First Impression – Wake Up, Girls!

Cute girls who can sing and dance; what more do you want?~

Hello everyone~ I’ve come back from the winter break shadows to finally contribute to the Winter season. Now, I’m no stranger to idols (though I’m not that familiar with Japanese idols), but the only idol-type anime I’ve ever cared to watch was AKB0048 because of the crazy space premise. However Wake Up, Girls! seems a little promising; I mean, how can I resist an idol group with a cute name like that?~

The trials of starting an idol group at a shady company with no money

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First off, I do like the concept of the anime: starting an idol group from scratch in an attempt to save a failing entertainment company, and the challenges that are already piling up in front of them, starting with the disappearance of the company’s president and their money (which was pretty ridiculous since she was the one who came up with the idea in the first place). It’s normal, realistic, and definitely true to this boom in idols and idol wannabes who are trying to make it into groups themselves. It may not be the most original idea for an idol-type anime, but so far it works, especially when we have nice girls and a ton of obstacles to look forward to seeing them overcome.

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Speaking of the girls, and allowing me to become an idol group critic for a second, I find that they aren’t all that extraordinary, personality wise, like I can’t find anyone who really sticks out. They all seem a bit bland, but I’m guessing it’s because we have yet to really focus on any one girl. And with this being about the girl group as a whole, I know I won’t get the amount of character focus that I want, but I appreciate the small attempts already being made to focus on the girls individually. Anyway, as a group, you can tell how different they are from each other, and at first it seemed like they didn’t really connect because of their differences, but the more I see them together the more they have that potential to be a united group that can appeal to a number of fans. If there’s one thing I know about idol groups is that they should have this whole togetherness factor even if all the members’ personalities are widely different from each other. With it, you feel that uplifting ‘Yeah, they’re totally in this together!’ kind of aura from a group, which not only makes you makes root for them to succeed, but makes them look widely more appealing and professional (at least to me). I’m guessing the show will focus on this problem later on, since there’s other more pressing issues for the girls. But if they don’t, you’ll know I’ll be on that in a second.

I have to say I actually enjoyed Wake Up, Girls!, both the OVA and the first episode of the series. I was confused as to why there needed to be an OVA first, but it turned out to be pretty brilliant since they’ve squished all the typical introductory shenanigans into a 50 minute special and saved the actual series from spending a ton of episodes focusing on the auditions, Mayu’s reluctance to join the group, etc., etc.  It saves us some time, as well as gets us straight into this main story of them rising up as a legit idol group. I do have a feeling that it’ll get somewhat dull, as almost all slice-of-life like shows experience. However as I said earlier, we do have a lot of challenges to look forward to as seen in the first episode. I mean, we’ve got the obvious lack of money, I-1 Club opening a theater in Sendai, and now this shady producer guy who I’m assuming is going to want them to dress really sexy, and of course they can’t really refuse his help because of the situation they’re in. These girls haven’t even done anything major and yet they’ve already got major problems. But I guess once they hopefully overcome all these hurdles, it’ll make it an even sweeter accomplishment. I don’t mind continuing this series for now, so I’ll be back next week to see what happens with Sado and the girls. Until next week then~

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Yeahhh, I don’t think so…

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A tired, over-dramatic 20 year old college student who likes manga and cheesy Korean boy bands. Prone to succumb to laziness and refuse to work for hours on end.
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20 Responses to “First Impression – Wake Up, Girls!”

  1. Highway says:

    I actually watched the first episode of the series, and haven’t watched the prequel double episode yet. But I felt like they gave enough of the gist of the situation to get you in the show (I’ll watch it sometime, honest). It is a good way to save a couple of episodes of the show, tho, by getting the intros out of the way early and getting right past the first crisis.

    I really liked that first song they did, and thought the song really hit a good note of interest, as well as the coreography. I actually could have done without the completely incongruous skirt-flipping panty flashes, tho. It was like they had to reach some quota of male gaze.

    • skylion says:

      That skirt flipping was so absurd, and the characters even hung a lampshade on it before they went onstage.

      • Highway says:

        Ah, I missed that part by not seeing the prequel part (yet).

      • Foshizzel says:

        There is one line in the OVA that continues to bug me it happens moments before their first live performance and it comes out with the manager dude saying “Don’t forget to show your panties.” I was like wait? What did he just say? Also all the girls were like “OK!” LOL

        • skylion says:

          He said that they had thought of getting show off panties, I guess the regular kind just won’t do? But the girls agreed, they were fine with what they had, it was expected, and they should just go on with what they had.

          Now, I don’t know if they really hung a lampshade on it, or if Yakaman is trying to sneak a bit more invective against the industry.

  2. skylion says:

    I love idol anime, but actual idol culture, not so much. Much like you, Hoshi, I loved 00, and would gladly take a New Stage.

    But this has more of an iDOLM@STERS feel too it. Both groups, 765, and WUG are starting at the bottom, but with a 26 episodes the former felt more assured in success. As we can clearly see, WUG is not going to get that guarantee. This is a selling point for me. A story that has awesome people that act awesome is rather typical isn’t is. Not so awesome which a chance, not matter how slim? That’s compelling.

    • Highway says:

      Really, the only idol anime I’ve watched has been Love Live! and this had a significantly different feel from that, but not in a bad way. This show seems to be a lot more interested in the personal stories of the members of the group, rather than just “We’re a group now, so everything’s great!”

      • skylion says:

        I’m a bad fan, I forgot Love Live! Well, the idea behind that one was “school idols”, WUG! is the real deal.

        It also has an Eat all You Can, LOLi. Right Kyo?

      • Foshizzel says:

        If you enjoy Idol themed anime the Idolmaster is one you just have to watch! Seriously it is so much fun <3

  3. HannoX says:

    I enjoyed this more than I thought I would and if it keeps it up I’ll be with it until the end.

    I really enjoyed their debut song and like the way “Wake up, girls!” was part of the lyrics. I have to agree that the head of the company skipping out with the money seemed contrived just to put them at the rock bottom before they even really got started. It didn’t make much sense since the company seemed on the verge of bankruptcy and there wasn’t much money to skip with. When the money starts coming in is when the crooked company head should take off with it.

    However, maybe in Japan it made sense. I have no idea what their bankruptcy laws are like and how their business culture reacts to a company in trouble. Maybe her only chance to skip was before she missed paying a bill due, like for the arena they’d reserved.

    I found it both funny and bizarre that her family committed seppuku as a result. While even in modern Japan someone who has brought public shame on the family may still feel compelled to commit suicide I doubt the entire family will do it in lieu of the guilty party. And seppuku? They did the whole ritual bit? Though I’d have to think it wasn’t done publicly. We’ll have to wait and see if that was a one-off bit of weirdness or if more will occasionally pop up.

    • skylion says:

      One off bit of weirdness…

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      I anticipate the girls to be pimped out to make the bills meet.

      From what I have seen so far, this show had jumped into the deep end of the pool called ‘fanservice H’ right from the start…

  4. Foshizzel says:

    Interesting first episode after watching both the special and episode I found it to be really fun and while I love shows like Love Live and The Idolm@ster I feel Wake up girls is probably going to be more of a realistic view on the idol biz!

    Sadly I only found the maid cafe worker and the youngest member to have any kind of personality while the rest of the girls seemed to be copies of each other minus the obvious girl who refused to join until the last few minutes.

    I will give it two more episodes!

    • skylion says:

      If it is more realistic, I wonder how far they will take it. Yakaman, despite his foolish bluster at times, is no idiot, and is a good director in most rights. If he is willing to go into invective, it may be worth it to stick around.

      This is why I like idol anime, and am cold towards the actual business itself.

      • Highway says:

        I don’t know that much about the actual business, but the fan side of it, particularly the creep stalker fans who ruin people’s careers should they have the hubris to be anything but their perfect pure untouched screen waifu, you know, like normal human beings, really burns me up. It’s like a whole class of people who need to have some sense of propriety and boundaries beat into them.

        • skylion says:

          Don’t know how true it all is, but there are accusations of the most lurid kind that lurks around the idol business. And that isn’t even taking into account the perceived hypersexuality.

        • Di Gi Kazune says:

          However you want to put it, the reallife idol business has become a manufactory. AKB, SNE, NTR, LOLi, KON, NE2T and the other various alphanumeric combinations IS the Prime example. Even Indonesia has its spinoff. Its no longer about talent but rather about perpetuating an act. There is no longer a soul.

          That said, it is indeed big business thanks to the marketing.

  5. Miyori-Chan says:

    The opening theme song showed a scene where they were all dressed up as AKB0048!;o

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