The Oshi no Ko Manga Makes Sure You Identify with Ai Hoshino

Oshi no Ko Manga Vol 1 Makes Sure You Identify with Ai Hoshino

Enjoyment of a series can often depend on how successful an author is at getting you to connect with certain characters. In the case of Aka Akasaka’s manga, the stakes are high in the first volume because of how it portrays Ai Hoshino. Given the way the story goes and the parts her children Aqua and Ruby Hoshino will play over the rest of the series, it’s critical to establish why not only they love her, but we should too. It’s wonderful to see firsthand exactly how it accomplishes it.

Editor’s Note: There are Oshi no Ko volume 1 spoilers regarding Ai Hoshino below.

Before we even get to meet Ai Hoshino in Oshi no Ko volume 1, the manga kicks off by letting us see why others care so much about her. In the case of Sarina, we see the hope that she offers. Even though that young girl was sick, she was essentially able to live vicariously through the idol by watching her performances. With the doctor Gorou, there’s the initial connection due to his patient, but then we also see how he appreciates her talent.

By the time she shows up pregnant at Gorou’s hospital, we’ve gotten to see her built up to be something special. But instead of staying on a pedestal, everything happening humanizes her. She’s 16 and pregnant. She isn’t sharing who the father is, even with her business contact and official guardian Ichigo Productions President Ichigo Saitou. She’s very aware of what the idol industry is like and the lies that need to be told to get ahead, and even considers herself selfish for wanting to maintain her career and have her children. Seeing through Gorou’s eyes as we hear from this girl who grew up without a family, determined to raise her children and do what she loves, is so motivating. He wants to help her do it, and it’s the first moment in which the first volume of Oshi no Ko made me hope she could do it too.

Once the viewpoint shifts to show things through Aqua and Ruby’s perspective, we get to feel even more for what Ai is going through in Oshi no Ko. She’s a young mother who’s doing her best. She isn’t always perfect. She almost gives away the fact that she did have twins during her first interview back. The weight of the job gets to her, as she’ll see negative comments from people online and show concerns about how the position she’s in won’t properly provide for the twins. Both of her children idolize and adore her, in part because of their past lives, but with Aqua especially we’re seeing how she’s struggling and the toll it takes.

Especially as Aqua gets older and sees how the entertainment industry works. We watch as she gets sidelined in a show because she’s too cute. How deals need to be made to get her more attention. Even more importantly, Oshi no Ko never shies away from the more horrifying aspects of the job. The foreshadowing and flash forwards hint at what’s coming before it happens, and when the terrifying moment does arrive, it’s heartwrenching. Because leading up to that second, we see how Ai keeps essentially winning. Things are working out for her. Even as she shows concerns about her family life and connections to her children, she’s on the verge of greatness, and we see everything fall away. Yet even as we do, we get this moment where she still gets to enjoy this last, formative moment with Aqua and Ruby.

The first volume of the Oshi no Ko manga is really a testament to Akasaka’s characterizations and storytelling efforts, as both really ensure Ai Hoshino matters to the reader by the end of it. The way we get to see all sides of her from different perspectives sets up the series perfectly. The connections formed help us bond with her, while also reinforcing why Aqua and Ruby’s journeys going forward will seem so plausible.

Yen Press is handling the English localization of the Oshi no Ko manga. Volume 2 arrives on May 23, 2023. The anime is streaming on HIDIVE, and the original Japanese and an English dub are available.

Jenni Lada
About The Author
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.