Oshi No Ko Explained: What happened during the “Dating Reality Show” story arc?

Oshi No Ko Explained

Oshi No Ko is one of Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump’s most popular series today. The manga began serialization in early 2020. Its source material and 2023 anime adaptation by Doga Kobo Studios impressed the anime community. With Oshi No Ko Season 2’s release vastly approaching, anime fans can’t wait to see what’s in store. 

Aka Akasaka, the series’s author, and Mengo Yokoyari, its artist, carefully mix emotional storytelling, likable characters, and rich themes to create a bright and dark entertainment-centric universe. By offering readers a deeper look at the idol and acting industry, Oshi No Ko resonated with multiple audiences, including ourselves

That said, Oshi No Ko’s tale is thoughtful and tense. It’s brimming with enough shocking scenarios, interesting secrets, and verbal confrontations to engage anyone who loves hard-hitting dramas. On top of having a peculiar yet intriguing supernatural twist, this pop star-centric series has taken fans for a loop with its multiple turns. 

Being the geeks that we are over here, we’ll be diving deep into the Oshi No Ko world, shedding light on the elements that make this story such a spectacle to anime and manga veterans and newcomers alike. 

What is the “Dating Reality Show” story arc about? What can readers expect from this article?

As with any series, Oshi No Ko is broken into multiple story arcs, each containing minor and major events critical to the overarching tale. Where some arcs center around our protagonists, others focus on the secondary characters or antagonists (if any). Oshi No Ko consists of 10 story arcs (so far), each offering fans something important to remember as they read. 

The “Dating Reality Show” story arc is Oshi No Ko’s third narrative arc. The anime covered its content via episodes 5-9 while the manga covered this arc in its third and fourth volumes, chapters 21-32 exactly. This arc introduces readers to Akane Kurokawa, MEM-cho, and others. Most importantly, this arc involves Aqua getting involved in Masaya Kaburagi’s dating reality show to attain information about Ai Hoshino, his deceased mother. 

Considering Season 2 is almost here, it may be difficult for folks to catch up to the series before that airs. While we cover the arc in detail via our Oshi No Ko episode recaps (episodes 5-9, specifically), this explanatory piece will highlight its important takeaways. 

Before we begin, it’s worth noting that this piece will contain spoilers for Oshi No Ko’s third story arc only! Moreover, as mentioned in our previous explanatory piece covering the “Show Business” story arc, Doga Kobo Studios blended the ending of that arc with bits of this third narrative arc. Therefore, this piece may contain data not found in the anime adaptation. Nevertheless, read at your own risk! 

How does the “Dating Reality Show” story arc begin? 

In the beginning, Ruby and Kana gather details about Masaya Kaburagi’s dating reality show, “My Love with a Star Begins Now.” The actors and actresses participating in the show include Yuki Sumi, Noboyuki Kumano, Akane Kurokawa, MEM-Cho, Kengo Morimoto, and Aqua Hoshino. Next, Aqua and Ruby are confused by Aqua’s strange behavior toward women on the show. 

Miyako tells them to pipe down because Aqua must perform this way to get the audience on board with him. Although Aqua’s not enjoying the show’s dating segment with MEM-cho, he reminds himself he’s participating in this show to gain intel from Masaya about Ai. He believes this intel will help him get closer to his father. 

What key details can we take away from Yuki’s conversation with Aqua on the TV Show’s set?

After Akane and others discuss filming and scripting matters with the show’s director, Yuki admits she doesn’t have the best communication skills. Yuki reveals to Aqua that she took Masaya’s job offer to show her worth to her agency. Also, Yuki admits her agency’s leading girl always takes offers, leaving Yuki inactive. 

Then, the two discuss love. Yuki says she’s never been in love. As for Aqua, he’s unsure if he experienced true love before. Yuki suggests Aqua move away from his past crush and reminds him that this show’s previous season finale involved the romantic pair kissing. She argues she’d kiss Aqua if they become the chosen couple. 

Why is Kana afraid to become an idol? What is the name of Ruby and Kana’s idol group?

At Strawberry Productions, Kana unloads her worries about becoming an idol to Ruby. She fears she doesn’t have solid groundwork with the career, making her unworthy of this new position. Miyako places a camera in front of Ruby and Kana. She wants to create a video portfolio (YouTube channel) for the two online. That way, they can gain a following.

Next, Miyako introduces Ruby and Kana to Pieyon, a muscular, popular YouTuber who cites Miyako as his boss. Pieyon has the girls dress up in Pieyon mascot outfits and films a YouTube video with them. He argues this collaboration project will steer some of his current and new subscribers their way. After the girls complete Pieyon’s collab project, they remove their masks and introduce themselves to his audience.

Next, Pieyon asks the girls to tell them their idol group’s name. Kana tells Ruby she’s okay with anything. Therefore, Ruby calls their idol group B-Komachi, an homage to Ai’s old idol group. 

Which couple becomes the main players of the dating reality show? How does this impact Aqua, MEM-cho, and Akane?

Yuki and Noboyuki become the dating reality show’s main couple with Kengo earning himself an antagonistic role, giving the show a love triangle. Yuki earned praise from audiences because she exaggerated her feelings during shootings despite most of her words holding a layer of truth. The narrator claims Yuki enlivened middle and high-school fans.

According to the narrator, Yuki’s “little devil’s style” earned her praise amongst audiences. In a car ride, Aqua tells MEM-cho he’s not interested in joining their love feud. As for MEM-cho, she’d rather keep her airhead role. MEM-cho is solely focused on gaining more subscribers for her YouTube channel. Also, MEM-cho wants to remain the show’s comfort character but is worried about Akane.

Akane stumbles upon her manager and his boss arguing in another room. Her manager’s boss is furious that Akane didn’t receive a better role in the dating reality show. His boss threatens to fire Akane’s manager if Akane fails to leave a solid impression. 

What happens between Yuki and Akane during one of their TV Shoots? How does this impact Akane?

Akane and Yuki film a scene together for the dating reality show. Akane’s nervous because she wants to make a splash before the show’s filming concludes. Due to her pent-up frustrations and angst, Akane accidentally wounds Yuki, causing her to draw blood from her cheek. Akane tells Yuki it was an accident and Yuki accepts Akane’s apology. 

Despite both parties reconciling, many of the show’s fans, mostly Yuki’s, flame Akane for her actions. Akane doesn’t know how to respond because she doesn’t want to breach her contract or make matters worse. Despite others telling her not to engage with the harsh criticism, Akane learns a typhoon is approaching her area soon. 

She leaves to visit a bridge and attempts suicide. Thankfully, Aqua saves Akane’s life. 

How do Aqua and the others help Akane combat the online criticism?

Yuki, MEM-cho, and others regroup with Akane and Aqua at a hospital. Akane tells everyone that she wants to see the dating reality show to the end. Aqua is infuriated by Akane’s situation and entices the press to publish a news story about Akane’s suicide attempt. The story receives mixed results from audiences so Aqua visits MEM-cho.

Aqua asks MEM-cho to provide photos and videos of him, Akane, and the others having a blast. He argues this will change the public’s perception of Akane, painting her in a better light, unlike the actual show. Later, Kengo offers to provide Aqua with music. Next, Yuki informs Aqua that the staff recorded the full scene involving her and Akane’s slap incident and has it locked up. 

Aqua visits the director and persuades him to hand over that footage. Aqua and the others edit the video and post it online. The narrator reveals the new video changed Akane’s image and secured the show’s popularity with audiences. While audiences are still mixed, more people shower Akane with support, making her feel happier. 

Why does Akane want to imitate Ai and does she succeed? What significant details can we attain from Kana and Aqua’s chat about her? 

Akane regroups with the others and they’re thrilled to see her back on her feet. Aqua and MEM-cho insist Akane create an alternate persona, that way, she can combat future criticism. Next, MEM-cho brings up Ai and Akane is interested in imitating her after hearing Aqua’s fondness for her. Akane visits several locations, gathering critical details about Ai. 

Meanwhile, Kana and Aqua discuss Akane in detail. We learn Akane’s Kana’s rival and she’d love nothing more than to see her suffer. She cites the term “Schadenfreude” to support her reasonings for feeling this way. Nevertheless, Kana reveals Akane is known for being a great actress and works for the theater company Lala Lai. 

Kana tells Aqua Akane is known for taking roles seriously and will work hard to capture her roles. Later, Akane arrives on set and surprises Aqua with her Ai imitation skills. 

How does Aqua respond to Akane’s act? What’s the significance behind Aqua’s chat with Kana at the ballpark?

Aqua’s unsure how to take Akane’s act. MEM-Cho and Yuki tease him about falling for Akane but Aqua doesn’t want to hear it. Later, Aqua ponders his perception of Ai. Aqua says he’s either a diehard fan, a lonely son, or a possible lover. Simultaneously, MEM-cho and Yuki insist Akane aim for a romantic relationship with Aqua since he’s seemingly into her now. 

Elsewhere, Kana admits she’s done following the show. After Kana eavesdrops on others’ discussions about Aqua’s potential kiss scene with Akane, Kana grows angsty about it. Eventually, Kana and Aqua visit a ballpark to discuss topics regarding romance and Aqua’s possible sister complex. Aqua hints that he likes older women and this excites Kana.

Through this discussion, Aqua learns that he’s not into Akane romantically. He was only interested in Akane because he saw Ai within her. 

What do Akane and Aqua discuss at the next shooting event? Do Akane and Aqua kiss and how does Kana respond?

At the TV show’s set, Akane fills Aqua in on how she pulled off her Ai imitation act. She reveals she did immense research on Ai, learning about her thinking patterns, personal caretaking history, and the types of males she’d pursue. Moreover, Akane likes creating scenarios in her head for the characters she roleplays.

She even shares a theory about Ai having a secret child, baffling Aqua. During the kiss scene shooting, Aqua contemplates Akane’s words and realizes she’d be an important asset to him. Aqua kisses Akane and wants to ensure they keep a tight-knit connection after the show’s filming ends. Kana notices the news in her room and cries. 

Do Aqua and Akane become a couple? What do MEM-cho and Aqua discuss?

After Aqua sets up a meeting with Masaya at a sushi outlet, Akane pulls him aside. Akane asks Aqua if their relationship is real or a working one. Although the two must keep up their dating act for a while because of the show’s events, Aqua says they have a “working relationship.” However, Aqua says he’s interested in Akane as an actress. 

Akane understands and suggests they keep their “couple” act going until it’s time to cut it off. Later, MEM-cho and Aqua catch up with each other on his developments with Akane. MEM-cho reveals she always wanted to become an idol so Aqua suggests she join Ruby’s B-Komachi group. 

How does the “Dating Reality Show” story arc conclude?

MEM-cho introduces herself to Miyako. She tells Miyako that “Farm,” a talent agency, supports her. However, MEM-cho says she’s not affiliated with them. Next, MEM-cho reveals she is 25 years old, much to Miyako and Aqua’s shock. MEM-cho explains she strayed toward work instead of pursuing her idol dreams to support her single-parent mother and siblings. 

Eventually, her mother recovered and her brothers went to college. Therefore, MEM-cho found solace in her YouTube and TikTok career. Ruby and Kana enter the room and the girls tell MEM-cho they’d love her to be a part of B-Komachi. Akane gives Aqua the cold shoulder because she’s still peeved over his and Akane’s kiss scene. 

The “Dating Reality Show” story arc ends with a shot of Ruby, Kana, and MEM-cho posing as the new B-Komachi group.  


Oshi No Ko is a brilliant manga with an equally entertaining anime adaptation. Coming off of the fandom he earned with Kaguya-sama: Love Is War’s finale, Aka Akasaka has much to prove with Oshi No Ko. Although future story arcs may leave some fans feeling mixed, this arc left an impact on audiences, due to its hard-hitting themes and imagery. 

As always, if you want to check out more Oshi No Ko-related content, click here. Also, we may be covering future story arcs in this format, so feel free to keep us on your radar if you want to know what happens after Oshi No Ko’s “Dating Reality Show” story arc.

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