While definitely not the first idol anime, Wake Up, Girls! Has done a good job of standing out amongst other shows with an array of complex characters with unique talents that add to their diverse personalities instead of relying on one gimmick to carry a character. The more realistic narrative of idol work as a business instead of just a fun time with friends adds an air of realism for those who desire a more serious story with their cute singing girls.
In the second season, Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou, there’s a greater focus on not just idol activities, but on how much outside work is necessary to make it as an idol. The characters not just in WUG but in other idol groups and industry professionals have to find creative ways to reach their goals. Ambition is not always put in a good light, nor is it always a characteristic of nice people. It is, however, necessary for those who are serious about becoming idols who can bring smiles to others. Of all the hard workers in Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou, here are our top 10 ambitious characters!
10. Hisami Nanami aka Nanamin
Nanamin seems a bit full of herself at first, but she holds herself to high standards and considers the way she conducts herself very important. She tries to brush off her own nervousness and give off a powerful and confident image even if she feels she’s not quite earned it. She does dearly love everyone in WUG and even pleads with her parents to allow her to live in a shared dorm instead of finishing high school at home. Having the support of her parents would have made for an easier school year but the group and her friends mean she’s willing to sacrifice convenience in order to continue growing with WUG. Nanamin might complain about not wanting to do something but she’s more likely to be pushing or lightly chastising other members for not reaching their potential.
9. Okamoto Miyu
Despite her self-description as “twin-tailed and incompetent”, Miyu has a bubbly and hard-working personality. She may not feel particularly skilled but her acceptance at doing things despite not feeling prepared is actually a strength of hers. She gets momentarily overwhelmed at times but that never causes her to give up. She simply finds a bright side and keeps trudging on. When WUG members weren’t gaining enough familiarity with their solo projects, Miyu decides to start a web show despite not having any experience. Because of her comfort in learning and failing and doing things she’s not familiar with, she recovers much faster than most of the other member’s when they feel like they’ve failed. Miyu has the very important skill of pushing on and she knows little things like disappointment or difficulty won’t stop her from achieving her dreams.
8. Hayashi Ayumi aka Hayamaru
Hayamaru is a bit of a dojikko (clumsy girl) but she’s incredibly earnest. It’s usually because she gets overwhelmed or overly happy she ends up getting hurt or falling over. Despite the somewhat clumsy way she handles things, Hayamaru is completely serious about her goal to be an idol like Mayushi. Even though it borders on weird obsession, her ambition has led her to help out more around the house, try again in the face of utter defeat, and politely argue with others so she can be given a chance to prove herself. She’s quite happy to do grunt work if it means proving herself as well as helping the members of WUG who she loves so much. She learns from listening to and watching her idol senpai just how important constitution in the face of adversity is.
7. Kikuma Kaya aka Kayatan
Kayatan is one of the older members and usually is very composed. Once you get the fires burning though, there’s no stopping her! One of the best examples of this in Shin Shou was episode 4 when she and Minyami went on a variety show with some comedians. They were all offered food and were expected to provide an entertaining commentary but the girls initially did not deliver. After being chided for being idols and thus not having what it takes to comment on food, Kaya’s fiery spirit bursts forth! She yells “Don’t underestimate the calories and idol can burn!!” Before vigorously scarfing down the whole plate. The reason they’re there is to get more fans for WUG and she won’t let potential new fans be dissuaded! Even after she makes a name for herself as an incredible eater, Kayatan becomes worried about her weight gain. At first, she tries to diet all by herself and does an incredible but worrying job of counting calories. She then decides to turn this into an opportunity to reach even more people by starting a dieting blog. This not only encourages her to diet less desperately and more healthily, but does indeed help spread WUG to more and more people. Kayatan does a good job of turning adversity into chances for success.
6. Kondou Mai aka Maimai
Despite her cute nickname, Maimai runs a tight ship. As the leader of I-1club, she expects top performances from each of the members. She does this out of love for the group though as she wants everyone to reach the stars together. She’s encouraging as well as demanding but that works well for these girls who pride themselves on being in the top idol group. The members respect and like her but she’s not afraid to get serious both on and off the stage.
5. Nanase Yoshino aka Yoppi
From her impressive background alone in modeling and acting, it’s clear Yoppi has got ambition. She’s very mature for a 16-year-old and is a clear choice for the leader of WUG. Yoppi is not one to shy away from difficult things even when she’s taken by surprise. Despite the slap in the face of being told she’s not doing a good job when she tries to return to modeling, Yoppi keeps at it eventually finding her niche. The group gets surprised with the ultimatum of ‘I won’t give you new music unless you write the lyrics yourself’ despite none of them having any experience. Yoppi tells them ‘it’s not about whether we can or can’t, it’s just something we have to do.’ Her calmness and determination despite the task being so foreign help reassure the other members and put them on the track for success.
4. Suzuki Moka aka Mokaga
Mokaga is a very determined and hard-working girl for an idol in general, let alone one so young. In Shin Shou, Mokaga is the center of I-1club at least for part of the series. She’s usually curt with others, especially outside her own idol group. She does care for the members of I-1club but that affection is often hidden under a haughty air. She doesn’t allow her feelings to make her soft or give others a chance to surpass her which often leads her to keep people at bay. However, her dreams are not only clear but within her grasp. She wants the attention on herself and she wants to be someone worthy of keeping it. When her position is threatened by the head of the company, she goes so far as to yell at him and say she won’t accept being cast aside from something that entirely wasn’t her fault.
3. Shimada Mayu aka Mayushi
Mayushi ends up being one of the most ambitious members of WUG despite her initial refusal to join the group. By Shin Shou, she is happily and totally dedicated to helping WUG reach I-1 levels of fame. Because of her previous experience in a top ranking idol group, she knows just how much effort it takes to rise to the top and how little it takes to plummet you back to the bottom. When the president of Green Leaves demands the girls get outside work in order to further promote WUG, Mayushi does her best to meet all the expectations pushed on her. She has by far the busiest schedule of the members but never loses her positive attitude or determination to help out around the house. She would never put someone else down to benefit herself, but she pushes herself to the max both physically and mentally because her goals are so important to her. It’s not enough to simply do something well, she also wants to rise above expectations. When she thinks a suggestion may help the script she’s working on, she boldly brings it up to the writer and director.
2. Iwasaki Shiho aka Shihocchi
Shihocchi has it all, a respect for authority, determination to fulfill her obligations, and the ambition to see things through no matter what. Even though she doesn’t want to be around Mayu after their falling out, Shihocchi acts entirely mature and friendly until she and Mayu are alone. She devotes herself to her role and there’s not a hint of forced concern for Mayu’s character. As the center for NEXT STORM, she also has to balance idol activities while working on a drama. Things get even more complicated when she has to replace Moka for a spell when she becomes injured. Juggling I-1club and NEXT STORM as well as acting is extremely draining but she doesn’t complain. Shihocchi knows that every opportunity is a chance to prove herself in the eyes of her company and her fans.
1. Tange Junko aka Shachou (President)
As the president of Green Leaves, it’s no wonder Shachou is ambitious. Surely she couldn’t run a successful talent agency without grit, resolve, and connections which she has in excess. She often asks too much from those around her be it patience or super-human acts, but she also will do anything in her power to make WUG successful without totally destroying the girls. While she seems mostly to fork over the difficult things to manager Kouhei but she’s willing to make sacrifices as well. At one point she proudly proclaims that ‘if you shook my wallet upside down, nothing would come out!’ after pouring all of her money into advertising for WUG’s tour. She’s not above manipulating people to do favors for her if it will benefit her company or her girls. While she sometimes has questionable intentions, it’s clear she’s definitely someone you want on your side.
While arguably Shiraki who oversees I-1 is the most ambitious, he’s a rather boring and borderline evil character who only sees these girls as a means to make sales. He can’t give any concern to how the girls feel which honestly is only sustainable for so long. In the entertainment industry, you need to have guts and sometimes you may bump heads with people when you’re fighting for the same dream. WUG understands this well but still tries to be positive role models for others. After all, their dream is not just to become famous, but to stay true to themselves while doing so. Girls, Be Ambitious!