Oshi no Ko: 12 Similar Anime You Cannot Miss

Manga writer Aka Akasaka’s ‘Oshi no Ko’ stands out for its innovative and nontraditional style in presenting the complexities of fame, particularly within the pop idol industry. Premiered in 2023, the anime begins with a dramatic twist involving Dr. Gorou Amamiya, his patient Sarina Tendōji, and Ai Hoshino, a popular idol. Keeping her pregnancy a secret from her professional life, the singer seeks Gorou’s assistance, only for him to be murdered by her psychopathic fan. Supernatural elements follow, leading to the reincarnation of both Gorou and Sarina as Ai’s fraternal twins, Aqua and Ruby. After a tragic event, the anime leaps 15 years into the future, focusing on the siblings in their teens.

While Ruby aspires to follow in her mother’s footsteps by entering the entertainment industry, Aqua aims to uncover the darker truth lying behind the closed doors of the idol realm. As they meet and befriend new characters, a coming-of-age chapter ensues, filled with hidden manipulative games. With Mengo Yokoyari’s vibrant and colorful animation and multiple chartbuster tracks, the adaptation highlights two different aspects of the showbiz world in a tale of personal ambition and revenge. For fans who appreciate such a detailed and innovative take on an identical world, here are 12 anime like ‘Oshi no Ko.’

12. Skip Beat! (2008-2009)

An adaptation of Yoshiki Nakamura’s manga, ‘Sukippu bîto!’, this shōjo series revolves around Kyouko Mogami, a young girl who runs away with her closest friend, Shoutaro Fuwa, to help him pursue his dream of becoming a musician. As fate would have it, the latter — now going by the stage name Shou — leaves her as soon as success knocks on his door. Determined to enter the entertainment industry seeking revenge on him, Kyouko ends up discovering her own potential. In addition to highlighting the struggles and growth within the showbiz world, Kyouko’s character largely lies between the motivations of both Ruby and Aqua. Her journey also details the sacrifices and challenges faced by those striving for success, paralleling the themes in ‘Oshi no Ko.’

11. Love Live! School Idol Project (2013-2014)

Created by Hajime Yatate and Sakurako Kimino, ‘Love Live!: School Idol Project’ is the inaugural entry in the ‘Love Live!’ multimedia franchise. It follows the story of Honoka Kōsaka, a high school girl determined to save her institute, Otonokizaka Academy, from shutting down. After witnessing the fan reactions of A-Rise, an idol group from a different school, she decides to form one with her friends to attract new students. The series showcases the girls’ journey as they train, perform, and compete in various idol competitions, dealing with personal and group challenges along the way. Similar to ‘Oshi no Ko,’ this anime dives into the world of teenage pop stars, pointing out both the positives and negatives of having so much fame early in life.

10. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! (2020)

‘Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!’ is the anime adaptation of writer-illustrator Sumito Ōwara’s eponymous seinen manga. The series revolves around three high school girls—Midori Asakusa, Sayaka Kanamori, and Tsubame Mizusaki—who form an anime club to share their imaginative ideas. Motivated, the trio moves one step further and brings their ideas to reality. However, the challenges of creating an animated series, from conceptualization to production, begin to drain their energy, creating a conflict between sticking to realism and pushing for creativity.

Similar to ‘Oshi no Ko,’ ‘Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!’ emphasizes the creative process and passion behind pursuing artistic dreams. In addition to the dedication required to succeed in their respective fields, the two shows also feature multiple supporting characters who have connections to the entertainment industry, presenting a closer look inside anime production.

9. Macross Frontier (2008)

Created by Shōji Kawamori for Studio Nue’s popular ‘Macross’ franchise, ‘Macross Frontier’ is a unique mecha anime that effortlessly combines music, action, and character-driven drama. Set in a future where humanity travels through space, the series follows Alto Saotome, a 17-year-old training to become a military pilot, and Sheryl Nome, an idol famous across the entire galaxy. Their lives intertwine as they confront both external alien threats and internal emotional conflicts. Much like ‘Oshi no Ko,’ which blends the entertainment world with personal and professional challenges, ‘Macross Frontier’ highlights the growth of its characters amidst a grand sci-fi backdrop while they face destruction. Both series share a focus on character development within a highly competitive and demanding environment.

8. Bakuman (2010-2013)

Created by the ‘Death Note‘ fame duo of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, ‘Bakuman’ is another thought-provoking series. Set in a middle school, it follows two friends, Moritaka Mashiro, a talented artist, and Akito Takagi, a gifted writer, as they team up with the goal of becoming successful manga creators. With innumerable references to the lives and experiences of real-life mangakas, ‘Bakuman’ brings to the screen the competitive world of writing, illustrating, and publishing mangas.

As Moritaka and Akito encounter various obstacles, including harsh editors and brutal rivals, their dreams appear to be slipping away. Similar to ‘Oshi no Ko,’ which portrays the highs and lows of both music and television industries, ‘Bakuman’ emphasizes the perseverance and dedication required to succeed in a demanding field. Both series provide a closer look at the sacrifices and efforts involved in pursuing one’s creative aspirations, as well as the supervisors who put obstacles in their way.

7. Kaguya-sama: Love is War (2019-2022)

A masterful blend of battle-of-wits, coming-of-age romance, and meta narration, ‘Kaguya-sama: Love is War’ is the anime adaptation of Aka Akasaka’s Shogakukan Manga Award-winning eponymous manga. The series follows the intellectual and emotional face-offs between two student council members who attempt to outwit each other into confessing their love. With being honest with their feelings, not an acceptable option, President Miyuki Shirogane and Vice President Kaguya Shinomiya must manipulate each other — and the entire school in the process — to win the titular war.

The series stands out for its clever use of psychological games, satire, and a heartwarming slice-of-life story. Though it does not comment on the showbiz story, Akasaka’s signature humor remains apparent, presenting a high school experience that is no less than the cutthroat world of idols he created in ‘Oshi no Ko.’ ‘Kaguya-sama: Love is War’ similarly offers a deep character-driven narrative, mirroring the depth found in the latter show. Moreover, the shows also make a case of perception, with every character hiding more than what meets the eye.

6. Glass Mask (2005-2006)

Based on veteran shōjo manga author and artist Suzue Miuchi’s long-running manga ‘Garasu no Kamen,’ this reimagining of the 1984 anime is directed by Mamoru Hamatsu and features scripts by Toshimichi Saeki. The story follows Maya Kitajima, a passionate young girl who dreams of becoming a film star. She works in a restaurant alongside her mother, who demotivates Maya’s ambitions.

Despite all the setbacks, Maya’s journey brings her from participating in school plays to the competitive world of theater, where she faces numerous challenges, including fierce rivalries and personal struggles. The anime delves deeply into Maya’s personal and professional growth as she contends with the pressures and sacrifices required to achieve her dream. Much like ‘Oshi no Ko,’ ‘Glass Mask’ is entirely rooted in the cutthroat nature of showbiz and celebrity rivalries. Moreover, the two shows follow a similar pattern, emphasizing self-discovery within a high-stakes environment.

5. Your Lie in April (2014-2015)

Based on Naoshi Arakawa’s manga of the same name, ‘Your Lie in April‘ is a highly acclaimed anime that follows the story of Kōsei Arima. A young piano prodigy, Kōsei loses his ability to hear music after the tragic death of his mother. His life changes when he meets Kaori Miyazono, a happy-go-lucky violinist who encourages him to rediscover his passion for music. ‘Your Lie in April’ focuses on themes of depression, recovery, and the profound impact of music on personal healing and growth. Much like ‘Oshi no Ko,’ which features both established and struggling artists, ‘Your Lie in April’ realistically balances its protagonist’s life on and behind the stage. Furthermore, both anime are rooted in the characters losing their mothers and examine how one’s professional life—no matter the industry—can negatively break one’s spirit.

4. Akiba Maid War (2022)

Directed by Sōichi Masui and written by Yoshihiro Hiki, ‘Akiba Maid War’ is an original anime set in the real-life location of Akihabara, which is widely considered to be the heart of Japan’s otaku culture. The plot revolves around Nagomi Wahira, a hopeful teenage girl who moves here with dreams of working at a maid café. She starts at Ton Tokoton, known as the Pig Hut, where she partners with the authoritarian Ranko.

As they battle to make their café stand out in a competitive market, Nagomi discovers dark secrets behind the seemingly cheerful façade of Akihabara’s maid cafés. The series begins as a lighthearted slice-of-life but — within the events of its shocking pilot episode — shifts into a gritty and realistic portrayal, much like the pilot of ‘Oshi no Ko’ and the overall narrative by Aka Akasaka. These developments set the two stories to juxtapose an idealized world with harsh realities.

3. Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (2021)

Created by Tappei Nagatsuki and Eiji Umehara, this thought-provoking anime blends science fiction and emotional storytelling. Set in a future where AI and humans coexist, the story follows the AI-generated autonomous idol, Vivy, who has been assigned the identity of a songstress, Diva, to sing and make everyone happy. Things do not go so smoothly when Vivy discovers that her kind has turned on humanity in the future and joins hands with the AI system, Matsumoto, to prevent the apocalypse.

‘Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song’ explores themes of consciousness, grappling with identity, and the impact of technology on society, the last of which somewhat resembles the negative aspects of social media observed in ‘Oshi no Ko.’ The emotionally driven idol careers and the determination of their protagonists also add thematic depth, making it an experience similar to Aka Akasaka’s creation.

2. Shirobako (2014–2015)

‘Shirobako’ revolves around Aoi Miyamori, a production assistant at an animation studio, who, along with her four friends, aspires to succeed in the anime industry. The narrative provides an authentic exploration through the perspectives of five young women, chronicling their setbacks and triumphs. The girls’ personal growth within anime production offers viewers a self-referential story of the behind-the-scenes work. ‘Shirobako’ is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima and penned by Michiko Yokote.

The anime effectively balances the long and difficult efforts from both a creative and business perspective. It emphasizes the importance of strict deadlines and teamwork in the production process. Such sequences reveal the serious themes of perseverance, collaboration, and the pursuit of dreams, paralleling the realistic approach seen in ‘Oshi no Ko.’ Its comprehensive depiction of anime production mirrors the core series’ focus on the television industry, featuring every detail from casting and filming processes to audience ratings.

1. Smile Down The Runway (2020)

An adaptation of writer and illustrator Kotoba Inoya’s manga series, ‘Runway de Waratte,’ this shōnen anime takes place in the competitive fashion industry where countless models and fashion designers try to break in. The protagonist, Ikuto Tsumura, is a seventeen-year-old aspiring designer from a financially weak family. His classmate Chiyuki Fujito has her own dreams of walking on the ramp, though she does not meet the minimum height requirements.

After Tsumura gets a part-time job at a studio, he gets to witness his dream from the closest and makes various acquaintances, and together, they set on the path of making their dreams a reality. ‘Smile Down The Runway’ captures the intense dedication and personal growth required to succeed in this field, drawing parallels to the in-depth exploration of the entertainment industry in ‘Oshi no Ko.’ The series also shares the latter’s focus on a large group of characters with different backgrounds, as they all share ambitions and the struggles that come with those.

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