“Words cut deeper than knives,” is a famous expression that encapsulates the weight and value our words can have, sometimes resulting in unforeseen and undesirable events. In episode 6 of Oshi no Ko, which was titled “Egosurfing,” the series explored the severe and disturbing consequences of cyberbullying and the horrors and cruelty that it can manifest. Moreover, it confronted the toxicity of social media, unveiling the unsettling effects that it can have on the people behind the screens especially those who have a huge following. It managed to accurately present the toxicity of online culture, where nothing is ever truly forgotten and even small mistakes can cost a lot.
In Oshi no Ko episode 6, the spotlight was on Akane Kurokawa, the hardworking and diligent actress who carries her notepad with her all the time because she strives to learn more and get better. Unfortunately, the entertainment world doesn’t always reward every dedicated individual, leaving little room to fulfill countless dreams. One must stand out, face the crowd, and survive the relentless competition in order to secure a place in the spotlight. However, pouring excessive effort into one’s pursuits can sometimes lead to unfortunate circumstances even for the most passionate talents including Akane.
Succumbing to the pressure from the management, Akane went out of her comfort zone, panicked, and committed a mistake. Everyone’s focus suddenly shifted to her and she stopped being regarded as a side character in the reality TV show. Even though publicity has its benefits for actors, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies as Yuki would put it, “Having tons of people focus their attention on you isn’t all roses.” Especially if the attention is brought on by a violent act committed in the heat of the moment.
Although both parties apologized and made up, the internet’s true horror was shown, magnifying a seemingly minor cut into a barrage of nonstop criticism. Death by a thousand cuts. The blame cannot solely be placed on the internet though, as the episode also unveils the other villain: reality TV and its distorted portrayal of “reality.”
Reality TV Is Far From Reality
The arc of reality TV continues, further revealing the heartlessness of the medium at times as the well-being of its cast is sacrificed for the sake of garnering viewership. After Akane hits Yuki, the cameras suddenly stop rolling, and their resolution never makes it out to the public. We don’t know if they panicked and simply weren’t able to restart the filming so quickly or if they didn’t think the reconciliation was detrimental to the public. However, the violent act definitely made it to the screen.
As I mentioned in the previous review, the participants are responsible for shaping the direction of the story in reality TV, as there is no script or composition to follow. However, when there’s barely any audience left, the production resorts to selecting only the most impactful scenes to spice things up. This goes to show that reality TV is far from reflecting actual reality and it only portrays what it wants to portray which is probably why the cameras, despite them being everywhere on set, didn’t start recording again after Akane hit Yuki. So, what is the aftermath of spinning the story and making Akane look like a villain? The audience becomes stirred up in its wake.
In reality TV, the illusion of authenticity often captivates the audience. Watchers of the show believe that the members act naturally in this type of show, assuming that their on-screen personalities mirror their true selves. But what the viewers don’t realize is that the cast can still resort to lying, adding layers of deception to make it interesting similar to what Yuki did at the start of this episode. Lying can also be a form of defense mechanism against the bad depiction and twists of reality TV like what Aqua is doing clinging to Mem-cho right now in the show. And therein lies the problem – the audience forgets or remains unaware that this is all just for entertainment.
Behind the glitz and glamour lies a world driven by fame, greed, and deceit. What is captured on camera does not always reflect the full scope of reality and this is what famous personalities struggle with every day. As Kana states, “In showbiz, we ourselves are content.” But the question remains: are the real lives of these talents also part of the show?
Ruby’s negative comment about a soft drink perfectly parallels the subtle theme of the episode: they are treated as nothing more than products to be consumed, either freely to be criticized, dismissed, or hated. In Ruby’s case: she’d be in danger of getting future jobs, but she had Kana to protect her.
Oshi no Ko Episode 6 Shows Exceptionally Well Dark Effects of Cyberbullying
Never have I seen a series that showed today’s cyberbullying impressively and accurately. The deafening silence engulfing the scene precisely describes the feeling of scrolling through numerous online accounts filled with loud and hateful comments. It was a chilling experience watching that scene. While these words may be just pixels on a screen, the impact they can have on their target is agonizingly painful. Whether online or offline, hateful words leave a lasting emotional sting that can lead to depression which is what sadly happened to Akane in the end. The worst part is, she is completely unaware that she’s slowly being swallowed whole by all the insidious effects of online hate.
The constant back-and-forth showing of Akane’s past and the effort she put into her career, the people who genuinely care for her, and the never-ending online harassment she faces create a spectacle that I cannot bear to describe. While she wears a smile for those around her, we witness the devastating effects of cyberbullying when she is left alone with her own thoughts. And for Oshi no Ko to incorporate all of these concepts, to pull this depiction off immaculately and flawlessly in just 7 minutes is absolutely absurd.
Oshi no Ko Episode 6 – The Best Episode of the Year
I know that it’s only spring season and there are still hundreds of episodes to come but there’s no doubt about it that this is one, if not the best, episode of the year (at least for me). Despite adapting only three chapters of the manga, the staff went all out, adding their own original scenes to enhance the episode’s uniqueness, depth, and impact. This amount of effort is a testament to the passion and devotion of Doga Kobo, the talented staff, and the cast involved in bringing this masterpiece to life.
Images via HIDIVE
© Akasaka Aka x Mengo Yokoyari / Shueisha / Oshi no Ko Production Committee