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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Here It Is! The Results of the Best of Spring 2018 Reader Poll!

Welcome to the Best of Spring 2018 and while we might say there were slightly leaner pickings this time around, as always it has been fun following the shows with others in the blogosphere and discussing from week to week. Whether that is the discussions around Wixoss, the laughing at Devils’ Line, or just being perplexed by what Grancrest planned to do next, there’s certainly been entertainment to be had this season. But now, even though some shows are yet to complete, it is time to reveal our choices for best of the season.

To my awards…

Best Story – Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love

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I realise this is a really odd choice, but to be perfectly frank the story is what failed on so many of the shows I watched this season so Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love might be a fairly ordinary story, but it was at least competently handled from beginning to end. I nearly went with Wixoss, but unfortunately that story makes no sense unless you’ve watched the three prior seasons, so Tada it is.

Best Visuals – Darling in the Franxx

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This is another category I struggled with more than I should but this season nothing has really visually grabbed me or made me want to discuss it (outside of the anime that have been pretty terrible). Even Full Metal Panic isn’t exactly a visual masterpiece as it is trying to reconcile a look with its predecessor from 13 years ago. While Franxx may have its issues, it does at least have an interesting and memorable look about it.

Best Opening – Steins;Gate 0

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Finally, an easy question. The opening here is distinct and really does set the tone of the story, while also being reminiscent of the original series. I really enjoy this OP each week. The only other one that really grabbed my attention was Space Battleship Tiramisu but that’s mostly because it got stuck in my head for hours after watching.

Best Character – Sousuke (Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory)

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Okay, he had the advantage of already being one of my favourite characters from way back when and his return was greatly appreciated. Most so when I realised that the character progress he made during season 2, even if he had to break apart a bit to get there, was going to continue into this season. Sousuke is a dynamic character who might seem static at times but each event he goes through definitely leaves its mark and it is really rewarding seeing those small advances even if they are interspersed with some backsliding at times.

Best Slice of Life (First Time I’ve Ever Included This Category) – Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori

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I don’t normally get to the end of anything that would actually be described as a slice of life and I got to the end of my awards and realised that this consistent sweetness and relaxation in my week had come up dry. Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori isn’t a masterpiece or an unforgettable anything, but the number of times it gave me that moment of pure mental relaxation during the Spring anime season meant it deserved a mention here.

And now…

Best Anime of the Spring 2018 Season – Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS

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This season there was probably plenty of doubt given so many shows were very hit and miss. But with Full Metal Panic giving us two recap episodes and then not finishing in time because of needlessly dragging out its run, My Hero Academia having another cour to go, and not much else that really made sit up and take note (though plenty of light entertainment shows this season), WIXOSS kind of won by default.

That isn’t to say it doesn’t deserve the victory. The culmination of four seasons of build up is a hard thing to pull off in a manner that satisfies and doesn’t feel anti-climatic and yet WIXOSS more or less accomplishes this with only a handful of minor areas where criticism could be laid. It isn’t the single most exciting thing ever, but nor does it need to be. It is a fairly solid work delivering a compelling conclusion that feels like it is giving the audience some closure.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

Voting this time round was scattered as it was clear there wasn’t one single title that people were getting behind. However two titles ended up gaining quite the lead and kept it most of the way with My Hero Academia only really gaining ground toward the end of the vote. Interestingly enough, I haven’t seen either of the top voted anime and will have to rectify that for one of them soon as it is available. The other I won’t be able to see unless it gets a DVD release or ends up going onto a different streaming service.

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And the winner is… Hinamatsuri!

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Normally I would write something about the show and what I liked or didn’t about the reader’s choice, but I still haven’t actually seen this one so other than noting that it is on my watch list, I really don’t have a lot to say about it.

Wotakoi narrowly edged out My Hero Academia to take the third spot and Megalo Box is sitting in a comfortable second. These two along with Hinamatsuri will go into the poll in December for anime of the year. Interestingly enough, I watched none of these this season which could account for why I had a pretty slow season.

Thanks to everyone who voted and shared the poll. Be sure to check back for the worst of the season coming out later.


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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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