Hayasaka enters the girls in an idol competition that could make or break the group.
What They Say:
Content: (please note that the content portion of a review may contain spoilers)
Now that Airi is firmly a part of Wake Up, Girls! again, new producer Hayasaka has another ask for them: they will enter the “idol festival” an attempt to win so they can compete in a final battle against I-1. To do this he gives them a new song, with new choreography, that they’re expected to master before he comes back from his paying gig with I-1.
Following this, we see the I-1 machine again, as their president reminds them of the competition and their need to crush anyone that goes against them (right before firing another six girls). He’s then at a meeting with Hayasaka, where he brings up the producer’s moonlighting with WUG. It’s a sketchy scene, where we’re left once again to wonder what Hayasaka’s motives are in taking WUG on, and now, also, what the I-1 president’s motives are for allowing that to happen.
Two of the characters have moments of inner conflict in this episode. First there is Nanami, the classical music genius who even Hayasaka named a one of the best in the group. In a private conversation with Matsuda, she lets him know about her desire to quit before the idol festival because she wants to study for the Hirazuka Music School. WUG, after all, was just a stepping stone for her, something to help her improve before she moved onto her real dream. She seems to have no qualms about ditching her group mates before the important competition, but she then she makes a point of staying late with Airi and asking her why she works so hard. Airi reveals that she’s always been someone who quits because she’s not good enough, but she doesn’t want to do that anymore; she doesn’t want to be “half-hearted” with her feelings. This term strikes an obvious chord with Nanami, which may mean she’s having a harder time being calculating with her decision to quit than she let on to Matsuda.
The other person with problems this episode is Mayu. When they run into the main I-1 girls at a restaurant, the center pulls Mayu aside, letting her know that WUG better be up to snuff so she can really crush Mayu (what a nice old friend). Despite generally being the calm one in the group, this has a bad effect on Mayu, and, seemingly without meaning to, she begins comparing WUG to I-1, mainly focusing on how I-1 practices much more than they ever do. She pushes Airi, still the weak link, too hard, and finally gets Yoppi mad when she insists they aren’t good enough. A fight breaks out, Mayu runs off, and it seems like WUG could break up (we know they won’t) so what’s the solution? Apparently, a group trip.
Wake Up, Girls! continues to a relatively quiet series, as the big problems center around self esteem and important decisions that the individual girls struggle with. The show still doesn’t do quite a good enough job of drawing us into the girls to make these problems feel really stressful, and a lack of dread prevents us from actually thinking the group might fall apart and never make it to the competition. But, Wake Up, Girls! gives the girls real problems — worried about old friends, wanting to follow a different path — that keeps it from being boring. Even though i feel pretty confident that things will end well for our girls, I’m invested in how they eventually resolve this issues, and what new ones will arise in episodes to come.
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
Review Equipment: 13″ Apple Macbook set to 720p