With Hayasaku's work with the unit now common knowledge, even amongst all and sundry within I-1 Club (who are themselves working hard to ensure they aren't bested even if they aren't explicitly competing at the festival), that pressure is only intensified. In fact, this state of affairs is only ramped up further because of the continued interest in Mayu's place as the group's centre, leading the media to speculate that the Wake Up Girls may be the festival's dark horse while I-1 Club's current centre sees fit to meet Mayu personally to give her some needle about the need for her to compete against what I-1 has to offer.
All of this pressure inevitably builds as the girls rehearse and get their hopes up, only to have them dashed by Hayasaku who suggests that they are neither working hard nor long enough, echoing Mayu's own suggestions that they aren't putting in anywhere near as much effort as she's used to from her time at I-1 Club. These constant references to her former group eventually irks some of the others, and leader Yoppi in particular, bringing about more rows and retributions - not the best festival preparation, particularly considering that one of their number is already all set to leave to take a different career path.
Its characters are still bland and its animation on a downwards slide, but it is at least still somewhat refreshing to see an idol group having to suffer for their art rather than everything being easy peasy from the outset. This state of affairs does threaten to become both repetitive and frustrating thanks to a lack of traction in terms of the group's ability, but perhaps the festival will be a turning point that will make it all worthwhile in terms of character and story-building. Then again, I've been hoping for that for a while now with no real improvement in sight, so maybe it's merely wishful thinking on my part.