The members of Wake Up, Girls! face a decision that could break their group apart forever.
What They Say:
Content: (please note that the content portion of a review may contain spoilers)
We pick up where we left in the last episode, with the girls being forced into a decision by their new producer — agree to cut Airi, or stop their lessons and end the group altogether. While the girls struggle over the decision, Matsuda does us a little proud by yelling at Hayasaka, decidedly not approving of the brutal way he’s choosing to run WUG. But, as President Tange says, it’s not up to them, and if this one decision breaks them apart, maybe they weren’t meant to make it big.
Airi, meanwhile, is dealing with the problem on her own. She has a surprisingly subtle moment with her father, when she comes downstairs to help rather than go to practice. He makes a point that she would mostly get in his way, and when he asks if she’s going to her “thing” she simply does not respond. After taking down the pictures of her with the other girls in her room, it’s obvious she’s intent on quitting, but this silence, in face of a simple question, shows her struggle more than any dialogue would.
Airi is the main focus of this episode, but other characters have issues they have to work through here, most notably Yoppi. Still dwelling on the comment that the reporter made a couple episodes ago, that WUG wouldn’t exist with Mayu, she’s also breaking down over being looked to as the leader of the group, even though she has no idea about how to lead, let along whether or not to make the decision to let Airi go. When the decision is made to keep her, she and Mayu go to get Airi back, and despite her being Mayu’s friend first, it’s Yoppi’s words, “It’s not too late to quit until after you’ve tried everything!” that finally bring her around.
The other girls have the task of keeping the group going, now that they’ve gone against their producer’s wishes, and he sets them to an odd task — get him three stuffed toys from a claw machine within a time limit. They struggle with it (who wouldn’t those things are frustrating) but they’re determined, and even when they’re snapping at each other they cheer one another on. It’s not as clear what Hayasaka was doing with this exercise, if this was part of him testing their limits, figuring out what kind of group he’s dealing with, or just that he wanted three stuffed samurai, but in the end it works, and WUG continues with Airi.
Though directly a continuation of the previous episode, this story also pulls in elements that were brought up before — Mayu’s prominence in the group, their lack of cohesiveness since they don’t share their feelings, and Yoppi’s damaged confidence. This makes for a more complicated story than the episodic issue-of-the-week formula it seemed like the show was falling into The show still remains too predictable; nothing truly bad has ever happened to WUG, so believing even for a second that the group would fall apart was near impossible. But, unexpected character development keeps Wake Up, Girls! fascinating, even if it’s not entirely engrossing yet.
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
Review Equipment: 13″ Apple Macbook set to 720p