Zanibas’ Impressions: [Spoiler-full]
The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost. -M. Scott Peck
Ru! Battoru! -Tama
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If there’s anything new to be said, there’s an ongoing debate on whether the girls of WIXOSS suffer more than the girls of Madoka. Is it the Selectors whose eternal duty to fulfill other people’s wishes a crueler fate? Or perhaps is it the Mahou Shoujo who inevitably falls into a despair just as great as their dream? It’s an answer that I don’t think is easily answerable and has multiple approaches depending on what one values more.
Right when it first came out, WIXOSS received a label as the aspiring little sister of Madoka Magica. Both shows have girls fighting an opposing force because of the power of a wish. Within that set of girls, there is one pure girl in both who wishes to save the other girls from despair, for the sake of friendship. Both involve a system of wishes that have a twist, causing unsuspecting girls to fall into utter despair. Iona and Homura are mirrors of one another’s obsession with the main female character. Kyuubey and the LRIG master both share the same red/white color scheme, with similar ways in how they operate and manipulate their victims. Oh yeah, both shows also share a failed love interest. Each time a similarity popped up, I laughed at the series for being such a close cousin. How could anyone get away with this and how could anyone at J.C. Staff think this was a good idea?
But by the end of the story, when all the plot twists were said and done, it made sense why this series came to be. While I would prefer to withhold most of my thoughts until the second season comes to pass, I’ll share a bit about what’s caused my change of heart.
Although the concept of ‘despair moe’ (not my term) is not something originating with even Madoka, what Madoka did as a series was question two things: how far can we push the despair on cute girls and how realistic is it to keep a hopeful tone in the series despite said despair? It amounts to pushing the limits of insanely depressing scenarios on cute girls while demonstrating how friendship and pure love conquers through it all, often through well-crafted characters. While Madoka definitely pushed this envelope far, WIXOSS attempts to push it even farther, by introducing a new element–a cycle of deception.
What made WIXOSS extremely engaging towards the end of the series was the silence of the LRIGs. By being forced into scenarios where they must actively deceive, the deceivers turn the fooled into deceivers themselves, where the only reward for obeying is the maintenance of a wish that’s not even yours. It is a cruel cycle of suffering where no one ever wins, save for the LRIG master who watches from behind her pearly windows. In essence, it is absolute punishment towards young women who cannot will themselves to fulfill their dream. It is double the pain when a Selector realizes that their dream is realized by someone else in their shoes, all while being subject to propagating this trapping system to other unsuspecting girls. If that’s not painful to read, then I don’t know what else to say. As a friend of mine says–it’s all a cruel irony that hits deep into the egos of those involved.
And so with that, WIXOSS, despite it’s many similarities, has found new ground in forming a new playground of despair for our young teenage girls, and as such answers the first part of the ‘despair moe’ genre in a unique and complex way. Sure, it had lots of bumps and speeding tickets, but overall the message portrayed here is a dark and grim one. However, where season one leaves us, season two will undoubtedly allow us to answer the second part–despite all odds, how will hope survive? I’ll be darn surprised if WIXOSS doesn’t head for a positive ending, but in the likely case that it does, it’ll be interesting to see how that question is answered through Ruuko.
Zephyr’s Impressions: [Spoiler-free]
See you later, Scum.
Wait. I got ahead of myself. Ahem*
Why can’t I hold all this suffering?
Looking back to the start of this season, Selector Infected WIXOSS was one of those shows that was hard to pin down. There wasn’t much in terms of information—the PV and premise details barely came out like a week before the season started—and all we knew was J.C. Staff was working with Okada Mari on a card-game series with a grim-dark backdrop. Needless to say, it was an odd combination—who would’ve expected either the studio or Mari to work on a show like this?—and this was a show that had a really wide range of potential outcomes. Now that the first cour’s end is here though, we can finally talk about it, and it’s pretty simple really. When you put together J.C. Staff with Okada Mari and card games, apparently you get Madoka with a side of Yu-Gi-Oh!
Or at least, that’s what I want to say. Because while the ultimate result is Madoka-isque in a variety of ways, WIXOSS does also manage to shine a bit on its own merit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from a masterpiece in the objective sense, but there’s a whole lot of entertainment to be garnered here, and it has a lot to do with the unique decision not to focus on the actual mechanics of WIXOSS itself. It’s an interesting choice to say the least—having a card game show without actually focusing on the specifics of the card game—and arguably, it’s the saving grace of the show, as it allowed Okada Mari to really strut her stuff with the characters, their interactions, and the story itself.
Throughout the series, the black box nature of the selector battles contributed much to what ended up being a ridiculously entertaining show overall—I’ll say this first cour’s ending was probably one of my favorites this year—and I’ll just say I was caught off guard by multiple twists and turns the series presented, especially in this week’s first cour finale. To top things off, the subtle link between the respective deck colors and the players behind them—White Hope, Black Desire, Red Ambition, etc.—also ends up pretty nicely implemented considering the kind of show it is, and I’m glad it’s getting a second season, especially when you consider the key aspect that drove the series.
Yup, I’m talking about the suffering. All these poor girls just wanted their wish granted! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK!? Hitoe just wanted friends! Yuzuki just wanted to be with the person she loved! Ru just… wanted to battle? Well okay, that’s not exactly a proper wish, but you get the drift. The suffering here borders on Madoka level in some respects, and however sadist this makes me sound, it was just enjoyable to see how things worked out. Everything our cast did just made things worse, and when you thought they’d get their wish granted or some kind of positive break, they’d get screwed over. It’s just like “YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” episode after episode, and one could spend all day talking about how much our cast got screwed over. I mean, how can you forget:
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Hitoe finally getting her wish granted just to get it torn away by a surprise third loss? Suffering.
Akira and her permanently scarred face and shank attempt? Suffering.
Yuzuki getting her wish granted just to see someone in her body fulfilling that wish in her stead? Suffering (and awkward).
Tama rejecting Ru’s wish at the very end? Suffering.
Tama’s rejection leading to Iona’s wish being granted and her becoming Ru’s new LRIG? Massive suffering.
And how about the fact that Iona’s only going to push Ru to fight from now on? (And will prevent her from fulfilling her wish every step of the way while she’s at it?). Priceless.
Ultimately, there just ain’t enough words to describe the ridiculousness of the show we called WIXOSS, and the show’s right on the mark when it talks about being “infected.” Cause the fact of the matter is, I’ve definitely been infected by the BATTLU! RU! I WANT TO BATTLU MORE!, and there’s no way I’m missing the second cour in the fall (and nor should you). Some shows just come once in a blue moon, and although WIXOSS wasn’t exactly the best example of good writing, it’s a good example of a show well worth watching for entertainment alone, and that’s really all that matters. As it turns out, the combination of J.C. Staff, Okada Mari, and card games is anything but weak sauce.
WIXOSS was definitely under my radar in last season’s preview, although it happened to be the first episode of that season to watch due to… well, coming out first! As a card game player (old school Pokemon and current Hearthstone player), I can say I was looking forward to card mechanics with a blend of drama/suffering story. I would be perfectly happy with having card game mechanics that didn’t delve too deep, so that they don’t take away from the overall story, but it turned out that skipping the mechanics all together worked pretty much alright for the show.
In general, I was a pleasant surprised for me, and while not really groundbreaking or masterpiece, it proved enough entertainment to making me look forward to each week’s episode and of course, fall’s second season. Until then, MOAR BATTORU!
When Nagi ended I didn’t want to watch another Okada show just to express my displeasure in Miuna losing Da Hikarib owl.
But I thank God I didn’t missed this. I was a refreshing show compared to other shows about card games(Yu-Gi-Oh most notably). Now I’m not talking about the despair and suffering, as many people know I liked. I’m talking about the plot, characters and development. And while they didn’t explain much of the mechanics of the game which undermined some understanding of the show it still was fun and touching to see the characters grow(and fall).
I’m happy that we got another season to look forward too: selector spread WIXOSS. I’m looking forward to it.
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Your nick says it all.
Okada sure left us mad last season, right?
I know the feeling, friend. I know that feeling….
Then again, I’m sure I would go for a similar ride again.
Wait, this actually ended being half decent? I’m stalled on ep. 5 right now and it was only mildly entertaining. (Mostly Akira being bat sh*t crazy.)
Every time they played the card game I was going, “I don’t understand what’s happening! Can they use that grow thing every turn or is there limitations? How do they calculate damage? How is looking into people’s mind part of the card game? WHAT THE F*** IS GOING ON!!!!!!!!!!”
Oh you little annoying piece of ear cancer…
I use headphones, so it feels like her voice is scoring critical hits right to my brain.
If you’re watching this for the card game, you got cancer. Throw away the tumors that is Yu-Gi-Oh and Vanguard and forget the card game entirely.
That, or you can go search online to find out how to play. It makes more sense.
Hey Hey Hey! You Shut Your Face! Cardfight Vanguard was awesome! Till the main character pulled an Ash Ketchum and lost every god damn tournament including his own country’s, till that Link Joker bullshit, till Kai became the main character,
I hate Cardfight Vanguard…
The lack of details for the card game was how this show separated itself from all those yu-gi-oh shows. (Yes, there’s 2 of them airing this cour. Don’t know why but that’s way too repetitive for me already)
I rather choose FANTASISTA DOLL than this….
That’s an impressive assertion.
Admittedly, I went into WIXOSS not expecting much. It was a strange Yu-Gi-Oh-esque, Madoka-esque mesh with unrequited twincest romance, a card game that never really gets explained and a main heroine (if you so choose to call her that) that acts like a wallflower more than anything else most of the time.
Seriously, she could’ve vanished at almost any point during the show and all you would’ve gotten out of me was a “Meh,” and that’s where this particular anime seems to fall short for me. Granted, it did come off more entertaining than I would’ve first given it credit for – and props to J.C. Staff for managing to do so – but the WIXOSS version of Madoka that is Ru just doesn’t come across as likeable or as enjoyable to watch.
Now, one could argue, and rightfully so, is that, dude, it’s freakin’ Madoka! Are you trying to get yourself intentionally disappointed here? Fair point, but the comparison to Madoka Magica is inevitable and therefore rightfully deserved, IMHO.
So, when all’s said and done, WIXOSS does a fair job when all’s said and done. Enough for me to check out the second season, if nothing else.
I was more than ok with how they handled games due to watching it for decent plot. Well, at least I hoped for that cause what we got was mostly suffering and all-over-the-pleace writing. It was stuck somewhere in the middle between trainwreck and surprisingly something entertaining to watch. Not as bad as Genei wo Kakeru Taiou but definitely not even close to Madoka level and I can’t really call it good.
LRIGS are little bastards. They can reject your wish, can’t perform certain wishes, and even when you get your wish you’re screwed.
At least kyubey keeps his end of the deal.
In the end, seeing what their true nature is, it only makes sense though. Such is human nature at its worst.
The Wixoss anime was made to promote the card game of the same name, developed by Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy.
The anime writers made the decision to focus on the characters and their emotional turmoil since they wanted to make a show appealing to a more ‘sophisticated’ audience, not just as a product placement anime.
Yup. And it definitely worked out better than anticipated as a result.
the fantasy world of girls is hard to understand.
what do girls think about the anime?
I tend to check any fanart that has Iona and Ruuko in a yuri situation.
I wonder if Iona’s wish is to be with Ruuko. or perhaps…
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Ironic, I actually gave you guys an application and used episode 12 here as the sample post 😛
What WIXOSS has going for it is the shock, melancholy, and despair that the situation creates. Quite right that Madoka serves as the immediate reference because it is through Madoka that WIXOSS obviously drew its inspiration. Each reveal is more twisted than the last and also temptingly keeps us further from understanding just where we are heading. We have all these new parts in play (i.e. Iona as Ruuko’s LRIG) with precious little to go in answering the why. Suspense exists here in spades.
Where WIXOSS is let down IMO is in the characters themselves, they simply aren’t built up to the degree that Madoka accomplished. You can tell much thought wasn’t given to post-reveal denouements where SoL factors come into play and help build the personality of each character. After all, Madoka for example had those morning ablutions with her mother that helped to illuminate the gradually growing chasm between both of them. WIXOSS though has precious few similar scenes, and most are tied up around Yuzuki and Ruuko, likely due to the nature of Yuzuki’s wish (have to understand why she wants it) and Ruuko’s centering as the (intended) MC. Hitoe has even less and Iona barely receives any attention apart from her battles, although to be fair Iona is likely to feature more next season. The LRIGs–especially Tama–are also lacking in consistent and well thought out development that hinders the impact they are meant to have. There’s just a lack of connection and personality to many of WIXOSS’ characters and it’s hard to not think they are simply there to show off the shock of each new reveal rather than show how they come to cope and deal with the increasingly hopeless situation.
It doesn’t make WIXOSS bad, far from it, but the secondary development does prevent the show moving from good territory into great territory (i.e. ~6.5/10). Still going to stick around for season 2 though, there’s a lot here that offers the chance for redemption, not to mention I’m quite curious just where the story is heading and what the actual “catch” is concerning the Selector battles.
I believe we can expect Ru to fight Walpurgis Nacht in Spread WIXOSS?
I actually have this episode as my sample post for my application, too. Great minds think alike.
I think what this show has that Madoka couldn’t accomplish is side characters. Kazuki was really well developed, same with the LRIGs themselves. Although we don’t know much about some of the characters, I feel as if they have more personality than the side characters from Madoka. Personally, I would have preferred more development when it came to Sayaka’s love rival. All we really know about her is that her family is rich and she attends many fancy classes after school. It seemed absolutely random that she fell for what’s his face. Plus, I want to know what exactly happened to him. What happened? All we know is he was in an accident and is a talented musician. What else do we know? Zilch.
I came to the show like you guys did, with minimal information and only scant knowledge mostly from the PVs.
I thought it’ll be another battle fest like YuGiOh but I’m glad it’s not. Not withstanding the lack of explanation of the battle mechanics, it’s a rather enjoyable show. From the start, I did have an inkling that it might go down the Madoka route but oh boy…. Episode 8 was shocker to me. It’s like, “What is Madoka doing in my card game show?”
But than again, Show Spoiler ▼
Franky speaking, I was so looking forward to RC picking this up. Would you guys be picking up Selected Spread WIXOSS???
I’d say never say never but don’t expect anything either. We’ll see how it goes. My fall personally might be a hiatus season, so if there’d be anyone it’d be Zanibas. Maybe.
I enjoyed this show quite a bit as well. It was nowhere near the best of the season, and it’s all too obvious how much it is…ahem…”inspired” by Madoka, but I had a good time with it regardless.
Choosing not to focus on the cardgames was indeed a good idea, as delving into the minds of our protagonists was a lot more interesting in general anway. I especially liked how all of the girls were basically their own worst enemies. In Madoka, most suffering came from external sources and a lot of them were screwed from the start. Here, because of their ambitions and wishes, the girls were digging their own graves. The inability of them to give up on their dreams and wishes doomed them all, even when they know the stakes later on. I liked the dynamic between the LRIG’s and the main chars as well, because it was a complicated relationship were dickery was born out of sheer self-preservation. There were no winners there.
So yeah, might as well check out the second season. Especially with that cliffhanger, hah, damn.
Mmm I stopped after ep 4 because it was kinda boring. Did it really get so much better?
I dropped this fairly early on as “another one of those stupid card battle shows”, but picked it up again after someone mentioned that it got better later on. It takes a little too long to build up, but episode 8/9 put this WIXOSS back on my watch list. I’ll definitely pick it up again when the second part rolls around.
IMO, yes, but it takes until the end of episode 8 to get there.
This does make me wonder out of curiosity, are there any series’ that really stand out for RC that a blogger didn’t blog, but then wish they did or vice versa as the series went on/finished? WIXOSS seems like one of those now, lol. (Nobunaga the Fool on the opposite side. One episode left and I’m lost as hell, lol.)
Anyway, I went into this expecting it to be almost like a big ad like Yu-Gi-Oh! could be (or other game-based anime/manga), but it actually MUCH more turns out (so far) to be an anime that happens to revolve around a real card game, a card game whose battles feel more like a means to an end within the story and not THE main part of the story. Like the overall situation is something that could be applied to ANY sort of widely popular game, not just WIXOSS. Heck, after the first few battles, there’s hardly any in-depth card battles (just a couple quick turns of “Grow!” and attacking) and it focuses far more on the characters themselves outside of battling.
To have it be so focused on the WIXOSS card game itself with Madoka dark thrown in on top would be…well…it would be Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters (or latter GX, 5D’s, and latter ZeXal) much of the time, where the focus is on “advertising” the card game and the story/feelings/etc. tend to take a backseat, and probably wouldn’t be nearly as interesting as it is now. Let’s face it, a lot of people watch Yu-Gi-Oh! just to see what new cards will be used in the Duel of the day (and may end up released in real life) and couldn’t care less about the plot or the characters. With WIXOSS, I’d like to believe people (at least after the first couple episodes) have been coming back to watch it to actually see how the plot advances and what the characters do, how they develop, and so on.
I can only speak for myself personally, but just off of the top of my head, I’d point out Jojo (but that’s a four-cour so…), Ping Pong, Brynhildr, and Chaika as a few examples of shows I felt deserved some coverage, even if a few of those names aren’t always the best to talk about on a weekly basis.
But, with that in mind, the fact we occasionally have series that fall through the cracks or aren’t great for weekly blogging is why we’ve made sure to increase the amount of END/finale posts at the end of each season, so you should be seeing some more of these for shows we didn’t cover over the next few weeks. I know I’m planning (time-willing) to do Brynhildr and Chaika at least, and Kanojo Flag should get one from another writer too.
I do believe that Brynhildr, Chaika and WIXOSS are 3 series that RC should’ve picked up
You guys should have blogged Brynhildr. It’s so bad and bland its funny.
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Speaking of which…. The moefication of the characters kinda took the gritty atmosphere that Elfen Lied had
OT, but after watching the last episode of Chaika, Season 2 announced for October. Not surprising given some of the last-second surprises (like Vivi) as well as, obviously, Chaika having not gotten all the remains yet.
Oh wow, I can’t believe I lasted all the way through this series til the end. (and it was worth it)
Like I have said a few weeks back, this show does not show much of a hint of any large attempts at peddling the games at us to buy. The only thing that I notice throughout this cour was the fact that the card game “got used” by the series to advance the plot.
BTW, which other writers stuck around with this show? (I do recall Cherrie wants to do a final impression as well…)
I’m probably the only one feeling this way at the moment, but WIXOSS has a bad case of forgetfulness when it comes to some of its rules and, unlike Madoka, has a severe case of Ed Wood syndrome.
Listen, I’m all for Suspension of Disbelief but this show has at least 2 or 3 significant instances of ‘holes’ within the rules it set forth. Without spoiling but making clear my annoyances, it’s concerning Akira, Hitoe and the rules LRIG’s are required to follow as a whole.
I’m aware of how the finale went down, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are some ‘glaring’ problems with the rules the show has established for itself and I’m ‘seriously’ getting tired of this being a recurring issue in anime. I got burned on it in Valvrave, Daybreak Illusion and many others I can’t be bothered to remember so… As engrossing as certain episodes and plot points have been, I am significantly lacking faith in this show’s ability to provide a satisfying and logical conclusion to everything in the end.
Really enjoyed the show as it progressed. The twists were excellent and many as the show came to it’s close. Iona as Ruuko’s LRIG…Didn’t see that coming. Tama questioning Ruuko sincerity? And as many have said the lack of focus on the card game itself was refreshing. But in all honesty that ambivalence actually helps to spur my curiosity about the card game itself! Clever.
Looking forward to the second cour and glad I stuck with the show.
No crappy “everything gets reset to normal” button was pressed. Good!
Ruko just got the middle finger and practically lost everything. Poor girl. I can only imagine how she’ll deal with Iona being her card now. It’s not like she is much different from Tama though (both of them were battle crazy). That makes me wonder if perhaps Tama and Iona share some sort of connection since they both love to battle. So much stuff left unanswered but good thing it there is a guarantee they will be answered with the continuation.
If the characters weren’t so annoying and some of the situations weren’t so forced I’d say this was a pretty good anime. The lack of suspense during the card battles sadly kills the mood sometimes since they don’t serve a purpose other than allowing the characters to spew more dialogue. I’m not asking for all out Yuigoh card battles but it would be nice to see just a LITTLE strategy put into these games lol.
It’s been a while since then, but I was saddened to see that you guys weren’t covering WIXOSS as a regular series. However, that really can’t compare to how happy I am to see this. I really like this series; so much so, that I bought all five starter decks, a box of the first set, and am looking to buy boxes of the other sets (as soon as they stop selling out the day of release on amiami!!). Thanks for giving your guys’ impressions on the series. I hope that we can see coverage on selector spread WIXOSS, I’m really looking forward to it.
I don’t think I can bring myself to try and pick this show back up again. The first two episodes were such a dumpster fire that I could barely make it through the second episode. Things were just awkwardly happening with little transitioning, it was frustrating and uncomfortable to watch.
I’m glad that someone picked up this show. I think this was arguably one of the most interesting series during this season. I think this anime was so great because it took advantage of it being an original anime very well. It kept me wondering what is going to happen next episode, unlike other light novels or manga adaptation in which I know exactly what will happen(or “should of happened” in some adaptations -__-).
Overall, I agree that it might not be a masterpiece, but sure it was a very exciting anime to watch.
Man, I can’t wait for second season. I hope you can blog this series regularly for the next one.
felt like forced drama to me and I was already kinda over it in the 2nd episode and dropped it after the 3rd.
Suffering can be done right, to the point where it really gnaws at your emotions (i.e. Texhnolyze), but Wixoss was truly…Wixoss *cricket*