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“Oshi no Ko” 2nd Season – 02

If there’s anything that’s absolutely clear to me after a season and two episodes of Oshi no Ko, it’s this – the series is at its best when it’s totally unvarnished. And it’s easier for it to be unvarnished early on in the season/arc, while Akasaka is still setting up the conflicts in the story. Once he begins to pull his punches and turn apologist (which he inevitably will as far as I’m concerned) things start to go downhill pretty quickly. It happened once, and I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t happen this time as well.

So, enjoy it while it lasts I say. And if we’re lucky it may last several episodes, so that’s nothing to dismiss so easily. As I said last week he’s very good at this “how the sausage is made” material. There’s no questioning his ability to do this – he’s proved that in the most straightforward way possible. It’s his willingness to do it that’s the problem. For now at least things are all good, because if you have an interest in the gritty details of how productions like this happen (as I do), this is very engaging stuff indeed.

As the mangaka, Akasaka-sensei is in the position of Abiko-sensei in the “Tokyo Blade” debacle. I don’t know of any specific reason he might feel slighted by adaptations of his material, but he has had to hand it over to someone else to transition it to the screen (I’m not aware of a stage version of any of his works – though Kaguya-sama did get a live-action series – but that may have happened too). That said, I appreciate that he’s making a point of showing both sides of the process. In fact for me it’s Abiko who’s come off looking the worst so far, and it’s not even close.

There are a lot of complicating factors with this production to begin with. You have three distinct groups of actors involved – the “Kaburagi group” (including Kana and Aqua) that the producer has brought in. The big agency names there for their box office appeal. And the “house” performers from Lala Lai who look down their noses at the others. So far that hasn’t proved a huge issue but the potential is always there. Especially given someone like Aqua who pretty much disdains theatre as a medium. I disagree with him in the broader sense, though I do have to say as far as 2.5D animanga stuff is concerned I think he’s basically right. This is a source of potential conflict between he and his “girlfriend” Akane (a Lala Lai) too of course.

The big problem here is the Abiko has no social skills (as her former mangaka mentor notes) and no experience with the difficult dynamics of adaptation. In her defense she’s been complaining about the changes GOA-san made to the script all along, but because of the multiple layers of sycophancy between her and him, GOA never really gets her notes as written. He’s right of course – a stage play is extremely different from a manga. He’s doing his best to manage that, but in doing so he’s lost the most important member of the pre-opening audience (Abiko). She has no idea he never got her notes – she just thinks he’s a Philistine with no sense of her work.

GOA is the victim here, no doubt (though at least he still gets paid). I feel for him, especially when the producer politely insists that he keep his name on the credits ever after being removed from the project (so Abiko can rewrite the entire script). I don’t know a tremendous amount about the specific dynamics of such things, but it’s logical to assume the adaptation’s screenwriter is a punching bag when manga are adapted into- well, anything. It’s got to be a pretty thankless job, and I would imagine cases where the screenwriter works closely and cooperatively with the mangaka are pretty rare. And “Tokyo Blade” certainly isn’t one of them.

The most likely scenario is that Abiko’s interference is going to turn this production into a disaster – though this is a tempting opportunity for the Akasaka apologist streak to reassert itself. Not only is totally rewriting the script three weeks (less, actually) before opening night going to wreak havoc with the schedule, she has no idea what will work in a “stage around” play. That’s not a huge deal for one of the actors (and Akane is going to try and rectify Aqua’s willful ignorance on that score), but it is a probably a deal-breaker for the person writing the script.

The post “Oshi no Ko” 2nd Season – 02 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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