Some Thoughts On: Lostorage Incited WIXOSS (2016) Series

On March 20, 2018 I finished the third installment in the card playing anime franchise of WIXOSS, and it sucked. Before I go further I will established that I liked the first two seasons of WIXOSS. Both Selector Infected WIXOSS (season 1), and Selector Spread WIXOSS (season 2) even though they had convoluted writing. I enjoyed both seasons as it told a good story, developed it characters fine, handle most of it themes well, and concluded satisfactory. So, you could imagine my surprise when Lostorage Incited WIXOSS first premiered, and I just completely ignored it because I wasn’t watching anime much during 2016. However, in 2017 when I finished the first two seasons of WIXOSS I still had no interest in checking it out. This is for the sole reason I liked the English dub, and so I was simply going to wait for it. As of the posting of this right now, that clearly hasn’t happened, and unlikely to happen anytime soon. What got me to check out season 3 of WIXOSS was seeing a promo poster for season 4 of WIXOSS called Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS. The reason I finally got to seeing this was because a character I like, Ruko Kominato (also nicknamed Ruu-Ruu), protagonist of the first two season, was returning in season 4. That’s all the convincing I needed, and so forth witness the crash that was season 3 of WIXOSS.

Another thing I should add is I knew this was a bad anime before going into it, but I simply skimmed through some reviews on MAL to get a gist of its reception. I didn’t read any story specifics, but general complaints like it being a rehash I knew to be aware off beforehand. After seeing episode 1, I knew I was in immediate trouble. So basically, the setup of the previous two seasons was you play a deadly card game, fight to get a wish granted, and if you lose three times you could never obtain your wish, and everything in the world would make sure you never did. It’s nifty concept when explained like that, but the execution of it eventually got continuously convoluted, and some establish rules got thrown to the wayside as it went on. Other things were happening in the game, but that would involve going into spoiler territory.

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Card games are typically more exciting to watch in anime than actually playing them.

Now that you understand in the previous two seasons players were fighting over to have a wish granted you would think the same would apply for season 3. It simply doesn’t as players fight for the grand prize of choosing how to alter their memories, and all losers cease to be themselves. Yeah, already the stakes feel they were immediately diminished from the previous seasons. For starter, losing memories doesn’t sound as big of a deal compare permanently being unable to obtain a wish. For example, if you lost in the first two seasons of WIXOSS, and your wish was to be a track runner. The consequences of your lost would permanently prevent you from being able to achieve that wish. Compared to “losing yourself” it simply doesn’t pack the same punch. Especially, considering that in the first two seasons some of the characters loss their memories while being participants of the game. There’s something else to it, but, eh, that would lead to spoilers!

With the prize being changed there’s also the consequences of the new rules. In the first two seasons, you only had 3 chances, and if you lost three times at any point you were done. Fine, that’s not entirely true with a certain character, but that’s a spoiler if I delve into that plot point. However, in this season you get five coins; the goal is to turn all five coins gold, the amount you start with is random, and if you lose a coin it turns black. You can use coins in card battles to use a special ability. At the end of a battle, the winning player gains a coin. The losing player loses a coin, in addition to any coins they may have bet during the battle. There’s also a 90 days time limit where the longer you wait the more coins that get blacken, and the more memories the user loses. As for how the actual game is played, the previous two seasons didn’t bother to explain that so this season won’t bother either.

I’m skimming over some details like the fact the players are called selectors, and are given LRIG’s (a entity created to fight for/with you during Selector battles) created based on their memories since such details aren’t delved into much. Alongside the poorly explained rules in the previous paragraphs, there’s also the fact when a battle is initiated players basically go into another realm for the fight to be held. The only way the battles end is either when someone loses, or a non-selector interrupts the battle. From the first episode of season 1, the rules were clearly established, and then later on the consequences were clearly explained. Here, despite the rule of non-selector breaking battles up by simply interrupting them appearing in the first two seasons. Lostorage Incited WIXOSS makes that rule feel convoluted in usage. Rules despite being laid out don’t apply to the main heroine of season three, Suzuko Homura, who has important battles simply work out in her favor because of luck.

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Oh Suzuko, not a fan.

I don’t want to compare the heroine of Lostorage Incited WIXOSS to Ruko Kominato because I clearly like Ruko way more than Suzuko. Part of this has to do with the fact Ruko gets more characterization than Suzuko does. Sharing similar traits, both characters are goodie-two-shoes, have trouble socializing when the series start, and have family issues. Hell, both Suzuko, and Ruko don’t know what they want to fight for initially at the start of their respective seasons. In Ruko case, there were more going on around her, and unlike Suzuko, she actively sought out information on Selectors Battles. Ruko goal, once she finds something worth fighting for, is bigger in ambition compare to Suzuko who’s only wants to retain her memories of her best friend.

Another thing that made Ruko better is her many interactions with other players so it wasn’t simply random people she was fighting. Lostorage Incited WIXOSS attempted to do something similar, but after Suzuko beats some blonde guy who lost his sister the idea is dropped. The characters Suzuko plays against in season 3 aren’t as fleshed out compare to season 1 & 2 making the battles less interesting in comparison. What also devalues Suzuko Homura appeal is nearly in every episode she has to say “Chi-Chan’, and remind the audience she’s her best friend. It doesn’t work because the anime is completely overblown with its execution. I know it’s possible to get viewers to cry with a good story, but hitting the same beats over, and over again won’t work in a TV series. 

I thought I was done, but I went here to say a bit about Suzuko Homura character design. It trying to hard to be cute I feel. Could be J.C. Staff thinks if you see something cute being miserable it’s easier to sympathize with the character. It’s not, and at the same time what relatable traits she has have been used a dozen times. One of her parents became deceased when she was little, and is never brought  up again. You know, in Cardcaptor Sakura the main character also had a parent who was deceased, but the difference being the parent got characterization, and it was treated as a proper character. So whenever when Sakura (in Cardcaptor Sakura) ever talked about her mother the emotion of the character felt genuine. Here, and other animes that do the samething the dead parent is just there.

Sadist Dude WTF
Yes, this guy’s our villain for the reason. (facepalm)

One of the biggest changes I wasn’t a fan off was the villain. In the previous season there was an attempt to make the big baddie be more than just someone who enjoyed a twisted game. Season 3 goes exactly for having someone who takes pleasure in making other people miserable. If that sounds silly, well it’s even sillier in execution because the villain is written, and animated in a over the top manner. Having obviously evil bad guy written all over him.

The one character I did like, Kiyoi Mizushima, was someone who appeared in the previous two seasons, but as a supporting character. Here, her role of supporting character is the same, but compare Suzuko, Mizushima backstory has more going for it. There a lot more to her endeavors than simply desiring to obtain a single wish. She isn’t a complex character, although I would have been more interested in this season if Mizushima was the main character because there is more shades of grey to her compared to Suzuko. It’s a shame that she appears in about 4 out of the 12 episodes, and only in two of them does she a sizable part to do anything.

I would continue bashing Suzuko, but you get the point. If there were more episodes I would probably feel differently, although that would be unlikely considering I spend a lot of time on the rules, and complaining about Suzuko instead of the bigger picture. Can’t help it when the characters, the story, and themes feel inferior compare to the previous seasons. It tries too much in such a short amount of time resulting in a series of half baked ideas, especially the ending since it attempts to play it off as a happy ending despite the fact almost nothing changed. Of course, there was also that deus-ex machina of a victory in the final battle which was never established beforehand was doable in battles!

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Yep, difficult to make this look interesting.

There’s also an OVA called Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS Missing Link that is absolutely worthless! It’s simply the first episode of Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS (season 4) just with the title card, and opening animation added in. Technical stuff is fine. Only thing that stands out is the over the top acting from the villain, and the characters saying “Coin Beto” which I get a kick out of hearing. There’s the music which is surprisingly good. It deserved to be in a better anime, but at the same time without else to compete against it stands out that much more.

Lostorage Incited WIXOSS was simply bad. I was hoping to find the same kind of appeal like in the first two season, but didn’t get that. I got a water down version of a series I liked; characters weren’t as fleshed out making selector battles mean very little, the new rules to the selector battle minimize the stakes as well as the consequences, and finally the silly villain turned it into a battle of good versus evil. The first two seasons had some sloppy writing with similar issues, but since it had more time to tell a singular story it was able to improve itself in areas season simply couldn’t.

If I were to rate this anime I would 4 out 10. That’s probably a bit too generous.

Quick Thoughts on Loststorage Conflicted WIXOSS

So season 4 is currently airing, and as of this moment five episodes have aired. Since I’m watching it currently I might as well put something here about what I think of it so far. It’s slightly better than Lostorage Incited WIXOSS, but at the same time if the total amount of episodes is going to be 12 it might end up having the same fate. Once again, the rules have changed, and there’s more addition to the game where certain abilities feel overpowered. With characters from the previous seasons being participants in the game I have doubts 12 episodes will be enough to give everyone a fair shake, let alone add to their established characterization. Yes, I still don’t like Suzuko Homura, and at this point I’m overreacting whenever she appears on screen because she’s still boring. She’s doesn’t say her catchphrase “Chi-chan” as much though so that’s a little better I guess. Kiyoi Mizushima might actually beat out Ruuko Kominato as the best character in the franchise. One main reason being five episodes in and Ruu-Ruu hasn’t been given much to do! It bugs me, but at the same time I might be expecting too much out of J.C. Staff. I don’t what it is, but I might have a thing for stoic female characters. Should probably talk to a psychiatrist about that. I might write a post about Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS once it ends, but I’m not sure since I usually don’t write about airing anime.

Now, this is the actual end of the blog which turned longer than intended even though I barely said everything on my mind. That’s what reviews are for….I’m sure right? Oh well. Til next time, and insert clever closing line here.

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