Yamamoto Yutaka failed to Save Anime after a few years of being sacked from Kyoto Animation. While Fractle was an ambitious project, it failed to live up to the hype. As expected, this failure was a big blow to his ego mostly because he stated that if the show flopped, he would retire. Since then, we haven’t heard much from him until now.
In the fall of 2013, it seems that Yutaka couldn’t stand not directing any Anime, thus he unretired himself to make a new show. What type of show did he choose to make? That’s right, an idol themed one. With that, we will take a look of the prequel that premiered, Wake Up Girls, The Seven Idols prequel feature film that premiered on the same day the first episode aired. (Image Source)
The whole plot of this film involves a slumping talent agency called Green Leaves Entertainment years after an earthquake hit the Tohoku region back in 2011. After the last person quit the job, Junko, the president enlists Kohei Matsuda to recruit 7 girls to form an idol group and then make a debut. Despite some financial problems with the agency, Mayu, a former member of the I-1 club joined after witnessing the other 6 girls being upset over the group possibly being disbanded. With her help, the group was able to make their debut.
Compared to other idol shows like The Idolmaster, Love Live School Idol Project and AKB0048 where it views the more positive aspects of idols such as friendship and the cheerful songs, Wake Up Girls takes a slightly different approach. This show takes a more realistic approach by showing the dark side of the idol industry such as girls being forced to “graduate” aka being fired as they done something wrong such as going against the management or dating someone. Mayu of course is supposed to represent how each girl’s dream of becoming an idol ends in a few years. While the premise is interesting, I felt that the overall feeling of the film was rather bland besides the performance. This is probably not the case with the actual show, but it gives a bad impression.
On the other hand, I also thought that the girls look too similar. Besides a few characters like Mayu, which receives a good amount of character development, I felt that the other girls were brushed to the side. Of course, the singing is another issue for the fact that many of these voice actresses are new, thus don’t have enough experience. I believe that this will change as time goes on.
As a whole, while I had mixed feelings for the prequel, I still believe that the premise is interesting mostly because idol themed shows tend to be cheerful. Still, for those who are interested in this show, I highly suggest watching the prequel even if it’s not that interesting so that you will have some idea of some of the characters (especially Mayu) in the show.
Overall Rating: 7.2/10, Average, C-¶