"Wake Up, Girls!" was a promising series that attempted to break the common tropes of idol anime. With a mix of optimism and realism that is hardly seen in shows of its type, this anime series held great potential to be something great.
However, the latest entry in the series, "Beyond the Bottom" serves as a lackluster conclusion to an otherwise stellar series.
The greatest gripe I had with this show was that it simply lost all the positive aspects that the previous entries had. For instance, "Beyond the Bottom" felt horribly disjointed from the tone and atmosphere that the the TV series and previous movies had.
instance, there is almost no conflict in this story, aside from the upcoming Idol Festival, which by this point in the series, has become a rather stale plot device. Not to mention, there is no buildup to the festival itself, which makes it seem rather lowly compared to the festival depicted in the TV series.
Another complaint I have would be that the music in this movie is lackluster. Although "Wake Up, Girls!" never boasted a massive soundtrack, they always had a relatively strong, albeit small, selection of songs for viewers to appreciate ("7 Girls War" and "Gokukujo Smile") come to mind. The new songs introduced in this entry simply do not compare in the slightest. They are unmemorable and, unfortunately, not very catchy either. This is quite disappointing because I always felt that "Wake Up, Girls!" was quite strong in terms of the musical aspect of things.
The animation quality also took a massive nosedive. While 'Wake Up, Girls!" was never known for its animation quality, as you can probably tell from other reviews, it is quite apparent that the animation is even worse than it was in the previous entries. Faces look odd, the dancing looks stiffer than usual, and there are noticeable shortcuts taken to reduce the amount of animation needed to be produced by the company (which is quite obvious once you see it).
The characters from "Wake Up, Girls!" that many of us have come to know and love suffer from lack of depth. The only characters that really receive any proper characterization would be Nanami, Mayu, President Tange, and Shiho. Everyone else is left in the shadows, merely serving as background noise rather than actual characters. However, I do appreciate how the movie develops I-1 Club member Shiho Iwasaki's character. I found myself appreciating moments in which she appears, as she proved to be, in most cases, more interesting than the Wake Up, Girls! themselves.
To conclude, "Wake Up, Girls! Beyond the Bottom" was disappointing to say the least. In my opinion, it leaves a great big stain on an otherwise fantastic franchise. It is unfortunate that this otherwise good idol anime series ends off tainted with excessive cliches, quality issues, and lack of depth.
If you are a fan of "Wake Up, Girls!" like I am, you'll want to check this movie out. Just be sure to head in with your expectations low.