Harassment is common in the entertainment industry, so naturally the topic comes up in the Oshi no Ko manga. In fact, it becomes the focal point of the third volume. While past entries tended to focus on specific characters, with volume 1 feeling dedicated to Ai Hoshino and volume 2 prioritizing Aqua, it really feels like the event surrounding Akane Kurokawa is what Aka Akasaka and Mengo Yokoyari want us focused on in Oshi no Ko volume 3. At the same time, we’re also seeing throughout the power that performers, people creating shows, and the viewers and fans can hold.
Editor’s Note: There are some minor spoilers and allusions to events in volume 3 of the Oshi no Ko manga below.
Volume 3 of the Oshi no Ko manga picks up with an event we heard about at the end of the second installment: We’re About to Fall in Love for Real. It’s a reality show Aqua agreed to appear on, and it is the full and complete focus of this entry. So much so that scenes with Ruby and Kana are few and far between, in spite of the development toward making her dream come true with a new group. Yes, we get a meaningful moment for the new B-Komachi and later Kana and Aqua, but the focus is on Akane.
Throughout the We’re About to Fall in Love for Real sections in Oshi no Ko volume 3, the manga is showing the pressure the performers are under. Aqua is noting how scripted, in a way, it can be, with the different performers knowing their roles and objectives. We see the pressure Akane is under to try and get screen time and a moment, due to influence from her office. We see how this results in her being pushed and acting a certain way to another performer that is the female “star” of the season, then getting tremendous levels of hate online.
In a way, it is fitting that the B-Komachi moment we get with Ruby and Kana Pieyon appears in a volume that focuses on audience perception and reaction. Because there, we see how the effect of an influencer helps introduce them and alter their course. They’re well-received due to the carefully curated and planned presentation, with Pieyon even preparing edits to ensure they are seen the way the company wants them to be if needed.
All of this also makes it all the more fitting when, spearheaded by Aqua and the other cast members, they essentially take fate into their own hands. His words to Akane, interference with one of the heads behind the show, and work with Mem-Cho and the other people helps them take control of the narrative. As a result, they once again are able to turn the tide of the viewers and fans watching. We then see how that entirely different wave of reaction again influences careers and the futures of the people watching.
In short, Oshi no Ko volume 3 feels like the central theme is “power.” The power of fans to affect someone who is performing for them, for better or worse. The power of the people creating shows to tell stories that aren’t really happening. The power of the people who are acting and how, once they realize what their goal is or what persona to adopt, they can help change public opinion and the course of things. It ends up being
Yen Press is handling the English localization of the Oshi no Ko manga, and volume 3 debuted in August 2023. Volume 4 will debut on November 21, 2023. The anime is streaming on HIDIVE, and the original Japanese with English subtitles and an English dub are available as viewing options.