Airing in the FALL 2016 anime season, Lostorage Incited WIXOSS gave us a new and exciting instalment in the WIXOSS franchise. Girls playing a card game with deadly consequences – what could go wrong?
Here are my episodic thoughts as I watched during the season. If you want the full series review it is available here.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 1:
After kind of liking but not being into the original Selector Infected WIXOSS (and never quite understanding if that name was supposed to mean anything) I wasn’t really up for Lostorge Incited WIXOSS. Then I read a couple of fairly solid reviews on episode 1 and decided to check it out.
It’s definitely WIXOSS and that means for me it is watchable and entertaining but I’m always feeling a little bit at arms length from the story. The main character this time, Suzuko, is the kind of simpering and indecisive heroine I find grating and our main setup seems t obe around the fact that her childhood friend has also been made a selector.
The card battles themselves are where I find this series really loses me. Sometimes they have to end their turns, othertimes they attack when it seems like its the opponents turn, and they seem to pull attacks and cards out of nowhere because we don’t actually know what they can do so there’s no real tension going in to the first battle (because as if they are going to wipe out the main character in episode 1).
I did like that this season of WIXOSS isn’t trying to hide the nature of the game from the audience or the selectors (although I suspect that we’ll still find twists a plenty). If it feels like I’m being negative, I don’t actually mean to be. This is a fairly solid first episode and doesn’t require knowledge of the other stories in the franchise so if you haven’t checked it out and you are looking for dark magical girls playing a battle card game (and let’s be honest, who isn’t looking for that) then you will get exactly what you expect going into this.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS is available on Crunchyroll.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 2:
Shifting focus to the other of the childhood friends, this week we follow Chi around as her carefully constructed life essentially falls apart in a series of unfortunate occurrences and bad choices. With nothing left to lost the final battle of this episode kind of defines what happens when good girls go bad and now I feel really bad for when Suzu finally finds her because this is going to hurt. A lot.
Previous seasons of WIXOSS prepare you for emotional pain but this season has hit the go button right from the start so it is hard to imagine just what these characters are going to go through before the end but I’m really looking forward to following that journey. I’m just kind of hoping someone comes out of it okay.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 3:
This week we are back with Suzuko, mostly. She’s still freaking out about the whole fighting others thing but does eventually enter a match.
Sister complex boy was interesting and tells us what it means to disappear, though this was kind of unnecessary given column writing girl takes the last coin from another Selector and we get shown first hand what it means to disappear. It kind of makes you wonder why they duplicate the information in this episode.
We also learn about a Bookmaker which may have felt like a bit of intrigue for future episodes except the preview of the next episode kind of tells you more information and takes a bit of the mystery away. This episode isn’t as emotionally confronting as last week but does show us a range of Selectors and how they are dealing with (or running away from) being chosen.
Now, not part of the review but a question: Why don’t the Selectors just battle the same person back and forth and agree to lose every second match? Is the time limit something imposed in total (as in if they don’t get five coins after so long they lose anyway)? Anyway, just wondering.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 4:
Hanna is fast becoming one of my favourite characters even though at times her stilted speech pattern seems really affected and a little bit silly. Her inclusion in the story kind of balances out the tragic friendship tale brewing between Chi and Suzuko.
On that note, this week we met the Bookmaker and he is one creepy character. The fact that he isn’t a Selector and therefore not tied into the game against his will just makes him even more loathsome as he seemingly gets off on the desperation of others and while he doesn’t promise them an easy match he certainly implies that a Selector has hope when they do not.
Plus, his threat to Hanna and Suzuko may have been a joke but they can’t ignore the fact that it is possible he’ll work to block them from finding matches on their own which given the time limit on their coins would be a real issue.
As the episode title suggested this week, Chi and Suzuko reunite but it is all a little bit too late. Chi is quite clearly a little bit broken after the emotional damage she took in episode 2.
All and all, this is a great episode and progresses the plot nicely (if by nicely you read that the writers are working very hard at stomping on any glimmers of hope a character may find). Thoroughly enjoyable though no actual information is given about what the end game might be. This is all character focussed and the game of WIXOSS remains as inscrutable as ever.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 5:
Lostorage Incited Wixoss kind of fell flat this week and the reason is because we don’t gain anything from this episode. Certainly we consolidate the fall out from Chi and Suzu’s reunion and Hanna and Suzu finally face off (an event which has been on the cards since episode 1) but we learn nothing new about the game or even the characters involved.
While consolidation is all well and good, and setting things up for Hanna to finally get her 5 coins so we can find out what happens next, is interesting enough, there isn’t really anything in this episode that will make you sit up and take notice. Even the battle between Hanna and Suzu is pretty predictable given their relative personalities and what we’ve seen of them fighting so far.
All and all a watchable but unexciting entry in a show that needs to find its direction fast now that we’ve got our characters firmly established.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 6:
I’m thinking the combination of the Bookmaker and Chinatsu is going to be an absolute recipe for disaster in Lostorage Incited WIXOSS; the truly great to watch kind of disaster.
While there is still no end game in sight for the actual game, the relationship between Suzuku and Chinatsu has definitely hit a critical turning point. Chi isn’t just rejecting her friendship anymore, she is openly wanting to overwrite anything and everything connected to it.
As justification for this, she’s re-examining her childhood memories and tainting them with her current self-loathing. While she might have had ulterior motives as a child, it kind of seems like she’s definitely allowing her current emotional state to overshadow anything that was ever any good about her friendship. We also get the interesting idea that maybe changing a memory could change the world but given this thought is floated from a child who has lost her mother it seems more likely that this is wishful thinking that is destined to be shattered.
All and all, this show continues to deliver a nice emotional roller coaster even while the plot kind of stands still and waits for the character to all get to the appropriate level of desperate before progressing.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 7:
Lostorage gets points for finally having a character (Shou) suggest what I asked a few weeks ago. Why don’t they just trade coins back and forth until the arbitrary 90 days runs out? Well, Hanna has an answer. Because you will still lose coins and not have all 5 at the end which means memories will still be lost. That’s a nice bit of exposition and effectively cuts out the only escape route I could see for the characters so well played.
Now that I’m done being complimentary, I’m going to honestly say I didn’t like this episode (and yet it was clearly affective at something because here I am well and truly blowing my 100 words talking about it). The start is dull with Suzuko bribing Hanna into teaching her about WIXOSS (but not us because why would you reveal anything to the audience) and then Suzuko and Shou meet for a walk down memory lane of how sweet Chinatsu used to be (okay, that’s not why they met but it is where the scene went).
The only importance of this scene is to show you just how far Chinatsu has gone toward the dark side (I had to) when she later sweet talks Shou into playing her and then absolutely crushes him without any mercy.
Now, I don’t mind characters who are deceptive or a bit nasty but my issue with Chinatsu is she threw off the chains that were tying her down and threw away Suzuko so that she could be whoever she wanted to be and this is it. She wanted to be the world’s most heartless badass card player. Yay for you. You’re officially a horrible person by your own choice and actions.
I was kind of hoping that Suzuko would eventually get through to Chi and even if bad stuff happened somehow both these two would survive until the end but now I’m kind of hoping that Suzuko actually takes Hanna’s lessons to heart and crushes Chi because to be honest, she’s got it coming.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 8:
This was a really good episode and it felt like we hit a turning point for the series as we head toward the end. That said, I am about to reveal some critical information from the episode so if you haven’t watched it yet you may want to go do that first.
Really, really impressed with the truth revealed about the Bookmaker. It was one idea I’d considered but I’d half dismissed it and just assumed he would either be another player in the game or really just a sadist who genuinely enjoyed messing with others. The reality that he was a LRIG and is now in a human body gives his characterisation so much more reason as well as his genuine disdain for people.
This part of the episode was by far the best though I think Chinatsu’s decision not to hand in Shou’s contract was also kind of interesting as it gave her a small amount of redeemability (probably not an actual word really) as a character.
The weakest part of the episode was the declaration that Suzuko is stronger or changed which came through Hanna and then Hanna’s LRIG directly stating it. We don’t actually see much of a difference in Suzuko herself. Definitely a case of telling over showing so I kind of hope next week gives Suzuko some screen time so she can in fact reinforce the fact that she’s come somewhere as a character.
All and all, WIXOSS has continued to be an entertaining trip and as long as it all comes together this could be a fairly strong series.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 9:
We now have a clear link back to the other installments in the WIXOSS franchise but they’ve done this in a way that even those with limited familiarity will still be fine to follow the plot. Also, we finally find out what happens when you have all five golden coins.
This episode is intense. From Chinatsu ignoring warnings and continuing to bull-headedly believe that she’s now free and choosing her own path, to the LRIGs and the various games they are playing, to the object lesson of what some LRIGs think of being human, to the final battle and reveal, there is so much going on and parts of this episode get dark. It was a job to watch but definitely not light viewing.
This season of WIXOSS is delivering a fairly solid emotional experience though the question of whether they can wrap up their story in a satisfactory manner still remains.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 10:
While it isn’t hard to see the tragedy part of this episode, the comedy (even allowing that we go with an old school definition where characters simply triumph over adversity rather than looking for humour) is kind of missing which is strange given the episode title. What we have instead is some of the bleakest moments this series has given us so far.
While Suzuko is getting stronger and Hanna is reconnecting with her sister after the massive shock last week, Chinatsu and Shou’s lives are literally coming apart at the seams leading to a final moment, that doesn’t shock because you see it coming fairly early on but it certainly squashes your heart just a little bit and leaves you feeling just that little bit more hollow than you did before.
But while WIXOSS continues to be emotionally quite moving, the story really isn’t getting any clearer and if anything the Bookmaker made things even more confusing with some of his contradictory statements during his two battles this episode.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 11:
So many shows are delivering disappointing last and second last episodes but WIXOSS has been an exception to the trend as it refocuses squarely on Chinatsu and Suzuko, which has been the relationship that has really driven the events of this series.
I must say that Shou is going to get my vote for most tragic character in 2016 because his death (disappearance, replacement, whatever) was probably the most pointless and preventable. It was so incredibly tragic and the only mildly interesting part is that it shakes Chi enough that she can finally confront herself when fighting Suzuko.
Too bad it took the death of the one actually nice human being in the show to get her to start coming out of her downward spiral. However, with the conflict between Chinatsu and Suzuko all but wrapped up and Hanna finally facing life after WIXOSS (great name for a song mind-you), all that is left is what to do about the Bookmaker and whether either Chinatsu or Suzuko are stupid enough to try to fight him.
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Episode 12:
Okay, they have a second season of this coming so apparently don’t expect a neat little bow around anything. That said, the focus for most this season has been Suzuko and Chinatsu and this episode finishes their story quite nicely with Suzuko taking the lead for once and Chinatsu finally supporting her rather than trying to tear her down.
The show down between Suzuko and the Bookmaker was actually pretty interesting except that as always we don’t really know the rules of the game so it really just looked like they were pulling cards out of nowhere to one-up the other. While I’m not sure whether or not I’m up for another run of this, I really did enjoy this series and I’m looking forward to doing a whole review on it.
Images from: Lostorage Incited WIXOSS. Dir. K Sakurabi. J.C.Staff. 2016
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