Anime Review: Wake Up, Girls! – 01 [Pilot]

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Another anime about a ragtag group of girls aiming to become Japan’s #1 top Idols.  Can it live up to the standard set by AKB0048, Idolm@ster, and Love Live?

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RECAP:  As a continuation to the movie, “Wake Up, Girls! Seven Idols,” a group of girls that wish to become an Idol group are currently up in the air as to where their future lies.  Considering they are in a countryside town in Sendai, it’d be hard to compete with the city Idols of Tokyo.  But as the New Year chimes in, their luck changes for the better as they are “scouted” by a big-wig producer that seeks to invest in the potential of Wake Up, Girls!

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First of all, if you watched this episode and were wondering what exactly happened before this, there is actually a 50~min movie called “Wake Up, Girls! Seven Idols” that precedes the airing of this show.  Although I highly recommend checking it out, it is not entirely too important to see it as this first episode does well enough to explain the important details.

Here’s the recap of that movie in a nutshell:

A talent agency in the Sendai prefecture is on a downward spiral, losing all of their talent to the dreams of the big city life of Tokyo.  The president brashly decides on a whim to form an Idol group after seeing the big-name “I-1 Club” on TV.  This plan brings together six girls of varying styles and personalities.  But there is still a need for a center, which is where former founding I-1 Club member, Mayu, comes in.  Although she adamantly refuses the invitation, she eventually realizes what she loved about being an Idol in the first place as she joins the girls in what they believe to be their first and last performance, since the president ran off with all the money, leaving the girls and the good-for-nothing male manager with nothing but debt.

Just to reiterate, all of this is pretty much given info in this first episode, but I highly recommend checking out the movie (it’s available on Crunchyroll for streaming) to fully experience the hardship these girls go through.

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Backstory aside, I find the current story for this show very promising in showing what it takes for a young girl to become an Idol in the competitive world of Japan entertainment.  First of all, these girls are from, basically, the boonies of Japan.  Certainly, not a place where Idols are likely found.  Second, the Center, Shimada Mayu, is a former member of the AKB48-knockoff group, I-1 Club.  To me, this is unprecedented considering the fact that, as far as I know, it is very rare for a star to come back into the spotlight.  The past scars from her time with I-1 Club will certainly be a major factor as the popular group intends on setting up shop in town very soon.  Third, and lastly, what appeals to me greatly is that each girl in this group are very “realistic.”  None of them really fit any specific archetype of a character, save for Hisami Nanami being slightly tsundere.

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I have high hopes for this show, seeing as I love Idol anime.  This encounter with Sudo-san is sure to bring some reality into perspective as the girls will find out that being an Idol is more than just singing and dancing.

On another note, here is something neat to know about this show in general.  All the voice actresses for the girls are newcomers to the business.  That’s right, not only is this show about girls trying to become famous, it is also about these seiyuu trying to become famous through their respective roles!

Rating:  2.5/5

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A Challenger has arrived!

 

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