Friday, January 24, 2014

Currently Watching: Wake Up, Girls!

Idol Anime is starting to be a trend nowadays with IM@S, AKB0048, Love Live and now Wake Up, Girls! I haven't really seen a lot of Idol Animes and my first one was Love Live which I thought was pretty good. Wake Up, Girls! was the second Idol Anime I watched and it certainly did not disappoint.

Of course, since this anime is still airing there is a chance it could end up sucking later on but it has a pretty solid start so far. The story of Wake Up, Girls starts from the movie "Wake Up, Girls! Shichinin no Idol" or "Wake Up, Girls! Seven Idols" which tells the story of how it all begins. The movie is basically episode 1 and 2 while the first episode of the TV series can be considered episode 3. I really suggest that everyone who wants to watch this series start by watching the movie first.

The movie itself have pretty good pacing as I did not feel bored even once during the whole 50+ minutes. I love underdog stories like small sports team rising to the top and this is something similar, but with idols. We see how a group of girls wanting to be top idols having to work hard to reach the top, a similar premise to Love Live which I also like.

The journey to the top is full of obstacles of course and Wake Up, Girls! shows not only the light happy stuff but also the dark side of the industry. Agency director running away with funds, shady producers asking for degrading performances and various stuff that adds more reality to the show. This is why I like the show, it shows how hard it is to rise to the top and while it still sugarcoats it somewhat it still shows the ugly side.

There are some fanservice scenes in the show but it is different from how it's usually used in anime. The fanservice actually serve a purpose in Wake Up, Girls! even the one in the movie and episode 1 which seems like it came from nowhere and unnecessary. The panty shots from episode 1 is actually mentioned in episode 2 and it is somewhat relevant to what happens in episode 2. The swimsuit scene in episode 2 also serves a purpose to make the viewers uncomfortable and see the dark side of the industry. The swimsuit scene in episode 2 also serves another purpose as a contrast with the second part of that episode which is a more heartwarming scene.

The art for the anime is pretty good. While some people don't like that the characters have a case of the "Sameface" I can still differentiate the characters with no difficulty. Some have said that the personalities of each girl isn't shown enough aside from the main character, but I see a lot of small details that build up the girls' personality like Minami who likes eating and willing to try anything, Nanami who expects the best out of others or Kaya who acts as the older sister of the group.

The animation, is also pretty solid especially in the dance part. While the character sometimes looks weird at times but overall I don't mind and the actual dance part is actually really enjoyable. What I find disappointing is the OP which reuses scenes from the movie instead of using new scenes. It seems a bit lazy but not really a big deal though. (As of Episode 3 they use a new OP with a new song and animation, some scenes from the movie are still used but it is better than before. Check out the new OP below)

Overall, Wake Up, Girls! is a show that have a potential to be really good later on. By watching the movie and the first episodes you can already see the potential for a lot of drama and heartwarming moments. I hope they still show some of the dark side like in episode 2 but not let it be the focus of the show. Some people expected the show to show a 100% accurate representation of the Idol industry and expect the show to be really dark but I don't find such a thing to be enjoyable. Even with the dark parts, it is still an idol Anime and I expect for it to at least end with a happy ending whether the girls succeed or fail to reach the top.

This is definitely an anime I can recommend to people, even those who have never seen an Idol Anime before. It is somewhat realistic, it has drama, it has heartwarming moments, cute girls and the music is also good. If you haven't picked this up this season, do watch it and I think you won't be disappointed.

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