Well its that time of the year again. I just finished watching the bulk of first episodes that aired for the 2014 Winter season. But one show did grab my attention, and it is Wake Up, Girls!, a show produced by Studio Ordet, a.k.a the studio created by Haruhi Production Director Yutaka Yamamoto a.k.a Yamakan, with original concepts from said man. I am particularly fond of his works, take it as you will, since he has an eye for good production values (which is something to say since the man is partly responsible for Haruhi’s success). Since then, he has been hit-or-miss (Kannagi was good until the last episode, Fractale was a good show for me but most people said it was shit because it strayed away from the novels/manga whatever which I have never read, well anyway FUCK THOSE PEOPLE), but this time he is back as the main guy for Wake Up, Girls! (or “WUG!” or maybe “WU, G!” (like woo, gee!) for short?), so I will try to get through my impression of his major comeback show (major because some other notable names are in this show as well).
For this I am going to focus on the ~60 minute episode (or some people call it the movie episode) that streamed on Crunchyroll and which I grabbed a fansub copy to get screenshots of.
Also I am going to be linking a lot from Sankaku Complex, because we all know Sankaku Complex is a credible source of idol news and information *slight sarcasm*
What grabbed my attention to Wake Up is not only the fact that Yamakan is directing it, but how the episode actually went. The first impression I had from the trailer is “oh this is going to be a vanilla show about idols so this is probably going to be bad except the tits”, but upon watching the first episode, I was left with a big “WHAT THE F just happened” because of how “real” the episode was. Look below for more details.
DISCLAIMER: MY KNOWLEDGE ABOUT IDOLS IS VERY LIMITED BECAUSE I DON’T LISTEN TO IDOL GROUPS
This is a great insight right at the beginning of a show about idols. Right from the mouth of the producer. Its like giving us the idea that somehow idols eventually become pornstars?
I wonder if that faceless President from 765 Productions (from Idolm@ster) also acts like this. I’m sure that bastard super-rich producer for AKB48 (this is in real life) does.
Taken straight from the western cartoon trope of “The J. Jonah Jameson” character
I like how this show is self-aware that stranger men approaching high school girls in Japan is pretty much not a very good idea
For context, he is in a red light district shop. The dark reality of scouting idols is starting to show off here.
I laughed hard at this part. For context, the producer from the first screenshot was badmouthing artists who think going to Tokyo will improve their careers. So I’m guessing this person won’t last in this idol group very long.
Case in point about the producer’s thoughts about said talents. I agree it kind of makes sense.
Also this might be a good point to discuss the existence of such groups as HKT48. This is somewhat the opposite of what the producer is talking about. Again, I am no idol group expert, but from what I heard, some members from prominent Tokyo-based idol groups (like AKB48) have some girls being demoted to these groups, which I think is a very good fact to take note of, considering all these reality face-slapping we have received so far from Yamakan.
Is it just me or are character designs of Manager and the Main Idol remind you of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto designs? Just sayin’. Anyway, I miss this kind of 90’s not-so-in-your-face anime innuendo though.
Such a lovely smirk on her face. Priceless.
Sorry miss, Main Idol over there already has seen everything that happens in the idol business.
Hahaha, MOE MOE PRETTY PRETTY!! FUCK YOU KYOTO ANIMATION I’M NOT USING YOUR CATCHPHRASES YOU BASTARDS
And here we have another reality slap in the face. “Sudden graduation” happens a lot in the idol industry, especially when an idol get into bad terms with the managers/producers, or bad press surrounding the idol like scandals and such goes out of control.
AND OF COURSE! The very lynchpin of becoming a Japanese idol is about not getting it with men, because it creates the illusion of the idol. Thank you based Yamakan for reminding us of that.
A very good question…
…with a very depressing answer. Oh laud.
For context, the main idol here is being criticized by her fans. You know some not very good rumors were said about her…
…and that escalated quickly. Does the ɥ’s (or microns or whatever) have these kind of fans?
I just can’t control my laughter at this point. Yamakan, you are so fucking awesome. Way to name the idol group after a freaking FUCK HOTEL! So classy… and I am not sure how IRL idol fans are feeling about this show at this point.
Idol groups: Behind the scenes
For context, this is Main Idol’s mother. Yes, one of those “mothers of popular children who leech money off them”
I don’t get this part. So why did the bread store hire these girls in the first place, if only to let them perform IN THE FUCKING BACK OF THE STORE? Is this just a waste of money or just pity from the store owner, I’m not sure
For context, the loudmouth old woman producer going “somewhere else because of an emergency *wink wink AWOL*“. But I think she’ll be back when she hears about Main Idol joining the group. Yep, I figured she’s that type of person.
And here I am thinking how will they change the CD covers when Main Idol finally joins the group (because we all know Main Idol is going to join the group eventually, the show title is freaking Seven Idols for crying out loud)
Haha, oh I love how characters in this are too real. For context, this is after Main Idol already joins the group. Not So Main Idol knows about Main Idol’s past, so she asks her if she is prepared to handle any problems that might happen between the characters in the future just in case shit hits the fan…
… and this is how she answers. OH WOW. This is selfishness we have not seen since the days of Tomino Gundam’s main characters.
And of course it’s not possible to talk about idol shows without the fan of the idol group… that looks like… NOTHING I HAVE EVER SEEN FROM OTHER IDOL ANIME SHOWS! This shit cuts too deep Yamakan. I mean this is really what the fans of IRL groups look like, from a stereotypical standpoint. Fat smelly otaku with a backpack full of posters and shit from Akihabara. This show had the BALLS to let every one know (including the IRL group fans and otaku that could be interested in this show in the first place, but were probably turned off after watching the show at this point) that this type of person are the fans of idol groups. And the show is reveling in it. I mean he is shown a lot in this episode. Real fucking talk.
Panty shots. No comment.
My foreshadowing senses are tingling again. I think this local group may have to handle a couple of town perverts in future episodes.
And episode concludes with an encore… not really.
Which reminds me, based from statistics, shows that have these elements of “too real for Japan” never seem to get traction in DVD sales. Which is a very sad thing, because I liked a fairly recent show, Watamote, a totally different show with these sort of of elements present, and it didn’t go over well in the Japanese anime market. So I should say Yamakan, you might be facing an uphill battle with this show. God speed.
But so far I like it though, I like how very realistic perceptions of idols and the idol industry are presented in this show about becoming idols. It’s like the anti-idol to the idol, if that makes any sense. And if I may use some anime analogy, this show is the My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU to the Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukanai that is Love Live and Idolm@ster.