Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Series Review: The Final End of the Battles?

If you haven’t watched the previous three seasons of this franchise, I’d strongly suggest this isn’t the place to start. That said, if you’ve been onboard through Selector Infected WIXOSS up until now, you will probably quite enjoy the latest round of Selector Battles.

Review:

Where many continuing series go wrong is they end up either feeling totally disconnected from the previous story or they feel like a complete rerun of the original story with maybe a new villain tacked on. While they might end up feeling better or worse than the original, the fact remains that they don’t really need to exist as they don’t add anything more from a thematic or world building point of view and ultimately it just depends on whether they have a more interesting character or a bigger budget as to whether people enjoy it or not. WIXOSS avoided this handily when it first moved to Lostorage Incited WIXOSS through introducing new protagonists and very much focusing on the relationship between Suzuko and Chi and changing up the rules of the game sufficiently that it added new threats and new considerations.

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Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS then makes the bold move of fusing together characters and ideas from the original two seasons with the first Lostorage season and it does it in a pretty interesting way. The rules of the game are murkier than ever, and that’s kind of the point that the anime is ultimately making. The game isn’t fair and the rules have always been open to exploitation.  Through this approach, Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS has managed to avoid feeling like a tacked on extra and feels like a genuine conclusion to a story that started three seasons ago.

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It isn’t all smooth sailing. The inclusion of Carnival as the primary antagonist for most of the season is a definite hang-over from the prior season and it almost feels at times like Conflated doesn’t really know what to do with this character other than have them be horrible to everyone else. While the Bookmaker was a fantastic character for stirring things together in the previous season, Carnival lacks subtlety and while they are the catalyst for so many events in this season, they are definitely a weak link and even their appearance in the final episode felt more obligatory than necessary.

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Fortunately, the rest of the cast are working hard to overcome that weakness. It is clear even early on that the greater challenge is the system that allows the Selector Battles in the first place and that is what they are fighting to overcome, Carnival is more an obstacle to that. In this season we see old relationships re-examined and the impacts of prior battles on characters. It feels satisfying and these characters don’t remain stagnant in this season but continue to work towards becoming the people they want to be.

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Perhaps the biggest issue remains the WIXOSS game itself. As I mentioned earlier, the rules are even murkier than normal, and normally it is hard to follow what the rules are as sometimes the characters take turns and other times they just annihilate each other. There are also more random power ups and sudden victories that seem unwarranted here than ever before. While emotionally it makes sense and if the game just serves to show the mental state of the characters it works fine enough, but it really doesn’t lend itself to making the game feel like a real game. It is ultimately just a plot device to get the characters to where they need to be.

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The other overall issue I have, on looking back, is that WIXOSS has always gone for a bittersweet ending. Things are gained but things are lost and that which is lost is gone for good. It makes a nice change to the overly twee endings found so often. This most recent ending however actually undermines that by essentially resetting things. The characters still have their memories of the painful times, in fact they’ve gained memories of pain back, but so much of the damage of the prior seasons is erased in this ending. It almost feels like a cheat this late in the game and it takes a lot of the weight of the prior battles away.

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Still, WIXOSS is a great franchise. While it isn’t as exciting as some and doesn’t quite pack the punch it might, season after season it has provided fairly consistent and decent story telling and this latest season does that again and provides some closure on this franchise. Is it the complete end? It feels like it should be but you never know with some stories.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts so please leave me a comment below.


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Lostorage Incited Wixoss Official Fan Book
Lostorage Incited WIXOSS Official Fan Book


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Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Episode 12: A Solid Conclusion

While I’m not entirely convinced about this as an episode, I am happy that this franchise wrapped itself up. While they might force a continuation, there’s no sense that the story is unresolved when this episode closes.

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Kiyoi has made it to the room of white windows finally and is determined to end the battles, though some people would still rather that the battles didn’t end. Every LRIG you ever loved is going to show up to join in this fight and while it is messy and any semblance of rules are going to get thrown out the window, you can’t say that they didn’t try to up the stakes and scale for this final showdown.

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And that’s really the whole issue. As an episode, this is just a mess of characters shouting ideals and mumbling about doors and keys while a fight goes on that pretty much ignores any previously established rules about fights (turn taking, what is that). Yet it is fun and the characters are all pretty glorious so it is hard to actually fault it. Of course the most important part here is that they do in fact resolve the story and while it might seem a little bit of a cop out to get to a happily ever after, even undoing some of the impact of previous bitter-sweet conclusions, it actually does feel fairly satisfying to see these characters finally get to a happy ending.

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Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Episode 11: The End of The Battles?

We finally get the showdowns and now we’re opening the door. The question becomes, what next?

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There’s not a lot to say about this episode. All of the characters behave exactly as you would expect given the journey to this point. I did find it interesting how Suzuko ended up bowing out given there’s been this heavy Kiyoi focus but we already knew Kiyoi couldn’t beat her in a fight, but ultimately her actions are exactly right for the character they’ve established.

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With the battles done, and the door opened, I just have to wonder if this time we’ve found the actual end. Given the history of this series and every ending before has just been the catalyst for future misery, it really is a question that I’m looking forward to seeing whether they resolve things for good or not this time.

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Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Episode 10: Battle, Battle, Battle

While there’s nothing wrong with this episode, it all feels very much like we’re just stretching things out until the final with two aborted battles here.

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If I’m honest, I kind of zoned out during this episode for a number of reasons, but the main one is that for the first time I kind of got the impression early on that neither of the battles taking place mattered. By the time that was confirmed with Carnival throwing his and the other one being interrupted by outside interference, I was more or less detached. And even though further revelations and battles are set up during the rest of the run time, it just didn’t grab me this week.

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It seems a shame, given this season has been consistently pretty compelling, but this episode just felt like a lull. Almost as if they had to fill one more episode than they had content for.

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Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Episode 9: When Worlds Collide

We’ve finally managed to have the girls from the first two seasons make contact with the girls from season 3. The question now becomes, what happens next?

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It is episodes like this that prove you don’t need to be unpredictable to be interesting. These two groups were always going to converge and the set up for their meetings has been many episodes in the making. It was deeply satisfying watching this episode bring all of that ground work to fruition and the end result is something highly entertaining even as I’m left wondering who is going to emerge triumphant from this clash of WIXOSS legends.

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Of course Carnival has his/her hand in the mix and is stirring some of these characters to action. But the story is not fully relying on a villain to set things in motion with Hanna continuing her line of investigation bringing her finally into contact with someone from Ruuko’s team. With only 5 Selectors left and two battles about to begin, this anime has really heated things up as we go into the final episodes.

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Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Episode 8: The Condition To Win

There are fewer things more unfair than when someone keeps moving the finishing line of a race, but that is exactly what the girls in Wixoss find themselves facing in this round of Selector Battles.

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This episode got dark, and I’m not just talking about the tone. Other than the battle itself every scene this week was pretty much bathed in shadows (sorry, there was one scene in Suzuko’s bedroom that was fully lit). It made for a grim episode but with hostages being taken and the fear of losing friends on the line, it was never exactly going to be sunshine and roses.

What I like is that even though this episode was mostly dealing with Kiyoi closing off her past history, they continued to build the other groups and agendas into the story. Things are moving along and despite the length of the battle this week it doesn’t feel as though any time was wasted in this episode.

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That said, I have to wonder what Akira thought would happen at the end of the battle even if she’d won. There was more than enough evidence of kidnapping and the line that she’d take some embarrassing pictures to stop her going to the police just felt like a cop out. Not that it matters with Akira’s fate being decided this week and the truly horrific nature of this round of being battles becoming clearer by the episode.

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Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Episode 7: It’s Going To Be Fun When These Groups Converge

Season 1 and 2 veterans continue their fight against Layla while season 3 veterans plus Kiyoi continue to try to figure out the nature of the new game this week in Lostorage Conflated Wixoss. I’m really looking forward to these two groups meeting.

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The game continues with more and more evidence that it isn’t so much a game as a lure to get all the players back into the same sandbox once again to heap on more misery to all involved. WIXOSS has never been shy about making its characters taste misery, but this season seems to be taking the set-up of insurmountable odds to a new level and I’m curious as to how they will write their way out of it.

That said, I’m really struggling to find any redeeming features in the antagonists so far. While Satomi, as the Bookmaker, was a truly horrible individual, he was still a grounded individual and not one prone to outbursts of maniacal laughter until the latter half his season. The antagonists in this iteration have so far been very much of the psycho kind. They like inflicting pain and hurting others and that’s about the sum total of their characterisation. Carnival may be more of a threat than Satomi, but she’s nowhere near as interesting as she steers his body and the plot. And Layla’s just nuts.

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That said, it is clear we’ve yet to reach the real villain of the piece so maybe it is just that they recruit really dull henchmen and we’ll get something interesting very soon. I guess we’ll see.

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Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Episode 6: It’s Totally Unfair, And That’s The Way It Is

Carnival has had things going all their way since this anime returned and now we see they have rule breaking abilities. I have to wonder how they could possibly be defeated given everything seems to be in their favour this time around.

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I guess the more difficult they are the greater the triumph when they come crumbling down, but realistically it seems impossible that the girls are going to overcome Carnival at this rate. They know more about the rules and can clearly access abilities the others cannot, including introducing a third LRIG into a fight when it has been clearly demonstrated the other characters can’t do this, so their defeat within the game seems nearly impossible.

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That said, the power of friendship, determination, and being the protagonist will probably persevere eventually though I wonder what the cost will be. WIXOSS always ends with a minor triumph but it is always a bittersweet one because the costs of victory are high.

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Well, by the end of this episode all the players are in place from the previous versions of the selector battles and I guess now that we’ve hit the half-way mark we’ll start to see what we’re really up against and maybe they’ll come up with an actual plan for victory. I’m betting there’s a lot of pain coming first though.

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Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Episode 5: The Rules Are Breaking

As rule after rule seems to be overturned, Wixoss is making it hard to understand the game at all at this point as it seems characters do what they wish. While this anime has never been amazing at explaining the game’s rules, this is the first time it has felt like it is actively ignoring them.

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In many anime the established rules are bent or broken, usually in a power of friendship or determination moment toward the end of the season. In Wixoss, the rules have never been all that clear about how the game itself works. There are some rules established each season that seem absolute, but the turn taking and the like always plays a bit fast and loose. This is the first time that even the game’s established rules have felt really over-turned and it doesn’t seem like the anime is too concerned about giving characters more or less power based on their desire at the time. It is all just a little bit hard to follow when the coins seem to no longer serve any purpose and characters are gaining and losing LRIG’s very quickly.

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And yet, for some reason, none of that is taking away from my enjoyment of the series so far. That is really bizarre because normally discrepancies like this within a narrative bother me. I guess part of it is three previous seasons of Wixoss where rules have been relatively flexible have made me accept it, and the character drama is the more significant part of the show and it remains pretty solid. Still, things are not going well for our main characters this season and it will be interesting to see how dark things are going to get before they start turning it around.

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Lostorage Conflated Wixoss Episode 4: It Just Got Real

These characters have been here before. They thought they knew what to expect. This episode helps the characters and the viewers realise that this isn’t the WIXOSS we’ve seen before.

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Wixoss has always been an anime that collected some crazy antagonists. The battle junkies who were getting off on the horror of the Selector matches. Yet in previous versions of this franchise I kind of always felt that sooner or later they would fall and the sweet girl protagonist would eventually triumph even if that victory was incredibly bitter sweet. And maybe Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS intends to follow that pattern but right now it really feels like being the crazy fighter type is about the only way to survive the current battles in tact.

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The rules have changed and while they still haven’t addressed how a Selector is supposed to battle without a LRIG, it seems kind of like they are going to have to put themselves on the line. A number of statements this week made it feel like the LRIG was protecting the Selector from actual damage in the fights and that may very well be the cost that is coming. In which case, I’m feeling really bad for Hanna right now.

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Okay, I’m going to stop speculating because I know I’m usually wrong with WIXOSS anyway. It takes some interesting twists and turns and somehow it all works itself out. This episode continues to dive deeper in the new matches and draws even more characters back into the fight. While you could accuse it of being set-up, this is what WIXOSS does. It focuses on the characters finding their way through the mine-field. We’re well and truly in the thick of it and things are only going to get worse before they get better and I’m really wondering how we can get to a positive ending on this one but I’m really looking forward to watching more.

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