Wake Up, Girls! Anime Review : Underperforming Idol

Wake Up, Girls! is an idol group of seven girls. The audition for Wake Up, Girls! member started in 2012 by Avex Audition. Maximum age allowed at that time was 22 years old. The list of girls who passed the audition is as follow :

Name Date of Birth Place of Birth Blood-type Hobby Special Skills
Yoshioka Mayu 11/11/95 Osaka O Writing Novel Classic Ballet
Eino Airi 01/19/93 Miyagi O Baseball Dancing
Tanaka Minami 01/22/96 Kanagawa A Karaoke Swimming
Aoyama Yoshino 05/05/96 Kumamoto A Reading Manga Calligraphy
Yamashita Nanami 06/19/95 Tokushima A Chatting Flute
Okuno Kaya 03/01/91 Iwate A Playing with Cat and Dog Touhoku dialect and Piano
Takagi Miyu 09/08/96 Chiba O Game Ballet

The unit made their debut in early 2014 with the released of anime film Wake Up, Girls! Shicinin no Aidoru. The film was released on January 10, 2014 followed by 12-episode TV anime aired from January 11, 2014 to March 29, 2014. In continuation of the TV Anime, 2 anime film 5 dubbed Wake Up, Girls! Seishun no Kage and Wake Up, Girls! Beyond The Bottom were released on September 25, 2015 and December 11, 2015.

In this review, I only cover the first anime film and the TV series. As an anime with idol theme, I’d say the momentum of Wake Up, Girls! film and TV series isn’t quite right. Yes, at that time, Idol-themed was popular, thanks to Love Live! strong reception inside and outside of Japan. However, Wake Up, Girls! was mostly overshadowed by μ’s popularity, especially with 2nd TV Series of Love Live! aired not too long after Wake Up, Girls! TV series. Most anime otaku, especiall foreign otaku(s) had their eyes on Love Live!

Story
The story of Wake Up, Girls! itself isn’t bad. It’s actually very good! It has much less noticeable flaw compared to Love Live!. Well, Love Live! itself has too much noticeable flaw since I paid a lot of attention about logic in anime. Started with a small agency in Sendai recruiting idols. Seven idols were recruited. Their first live performance is far from impressive. Not even noticeable. They also have to face many challenges. Internal conflicts between members are also unavoidable. To overcome all of these challenges, they must have strong will, determination, and friendship. Wake Up, Girls! is not about fun. It’s about one’s determination to become an idol.

Characters
The characters in Wake Up, Girls! anime have similar given name with their seiyuu. The kanji is different though. I list the comparison here.

Character
Name
Character
Date of Birth
Character
Blood-type
Character
Height
Seiyuu/Idol
Name
Seiyuu/Idol
Date of Birth
Seiyuu/Idol
Blood-type
Seiyuu/Idol
Height
Shimada Mayu
島田 真夢
November 7, 1997 O 159cm Yoshioka Mayu
吉岡茉祐
November 11, 1995 O 159cm
Hayashida Airi
林田 藍里
January 19, 1998 O 155cm Eino Airi
永野愛理
January 19, 1993 O 153cm
Katayama Minami
片山 実波
January 22, 1999 A 150cm Tanaka Minami
田中美海
January 22, 1996 A 156cm
Nanase Yoshino
七瀬 佳乃
May 15, 1997 A 159cm Aoyama Yoshino
青山吉能
May 5, 1996 A 159cm
Hisami Nanami
久海 菜々美
July 19, 1999 A 148cm Yamashita Nanami
山下七海
June 19, 1995 A 160cm
Kikuma Kaya
菊間 夏夜
March 1, 1995 A 164cm Okuno Kaya
奥野香耶
March 1, 1991 A 151cm
Okamoto Miyu
岡本 未夕
September 1, 1995 O 162cm Takagi Miyu
高木美佑
September 8, 1996 O 164cm

WUG_Cast_01Every characters have different personality. My favorite is Katayama Minami because of Tanaka Minami’s cute voice. She sounds so cheerful and innocent, perfectly match Katayama Minami’s personality. Kikuma Kaya is my second favorite due to her mature personality. Okuno Kaya also did a great job in voicing her. Okamoto Miyu is also interesting because of her fun personality combined with Takagi Miyu’s cute voice. The other four is pretty decent and quite stand out I think.

Animation
While Wake Up, Girls! story is very good, the animation is rather weak, far from impressive. Especially for a 2013-2014 anime. It’s on par with Digimon Adventure Tri. film in 2015. Both looks like an anime from 2005. While the character design is okay, color gradient looks weak and shading is not so good. It’s quite a let down although it is still acceptable. But with this level of animation, this anime can’t compete against the glorious animation of Love Live and THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS. Even K-ON! from 2009 still looks noticeably better.

Music
Idol-themed anime is also about music, right? Wake Up, Girls! also fell short in the music. Basically, the insert songs are good, but not good enough for anime with idol or music theme. Even A Channel still offers more and better insert song (at least according to my ears). And A Channel is anime about daily life and not related music. Background Music is a bit weak too. It’s not quite making me feel the emotion that the characters feel despite this anime has quite a lot of potential scene.

Final Thought
A mixed bag of feeling. The concept of Wake Up, Girls! is more than just good. It’s very good, even better and makes more senses than Love Live! But the animation and music kinda let it down. I wanna blame the studio for this but I don’t know, honestly. If Sunrise or Kyoto-Animation were the studio behind Wake Up, Girls!, I thought this anime could be much better. But that was only my wild guess. Even with its weakness, I’d say Wake Up, Girls! is still a very good anime, thanks to the story it delivered.

Story 8
Animation 6
Sounds & Musics 7
Characters 8
Voice Acting 7
Overall 7
Rated as Very Good

Pros
(+) Very good story concept
(+) Real world idol casts that you can still see even after the anime finished

Cons
(-) Animation quality is below average for a 2014 anime, although still acceptable
(-) Music is not quite good for anime with idol and music theme

WUG_Cast_08

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