Wake Up, Girls!

(50-minute prologue movie + 12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

The formation of an idol group, in way more detail than you can be entirely comfortable with.

Don’t skip the movie, it’s the essential first step of the story (and as such I see why Crunchyroll licensed it).


Ms Tange is the president of a very minor Sendai talent agency, and after a few setbacks she decides to try and cash in on the idol craze. With barely any budget or actual know-how, of course. Frankly, she’s the kind of horrible person that are dime a dozen in the entertainment industry : callous, cynical, has no shame whatsoever, and is a complete jerk all around. And that’s before she takes off with all the agency’s money and leaves everyone else hung to dry.

Matsuda, her long-suffering assistant, does seem sincere, but he’s wildly out of his depth, and content to follow her orders to prey on naive teenagers. I’d pity him if I didn’t know better. (Because, seriously, enablers like him are also part of the problem.)

The girls they’ve picked up are, frankly, the bottom of the barrel. Okay, there’s the “leader” who does have some professional experience as a fashion model, and the one who won a singing competition, but after that, it’s just “whoever answered the ad” : a waitress at restaurant who hopes this is going to be better than being pinched by customers (ahah, you fool), another waitress from a maid cafĂ© who sees this as her big break, a rich 13-year-old girl who’s endearingly naive about the industry, and a girl-next-door type who sounds horrible even when not singing.

Mayu, on the other hand, is their jackpot. She’s the former MVP of top idol group “I-1”, which she left for mysterious reasons. Whatever it was, it left her with some deep trauma, and no wish to be an idol ever again. (It also left scars in her family, with her apparently now single mom having had to move back from Tokyo to her parents’, and taking some unsavoury jobs.) She only went to the agency to escort her best friend. But of course she’s eventually talked into joining, impressed by the eagerness of those hopefuls.

Production Values

Quite good indeed ; there’s some neat attention to body language at every step. Interestingly, the dancing sequences are not CG (which is all the rage these days), but traditionally animated.

Overall Impression

I have no clue what this series is going for.

On the one hand, this is a multimedia project designed to launch the title idol group ; heck, all the girls have the same first names as their voice-actresses/live-action versions, for convenience’s sake. (All of them being complete newbies recruited for this definitely shows, with some of them being painful to listen to.) And it definitely carries the message that idols have a positive impact on people’s life.

But on the other hand, it makes a point of showing in great detail how scummy the idol industry is. Aside of Matsuda (who’s still young and naive), every producer is a terrible person with very shady methods. The fan messageboards are toxic garbage. The humble debut is as unglamorous as possible. And there’s no escaping how this unit got its start as a cynical cash-grab.

I’m going to keep watching this, as it’s a fascinating detailed look which barely whitewashes the milieu. As long as it keeps up with that angle, I’m interested. Even though I fear it’s going to hedge its bets eventually.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014 – Page 5.

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I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as RPG.net's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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