The story of Wake Up Girls! begins in a movie – one that I highly recommend you watch before beginning the television series – not in its first named episode. This sets a specific, cynical, framework through which to view the series, much like how The Idolm@ster‘s premiere episode was shot in the style of an idol interview, giving the show a specific tone. In spite of a harsh outlook on the idol industry, Wake Up Girls! doesn’t shine that same light on our would-be idols, similar to AKB0048‘s treatment of its progenies.
A few minutes in, our soon-to-be Producer of Green Leaves talent agency – who, in spite of bearing a strikingresemblance to Producer from The Idolm@ster, is also graced with a name, Kouhei Matsuda – watches company president Junko Tange yell at her own client like a deranged Anna Wintour. From that moment on, I knew that I was going to love this movie.
“To become a Center Nova, you must be accepting of loneliness. Those who glow the brightest are haunted by the darkest shadows. They’ll envy, target, and try to manipulate you. She who stands in position zero must bear the brunt of those winds.”
-Minami Minegishi the 5th, AKB0048 Next Stage, episode 21
Much like her namesake, Minami Minegishi the 5th did bear the brunt of those winds. Instead of a boy, it was a corporation. Instead of shaving her head, it was a suicidal mech-piloting mission.