Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

4 December 2017: Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shō remembers that Shimada Mayu is first among equals

Shiho and Mayu
In unrelated news, I'm pretty stoked Shiho is in this too.

I can't remember where I first heard Wake Up, Girls! characterized as "failure moé," but the term has stuck with me as a fairly apt way of describing the franchise, notably for its upward swings from being the underdog as the only idol show without a Sunrise affiliation, to achieving solid triumphant moments, including what was reportedly a stunning performance at Anime Expo 2017 in Los Angeles (which I missed). Unfortunately, the current season of the anime, Wake Up, Girls! New Chapter, has fared woefully from an animation standpoint, giving the impression that the WUGs have taken a couple steps backwards. The Yamakan-helmed first season had its own problems at times, but nothing anywhere near this dire. Through seven episodes, extensive use of stills and slow pans turn much of the show into a radio drama, and it's obvious quite a bit of daylight separates reality and desire when it comes to production efforts. Problems plague even the official subtitles, which continue to display an incorrect name for one of the main characters in the opening credits even now.

WUG van
Although infamous, I don't even regard this cut as one of the worst offenders.

Nevertheless, the core of the series remains the idols themselves, and fans of the original cast will be pleased to see them again, even as New Chapter plainly attempts to set the stage for a trio of newcomers, perhaps somewhat ominously since Wake Up, Girls! characters age in real time. E.g., Nanami is 18 now, not 13 like she was in the first season, even though she basically looks the same still (revised character designs notwithstanding). It also appears New Chapter has returned to reinforcing the franchise's initial position with regard to Shimada Mayu. I.e., Mayu is the group's center and the show's ostensible main character. Those of you who watched the original hour-long Wake Up, Girls! movie from 2014 may remember the plot wasn't so much about the septet forming (as those who pointedly skipped the movie expected), but rather about Mayu's decision to return to the idol mines.

Well, maybe Miyu meant to do that.

The Mayu-centric focus waned a bit through the rest of the first season and during the subsequent Wake Up, Girl Zoo! shorts as the spotlight trained on the rest of the ensemble cast, but it seems (after mostly ignoring her for the first few episodes) Wake Up, Girls! is bringing its attention back toward Mayu, both in Shin Shou where one of the Run Girls, Run! newbies basically worships her and in the promotional materials for Wake Up, Girls!Festa. 2017 TRINITY along with Shiho from NEXT STORM and Moka from I-1 Club (the new bitch after Shiho stopped being a cunt to Mayu). (P.S. Spoilers.) I can't claim the rest of New Chapter is going to turn into an All-Mayu-All-the-Time vehicle, but it probably should. And I mean that from a purely artistic and narrative standpoint, and not because I've got some sort of Mayushii bias, okay.

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