The New WUG; Same as the Old WUG. Kinda.

Posted by DiGiKerot in Wake Up Girls! at September 8, 2017 on 6:58 pm

A new PV for the new series of Wake Up, Girls!, which is due to start next month, dropped during the Nico stream today. You should go watch it.

The new WUG show was announced a while back, but whilst it may not be immediately obvious thanks to the new visual stylings and the fact that it wasn’t particularly easy to see those follow-up movies in English, it’s still very much a follow-up to the prior instalments. Continuing to hue towards what was one of the original stated concepts of the franchise, it moves the clock on the same two years since the events of Beyond the Bottom as have passed since that movies release (and roughly four since the start of the original movie). The changes which occurred in those sequel movies are still pretty evidentially in effect here – Moka wrestled the centre position of I-1 Club from Shiho by outselling her single variant, Nanami forgoes her chance to audition with the Hikarizuka Review to stay with WUG (this was almost hilariously flippantly handled, coincidentally), and WUG actually win something in Tokyo. Moka is still hella short, and still looks hella ill-tempered.

Goodness knows what’s happened to Mayu’s former I-1 Club friend and rival Shiho following been booted out of the main unit into start-up group Next Storm (who’s movie tie-in CD was great, but are completely absent from the promotional material for the new show). Presumably that’ll be addressed at some point in some fashion.

Actually, it’s pretty curious that there’s absolutely no deviation in the current line-up of I-1 Club in the new show from where they landed at the end of Beyond the Bottom. I suppose it saves on some auditioning, though I guess they had to do that anyway for the Run Girls, Run, errr, girls, who are joining the cast as Green Leaves second idol unit in this one.

Still, whilst the new show is a direct continuation, it’s pretty evident that there have been changes involved here. Kousaki Satoru (who, I guess, people would mostly know for his ‘Monogatari work these days) is still, thankfully, in charge of the music, including presumably vocal song production, but much of the rest of the staff has changed. Sugawara Miyuki has reinterpreted the original character designs in a fashion that… is probably going to take some getting used to. I mean, aside from the fact that they’re supposed to be a couple of years older now (but clearly don’t really look it due to both the shift in style, and the general art directions move away from the muted, earthier colour tones of previous instalments), I think it’s probably something to do with the way that their mouths are drawn. It’s hard to put ones finger on, but when their starting straight-at camera, I’m bizarrely reminded of an early digi-paint show (something by Gonzo or such). The new designs will probably pay dividends in terms of actual animation, particularly for a TV production, but we’ll see.

Obviously, though the most publicised change is that Itagaki Shin, best known for the glorious Teekyu (and the rather less glorious 2016/17 Berserk) has taken over as director, replacing Yamamoto Yutaka. Animation production is being done at Millepensee, who, again, are mostly known for Teekyu (and Berserk), but to be fair were also co-producing those sequel movies with Ordet, and those looked fine, frankly. Given that Yamakan’s work has a habit of having an overall tone of walking the hypocrisy knife-edge between criticising fandom whilst also marketing straight at them, it’ll be curious to see exactly how tonally different the show ends up being under a different director.

The most curious question is, honestly, who is actually writing the scripts for this thing. They were pretty in-your-face about the fact that the scripts for the original WUG movie and TV show were by Machida Touko – probably because she’d just come of the iM@S TV show at the time and they were keen to monopolise on the publicity that resulted in. As with the new WUG show, though, the promotional material for the sequel movies just credits the story to Green Leaves rather than any one writer in particular. This effectively means “Group Effort” – which, to be fair, is likely always the case when you have something that is not only an original work, but one which very much is intended to be promoting an idol group at the same time. Whilst the actual scripts for the movies were ultimately still actually credited to Machida, it’s entirely unclear at the moment who’ll ultimately be tempering the expectations of probably multiple producers and the shows director into something workable for this new show.

I’m looking forward to the new WUG, though. If nothing else, it’ll be kind of fascinating to see unfold – whilst it’s true of a bunch of adaptations, I’m honestly struggling to think of a continuation of an original work which has seen such a fundamental change in who is in charge of it’s actual implementation. It’s going to be interesting to see just exactly how much they retain and throw-out about what ultimately made the original show what it was.

Also, strong pout game.

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