Wake Me Up Before You WUG-WUG
So this is the point where I’m going to defend something that the internet hates …again. Well, why the hell not? I watched Wake Up, Girls! – Seven Idols and I liked it.
Now, let us talk about director Yutaka “Yamakan” Yamamoto. While I liked his work on Senyu. last year, I can’t claim to be a fan in general. Most of his stuff I have not seen and the rest I’ve been lukewarm on, with a few exceptions both ways of course. His biggest crime to me was contributing some episodes to Air.
As such, I don’t have any strong feelings what so ever on Yamakan as a director, unlike many others. In fact, I walked into Seven Idols without even knowing he was the director.
Seven Idols is a fifty minute movie serving as the set-up for the TV-series that began airing the same day. It tells the story of the talent agency Green Leaves that is slowly running out of business. In a last money-grabbing move the director of the company orders Matsuda, her assistant, to assemble a teen idol group called Wake Up, Girls!, which will then start training and eventually debut so that the agency can be saved.
Throughout the fifty minutes we meet the titular seven idols. Airi, Minami, Nanami, Kaya, Miyu, Yoshino and finally Mayu. Mayu was previously in the idol group I-1, which is currently one of the biggest idol groups in the nation. While the movie does introduce all seven characters, Mayu is really the only character we get to have any proper character development time with, which is a shame seeing as there was potential for much more.
There’s a good story told here about the forming of Wake Up, Girls! with plenty of clever ideas that are executed good but not great. Things are passed by in a second and when we finally get to the big climax of the story it feels like we should have been along for a longer ride than we have.
With that said, the actual tone and style of the movie works in its favour. Presenting a idol story as what’s basically a more cynical look at the genre, while still keeping the idea of idols being all about spreading happiness intact is not easy, but I felt this movie did it quite well. Seven Idols could have easily gone to far with trying to be depressing and if it had I think it would have hurt the movie a lot. But we have an entire TV-series that might mess that up, so we’ll see.
The voice-actresses are doing a good job and while the idols didn’t get much development aside from the previously mentioned Mayu, they all have distinctive voices that help the characters quite a bit.
Their singing is pretty good as well and I really like the title-song from the movie that will also be used as the opening theme song for the TV-series. The rest of the soundtrack was nothing special.
But let’s talk about the elephant in the room, the art. Yes, I won’t deny that there’s some shoddy artwork and off-model stuff going on here. Though far more in the TV-series, but that’s a different review. I don’t know if the franchise is just under-budgeted, rushed out or if it’s just a case of bad artists.
But the movie gains so much respect for actually going with 2D dancing for the idol performances and having that look really impressive. I’m tired of questionable CG in my idol shows.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the regular style of idol-shows more than I probably should and I’m not going to sit here and claim Seven Idols is an amazing deconstruction of the genre, because that’d be really silly. But as an experiment in a slightly different approach, I felt it worked really well. Far from perfect and a bit rushed, but very satisfying.
Now …what about that TV-series?