Oshi No Ko fans are exploring the idea that Ai Hoshino could return later in the series, but what is this reincarnation theory all about?

The Oshi No Ko TV adaptation featured one of the best opening episodes in recent history, culminating in the death of main character Ai Hoshino at the hands of her deranged stalker.

Now, a popular fan theory is now starting to gain traction online; that Ai Hoshino will be reincarnated in the anime just like her two children, Aqua (Gorou Amamiya) and Ruby (Sarina Tendoji).

So, has Ai Hoshino been reincarnated in the Oshi No Ko manga, and if not, what are the chances that the superstar Idol does return later in the series?

Has Ai been reincarnated in Oshi No Ko like Aqua and Ruby?

The Oshi No Ko manga series made its debut in April 2020 and at the time of writing, 11 complete Tankobon volumes have been published in Japan – Ai Hoshino has not been reincarnated so far in the story.

Ai’s death occurred in chapter 9 of the original manga, which released in June 2020, and was adapted in episode 1 of the anime series – traumatizing fans across the world.

Whilst reincarnation is a major theme of the Oshi No Ko storyline, with both Aqua and Ruby returning from death as Ai’s newborn children, there is currently no indication that Ai will suffer the same fate.

However, that doesn’t mean that Ai could not return later in either the manga or anime adaptation, with many fans predicting that her reincarnation will be revealed in the series’ eventual epilogue – Ai’s death was included as part of the prologue, so it would make sense for her reincarnation to be the main twist of the final story arc.

Whilst an end date for the ongoing manga has not been shared, the current estimation is that Oshi No Ko will conclude after around 180 chapters; the series is currently up to chapter 116.

Interestingly, this theory has stimulated a fascinating debate online between fans of the Oshi No Ko franchise, with some arguing that her return is only a matter of time whilst others state that it would undermine all the superb character development that has occurred since chapter 9.

One fan on Reddit noted that “a reveal towards the end and even a reuniting of the three would really cement a happy ending for all”, adding how “in my humble opinion, if the twins got to be reincarnated after tragic deaths, then it would be perfectly reasonable to assume the same for Ai.”

“Especially since she had a relatively tragic life in which she never knew love until mere moments before her death. I don’t want to see the story ruined, but knowing that Ai had a second chance with the happiness that she rightfully deserved would truly be the ending that I think everyone needs.”

On the other hand, there is an argument that Ai’s return would not only undermine the entire storyline but would also be in juxtaposition to some of the nuances that have been running throughout the series so far.

User ‘Piromysl’ shared in a MyAnimeList thread how fans should think back to the scene when Director Gotanda explained the different types of actors in the Japanese entertainment industry:

“The “Cute one”, [is the one] who gets audience interested and engaged by their charm, but [they] shouldn’t have too much screentime and a “True talent”, which actually carries the show. Ai is the former. She played her role and I honestly think making first episode ending on her death is why this episode was so impactful well received. Director guy also explained, that they had to cut her screentime, because her cuteness would completely steal the spotlight from an actual protagonist, which foreshadowed her death.”

Overall, whilst it would be a surprise to see Ai Hoshino be reincarnated in Oshi No Ko, its reception would likely be dependent on when in the story it occurred. That being said, if Ai was to return, it would most likely be as one of either Aqua or Ruby’s children, completing the cycle and bringing the family finally back together.

By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]

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