I believe I first hear about Ossan Idol because one of my fellow bloggers was talking about it on Twitter back in May. I want to say Blerdy Otome but I’m not sure. If I got that wrong I apologize. Feel free to contact me and I’ll give you credit!
In any case, the title was fun enough for me to give it a try. That’s all it takes folks! Old man idol Sure, sign me up. And here is what I ended up thinking about volume 1.
Why I Picked up Ossan Idol
Aww man, I do these reviews with a template. They’re all the same structure. You figure I would know better than to answer this question in my opening paragraph and just look stupid now.
Not to mention that I could edit the post to fix it. Why didn’t I do that?
Miroku Osaki is 36 years old, unemployed, and unhappy. Having been bullied in his childhood and even into his adult life, he became a shut-in after being unfairly laid off. For a long time, the only thing that brought him joy was online gaming. Then, he tried the popular idol game called “Let’s Try Dancing!” It was addicting… and transformative! Inspired by the game, Miroku decides to turn his life around. He begins singing karaoke and going to the gym, where he meets Yoichi, the director of an entertainment company who encourages Miroku to pursue his dreams.
Miroku only wanted to be good at the game he loves, but when he accidentally uploads a clip of himself singing and dancing, it goes viral! Can he really become an idol, even at his age? Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so impossible!
My First Impression
Well this is harmelss.
What I liked
I have to say, I still think the premise is great. And unlike a lot of manga and anime that have the “old” character be in their early twenties, Miroku is the youngest and often referred to as a kid, at the age of 36. That’s refreshing. Actual adult characters. And they act like adults. Slightly immature adults that still have some childish passions but nevertheless adults. Cool.
The plot is a lot less contrived than I thought it would be and touches on a lot of subjects that are interesting to explore. Main Character Miroku is personable and hard-working but has always been overweight and gets quietly laid off in his salesman job because the company sells health supplements. I can see that happening and it works on a lot of dramatic levels. After this, although it’s not spelled out, Mikoru obviously falls into a depression and isolates himself. It’s only by discovering an Idol game and wanting to recreate what he sees that he gets his life back together and falls into the signing and dancing routine.
I enjoyed the way Miroku is treated by his family as a hikikomori. They are compassionate and understanding. They don’t consider him a nuisance or deep shame. But at the same time, they are worried about him. There’s an understanding that something is wrong but not in an aggressive way.
A lot of the story is just really cute.
This may be just me, or it may be a translation issue, but I just didn’t like the way Ossan Idol was written. Dialogue is a bit shallow and everything seems awfully easy.
I know that I said the plot was surprisingly not contrived, and it isn’t, but it’s also not very complex. Events just flow from one to the next without too much fuss or anything to worry about. In many ways, it feels like a freshman effort.
I am actually of two minds about this. Miroku loses a lot of weight and suddenly he is getting noticed in the streets and his life changes drastically. It’s heavily implied that the only reason he could ever get a chance at becoming an idol is that he lost the weight. And that’s a so-so message. The idea that you need to be thin to make it as a singer is a little dated.
But then again, he isn’t a signer. He’s an Idol. There’s a lot of dancing involved. Sure he could do it when he was overweight but he would eventually have shed the pounds. And let’s be real, Idols are thin. A lot of them have ridiculously restrictive diets to keep their weight down. That’s just the reality of it. I can’t really blame a little manga like Ossan Idol for simply being a realistic representation.
So here is my final takeaway. To me, Ossan Idol has a few issues when it comes to the technical aspects of fiction. It’s generally a bit shallow across the board. But I also found it to be rather charming in a lot of ways. I happen to be someone who has an appreciation for idol fiction and also idle fiction, and I can see myself getting another couple of volumes to continue on this story!