Get a group of girls together with dreams, give them your business card, and ask them if you want to be an idol. What do you get? Wake Up, Girls! It’s no mystery that the movie is about a group of girls performing music as an inspiration. Although they each have their own different reasons for becoming an idol, the girls of this group stands together in unity to perform music for the audience and hoping to earn themselves a name in the music industry.
Wake Up, Girls! Shichinin no Idol serves a prequel to the anime series of the same name. I highly recommend watching
the movie first because it introduces initial concepts to grasp before venturing into the official anime series. The movie runs initially less than a full hour and offers some basic concepts of the show’s aesthetics.
The concept of music idols is hardly an original idea. It’s been done many times in series such as The Idolmaster, Love Live! School Idol Project, and the AKB0048 franchise. The series takes place in a city environment. By this standard, it’s proven itself that the show relates to people trying to discover themselves and open doors to dreams especially since cities are a welcoming billboard to opportunities. But for Green Leaves Entertainment, it’s running low on talents and not enough opportunities to shine like it once had before. Seeking out opportunities, we meet a normal man by the name of Kouhei Matsuda asking an abnormal question: Do you want to become an idol?
The girls he meets initially gives the cold shoulder and it should be no surprise. Shows with idols often have high expectations with the characters being gifted with talent. As an underdog group, Wake Up, Girls doesn’t start off well in terms performance. Most of the girls has big dreams but the group itself have little hope both mentally and financially. One particular girl named Mayu also becomes a topic of discussion on the web after an event that triggered her resignation from another idol group. Because of that, it’s suspicious what may have happened in the past. Unfortunately in this movie, we never find out why so hold those theories tight for the TV series. Perhaps the length of this movie is an obstacle to prevent this revelation but it’s a flaw that comes to play for other factors as well. Such factors includes characterization as hardly any of the other idols gets their own spotlights but instead collectively tries to radiant themselves as a group.
Wake Up, Girls does build itself well in terms of storytelling from the get-go. It’s straight forward and doesn’t bounce off from its premise. It gets right to the point and doesn’t neglect the fact that the girls all have dreams where each of them does get a little insight on based on their reasons. While the main male protagonist lacks a personality, Matsuda does hold some respect for going through with his work and not giving up. It’s like what people say sometimes, ‘you can do anything if you try’. This applies to the idols as well. The girls do put their efforts in despite running into various troubles. Perhaps the result isn’t exactly what they had hoped for, it still earned themselves a way of self-satisfaction knowing they put their efforts through. On the other hand is the strange comedy and almost monotonous dialogues thrown in various conversations. Matsuda is also a character hard to relate to and seems to lack talent himself.
The animation is fresh but not stellar by any standards. Some of the girls looks similar while none of them particularly stand out. Even Mayu, the prominent idol of the series lack any distinctive features besides her noticeable past. Speaking of which, the idols shown in the past has a more fancy style of artistic make up. The present ones lacks that thanks to a technical storyline point that drives the idols to go by what they have now. It also throws in surprising distractions in the forms of brief fan service to add some flavor. Background colors are natural on most terms and defines some form of realism. The snow falling down the sky near the end of the movie could symbolize a transformation especially for Mayu after her breathtaking confession.
Music is a critical theme of this movie as the idols themselves sing to entertain the audience while following their dreams. By most standards, the songs holds themselves together but the performance lacks any groundbreaking impact. The movements flow well but nothing unique or special comes out of the lyrics. One important factor to note though is that the idols’ voice actresses are fresh to the business. Most of them stars in this movie with their debuting roles and is a welcoming sight to embrace. At many points, it feels like the VA themselves embrace their roles such as Miyuu Okamoto with her enthusiasm.
This movie can feel a bit lacking if you are looking for an engaging plot or character development. The pacing and connection with the girls just doesn’t seem to fit together. On the other hand, it’s gratifying to see their efforts and brief progression. While not at a level of stardom, the music group Wake Up Girls is on its way as they take the first step to success. Wake Up, Girls! Shichinin no Idol serves a babyface so hopefully will mature itself in the TV series. After all, every journey begins with the very first step.
Wake Up, Girls! Shichinin no Idol works as an intro into the show, think of it as a 52 minute long first episode. It's simple enough, a talent company runs out of talent and tries to scramble together some girls to start an idol group. The characters are cute and the music is great and it even made me laugh a few times, it's enough to make me start watching the Wake Up, Girls! as it airs.
I wasn't expecting such a great movie especially with the slow start this one has. But there's definitely a sincerity and theme of what idols are being all about that makes this anime really moving. The art's quite unique but the two reasons I enjoyed this anime so much was because the compelling stories and themes and the characters. It's a movie about Girls trying to become idols- the movie moves fast but the great thing about that is there isn't any downtime at all. Once the plot starts to accelerate it just piles on the enjoyment from the dilemmas and struggles, the individuality of
all the girls, and coming together at the end. One of the best nicely paced little anime movies I've seen. I don't think you'll realize the impact of the story, art of them dancing, sound of their music until the climax hits you like a freight truck. Wish I could say more without spoiling it. xD Watch it and enjoy what has been pieced together into Wake Up, Girls!
So here we go. The movie prequel to the TV series.
Let me just say this at the start that the idol genre is an unknown territory for me. I've never watched an idol show before this and I didn't know whether I'd honestly like it.
But that said, I did enjoy this movie and this is due to the pacing of the show. Being a movie and not a TV series it had the opportunity to take a slower, more progressive approach to plot progression.
And what this means is that it had a very refreshing pace which made it enjoyable to watch. Story wise it
isn't entirely sunshine and daises since it had its fair share of darker than normal moments, but as a result it portrayed a what was to me more realistic view of the idol world, especially of people who want to debut and their management. I found myself cringing a lot but that didn't have to do with the quality of the story, but more the content. The way the characters acted wasn't something I was entirely used to, but I didn't have any problems with them.
On to the artwork. I found the still artwork to be rather pleasing, though the animations did seem awkward some times, though it didn't distract too much from the actual story.
Sound mixing wise there wasn't anything bad about it. Voice actors suited the characters and the background noises were fine too.
Ah the characters. The 7 idols did feel like a rag tag band of aspiring girls, but that's what you would expect of a small talent agency that scouted girls with a mix of personalities. And it was evident that some of them didn't really have a mature way of thinking and I liked that. Though the story didn't focus on all of the girls, but mainly 2 of them and their character progression. What I enjoyed the most about the characters is that they (I know I'm repeating this) seemed like actual girls starting out.
Overall it was a movie/canon I'd recommend if you're into idol shows. Hell I'm not but I wouldn't mind watching this series. 9/10 because I enjoyed it but I'm wasn't an idol fan so I couldn't completely immerse myself.