OP: 「killy killy JOKER」 by 分島花音 (Wakeshima Kanon)
「この奇跡は兢々」 (Kono Kiseki wa Kyoukyou)
“This Miracle Trembles”
Horrific card battles where girls battle it out to make their impossible wishes come true–perhaps. There are only hints of darkness so far, along with characterization and plot that is just a tad uneven.
Card Battles Are Serious Business
The idea behind this series is that certain players of the card game WIXOSS are chosen to be selectors by possessing an living card, and they use these to battle to become a
magical girl grant their wishes and dreams. All well and good, but I got a strange feeling from the card battles. It seemed too…clean, perhaps, that the card battles take place in another world where they’re sitting at desks. It seems an odd choice to me, when they could have had the combat be a lot more visceral by making the girls stand up and get close to the danger.
Hints of Darkness
So far there’s a bit of tonal dissonance. Many scenes – including the very first one – were giving a distinct things-are-not-going-to-end-happily-here, but the family and school portions gave none of that. Often in this kind of story there’s an undercurrent of wrongness shot throughout the entire narrative, a sense of slight discomfort on the characters’ behalf that keeps the audience from ever truly relaxing. I’m not getting that here. It’s almost like the normal world is normal and the other world is not. At once episode I have no idea whether that’s good or not, so I’m just pointing it out for now.
What was done well was the hints of darkness we saw in Tama (Kuno Misaki). I’m impressed Kuno Misaki managed to sound anything but hyper-cute (hyper-cute with a dash of scary will do), but the flashes of brutal power from her were encouraging, even if they kept referencing them too much. A light touch is better on the foreshadowing, people.
They tried to force a lot into this first episode, and it showed. They got the basic premise out there, but characterization sometimes suffered for it. Take how Kurebayashi Yuzuki (Sakura Ayane), who just showed the hell up suddenly and started spouting exposition. This led to our listless main character Kominato Ruuko (Kakuma Ai) agreeing to a battle she only barely understood, despite just learning that she could only lose three times. Even if she doesn’t have a wish yet, that’s awfully sudden to decide “Oh well, I’ll throw this all away.”
Better was later in the episode when Ruuko offered to lose to Yuzuki, because by then she had the opportunity to think about the whole thing a little. That’s not going to make me like her, though. Such a listless main character isn’t attractive.
Good Production Qualities
I’ve come to really like J.C.Staff’s animation style, and this was that animated very well, with maybe a touch of a KyoAni/Kyoukai no Kanata vibe. The acting, the soundtrack, the action…all the fundamentals were done well, it just feels like the story hasn’t hit its stride yet. It’s only episode 1 though, with an untried story. It’s understandable.
This smacks of a show where everything will not end well for our heroes, and we’ve got hints of twincest already. While I’m all for using forbidden love to add spice to a storyline, I have to say that the incest thing has gotten out of control lately – I could say something about how that reflects on the industry itself, but I’m not going to…except for when I alluded to it right there – so I rolled my eyes a bit when Hanayo (Kawasumi Ayako) spilled the beans on Yuzuki’s wish. But revealing it so soon…I can’t help but think that dream will be crushed, and likely soon. Especially he she tries to battle Tama again.
Looking Ahead – In Summation
The first episode of Selector Infected WIXOSS was decent. It had some good points and some spots of worry. As an original series I’m likely to watch it just to see where it will go, but at this point it was just good enough to earn the 3-episode rule with a decent expectation I’ll drop it after that. They’re going to have to do something special to pull me in, but with much of the set up out of the way now (or hopefully, finished by next time), hopefully they’ll have a chance to flex their muscles and show me something interesting.
I have no plans to continue blogging this series, but it’s not impossible that someone else will pick it up. Keep an eye on the season schedule for updates. Thanks!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Hints of darkness & uneven characterization mark this first episode. Also, probably tragic twincest #selector_anime 01
- There were a lot of allusions to Tetris, both having to do with the city and more subtly with the characters’ clothing (skirts) and accessories. I don’t have a hypothesis here yet, just something to watch out for.
- I don’t think telling grandma you have a card friend called Tama is going to make her happy, Ruu-chan. I think it’ll just make her worried again.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Missing the point; You don’t get credit for the words you don’t write; Right, not best; and Three lessons from the editing desk.
ED: 「realize -夢の待つ場所-」 (realize -Yume no Matsu Basho-) by Cyua