From left to right, Miyu Okamoto, Minami Katayama, Airi Hayashida, Mayu Shimada, Yoshino Nanase, Nanami Hisami and Kaya Kikuma.
Green Leaves Entertainment was once a well-known production company in Sendai that managed the careers of magicians, photo idols, fortune-tellers, and other entertainers. However, after the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, the company fell upon hard times and was eventually threatened with bankruptcy.In a last bid to survive, the President of Green Leaves decides to create a seven-person idol unit scouted from local and undiscovered Sendai talent: "Wake Up, Girls!". But the girls soon realise that the journey to the top is fraught with low-paying gigs, punishing schedules and hours of practice. Overcoming their hesitancies and doubts, they strive to leave an impact on a saturated industry dominated by the manufactured mega-group "I-1 Club".Depicting a more realistic side of the idol industry, Wake Up, Girls! aired during the Winter 2014 Anime season. A prequel film, called Shichinin no Idol (The Seven Idols), was released on January 10, 2014, the same day the anime opened. Wake Up, Girls! is directed by Yutaka Yamamoto, and produced by produced by Ordet and Tatsunoko Production. Wake Up, Girls! has its own game called Stage no Tenshi (which is based on the Mobage platform), and the series is available for streaming at CrunchyRoll.
Wake Up, Girls! provides examples of:
Affectionate Nickname: Several of the girls are referred to by their nicknames. For instance, Yoshino is called "Yoppi", and Mayu was nicknamed Mayushi back during her time with I-1 (current fans still call her thus). All of the girls in I-1 girls appear to have a nickname, and Wake Up, Girls itself is affectionately dubbed "WUG-chan" by fans in the fifth episode.
Anime Hair: While there are some dark purple and dark blue hair colours (such as Yoshino), this is averted; most of the girls have realistic hairstyles and colours.
Berserk Button: Despite her irresponsible mannerisms, Junko is concerned for the girls and will not hesitate to beat down anyone attempting to exploit them.
Big Eater: Minami is ever-enthusiastic about eating and is usually seen with a large amount of food during mealtimes.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Besides representation by a predator motif, each girl is associated with a unique colour, which is also present in each of the respective ribbons or ties in their concert uniforms.
Yoshino: Light blue
Airi: Dark blue
Conspicuous CG: During the I-1 Club practice scenes, those who stand in the first row are hand-drawn, and everyone else are CG-animated.
Cool Big Sis: Being the oldest of the group, as well having a as soft spoken and responsible nature, Kaya plays this role to the other girls.
Darker and Edgier: Compared with other anime about idols, Wake Up, Girls! illustrates some of the uglier sides of the business, including small-time performances with low attendance and even harassment during some performances.
Mayu's history with I-1 is alluded to in several points, but by episode nine, Mayu finally opens up and shares her story. It turns out that she had joined I-1 Club as a first-generation member. When a close friend and fellow member of the first generation was dismissed for having a relationship, which the I-1 prohibits, she appealed to the producer to let it slide. In return, he gave her the ultimatum to sell more singles with her as the center as opposed to a different one featuring Shiho, or be fired for going against him. Mayu lost and was forced to resign, leading to her parents having a rather messy divorce.
Kaya tells Mayu of her own past after the latter shares her story. The former had lost her parents at a young age. Shortly after, one of her childhood friends disappeared when his fishing boat that went missing, leading her to run away from home.
I-1 Club is the most popular idol group in the series' universe and shares many similarities with real life AKB48, being a Tokyo-based group with an iconic red outfit and a dream to perform at the Tokyo Dome
Mayu's story bears resemblance to that of AKB's former centre, Atsuko "Acchan" Maeda. The group's goal is to perform at Kouhaku, the same as Momoiro Clover Z and NMB48.
Hime Cut: Yoshino’s hair is styled in this manner.
Hypocritical Heartwarming: Despite deserting with the group’s funds early in WUG’s existence, Green Leave’s president, Junko, savagely delivers a beating to Sudo for attempting to scam and sexualise the girls.
Idol Singer: This series is about idols and some of the challenges they face en route to the top.
The Leader: Owing to her maturity and prior experience in the entertainment industry, Yoshino is referred to as “Leader” by everyone else in WUG.
Mama Bear: Despite her mannerisms, Junko cares deeply for the girls; in addition to delivering the aforementioned beat down to Sudo in episode two, she tries her best to cheer up Mayu at the end of the fourth episode.
Meido: Miyu works at a maid cafe and has a strong passion for performing to an audience.
Only Six Faces: The girls share similar facial features and eye shape, but can be differentiated by their personalities and hairstyles.