Oshi no Ko is one of the most compelling, layered manga series currently available. It is at times a bleak and poignant critique of showbiz, while also remaining relentlessly entertaining and filled with strong characters. Its grasp on subtlety in visual storytelling and characterization is no less apparent than in one feature shared by several key characters. This sparks the question, what’s with the star eyes in Oshi no Ko, and why do some characters’ eyes have bright or dark stars?
Star Eyes in Oshi no Ko Fan Theories: Explained
The most important thing to note about the star eyes in Oshi no Ko is that while it’s not been explicitly explained, there’s a significant and conceivable set of reasons. Some are simple and have some layers of truth and logic behind them, such as being hereditary, inherited by Ruby and Aqua from Ai Hoshino.
Others dive deeper, looking into the previous reason’s inconsistencies, and finding symbolic meaning behind the stars. There’s even meaning behind why they are bright or dark for some characters at different points, and why certain characters have them at all.
From here onward, this piece contains heavy plot and character development spoilers. You’ve been warned!
Are Starry Eyes Hereditary in Oshi no Ko?
There’s some half-truth to starry eyes being hereditary in Oshi no Ko, but the full answer is complicated. While it might be a simple conclusion to say they’re not genetic, with characters like Akane Kurokawa developing them through intensive method acting, Aqua and Ruby still had one each at birth.
This is partially due to inheriting Ai’s characteristics genetically, but there are reasons for each of them having starry eyes beyond this simple connection, that vary depending on who you’re talking about. This includes Ai herself.
Two Bright White Lies: Why Does Ai Hoshino Have Dark, Then Bright Star Eyes in Oshi no Ko? [SPOILERS]
Ai Hoshino is the driving force of the story’s main plot, despite being murdered in the prologue arc. Her eyes are undeniably the most spellbinding in the series, while also being a loaded subject.
Being described as coming from a broken home with an abusive mother, Ai was incapable of recalling a moment she felt loved, and unable to express it to others. This intimidated her as a prospective idol in Chapter 8 / Episode 1, but upon being scouted, she was taught that lying was a desirable skill and a way to protect herself. She resolved to tell lies to please others, even though it would be her downfall.
While she had stars in her eyes at this moment, it was more thoroughly conveyed in the anime when her eyes went from dark stars, to full of radiant, glittery light. The brightness and charm of her eyes were fueled by lying, and the darkness was due to her fraught past and less desirable, or even ostensibly human traits.
What makes this meaningful is the moment of Ai’s murder in Chapter 9 / Episode 1, where she lay dying, back against the door, professing her love for her children. She had previously said that she was afraid of saying it only for it to be a lie, but at this moment, she speaks her final truth, acknowledges it, and dies.
Related: All Oshi no Ko Arcs in Order
It’s heartbreaking that the moment she feels safe to speak her truth is also the one she draws her last breath. The life, and stars, fade from her eyes the moment she stops lying, leaving her children to carry on in their ways.
Where Do Aqua and Ruby Get Their Starry Eyes From?
Even as infants and toddlers, Aqua and Ruby bore these eyes as traits from their mother. But the meaning behind these eyes goes deeper than the surface. Each of these characters is the reincarnation of people who were victimized by cruel circumstances, forced now to play the part of Ai’s children.
Goro was murdered while trying to protect Ai from her stalker, while Sarina died as a terminally ill child, abandoned by her parents in her final moments. Their respective identities of Aqua and Ruby are charades to mask their troubled past lives.
Aqua Hoshino’s Bright and Dark Star Eyes in Oshi no Ko, Explained
Aqua’s star eyes in Oshi no Ko are often dark, with him concealing his soul’s desire to kill Ai’s murderer, while also using manipulation of others as a means to an end. Even being reborn and starting with a bright star in his right eye, losing his new mother sent him into a dark spiral of vengeance in a chilling scene from the anime premiere. This moment was even accented with crow imagery, which we’ll explore later.
Aqua occasionally has bright starry eyes, indicating more innocent or palatable motives, yet upholding the lie, in that he maintains the illusion that he’s just another aspiring teen actor. He also uses his dishonesty and manipulation for the gain of others in these moments, with the black stars seemingly hinting when his actions are tied to his personal goals.
Like most of the other characters, at one point the stars left Aqua’s eyes entirely. In Chapter 68, upon learning what he believed to be the truth about Ai’s killer and that he would never get his vengeance, he resolved to live a normal life at first.
He even claimed to be leaving that path behind in Chapter 78, but upon learning about Ai’s true killer, not just the original eye, but both eyes now sported a grim, black star by Chapter 98. Aqua then began to use more shameful tactics to achieve his goals, once more to track down this killer.
In true Seinen fashion, instead of Aqua becoming a misunderstood villain in an inferior story, this just creates a more layered, nuanced protagonist. But this does nothing to discredit just how compelling the rest of the characters are.
Ruby Hoshino’s Bright and Dark Star Eyes in Oshi no Ko, Explained
Ruby Hoshino is the reincarnation of Sarina Tendoji, a cancer patient from the same hospital where Goro worked and treated Ai during her pregnancy. She was a fan of Ai’s since the start, introducing Goro to her, and her death was not discussed in greater detail until Chapter 75. What’s more, her troubled past and similarly absentee mother made this second life as the daughter of her idol a blessing of sorts of which she could live blissfully unaware. In the beginning, Ruby’s eyes symbolized her lying to herself.
Ruby’s eyes have the distinction of becoming possibly the most complex in the series. As she loses sight of her goals, you see the points of the stars waning in her eye such as in Chapter 79. There are even moments where one eye is black while the other is still light such as when her desire for vengeance is softened by her urge to protect her friends. When she determines that Goro’s killer could still be out there, and the star comes to both eyes, a deep, menacing black.
Related: Is the Oshi no Ko Manga Finished?
Ruby’s past as Sarina is exceptionally cruel, and one I noticed her finally realizing in Chapters 118-119, or at least grasping at it. Sarina’s mother was too “busy” to be present in her final moments, yet appears outwardly normal later when Aqua meets her, beloved by her family as a present mother figure.
This part hurts particularly to read again, but as you see the mask slipping, Ruby has been lying to herself for so long that she is on the verge of a breakdown. Upon reading Ai’s script, where Ai’s mother similarly neglected her, Ruby is frozen. In a moment where she appears to come to terms with this about her past, the stars leave her eyes entirely in the final moments of Chapter 119.
Why Does Akane Kurokawa Have Starry Eyes?
Akane Kurokawa was the main anomaly of this series for this reason alone. Originally a supporting character and member of the reality show cast Aqua joined in pursuit of Ai’s true killer, Akane Kurokawa recovered from the brink of suicide and bounced back hard. In a bid to protect herself from online abuse while also cultivating a persona onscreen, she studied Ai Hoshino’s past and channeled her personality quirks. Akane wound up becoming a carbon copy of Ai, as wonderfully brought to life in Episode 7.
But Akane’s eyes indicate two main things: star eyes in Oshi no Ko are not necessarily hereditary, and they can fade and reappear frequently for some characters. More importantly, Akane’s performance and persona which causes these eyes to appear, in essence, is another form of lie.
Despite immersing herself the most overtly in this lie, Akane is also one of the most outwardly honest characters, and this honesty is on full display when you don’t see the stars in her eyes. In moments like Chapter 116, she confronts Aqua wanting to stop his violent revenge fantasy, not a star in sight in her eyes.
One last spoiler warning, about a character featured later in the series.
Why Does Hikaru Kamiki Have Black Star Eyes in Oshi no Ko?
While Hikaru Kamiki is the least-known character in Oshi no Ko, the stars in his eyes have a more obvious meaning thanks to the precedent set by other characters. His eyes are seemingly permanent black stars, telegraphing his darker qualities as the main overtly evil character in the series. His blonde hair and starry eyes make him a dead giveaway as the biological father of Aqua and Ruby Hoshino.
Hikaru Kamiki doesn’t lie for his protection or to look out for others, but rather to gain the trust of his future victims, before staging their death as an accident or tragedy. Hikaru appears to fit the bill of a serial killer and mastermind. He orchestrated Ai’s murder, and even the murder of Goro before he was reincarnated.
Kamiki has had visibly black stars in his eyes in every appearance since his introduction in Chapter 96, and his teased appearance in Chapter 72. His motives remain unclear, but a glimpse at his targets hints at something else: Yura Katayose (from Chapter 109) briefly showed a glimpse at a star in her eye, at the time the #1 actress in Japan. After learning of her mountain hiking plans, he warned her as a show of trustworthiness, only to follow her and kill her, adding to his list of victims.
Perhaps he’s after the lives that show this quality, and the stars have a deeper purpose than simply the capacity to lie, which brings us to a mysterious connection. This leads us to the crows and a mysterious ethereal girl who appears before Aqua.
Yatagarasu: What’s Up With the Crows?
One of the most striking recurring images in Oshi no Ko, aside from the star eyes, is the use of crows. They accentuate the scene of death such as Goro’s death in Episode 1 of the anime. They even form the black star in Aqua’s eye in a brilliantly illustrated moment in the prologue, but they are also connected to divine guidance and intervention in Japanese folklore. They’re intensely symbolic, such as in the closing scene of Chapter 79, where a tearful Ruby sits in a pool, surrounded by falling crow feathers.
This suggests a connection to Yatagarasu, a guiding God in Japanese culture. This connection was implied since the beginning when Aqua and Ruby as children pretended to be divine messengers, invoking the name of Amaterasu. It could suggest a divine presence in the series that makes the reincarnation happen, with the clearest possible manifestation of this being of course, crow girl.
The crow girl is often sardonic but guides Aqua when his path falters in dreamlike sequences, possibly suggesting that she’s the embodiment of Yatagarasu. Her connection in the series plot is unclear but hints at enormous potential beneath the surface of this drama.
Conclusion: What Do the Star Eyes and Crows in Oshi no Ko Mean?
Lies, reincarnation, and a divine connection are fascinating but entirely fan theories about the stars in peoples’ eyes in Oshi no Ko until explicitly confirmed. They make the most sense, but the truth will probably be stranger than fiction when it’s introduced. The meaning behind these eyes could be the primary motive of the antagonist and is a secret closely guarded, possibly by divine forces.
It’s far less likely that it’s just an aesthetic choice given how much detail has been put into these gorgeous eyes. It’s too anglocentric to assume that the character Ai’s name is just a pun, too. That’d be too overt, especially since no characters seem to talk specifically about the stars. Finally, it’s too tantalizing a secret for Aka Akasaka and Mengo Yokoyari to keep locked up for too much longer.
- This article was updated on May 31st, 2023