Manga Review | I’m a Pop Star, Now Expose Me! by Hokke Shima



This review will contain spoilers for the and anime series I'm a Pop Star, Now Expose Me!. While the manga may vary slightly from all other forms of media, it may have similar story elements and could be considered spoilers.

Trigger Warning: There may be references to slut-shaming, paparazzi, invasion of privacy, filming, overwork, fat-shaming, idol culture, blackmail, sex work, sports injury, cyberbullying, and sexual assault, as it appears in the manga.


Yukinari Miyata is a photographer for a tabloid. He spends most days staking out hotels, looking for celebrities so he can report on their personal and intimate lives. This wasn't the life he expected to have, as his dream was always to report on sports. But the tabloids are always busy, and getting a job in that department was much easier than any other. With the promise of the chance to transfer if he gets a big scoop, Yukinari swallows his pride and stalks celebrities.

It's another night of no new scoops when he sees the popular idol Subaru Nagare, known as “The White Prince” because of his impeccable reputation, with a woman, another celebrity, on his arm. Seeing this as his chance, Yukinari panics and pulls out his phone, inadvertently alerting the couple to his presence due to the shutter sound. Subaru approaches, telling him to delete the picture, but just as Yukinari tries to devise a way to keep his evidence, Subaru exclaims, “Hey, I know you!” As it turns out, Subaru's real name is Kota Adachi, and he went to school with Yukinari.

Yukinari has no memory of Kota but goes along with it. Unfortunately, Kota does get to delete the image during their interaction, much to Yukinari's chagrin. But not all is lost. After grabbing a drink with Kota to catch up, Yukinari and Kota end up at a hotel together, and the two have sex. In the midst of it all, Kota tells Yukinari to film him, giving Yukinari the scoop of a lifetime on a silver platter. But when all is said and done, Yukinari isn't sure he should expose Kota. Is Yukinari's dream worth destroying the life of someone else?


The art is cute. It isn't the best, as it's very inconsistent. I actually find Yukinari much more attractive than Kota, which I think is partially due to him being more consistently drawn. But when it's drawn well, it is drawn well. Unfortunately, some of the poorer panels are during the sex scenes, which makes me sad, but I'm really picky with art. It's not terrible by any means, and I definitely think it's pretty as it is. Just expect Kota to look very different from time to time, which, considering now, aligns kind of well with the story, but we'll get to that.

Cover art for I'm a Pop Star, Now Expose Me! by

One of my favorite tropes in stories like this is the dichotomy of the past and current selves and the difference between the public and private selves. Kota and Subaru (who are the same person) represent both of these. Of course, we have the obvious depiction of the superstar versus who the superstar is at home, which is completely two different people. However, what's more interesting to me in this case is the difference between the past and current self, which also pulls in Yukinari. A major point of contention in this series is our childhood dreams compared to what we achieve as adults. As a child, Yukinari was bright and popular, and he wanted to be a sports photographer, but as an adult, he ended up as what he perceives to be a lowly tabloid photographer and is much more reserved and even seemingly disliked. On the opposite end, Kota never really wanted to be an idol, and he was terribly cold in his youth. Still, he wanted Yukinari to photograph him someday, which he felt was only achievable as an idol.

One person had no clear goal, while the other did, yet both ended up unhappy in their final destinations. One would assume this means the overall message is that dreams are just that: dreams. And having dreams can lead to disappointment. Very bleak. However, we see that our adult lives may not be exactly as we wished or dreamed them to be in our youth, but they can still be satisfying and happy nonetheless. Kota never intended to be an idol, only wanting to be seen and recognized by the person he loved. However, he ends up finding much more value and self-worth in being an idol than he ever imagined. Similarly, Yukinari accepts his role as a tabloid photographer, finding that even it has some value in the world and seeing it as a right of passage more than anything else. This shows exceptional character growth that I really enjoyed.

I know Kota has acting skills, but it feels a bit unbelievable that he was a virgin and putting on this sexual persona just to seduce Yukinari. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it was shoehorned in at the very end, with a few flashbacks showing him prepping himself for the big moment earlier in the series. It might have been more believable had we seen this information spread across the series, especially when we started to get his side of things. Then, it wouldn't feel so much like it was an excuse for Kota to be pure for Yukinari. I really liked the dichotomy of the squeaky-clean Subaru persona against the sexual being of Kota in private. With the reveal that he had been faking that “real” self, it felt like all of the discussion about how Kota was who he truly was and that only Yukinari knew that went out the window. People who own their sexuality and accept themselves as sexual beings are worthy of love. Kota didn't have to backtrack and be “revealed” to be a virgin, especially since that isn't the person Yukinari fell in love with anyway.


This is very cute. It isn't perfect by any means, story- and art-wise, but it is still an enjoyable read overall. I probably would've seen this much more positively if we hadn't backtracked in favor of a virgin reveal for Kota, but that's just me. This isn't terrible, and I think if you're looking for a more lighthearted read with an interesting view on adulthood, dreams, and idol culture, I say give this a read. It was a good time.

Have you read I'm a Pop Star, Now Expose Me!? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!

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