OK, a quick look at three shows this week to sync up with this seasons posting schedule. But first, an important message:
So, let’s hit the break and talk about WUG, SideM, and Love/Cocktail.
Just as a reminder, shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics.
Wake Up Girls! New Chapter Ep 1
OK, I’ll get this out-of-the-way first – yes, the production values on Wake Up Girls! New Chapter are sh*t. It’s practically a franchise trademark by now. But, this is one of those cases where it’s all about the story rather than wowing the audience with animation.
And what a story it is… As is another of it’s trademarks, WUG remains brutally realistic about the idol industry. Two years ago, after the first season, WUG managed to emerge champions in Idol Fest. But, they were one-hit wonders and the next year the I-1 Club juggernaut trounced them, again. As a result they’re still in Sendai, and still working their butts off as local idols with pretty much no national presence. (And in some ways, barely even a local presence.) They do have passionate local fans though – passionate enough to make their own tribute video at the site of WUG’s first concert.
Somehow, they get invited to perform on the national program Song Stage. Which isn’t actually that unusual when I think about it… Back in the heyday of variety shows on American TV, there’d usually be only one headliner (a current A-lister or at least a flavor-of-the-moment), and the balance would be filled out from the B- and C- lists and “used to be” performers. That could also be why they chose (or were asked to perform) what has to be a ‘old standby’ for them by now – 7 Girls War, from the original series. Otherwise I would have expected them to perform something newer, presuming they have it.
This was still an interesting segment, though WUG is still ‘non-professional’… They’ve still got heart and the one thing holds them together – their abiding friendship with each other. Almost all anime idol groups are friends, but in WUG that connection and the extent they depend on each other is emphasised. It’s not “without nine, we’re not μ’s”, more like “without all, we’re not the Wake Up Girls”. Or maybe it’s just my blatant and enthusiastic fanboy bias.
But even the fanboy in me cringed at the CGI performance. That was just bad… (Hence no screencaps.)
(Yes, the video is an hour long, but the link is to the start of 7 Girls War.)
The episode closes with two key scenes… In the first, the WUGners (WUG’s fanclub?) meet in a family restaurant to bemoan the failing state of the idol industry. Yet, they resolve to support WUG to the very end.
In the finale… President Tange has once again managed to snag a miracle, WUG is going on a national tour. But also as per the course, she’s dumping the actual work on poor Matsuda. That guy must really love the girls and his job to put up with the crap he routinely get stuck with.
Verdict: WUG-chan! WUG-chan! WUG-chan! (That’s fanboy for OH H*LL YES! THEY’RE BACK!)
Sorry, there’s just some shows I’m not even going to try all that hard to be objective or anything like it.
iDOLM@STER: SideM Ep1
A bit of a time-skip backwards, telling the tale of the ‘senpais’ that were introduced at the end of the prequel episode.
I seriously loved this episode. Feeling much like something out of the original series, it concentrated on a small number of characters interacting. This week was all about the men who (by the end of the episode) form the unit Dramatic Stars. Mostly it spent time with/about Teru, but we got to know the others as well. Tsubasa is a bit of jerk, working hard but refusing to completely cooperate. Kaoru seems to mostly be get-along-to-get-along, neither standing out nor fading completely into the background. Teru seems to have fallen into becoming an idol, but takes it seriously.
Usually the girls in anime are in the upper grades of middle school, or high school at best. We’re never told directly, but the members of Jupiter all seem to be high school or college age. The members of Dramatic Stars are however all much older. Tendou Teru (the leader) is twenty-eight, and a former (and disillusioned) lawyer. Very interesting, even if his motivation is the trite ‘smiles’.
In the teaser, we’re given a quick shot of what looks like the rest of the cast.
Over on the right, in the suit, is Producer. In the previous outings, a Producer character played a large role in the action but so far we’ve seen more of the Office Assistant.
Love is Like A Cocktail Ep2
Doesn’t stray far from its premise… But it is a little bothersome that Chisato and Sora’s relationship seems so based on booze.
And damm, my schedule just got hosed… My Girlfriend is a Shobitch just dropped, which means Inuyashiki might drop soon too. Might have to re-think my schedule in that case, though I don’t think there’s going to be a schedule collision. (With commenters like Dawnstorm who is in a timezone quite a few hours ahead of me.) I don’t see either show as being that important, so I can put watching them off until Thursday. I really want to stay on Wednesday if at all possible so I have time to work through the Fri-Sat glut of shows.
So, how has your week gone? Drop me a comment and let us know!