I guess I’ll start by saying that if there any good times to go to a WUG live, this has to be definitely one of them. As the namesake of the event implies, this is a collaboration (though they’re trying to make it sound like a conflict) between the Wake Up, Girls and their in-show rivals, I-1 club. Hopefully this meant more performers, more songs, and more happy WUG time…at least when compared to a WUG only event. Joining me on this experience is @votamega.
The event was held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba and starred not only all the Wake Up, Girls (Yoshioka Mayu, Aoyama Yoshino, Tanaka Minami, Yamashita Nanami, Takagi Miyu, Eino Airi, Okuno Kaya), but also the voices behind I-1 club (Ootsubo Yuka, Kato Emiri, Tsuda Minami, Fukuhara Kaori, Yamamoto Nozomi, Yasuno Kiyono, and Akesaka Satomi) – many of which you’ve most likely heard of elsewhere.
The venue itself is around a 9-minute walk from the nearest JR station and hosts multiple halls that held various events simultaneously. At the time of WUG vs I-1, there was a competitive twirling event going on one adjacent hall and a furniture showcase on the other. The hall where we had to go to is where one would line up for goods and look at some cool things they had on display. As there was one other event going on at the same exact hall that day (that being Anime JAM 2014 – another event I attended and will hopefully discuss on another post), booths catered to both lives.
The performance itself took place in another hall, accessible by exiting the goods hall and taking a short walk outside and then going into another entrance. Past the bag-checks are your usual rows of chairs grouped by blocks with the five front-most blocks being the A Blocks numbered 1 to 5 from left to right. Succeeding blocks followed a similar layout spanning all the way to at least the D blocks, which is where we were situated.
Our seats were located on the D3 Block. They seemed nothing special at first glance, considering that we’re in the D Blocks and the seats themselves were tightly packed. I personally have only been to two other live venues but out of all of them, this is probably my least favorite one. That is, until we (our seats were next to each other) found out that the seats were (1) perfectly in line with the center of the stage, (2) were among the number of seats that would make the first row of the block, and (3) there was a very wide horizontal aisle separating our block from the C Block in front of us. This meant that (1) no side-angle blues, (2) more space for KB swinging action and last but not the least, (3) we got to be the closest to WUGs on wheels as they were passing by us via a giant float.
Seeing WUGners donned in WUG happis was an interesting sight to see. For one, we never really got the chance to see so many with the happis on. Another thing, you get to see the distribution of WUG representations, which is quite different from what I’ve imagined. Very surprised how popular Kayatan oshis were. There’s so many of them that it was hard not to run into one every minute. There were a lot of Yoppi oshis, but everyone kind of expected that. There were a decent amount of Minyami oshis, some Aichan oshis, and several Mayushis, most of which I saw outside Messe. Didn’t really see a lot of Nanamin and Myu oshis but then again, this is only riding on the assumption that everyone is wearing happis. That was not the case.
There were also small groups of WUGners that asked bypassers if they wanted to sign birthday messages to their respective oshis so that they can all put it in a card and present to them on their birthdays. Each WUG had their own respective groups. I of course signed Kaya’s, and Minyami’s (since her group was adjacent). It was just unfortunate that I could not find Myu’s at the time.
It was also nice to see WUGners I have met at previous events, particularly the JP WUGners who made it to Chicago, as well as the other ones I met at マチ★アソビ.
At the beginning, there was only the gigantic screen at the center of the stage which had the WUG vs I-1 logo as a screensaver. The audience was reminded of the usual ‘no recording devices’ advisory while the opening to うぇいくあっぷがーるZOO! / WUG Zoo was playing in the background. The audio gradually arranged itself to the melody of Gokujou Smile.
極上スマイル (Gokujou Smile)
Excessive amounts of hype everywhere. Seeing the WUGs perform this song for the first time (an I-1 song at that too) is just blinding. There was also much to learn in terms of calls but this is one of them instances where once you get into the beat, you more or less know when and where to call.
16歳のアガペー (16-sai no agappe)
They sound so much better than before from their nama performances. Not sure if the venue has better sound control or whatnot but if anything, the singing is more continuous, smooth, and does not sound forced. The song also works great with their event-exclusive outfits, which had coattails, since it involved a lot of them hopping around. Seeing those flaps up and down was just cute.
<WUG vs I-1 Janken Match, part of 47 Prefecture Mutual Contact Project (全国47都道府県触れ合いプロジェクト)>
Another great (and hilarious) segment of the live. Shortly before, we got led into thinking that this faceoff that has apparently been going on for a while was going to involve some physical activity, only to find out that it was all about Janken (Rock Paper Scissors) all along. Before this, there have been a total of seven face-off events between WUG and I-1, with WUG leading by 5 wins compared to I-1’s 2 wins.
They even go as far as showing on screen which faction won where, and how many times. The pictures were hilarious because some of them showed the winning girl celebrating over the losing girl.
Source: Wake Up, Girls! Official Blog @ http://ameblo.jp/wakeupgirls
The actual match followed a simple format. Each WUG/I-1 pair would say either some words of encouragement to themselves (something along the lines of ‘I won’t lose, etc’) or passive dissing to the other party (hilarity ensued after the dissing) and then the girls would then play janken once for practice and another one for real.
And for the results (winners in bold)…
Okuno Kaya vs Yasuno Kiyono
Takagi Miyu vs Akesaka Satomi
Yamashita Nanami vs Yamamoto Nozomi
Tanaka Minami vs Fukuhara Kaori
Eino Airi vs Tsuda Minami
Aoyama Yoshino vs Katou Emiri
Yoshioka Mayu vs Ootsubo Yuka
MATCH TALLY: 3-4 (I-1 Victory)
OVERALL TALLY: 6-3 (WUG lead)
ワグ・ズーズー (WUG Zoo Zoo)
This is probably my favorite part of the entire live. Especially when you have the WUGs running around all over the place to an already comical song, wearing animal headgears of their representative animal.
The WUGs on wheels mentioned earlier happened during this part of the performance and involved two floats that encircled the perimeter of the front half group of blocks whose border shared by the first row of seats in the back half, aka where we were. The first float which came from our left transported Kayatan and Yoppi while the other float which came from our right, transported Minyami, Aichan, and Myu.
I of course called out to Myu and Kaya as hard as I could as they passed by us. I think I might have gotten Myu’s attention too.
Character Song Medley
It goes without saying that the WUG character songs were going to be a definite feature of this live. I would have had doubts if the last remaining single didn’t come out by the time of the event, but Yoppi’s release just came out in the nick of time (leaving no time for us to get to listen to her song beforehand). What we did not expect was a medley. My gripe with medleys is that they sometimes leave out parts of a song you may want to hear.Not sure why but if it was done out of time constraints, I can’t help but scratch my head as the whole live was only about 2 hours long. On a brighter side, we got to hear each girls solo on live which was very nice as we don’t to get to hear solo performances often.
Getting to hear Mayushi performing her character song live just made my inclination, that she’s the best singer out of all of them, more convincing. She can really hold those notes without losing intensity. It’s just too bad we couldn’t see her full extent because, LOL medley.
Probably the liveliest solo of the bunch which is no surprise coming from Myu who was equally as lively if not a tad-bit more. Myu was every bit I imagined her to be while performing the solo. As for the song itself, I thought it was amusing that it left little room for calls other than the ‘WOO YEAHs’ and ‘YAY YAYs’ (which is plenty enough and perfectly fine).
歌と魚とハダシとわたし (Uta to sakana to hadashi to watashi)
If you walked into the live without hearing this piece before, you’ll still be able to pin this to Minyami because this song is literally the “UMEEEENYAAA” song. In fact, it felt as if the entirety of her performance was built around her doing “UMEEENYAA”, which she did and was probably the longest and loudest one I’ve ever heard her do.
可笑しの国 (Okashi no kuni)
I remember seeing Aichan struggling a bit when I first heard her perform this song during the last Tokyo Game Show which kinda left a small sensation of worrying. Thankfully that feeling was unfounded as Aichan performed her very well, and in a very cool (and cute) manner at that too…just like her song, especially at the ‘smile smile smile’ part.
オオカミとピアノ (Ookami to Piano)
Yet another one of them songs whose certain segments we never got to see because of the medley. The full version would have featured Nanamin speaking (not sing) out some delicious verses and maybe Nanamin howling. Nevertheless, seeing Nanamin sing the song, especially the parts in Italian (?), is most especially groovy if I may say. That goes with how she was moving throughout her performance. Must be the song. Actually no, it’s Nanamin.
スキ キライ ナイト (Suki kirai naito)
Kayatan’s song felt like a rock song. It’s actually a the sharp contrast when Kaya is singing as her WUG character compared to when she’s not, which is much more serious and refined. This is one of my favorite songs but it’s another one that’s so hard to call to. Perhaps I should have taken lessons from the guys behind us who “Kayatan!!!!! ‘d” all the way whenever they got the chance.
ステラ・ドライブ (Stella Drive)
As hinted earlier due to the lateness of the release, her performance would mark my first time hearing Yoppi’s single. For first impressions, it was within expectations of being a cool/chill song that’s analogous with her character. If there was one thing that was curious, it’s the difference on how I thought she sounded live versus how she sounds from her CD (after finally being able to listen to it). For some reason, she sounds maybe younger, probably closer to how she naturally sounds as compared to how her WUG character sounds.
One of my most anticipated songs of the night for many reasons. First: it’s the first song completely performed exclusively by all of the I-1 club. Second: oh my god, I-1 club girls dancing and moving with such poise! Third: Being able to call Jera Jera/Mera Mera/Yume Yume with the I-1 girls and with everyone else! Last but not the least: when the song dropped the bass towards the end, everyone went into a calling frenzy! It goes without saying that ジェラ is the most interactive of all from the set list.
<MC: Movie announcement>
Aaah! There’s going to be another WUG movie for 2015! The first thing that will probably catch your eye is that Yoppi’s character has cut her hair!
It’s also amusing how Yoppi who was present on stage at the time of the PV viewing, clung to her hair for fear of it getting cut to the liking of her 2D counterpart.
リトルチャレンジャー (Little Challenger)
We expected Mayushi in an I-1 outfit and that was exactly what we got. A very relatively calm performance (not too many girls moving about everywhere), until you get to the すきだよ part of the song where you just start crying on the inside.
A relatively older song with new calls (at least to those of us who can’t go see performances every single time)! Watching this live and comparing it to namas from past events (e.g. WonFes, Anime Central, etc.) felt very refreshing.
7 girls war
Like タチアガレ！, there were numerous occasions to see this performance from the web through namas but unlike it, we never really got to see this live. So seeing the girls do actual cartwheels was very amazing.
<More MC: Wake Up, Girls Official Fan Club>
At the moment, signing up for the fan club will only sign you up for a newsletter but who knows what else you can benefit from by joining.
Sign up at: http://wug-fc.jp/. If you rep more than one WUG, beware. You can only choose one.
言の葉 青葉 (Kotonoha Aoba)
While not much different from their previous performances, the placement of the song on the setlist was perfect for slowing the pace for the final song. Another thing to note was how some people in the audience were actually mimicking the girls’ hand movements during the song, which great because we were doing the same thing when they visited Chicago. Good to know the kaigai wugners were thinking of the same idea.
極上スマイル (Gokujou Smile, WUG x I-1 version)
Gokujou Smile, if anything, is more of an I-1 song than it is a WUG one I would think. So I was anticipating an I-1 only version. In retrospect, I’m glad that they went along with a collab version instead. We get to see the I-1 girls sing their respective parts with their WUG counterparts which was altogether a great sight to see.
Also, with this song going around the second time, we now know how to call properly!
Overall, not only was it a great experience but it was also an eye-opener. While this event might be a one-time thing for a considerable amount of time (I reckon the I-1 girls won’t be present every single time), if all WUG lives are this much fun, I might have to make room for attending future instances, even if I have to pull it off in a weekend.