Memories in the Future: Aikatsu! and Family

ringo hoshimiya, ichigo hoshimiya, aikatsu!, always passionate idol activities, ichigo and ringo, miya

“I wonder if you’ve realized that I change a bit every day. I’m at my most beautiful singing by your side.”

– From the insert song, “Wake Up My Music,” first featured in Aikatsu! episode 31

It is not rare for an idol show to touch upon family, particularly when said family is opposed to the heroine in question becoming an idol (hello there, AKB0048). In fact, family plays a role in nearly every idol series I’ve had the pleasure of seeing – and additionally, many magical girl series – although it’s usually to provide an obstacle for a character to overcome, much like Chihaya Kisaragi’s emotional character arc in The Idolm@ster, or the stories of both Nagisa Motomiya and Chieri Sono in AKB0048. In all three cases, family members are not present to offer support, but to give the would-be idol a reason to sing or, in the case of AKB0048, rebel against her family and become a member of a forbidden organization.

These narratives put the position of an idol as something removed from every day life. Even in the case of the school idol series, Love Live!, becoming a school idol automatically puts one in a different position as compared to the rest of the student body. The separation between family or a so-called normal school life, and being an idol is a distinct one. Likewise, the idol is all-to-often forced to sacrifice their family ties in order to become a true idol.

This is not so with the recent idol series, Aikatsu!, and I love it for that. Not only does it make the process of becoming an idol the every day life of its heroines, but it also incorporates family into that same narrative wonderfully.

“Your decision wasn’t based on something like me being an idol. I wanted you to forge your own path through life.”

-Ringo Hoshimiya to her daughter, Ichigo Hoshimiya, Aikatsu! episode 48

Aikatsu‘s leading lady, the ever-excitable Ichigo Hoshimiya, is given an idol pedigree from her mother, the enigmatic “Miya” from the famous idol duo, Masquerade. Unlike the family of Tomoyo “Tomomi” Itano of AKB0048, the Hoshimiya family is not a breeding farm for idol successors – as an aside, the Itano family offers another fascinating, if not creepy, look at the role family can play in ascending to idoldom – and Ringo Hoshimiya neglects to tell her daughter Ichigo about Masquarade until she feels that Ichigo has progressed enough on her own. As the quote above indicates, Ringo wanted Ichigo to find her own answers, rather than influencing Ichigo’s decisions directly.

Ichigo does forge her own path at Starlight Academy – a prestigious school for idols – driven by her relationship with her close friends, her admiration for the idol Mizuki Kanzaki, and continued support from her family. Known for turning her rice scoop into a microphone, a direct reference to her mother Ringo’s bento shop, Ichigo carries her family with her wherever she chooses to go. Her personality is a combination of her mother’s love of both music and food with her father’s love of adventure – Ichigo sounds exactly like her father, Taichi Hoshimiya, while recounting her adventures in America in episode 52 – and Aikatsu! makes it a point to show how traits from both of her parents are passed on, making Ichigo stronger because of them.

Where other series show friction from parental influences, especially when one of the parents is a more artistic-type traveler like Taichi Hoshimiya – Ami Mizuno‘s personal dilemma in Sailor Moon SuperS comes to mind along with the aforementioned narratives of Chihaya Kisaragi, Chieri Sono, and Nagisa Motomiya – Aikatsu! shows how familial support can manifest itself positively, allowing the heroine to grow while drawing a road map of where her personality comes from. The series never separates the every day from the act of becoming an idol, and achieves something that I had previously not seen as a viewer of idol shows: a warmth and love for family without sacrifice.

As the lyrics to the Masquerade song, “Wake Up My Music,” say, “I wonder if you’ve realized that I change a bit every day.” This is a song that Aikatsu! passes down from mother to daughter, as the latter grows into both her own personality and chosen career. It’s a personal journey that is simply lovely to watch.

3 comments

  1. Miya’s involvement in Ichigo’s development as an idol is subtle, yet distant enough as to keep her identity a secret from the main cast; it runs throughout the entirety of Ichigo’s narrative, and it doesn’t come into fruition until the turning point in which Ichigo makes the same step into idol superstardom that Miya took with Orihime. There’s a sense of torch-passing that you mentioned with regards to Wake Up My Music and Masquerade, and I greatly appreciate the parallel here, particularly how the show develop’s Ichigo’s Aikatsu in the present with Miya’s in the past longside Orihime.

    As this journey between the two idols past and present was iterated throughout the entirety of Ichigo’s arc spanning 50+ episodes, it’s understandable that it would be difficult to go through the whole series again to procure and spotlight select moments as a means of tracing the parallel steps between the two, rather than compare them outright with narratives from idol shows other than Aikatsu. I can understand why you did so, as not many people who regularly read your blog have watched Aikatsu to begin with; comparing/contrasting to other idol shows would provide a framework with regards to viewing the show. But as a dedicated weekly viewer and loving the show as an all-time favourite as I have, I would have personally enjoyed this piece more as a retrospective, rather than what I take away from this post as more of an idol database that overpowers the emotional emphasis of the Hoshimiyas alone; spotlighting the two of them by themselves would have had more of an emotional impact for me, but that’s just me!

    Either way, I’ll always appreciate an Aikatsu post, as they are remarkably few and far and between. From someone with your lovably unique point of view, I feel fanart would have been fantastic for this post as well. Keep it up Em; I love Aikatsu, and your writing!

    1. I can’t listen to “Wake Up My Music” without feeling like I’m going to tear up. That entire arc was just so well done.

      The thing that honestly struck me as a viewer, more so than the parallel between Ichigo and her mother, was the fact that Aikatsu! was doing something so drastically different in bringing family into the mix of being an idol and having it be a wholly positive influence. Additionally, I loved that Miya went on to live a really fulfilling life, and the series makes it a point to show us that constantly. All too often the life of an idol is relegated to the time they spend on stage, and dealing with difficulties that arise from their profession. Aikatsu! shows how a successful idol can have a great career and then, even when they are not an idol anymore, lead an equally positive (if not more so) life off of the stage. Both Miya and Hime lead amazing lives, they do it in drastically different ways, and yet neither route chosen by either former idol is shown to be more or less fulfilling than the other.

      Thanks for your constant support.

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