to act like their real selves (only in an exaggerated way), the audience is led to believe that everything they see is how things really are. The production builds up a narrative through Manipulative Editing that makes Akane look like a villainous and violent Clingy Jealous Girl. The audience reaction to this, not knowing that this was dramatized and that Akane and Yuki don't actually hate each other, is so harsh towards Akane that in a moment of utter despair and depression she tries to kill herself.
  • Career Resurrection: In-universe example. Kana has become largely unnoticed after her acting career went downhill after grade school. She is elated when she is picked for the lead role of "Sweet Today", but she can't give it her all because her co-actors are terrible. Aqua manages to save the finale with his performance, though, and Kana later joins Strawberry Productions and Ruby's newly formed idol group.
  • Cassandra Truth: None of the other cast members believe that Yuki has never dated anyone before. Akane however later points out that this is likely true. Nobuyuki really is Yuki's very first boyfriend.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: It's frequently pointed out how much Aqua and Ruby resemble Ai. Of course no one knows they resemble her because they are her children.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Ai's death has caused the series to have a darker undertone. Prior to that, there have already been hints of it in the Flash Forward interviews.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In Chapter 16, the reader learns from a conversation Aqua overhears that Kana is easy to abuse because she has become freelance. Three chapters later, Aqua remembers this and suggests to Ruby to recruit Kana for her new idol group, as Miyako will not start auditions, and she does not want to meddle with girls who are already affiliated with another agency.
    • In Chapter 75, during a flashback to Sarina's final moments on Earth, she gifts Goro a keychain that she had purchased from a B-Komachi concert back from before she was hospitalized. In Chapter 77, Ruby and Akane come across skeletal remains in a cave hidden behind a shrine near the hospital where she and Aqua were born. Ruby is able to quickly identify the remains as that of Goro, as one of the few items that hadn't decayed away in the past dozen years was said keychain.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In Chapter 5, Director Gotanda explains to Aqua the three types of actresses in a project: the famous actress that brings in the audience, the Master Actress maintaining the quality of the show, and the newbie from whom no one expects anything who are getting promoted. In Chapter 17, it's noted that Kana was hired as the female lead of "Sweet Today" mainly because she is famous, not because of her ability. She is there to promote all her good-looking co-actors, who have no experience in acting, and no one cares about the quality of the show.
    • In Chapter 31, after the show is wrapped up, the director of "My Love with a Star Begins Now" warns the actors that the entertainment industry is full of "bad adults" who may abuse their talents and then discard them. He speaks from experience, as he is also one of the "bad adults", and actually tried to do the same with Akane. Aqua calling the director out in Chapter 27 as an adult who neglected his duties to protect the children around him still has a lasting effect.
    • In Chapter 20, before recruiting Kana, Ruby thinks that Kana is the kind of person otaku would like. At the end of Chapter 38, one of the idol otakus present says exactly the same thing.
  • invokedContractual Purity: Idols are meant to stay single, as selling the image of a "pure" single woman, who could possibly date you is necessary for business. Ai clearly breaks this rule by getting pregnant with twins, and while her manager/guardian does not want Ai to give birth, he eventually gives in, but makes sure that the world never learns of this, as Ai would be declared Defiled Forever, which would be the end of both his and Ai's careers. Unfortunately, a fan still learns of this and in his jealous rage kills not only Dr. Goro but also Ai. In the aftermath, some fans think that "it can't be helped" or that Ai even deserved this, which infuriates Ruby.
  • Cooldown Hug: In Chapter 24, Yuki hugs Akane to calm her down, seeing that she is about to panic from everyone's accusatory talk about her. In Chapter 25, Aqua saves Akane Kurokawa from her suicide attempt and wraps her around his arms to calm her down.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Ai's death greatly affects Aqua, who loved her. He becomes broody and obsessed with revenge.
  • Death by Irony: Ai is killed on her 20th birthday at the peak of her popularity by a crazed fan.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Ai, the Decoy Protagonist, who is stabbed at the end of Chapter 8, gives a Dying Declaration of Love to her children in the next chapter. Her death dramatically changes the lives of her children and their future.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Inverted. In Chapter 9, Ai dies while hugging Aqua.
  • Dismissing a Compliment: Aqua dismisses any compliment that he receives about his acting. This has largely to do with him comparing himself to Ai, the woman he idolizes, and him realizing that he lacks her natural charm.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Oshi no Ko" has multiple meanings. The common way to read it is "The girl (idol) I support", referring to Ai. However, at the end of the first chapter, it's clear that the other intended reading is "The children of the girl I support", referring to Aqua and Ruby.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: In Chapter 9, Ai tells her children how much she truly loves them before bleeding out.
  • Exact Words:
    • Aqua is not actually allowed to publish raw footage of a show for his video that redeems Akane's reputation. However, he found a loophole in his contract that allows him to upload material of the show as long as it's through the official channels, so he does just that and can't be sued because he followed the contract to the letter.
    • In Chapter 31, when MEMcho thinks that Yuki must have gone out with several people already, Yuki protests, stating that she prioritizes work and has never had a boyfriend until now. Akane later tells Aqua that Yuki and Nobuyuki, despite Yuki apparently dumping Nobuyuki in the show, are actually dating for real.
  • Fan Disillusionment: Just as someone may like a celebrity, they can just as quickly abandon them when they feel their bias did something wrong.
    • Ai's pregnancy must never be revealed to the public, as this would ruin invokedher image as a pure idol who loves her fans. Ai's death was caused by a fan who found out the truth.
    • Some of Akane's supposed fans who liked her earlier works feel disappointed and vow to not support her anymore after she accidentally hurt Yuki Sumi, the star of the show they are participating in. Since Akane reads this, this just makes her depression and feeling of insecurity worse.
  • First-Episode Twist: The first chapter ends with the protagonist being killed and reincarnated with his memories fully intact. Actually, the entire first volume merely acts as a prologue, as it ends with Ai's death, and Aqua being hellbent on revenge.
  • Flash Forward: The first volume's chapters begin with cuts in the future, when Ruby and Aqua are already established figures in the entertainment industry. Starting with Chapter 2, several characters are interviewed for what looks like a documentary about Ai and/or Aqua and Ruby. Except for the last chapter of Volume 1 (Chapter 10), as it was a recording of Ai wanting to see her children become stars once they grew up and was meant to be watched when they were older.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The Flash Forwards in the first volume heavily hint about Ai's death.
      • Chapter 5 begins with Director Gotonda releasing a film that he melancholically dedicates to Ai. Dedications are usually given to deceased people.
      • In Chapter 6, Kana notes in an interview that "even an unrivaled prodigy would die if you stabbed them". Then she gets embarrassed and wants the interviewer to edit that part out, as A(qua)-kun will get mad if he hears this. This also hints at Kana knowing the true relationship between Aqua and Ai.
      • In Chapter 7, Aqua mentions that his body still wasn't found yet. Considering the stalker went as far as to kill people and was looking for Ai, this was a red flag Aqua should have noticed, as the murderer was still on the run.
      • In Chapter 8, Ichigo Saitou is shown to have run away. He became a lone fisherman after a certain event made him quit the showbiz entirely.
    • In Chapter 23, the actors of the reality dating show Aqua is participating in go out eating barbecue. Akane is the only one who doesn't eat, though, as she is a vegetarian, but she still nonetheless engages in the activity to blend in. She recounts how she used to upset people by burning the meat initially, but she's gotten better at it and now never lets go of the tongs. As MEMcho points out, things in the show become much more extreme. Akane doesn't fit in and her desperate attempt to do so ends with her causing an accident (just like she used to burn the meat). However, instead of some people being a bit upset about it, the audience reaction is much harsher. Just as she can't let go of the tongs, she cannot ignore the abuse she receives, which tires her out and makes her want to kill herself.
    • In Chapter 23, when the cast members of "My Love with a Star Begins Now" are asked how committed they are to the romance, Yuki and Nobuyuki point out that they are taking it seriously, though Yuki quickly wants to wrap up the show, as she doesn't like the fans watching them the whole time. Yuki seemingly rejects Nobuyuki's confession at the end of the show in Chapter 30, but Akane one chapter later points out that they actually are dating and the rejection was just for the show.
    • There are a few hints that MEMcho is Older than They Look. In Chapter 23, when the ages of the dating show cast members are shown, hers is the only one with a question mark. She also instantly thinks of Ai, when Aqua describes his ideal girl in Chapter 28, despite Ai's death being over 12 years ago, meaning that MEMcho should be a bit too young to remember an aspiring idol. As it turns out in Chapter 32, MEMcho is actually 25 years old and she has always wanted to become an idol.
    • Kana's badmouthing of Akane (including her tactless remark after the latter had an Interrupted Suicide) in Chapter 28 was seen as petty by Aqua, until it was revealed in Chapter 40 that the two know each other since childhood and have been bitter rivals since then.
  • Genre Shift: The first volume of the manga is a high-concept, but still straightforward Slice of Life about a pair of siblings with the hint being that it would follow their rise to fame. Then, with Ai's death, the story shifts towards a much somber murder mystery where a Byronic Hero attempts to find and take revenge on his father.
  • Gilligan Cut: In Chapter 20, Aqua tries to convince Kana to join his sister's idol group. He turns on the charms to do so, yet Kana insists that no matter what he says, she will never agree to it. Cue the next panel showing that Kana signed the contract.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Akane Kurokawa wishes to stand out more in "My Love with a Star Begins Now", so she goes out of her way to be more aggressive, which leads to a dramatic accident on the set. The scene is aired on TV later and Akane manages to stand out more, but not as she would have liked. She gets mercilessly criticized on social media, which she takes very seriously, culminating in an attempted suicide because she can't take the vitriol directed at her and her family anymore.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: A bonus comic in Volume 3 tells parts of Chapter 24 from Yuki's perspective. Yuki wants to help Akane, whom she respects as an earnest and cute co-worker, stand out, so she gives Akane sharp nail accessories and riles her up to get a more drastic reaction from her. Yuki accomplishes exactly that, but the reactions to Akane injuring Yuki's face are, due to manipulative editing, far more negative than Yuki expected, and Akane gets mercilessly bullied by everyone. Having not foreseen such an outcome (which eventually led to Akane's suicide attempt), she cries off-camera and blames herself for what happened.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Ai dies smiling, glad that she could at least tell her children that she truly loved them before she bled out. The sight of it looks rather disturbing though.
  • Grief-Induced Split: After Ai Hoshino is brutally murdered in her own home, her grief-stricken manager and Parental Substitute Ichigo abandons his family, forcing his wife to take over his company and raise Ai's twin children on her own.
  • Horrible Hollywood: The story explores the darker side of the entertainment business. Many talents are run into the ground to make money, the internet can be brutal and unforgiving, and invokedContractual Purity is often taken too far.
  • Improvisational Ingenuity:
    • Chapter 15 shows how bad the actors that were hired for "Sweet Today" actually are. What makes the drama still somewhat passable is the backstage and editing crew, as they can improvise to get the best out of the limited talent. Aqua makes use of that in Chapter 17 when he starts going off the script and is ad-libbing lines that manage to make everything look more real while still fitting the scene they are acting.
    • The reality dating show largely works without a script, which means that the cast members need to think on the fly, which encourages them to be more like themselves. Yuki especially thrives in this, as she just needs to exaggerate her normal personality and quickly becomes the most popular character on the show, while Akane is out of her element, as her actual self is very shy and serious and thus not very appealing to the audience.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Due to Yokoyari's art-style and Hollywood Beauty Standards being applied across the board for most characters, all characters look very beautiful and attractive, and because of that, certain characters that are described as particularly cute and/or beautiful like Ai, Aqua, Ruby or Kana don't actually come off as dazzling as they're described by the others.
  • Inspirational Insult: In Chapter 17, Aqua riles up the male lead actor by insulting him. This gets an angry reaction which makes the scene they are playing out much more authentic and genuine.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: In Chapter 4, Aqua and Ruby embarrass themselves as babies, as they are doing otaku dances to cheer on their mother who reacts with delight. They get recorded by another spectator, who uploads it to social media, which instantly brings Ai much more attention.
  • Ironic Echo: Chapter 30 begins with Kana exclaiming how she and Aqua are "the worst" for skipping class together, but she clearly is ironic, seeing as she gets to spend time with the guy she is in love with. The chapter ends with Kana in her room crying and saying the exact thing, but this time she really means it, as she just saw Aqua kissing Akane on TV.
  • Irony:
    • The irony isn't lost on Aqua when he learns that he has to play a crazed, violent stalker on "Sweet Today".
    • The lack of a script in a reality show and dependence on improvising to show one's real self is what Akane can't really deal with, as she is actually very introverted and can't improvise well. If she knew exactly what role she has to play, she could easily do so, as she is a meticulous method actress. As shown in Chapter 28, she doesn't need much time to research and imitate Ai, which she does so well that it takes Aqua aback.
    • Chapter 28 has Kana badmouthing Akane to the point that even Aqua calls her out on it. However, she admits that Akane is a genius who is a better actress than herself. Chapter 40 shows that Akane feels the same way about Kana, calling Kana a genius and resenting her for taking all the roles back when they were children. In an ironic Hourglass Plot, Akane became the genius actress of the present who is on the rise, while Kana was known as a genius child actress and now struggles getting gigs.
  • Japanese Politeness: While it's common for Japanese people to apologize a lot, MEMcho warns Akane to not do so in Chapter 25, after the latest episode of the reality dating show was met with harsh criticism due to the accident Akane caused.
    MEMcho: An apology is as good as an admission of guilt, isn't it? Apologizing is like common sense to Japanese people. But as a countermeasure to getting canceled, it's the worst thing you can do.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Miyako doesn't speak well of Ai initially and is very angry that she has to babysit the children of a 16-year-old girl who won't even disclose who the father is, calling it shady. While Ruby does not approve of this, Aqua finds Miyako's dissatisfaction quite reasonable.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: The first half of Chapter 39 is told from the perspective of Mana Suzuhiro, an idol in her mid-twenties who witnesses Ruby's performance at the Japan Idol Festival. Mana had a decently successful career, but eventually hit the ceiling and her fame and relevance started to fade and she stagnated. Seeing how outstanding and mesmerizing Ruby is, she decides to quit her career. After six years in the entertainment industry, Mana leaves with a satisfied outlook, finds a job at a popular clothing brand and disappears from the public view.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Chapter 31, Kaburagi tells Aqua that some notable people above were not happy that he broke a taboo when he posted behind-the-scenes material of the reality dating show and even demanded compensation for seemingly breaching contract. Aqua notes that he expected that and used a loophole in the contract that allows him to post material as long as it's posted on the show's official social media channels.
  • Love You and Everybody: A variant in Chapter 38. When Kana feels depressed that apparently no one is cheering for her (indicated by the color of the glowsticks the fans choose), Aqua pulls out a white glowstick, Kana's chosen color, which gets her attention. However, she then notices that he actually cheers and dances for the whole group, as he carries all three colors that present Ruby, Kana, and MEMcho. This frustrates Kana a bit, since she wants him to only support her alone.
  • Magic Realism: The main characters are Reincarnations with Past-Life Memories. Other than that, the story is grounded in reality about the main characters becoming an idol and an actor respectively.
  • Manipulative Editing: The reality dating show mostly just shows the cast members the way they are in an exaggerated way, but the production staff still build their own narrative through cuts and only use the material they deem interesting. Thus, Akane gets next to no screentime and when she decides to become more prominent, she causes a minor accident, which the production heavily exploit to dramatize things to the point that Akane receives heavy bullying in school and on social media. In Chapter 27, Aqua decides to counter this by building his own narrative with his own edited video, showing scenes the production left out to portray Akane in a better light and make more people sympathize with her.
  • invokedMethod Acting: In Chapter 28, Akane sets out to act like Aqua's ideal girl, which she later learns is Ai. She does an extensive research of Ai and at the end of the chapter acts so well that she is given Ai's iconic star pupils, proving that she truly is a Master Actress.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In Chapter 14, Aqua accepts a job offer when Kana mentions the lead actor is a cute boy with a girlish face. Although he accepted for different reasons, Kana assumes he might be interested in said boy at first.
  • The Mourning After: Aqua doesn't idolize anyone after Ai, and he doesn't want to love anyone other than her, which is why he remains a Celibate Hero.
  • Mythology Gag: In one arc Aqua plays a role in the Live-Action Adaptation of the shoujo manga Sweet Today. Yes, the very same manga that induced a shoujo fever in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, which is written by the same author. However, the trope is played with. In Oshi no Ko, producing the adaptation for Sweet Today is the focus of an entire arc and played seriously. Meanwhile, in Kaguya-sama it serves as a joke for two chapters and then never spoken of again.
  • Nepotism: Cronyism in most cases.
    • Aqua gets his first role and Ai's second role because Aqua befriended the film director Taishi Gotanda. The first role Aqua involuntarily takes is in Chapter 6 in a low-budget movie Director Gotanda is filming in exchange for giving Ai a supporting role in the same film. Said film was the kickstarter for Ai's acting career and raised her popularity.
    • In Chapter 14, Kana convinces Producer Kaburagi to give Aqua a role in "Sweet Today". As it turns out, she also got the lead role because the producer likes using her. Aqua later finds out it's because she is cheap and brings attention to the series as a Former Child Star, not because of her acting and communication skills.
    • Kaburagi takes great interest in the newly formed B-Komachi. As Aqua is related to them, he uses a favor to let the new idol group perform at a big idol festival for their first concert. Kana is a bit concerned because of the blatant nepotism, but begrudgingly accepts because it's an opportunity they have to take.
  • Never My Fault: When Aqua tries to acquire footage that wasn't used in the reality dating show to help Akane, the director initially refuses. Aqua reminds him that he and his staff are responsible for this mess that almost ended with Akane's suicide, but the director retorts that he is just doing his job and Akane is a pro, who always could have objected if she was against it. Aqua calls him out for dodging responsibility and reminds him that Akane is only a 16-year-old child and thus needs to be protected by the adults, which he failed to do so.
  • New Body, Old Abilities: Being reincarnated from adults gave Aqua and Ruby far more dexterity than a newborn would be capable of in real life. They can stand, talk, and surf the internet on their mother's cellphone.
  • Not Bad: Pieyon claims to not have reacted happily initially when Miyako asked him to help with her newly established idol group. However, after an intensive training session he points out that he could have just made it look like Ruby and Kana danced for one hour through clever editing, but he is impressed when Kana and Ruby actually managed to last the whole hour (while wearing masks that made it difficult to breathe). Pieyon says that while this is not something the viewers will realize, the people on the set do take notice when someone is working their hardest.

    O - Z 
  • Out of Focus: In the in-universe manga "Tokyo Blade", Akane's character, Sayahime, was put in the background, because another character, Tsurugi (the one Kana is playing), turned out to be far more popular. As a result, there isn't put much focus on Akane's character in the stage play; worse, instead of the shy person that Sayahime is in the manga, she is turned into a bloodthirsty psycho in the stage play.
  • Parental Abandonment: A common theme among some of the major characters.
    • Goro's mother suffered a post-partum hemorrhage giving birth to him and bled out before emergency services arrived. His father was completely MIA so his maternal grandparents took custody of him.
    • Ai was sent to an orphanage after her mother was arrested and charged with theft, as her father was also MIA.
    • Goro's idealism leads him to think this is the case with Sarina, whose parents were no-shows during what would turn out to be Sarina's final moments among the living.
    • Both Goro and Sarina would get hit with this a second time, this time as their reincarnations Aqua and Ruby, respectively, when Ai's stalker, who had murdered Goro 4 years prior, tracks Ai to her residence and kills her.
  • Past-Life Memories: Aqua and Ruby both remember their past lives. While this isn't as significant for Ruby, as she died when she was 12 and spent most of her life confined in a hospital, it gives Aqua a serious advantage, as he was already an adult and a trained doctor.
  • Plot-Triggering Death:
    • Goro's death at the end of Chapter 1 is what permanently connects him to Ai and show business.
    • Ai's death, his thirst for vengeance, and his wish to keep his sister safe, is what motivates Aqua to become an actor to find and kill his biological father.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The stage play adaptation of "Tokyo Blade" is suddenly thrown into chaos 20 days before the premiere because the author, Abiko Samejima, thinks the script is garbage and she threatens to withdraw the rights if she isn't allowed to completely rewrite the script. She is extremely angry with the script because in her opinion all of her characters went through Adaptation Personality Changes that make her characters look like idiots. She has voiced her complaints multiple times, but as is shown in Chapter 45 her message to the scriptwriter was misunderstood in a game of telephone by the middlemen (editor, IP manager, producer, scriptwriter's manager). It got to a point where she complained that the characters talk too much like drama queens, which ended with Scriptwriter Goa being told to make the characters act even more dramatically.
  • P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: While both Ruby and Aqua have been featured on color images, with Ruby getting most of the screen time on pre-release materials, the actual protagonist is Aqua. Ruby maintains some relevancy due to her development as an idol, but Aqua's journey up the entertainment industry takes more importance.
  • The Power of Friendship: Chapter 26 shows the cast members of "My Love with a Star Begins Now" working together to create a video that will help portray Akane in a better light. Kengo made the music, Yuki gave Aqua ideas on what footage they should use, Aqua acquired the raw footage, did the video editing and rendering, and MEMcho provided additional material and handled the publishing to make the video go viral. Nobuyuki tried to act like The Leader, but everyone quickly mentions that he helped the least.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: An in-universe example. Goa makes some significant changes to the stage play adaptation of Tokyo Blade. After reading it, Akane has concerns about how her character was dumbed down, and Abiko later complains about how it ruined her characters. However, as Goa explains, the changes were made for practical reasons, as the medium of stage play is much different from that of a manga, and despite being a fan who was reluctant to make changes, he sees it as dirty work that needs to be done for the benefit of the play, whether he likes it or not. Those who understands stage play including Akane herself agree with his reasoning. Abiko takes more convincing, but she eventually recognizes his talent as a writer in his medium, and when she actually sits down with him to write the script together she's fully willing to make changes for the adaptation, so long that the characters remain true to themselves.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    • In Chapter 17, Aqua says one after he learns that the production doesn't care about the acting and doesn't value Kana's acting skills.
      Aqua: I've gotten what I came for. But... since I'm already here, let me go all out before I go home.
    • At the end of Chapter 26, after Aqua leaked to the press that Akane tried to kill herself and later states that she wants to keep working, he tells Miyako, in reference to the title of the show:
      Aqua: I don't know if this will turn out well, but either way... The true reality show begins now.
  • The Prima Donna: Deconstructed. Director Gotonda states that the most important skill anyone in the set could have is communication, in order to work properly with the huge amount of people that go behind the scenes, and Kana realizing she needed to learn to communicate and respect the people who aren't talented actors like her is a major stepping stone in order for her to become more successful in the industry. Nobody would really want to work with a Primadonna if they could, and this self-important attitude is likely to lose them job opportunities, so the sooner someone sheds this trait away, the better for their careers.
  • Prolonged Prologue: The first 9 chapters turn out to be the prologue to the main story, which starts in Chapter 10.
  • Rage-Breaking Point: Chapter 43 and 44 introduce Abiko Samejima, the author of the manga "Tokyo Blade", which will receive a stage play adaptation that Akane, Aqua, and Kana participate in. While she seems a bit eccentric, she appears to be a calm individual. Chapter 45 has her go all out on the script and Scriptwriter Goa, as she is fed up with the scriptwriter apparently having no idea about her work and changing the characters so much that she calls Goa talentless and wants him out of the project. As her mentor, Yoriko Kichijouji, says, Abiko's editor probably misunderstood her (since she relies more on intuition than logic), and the subsequent middlemen conveyed Abiko's critic incorrectly in a game of telephone. The script changes Goa made only made her more angrier, as she felt like she was either ignored or Goa simply doesn't understand her work. Another reason for her anger is that her editor told her to give the approval of the script, as the play will look much better than it looks like in the script. As it turns out, she still doesnt't like the play even after she acknowledges that the actors are doing a fine job, which is why she intends to rewrite the entire script.
  • Reality Show: Deconstructed. "My Love with a Star Begins Now" is a reality dating show which is largely working without a script outside of activities that are planned. The performers are mostly acting like themselves in an exaggerated way to show their good side to the audience and gain fame. However, the production still constructs a narrative through clever editing and commentary, which makes the audience root for or condemn someone. Being less scripted is in Aqua's opinion very dangerous, as lies are an effective way to protect oneself. The audience is led to believe the narrative they are shown (and the participants have signed non-disclosure agreements, so they can't talk about it), which leads to Akane receiving heavy verbal abuse and harassment, as she is depicted as a heinous and violent woman. Tired of the abuse, she tries to kill herself at the end of Chapter 25.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Chapter 27 Aqua delivers one to the director of "My Love with a Star Begins Now", after he calls the production out for making Akane appear like a villainous person. The director initially tries to pass this off as "just doing his job" and that Akane could have objected to using the footage and as a professional knew what she got into. After Aqua points out that Akane is too responsible to say anything and that she is still a minor who needs to be protected by the adults, the director has to concede Aqua's right and hands over the footage Aqua needs to help restore Akane's reputation.
  • Reincarnation: Both Aqua and Ruby reincarnated with their Past-Life Memories.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: In Chapter 6, a young Kana Arima accuses Aqua and Ai of Nepotism, as their roles originally didn't have any lines and were hastily added by Director Gotanda. She concludes since Ai in her previous work with Gotanda didn't get any screen time, she must have sucked up to the higher authorities to get the role. She is right that Ai got the role because of connections, but it's because Aqua was the one who impressed Gotanda so much that he wanted him in a project. Ai was actually playing well in her first acting role, she simply was too cute compared to the lead actress to appear on screen.
  • Shared Universe: The author confirms that the series is set several years after Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Kaguya herself even makes a cameo appearance in a bonus chapter... and her name is given as Kaguya Shirogane.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Chapter 19, Ruby makes a Doraemon reference, asking Miyako (Miyaemon) to help her become an idol quickly.
    • In Chapter 22, a half-naked fitness trainer on YouTube named Pieyon appears, who wears a round chicken mask. Pieyon is a reference to PIEN, a Japanese horror game involving humanoid emojis, which many Japanese VTubers played.
    • In Chapter 28, some of the Twitter user names are Teemo and Neeko.
    • In Chapter 36, when Kana advises Ruby to get some good sleep, she mentions that this is what DaiGo recommends.
    • In Chapter 40, Aqua is wearing a Daisuki shirt.
    • Also in Chapter 40, Akane, Aqua, and Kana are invited to play in a Tokyo Blade stage play, which is a very obvious reference to Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Goro in a flashback is livid that Sarina's parents aren't coming for her in what's likely her final hours. Before he gets into a tirade about what a parent should act like, another older doctor shuts him down instantly, coldly (and with some familiarity) stating that parents like them are everywhere, unlike the fictional ideal parents.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: On the one hand, the series has witty and snarky dialogues and features masked fitness trainers who train with idols-in-training to get some publicity. On the other hand, it shows the darker side of the entertainment industry full of lying, profit-oriented and manipulating people, which may lead to bullying, murder, and suicide. The silliness is mostly shown while Ruby is around, while the darker side is explored by Aqua.
  • Social Media Is Bad: Zig-zagged. Social media is portrayed as a useful tool to increase one's stardom and popularity, yet it can bring out the worst of the people using them, as shown with Akane after she causes an unfortunate accident and subsequently is getting cyberbullied for weeks, which makes Aqua furious.
  • So Proud of You:
    • "Sweet Today"'s author initially was disappointed in the tv drama adaptation, invokedalmost disowning it, but the final episode, in which Aqua manages to bring out Kana's true acting talent, moves her to tears. She later personally thanks Kana for her performance.
    • In Chapter 26, Miyako states how proud she is of Aqua and pats his head after she learns that he just saved Akane's life.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Chapter 4 shows how little money idols actually make. Ai is part of an idol group, so profits are split evenly amongst members, they rely heavily on merchandise sales, and costumes have to be paid out of their own pockets. Being an idol is fun, but Ai has to raise two children now and needs the money to give them a bright future.
    • In Chapter 5, Ai's first acting role is alongside an actress who is advertised as "overwhelmingly cute". However, Ai looks far cuter in comparison and as a consequence almost all scenes involving her are edited out. Director Gotanda explains to Aqua that this has more to do with business and money, they are not invokedDoing It for the Art.
    • The reintroduction of Kana before Aqua and Ruby enter high school shows that what Director Gotanda in Chapter 6 predicted could happen did happen with Kana. If you become conceited and act like The Prima Donna, you will eventually stop receiving job offers. Getting the female lead role in "Sweet Today" breaks Kana's dry spell, which she only managed to get because she had connections to the producer.
    • Aqua comments on this a lot when he is made to participate in a reality tv show where he and other young entertainers may start dating one another. He points out that while there is no script, it's all acting, and everyone is exaggerating one thing or another for the sake of viewership:
      • It's noted that while it's said that the show is happening after school, the show is actually recorded on the weekends starting in the early morning since doing it otherwise could hamper the entertainers' study schedules.
      • In Chapter 23, Yuki Sumi, the breakout star of the show, says that she's thinking of quitting the show since she's being bullied by boys in her school due to her actions there. Once the cameras are off and the others question whether she really meant it, she says it's obviously an exaggeration since she signed a contract to participate anyway and can't just leave.
    • In Chapter 24, Kana stops Ruby from tweeting about how much she hated a juice she had just bought, pointing out that nowadays, businesses will know quickly if anyone is badmouthing their product, and it puts them at risk of never again making business with that company.
    • In Chapter 24, Kana also talks with Ruby about ego search and how entertainers are prompted to look into what the internet is saying about them. While she says this is a useful tool for their business, she also notes that this can be very damaging for the entertainer's mental health to be constantly exposed to their haters.
    • In Chapter 72, Aqua admits that the search for his father has been expensive because of all the DNA tests he's had to run on over 100 people, to the point where he's spent all the money he earned from his various acting parts as well as having a side gig online.
  • Taught by Television: Subverted. Aqua explains his Troubling Unchildlike Behavior by claiming that he learned all of this by watching YouTube.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Ai is 16 when she gives birth to Ruby and Aqua.
  • Tempting Fate: In Chapter 28, Aqua suggests to Akane to find a role she can assume to protect herself from future attacks in reality shows. MEMcho suggests Ai based on Aqua's vague preferences and Akane is determined to do some research to play Ai. Aqua scoffs at this, thinking that imitating Ai isn't possible because she had natural talent. What he doesn't know is that Akane is a meticulous method actress prodigy who Kana acknowledges is more talented than her. After studying Ai thoroughly based on archived footage, Akane returns to the set. When the filming begins, she starts to imitate Ai, which she does so well that the artist even gives her Ai's star pupils.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: Aqua was put in therapy for post-traumatic stress as a child, but faked recovery so he wouldn't feel like he was worrying his family.
  • Time Skip: Frequently in Volume 1. Between Chapter 1 and Chapter 9, 4 years pass, and another 10 years are skipped at the start of Volume 2.
  • Title Drop: In Chapter 38, Kana silently declares to Aqua that she will become his star (Oshi no Ko).
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Due to Past-Life Memories, Ruby and especially Aqua (who was an adult when he died) do not display typical childish behavior at all.
  • Vague Age: Subverted with MEMcho. Chapter 23 only says that she is "18(?)", based on the fact that she is apparently a third-year high schooler. However, as is revealed in Chapter 32, she is actually 25. She never actually finished high school.
  • Verbal Backspace: In Chapter 22, Kana and Ruby are supposed to collaborate with YouTube celebrity Pieyon. Kana is very disrespectful and looks down on him, until he mentions that he earns 100 million yen a year, immediately making her regret her choice of words.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story:
    • The attacks and harassment young celebrities have to suffer are loosely based on real events. For instance, there are references in Chapter 25 indicating that Akane's case is broadly based on what happened to Hana Kimura in 2020. Kimura, tragically, did not survive.
    • In Chapter 39, the idol, Mana Suzuhiro, decides to quit her job and finds work at a clothing brand after witnessing Ruby's performance. Her story seems to be loosely based on former idol Mai Endou, whose story was published roughly one month before Chapter 39 was released.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The stalker that kills Ai and Aqua's past self commits suicide after the fact.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: Violence in general is not pretty. Goro is ruthlessly killed at the end of Chapter 1, and Ai bleeds out at the end of Chapter 9. Her dying while smiling with lifeless eyes is not pretty and may be one more reason why Aqua is far more traumatized by her death than Ruby, whose view was blocked by Aqua and the police.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 8 and 9 ends with Ai getting stabbed and bleeding to death. It changes the narrative to a revenge-driven tragedy, where the main reason Aqua enters the entertainment world is to find his biological father and kill him.
    • Chapter 67 ends with Aqua revealing to Himekawa that their DNA test show the two share the same father, meaning they're half-siblings and he's one step closer to his revenge.
    • Chapter 72 has Aqua revealing his goal to Akane now that he believes his father is dead, only for her to realize that his father was likely still alive but he was intentionally ignoring the obvious clues because he was tired of being revenge-driven and wanted to move on. However, at the end of the chapter we see the father visiting Ai's grave as Ruby leaves, knowing full well that she was his daughter.
    • Chapter 77 has Ruby and Akane find a dead body hidden in a cave behind a shrine when they return to the place where she and Aqua were born. And because of the ID and sticker still being on it, Ruby recognizes it as Goro.
    • Chapter 79 has Ruby learn that there were two individuals behind Goro's murder, with one being the person who killed Ai. Knowing that the second killer is still out there, she swears to kill them as both her eyes take on the dark stars similar to how Aqua's did.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Even Aqua, who is used to Kana's foul mouth, is appalled when he hears in Chapter 28 how she wishes Akane had retired after what happened to her. She quickly elaborates that she meant it as jealousy towards an acting rival, but Aqua still calls her out for going too far.
  • Whodunnit to Me?: Aqua assumes that whoever killed his previous life, Goro, is responsible for Ai's death as well.
  • Will Talk for a Price: The producer Masaya Kaburagi used to work together with Ai and was also privy to Ai meeting with other men. He is willing to tell Aqua more about it... if Aqua appears in a reality tv dating show.
  • invokedWin Back the Crowd: In-Universe example. After an initial poor reception, the final episode of "Sweet Today" is received well, as Aqua provokes one of the actors to genuinely react emotionally, while Kana is allowed to show her true talent for once.
  • Wingding Eyes: Sarina/Ruby displays hearts in her pupils when she talks about her bias.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • In Chapter 13, Director Gotanda tells Aqua that he shouldn't constantly try to compare himself to Ai and look down on himself. Ai might have had the talent, but she didn't have as much experience in acting as he does.
    • Kana doesn't want to be the center of the idol group, because her success as a singer, despite the effort she put in and despite being a decent singer, was short-lived, which is the cause for her confidence issues. In Chapter 35, Pieyon (who is Aqua in disguise) cheers her up and lists her strengths, which makes Kana happy, as what she wants the most is getting recognition for her hard work.
  • You Are Not Alone: In Chapter 26, after Aqua saves Akane from her suicide attempt, she receives a lot of support from her coworkers, which surprises Miyako.