Wake Up, Girls!: A Quick Review

One has to commend the accurately labeled shirts in this show.
One has to commend the accurately labeled shirts in this show.

Yamakan’s latest effort at directing TV anime is very much not the comedy vehicles he tends to have the most success with. In fact, this seems to be a much more personal vehicle for him. After watching the first episode, I can’t tell if Wake Up, Girls! is some sort of encouragement for himself or if it is actually a defiant piece aimed at those who have criticized him. I do have to say it did seem like he was rather pissed off.

I think with everyone of these Yamakan directed series, it’s important to take a step back. While I have liked some of the comedy stuff he has done (Senyuu. and Kannagi in particular), this is someone who has been given chance after chance to fail in glorious fashion. With that in mind I went into this idol series with a bit of trepidation and came out wondering if Yamakan has much of a future after this.

It’s not that there’s too much that’s wrong with this first episode. It does seem to hit the struggling idol group chords pretty well (only one song and no future performances on the calendar), but it does seem to be too much about the person directing it. There are two characters in particular which seem like Yamakan self-inserts.

First, there’s the producer Matsuda. He’s been left to struggle on his own with this talent agency by a former superior who left with all the money. He also can’t seem to get away with doing things the way he really wants to so he has to bring in a sleazeball from a bigger company to find work for the group with his own ideas on how the group should look. I’ll conveniently point out that Yamakan’s studio Ordet is working with Tatsunoko Productions in making Wake Up, Girls!. You know, just because that’s a bit of a coincidence.

I don't even know why I'm using this. Because plot?
I don’t even know why I’m using this. Because plot?

Second, there’s Mayu; the girl who used to work for I-1, this universe’s big idol group but was cast away to Sendai. The nature of her departure isn’t really discussed at all because everyone views it as a massive step down for her. However, there is great surprise at how she ended up there even though she’s trying to do what she loved to do all along.

As I’m watching this play out, I realize that as long as Yamakan owns his own studio he can make whatever the hell he wants. This episode felt like he was busting out the gas can and pouring it over his career. I’m kind of afraid for the direction this series is going to go now.

4 thoughts on “Wake Up, Girls!: A Quick Review”

  1. I know nothing about Yamakan, so it was interesting reading about this. About the show, tho, I thought it definitely had a unique air to it, with that kind of weary caution (I say that having only watched one idol show, Love Live!), but I’m not sure if it’s going to be good or bad. I will say that the song they had was impressive, one that I was interested in from the opening notes, even though it wasn’t anything particularly unique itself. The fluttery skirt panty shots were completely out of character for the rest of the show up to that point, however, like they decided they couldn’t just do a show without some gratuitous male gaze.

    1. I don’t think I’ve actually managed to make it through an idol show (unless you want to count Miss Monochrome as an idol show) so I’m not an expert in that either. I also liked the song, but the dance scene made it difficult to watch. It was almost like Yamakan was trying to make it into a grotesque dance scene with all the panty shots in there.

  2. I just want to know why people take potshots at Yamakan like this, as if he journals his business dealings on twitter (well he does) for the world to see (he doesn’t quite). All the guessing and inferences are at best half-truths.

    However, I think it’s good to lampoon all of this in this way, because at the very least that can add an additional layer of enjoyment value over it. If it doesn’t, then you have to ask just why you are making those connections and are they even right to begin with.

    1. Also it’s not clear if the post takes into account the movie, which is sort of required to make sense of episode 1.

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