"Wake Up, Girls!" is the story of growth and friendship of seven girls living in Sendai, Miyagi who form the idol group "Wake Up, Girls! (WUG)" and work together to become top idols.
Operating under a small production company in Sendai known as "Green Leaves Entertainment," WUG overcame countless obstacles to beat national idol group "I-1 club" at the Idol Festival and win the event. They had suddenly become top idols... but with an idol recession going on, things weren't so easy. The days of steady and honest idol work continued for the girls.
Meanwhile, Sendai-based middle school trio Hayashi Ayumi, Morishima Otome, and Atsugi Itsuka have developed an increasing desire to become idols...
“Wake Up, Girls!” (WUG) came out in 2014 without much fanfare. While it wasn’t completely unknown to viewers at the time, it was definitely not a show that many paid attention to. Marred by poor production values and a plot that failed to really shine against its competitors, WUG never really managed to be a major player in the idol anime genre.
But nonetheless, it was a remarkable series in its own right. While more popular idol series like “The Idolm@ster” and “Love Live!” gave an idealized version of life as an idol, WUG always had a grounded approach in regards to how it represented
its young idols. Life as a young star was not as glamourous as it seemed. It was a life filled with competition, stress, and bottom lines. Producers were not there to help their girls achieve their dreams. They were, for the most part, there to ensure that their stars were profitable and marketable. WUG’s willingness to show this side of the business stood out to me, which is why I have always been on the lookout for WUG-related media.
So how does the “Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou” (WUGSS) fare?
Not too well.
Firstly, I will admit that I didn’t head into this new season with very high expectations. People who have read my review on the last entry of the series, “Beyond the Bottom,” will note that I had a rather low opinion of the movie. In my opinion, none of the entries that followed the original series were able to capture the feeling that WUG had. And unfortunately, it appears that this series is no different.
I have a fair share of issues with this season, which is why I am not surprised to see that the show has had such low scores on MyAnimeList.
Firstly, I thought it was impossible for the animation for the WUG series to get any worse. As I mentioned before, WUG had a rather poor production values, which I was hoping would be fixed when WUGSS came around. For whatever reason, the new animation team has not only failed to improve the animation quality, but has managed to make the art shoddier than before. One prime example would be the dance and singing sequences which, unsurprisingly, are the crux of any musical idol series.
Rather than utilizing traditional animation for these sequences, we have been given CGI sequences that are ugly as hell. For those of you that have played mobile idol games like “Idolm@ster: Theater Days,” I am about to tell you that your mobile game boasts far better animation than this animation series. I understand that this may seem like I’m exaggerating, but the animation is so damn choppy for the CGI that I was beginning to worry that my monitor was beginning to lag.
When you finally get to the fifth episode (assuming you last that long), you will begin to realize that the animation has devolved to the point that you are literally watching a glorified powerpoint. WUG has taken animation shortcuts before, but never on the scale of WUGSS, which has led me to believe that either the animation team was completely absent that day, or that they somehow ran out of budget and decided to take an Evangelion-esque approach to animation.
If I had to sum up the story, I would say that it is just alright. There are glimpses of the harsh idol industry that was so well-captured in WUG, but those moments are few and far inbetween. Perhaps there’s more to the story, but at the time of this review, I have decided to drop this season at episode 5. I don’t expect the show to get any better in its remaining episodes. I would love to be proven wrong, but as of now, the show is not very good. If anyone reading this review would like to let me know if this show has gotten any better near the end, I would appreciate it if they send me a message sometime. I don’t expect much in any case.
The only real positive thing I have to say would be in regards to the music and voice-acting. As always, the musical talents from the real-life Wake Up, Girls! Have come to bless us again with their catchy and phenomenal tunes. Although not as great as WUG’s opening “7 Girls War,” “7 Senses” is a decent opening song that lives up to its predecessors. It’s a shame that the opening animation is absolutely terrible.
All in all, “Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou” is an example of sequel that fails to improve upon itself. Its poor animation makes the original look like a masterpiece, while its mediocre and forgettable story prevents it from being anything but missed potential.
I can’t even recommend this to the most dedicated of WUG fans.
I’d stick with the real-life Wake Up, Girls! if I were you.