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Anime: Wake Up Girls
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.
  • Animal Motifs: Each of the girls have a predator motif.
    • Mayu: Lion
    • Miyu: Eagle
    • Minami: Tiger
    • Yoshino: Bear
    • Nanami: Wolf
    • Kaya: Crocodile
    • Airi: Shark
  • 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.
    • Mayu: Red
    • Miyu: Orange
    • Minami: Yellow
    • Kaya: Green
    • Yoshino: Light blue
    • Airi: Dark blue
    • Nanami: Purple
  • 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.
  • Cover Version: In episode two, Miyu performs a cover of Haiyore! Nyarko-san's opening.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Miyu describes herself as having these characteristics.
  • 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.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • 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.
    • Yoshino auditioned for Japan Girls' Collection, a parody of Tokyo Girls Style.
  • Elegant Classical Musician: Nanami is trained classically in voice and piano.
  • Expy: Yoshino bears a resemblance to Chihaya of The Idolmaster fame.
  • Fanservice:
    • Time constraints during WUG’s first performance means that the girls eschew Modesty Shorts, leading to a large number of panty shots.
    • In episode two, Sudo makes the girls perform on bikini in a hot spring, claiming it is the same as gravure work.
  • Genki Girl: Minami and Miyu are generally more cheerful and optimistic than the others in WUG.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Minami and Miyu both sport pigtails.
  • 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.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Minami is good friends with quite a few senior citizens.
  • 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.
  • Otaku Surrogate: Miyu, who follows idols and idol forums, uses netspeak in casual conversation, loves anime songs, and is quite knowledgeable about anime tropes.
  • Real Place Background: The show takes place in the Japanese town of Sendai, with lots of locations depicted in vivid detail.
  • Shrinking Violet: At the series’ beginning, Mayu is shy, hesitant and unwilling to join WUG, although as she opens up to everyone, she gradually rediscovers her passion for performing as an idol.
  • Title-Only Opening: This is inverted in the movie, where the "Wake Up, Girls!" title card doesn't appear until the final shot, and then cuts to the end credits.
  • You Are Number Six: The I-1 Club director only refers to its members by their numbers.
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