Well if you’ve watched the Selector Infected WIXOSS then you already know the basics here even as Lostorage puts a new spin on the game. WIXOSS is a popular card game only some people are chosen to become Selectors which means for them the game has some very real consequences. I reviewed this week to week so if you are interested in my thoughts on individual episodes click here.
Firstly, I’m going to say that while this anime is technically a sequel it really doesn’t require you to have watched the previous seasons to know what is going on and that is because the game has changed anyway and we’re dealing with a whole new group of players who don’t have any experience with WIXOSS either so they’ll tell us what we need to know as we go. There are a few throw backs to the previous seasons and characters so people with familiarity will probably get a bit more out of some scenes than others, but it is not inaccessible to new comers. I think that is a very good thing because I enjoyed this a lot more than the previous seasons.
Given the basic premise is about people being chosen to become Selectors and forced to play a game with high stakes (in this case loss of memories) but a promise of a wish being granted if they succeed is all pretty standard the show doesn’t spend a lot of time trying to justify its essential death game. Instead it focusses more on how the game disrupts the lives of those caught up in it and this makes it infinitely more interesting than if it spent episodes trying to explain the how and why of the game. Though, it would be nice if they gave the viewer a little bit more information about the game given there are times when it really feels like the players are pulling wins out of nowhere because we don’t understand the rules sufficiently to know if what they did was actually plausible. As I said though, it is more how the wins and losses impact upon the lives of those playing so maybe the show made the right choice all along.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS continues the tradition of having a name that looks like it should mean something but ends up really just being three words mashed together and also continues the tradition of inflicting maximum emotional pain upon its characters. I could be wrong but I think this series actually had more happy endings than Selector Infected given there was only really one character I liked who did not ‘survive’ the games and I felt really, really bad for him.
The show follows Chinatsu and Suzuko who were friends once upon a time but now they’ve grown up and Suzuko has been away for awhile but has finally returned only to find that Chinatsu is very different these days. By ‘chance’ both of these girls become Selectors and essentially Chinatsu is working to erase Suzuko while Suzuko wants to try to save Chinatsu (even if Chinatsu is disinclined to being saved). Others inevitably get caught up in this conflict and we see how Chinatsu and Suzuko interact with other Selectors. Essentially Chinatsu becomes poison and almost everyone who interacts with her ends up regretting it whereas Suzuko may at first bring conflict but ultimately encounters with her lead to a reasonably positive outcome (at least comparatively).
What the show does well is really look at how people deal with things when they are really desperate. The impossible situation the characters are in when they have to find someone to battle before an arbitrary time limit comes to an end, the devastation of losing a memory when they lose a battle, and the possibility of losing everything if they lose all of their coins push these characters to their limits. Throw in the Bookmaker who first offers hope by promising to organise them a match so that they don’t hit the time limit, and then crushes that hope by deliberately pitting weaker players against strong in order to destroy them, and you have some really desperate characters who are clinging to anything to stay afloat.
This is not a perfect show. The game is poorly explained, some of the victories are really plot convenience (as are some of the losses), characters portray ideas rather than real characterisation at times, and the dialogue is hard to take seriously particularly mid-battle, but the show fundamentally works. It is dark but not depressing, it makes you question what you would do in the various situations characters find themselves in, and it makes you feel a sense of loss or triumph at the appropriate moments.
Of course there was the announcement of a follow up season even though I’m pretty sure these characters don’t have much left to offer so I’m hoping that any follow up gives us some new cast members because otherwise I’m not seeing much of a point.
Anyway, if you didn’t watch Lostorage Incited WIXOSS during the Autumn season I would recommend this one to check out. It isn’t going to blow you away but it is a pretty enjoyable watch.
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