「記憶／裏と表」 (Kioku/Ura to Hyou)
“Memories / Front and Back”
WIXOSS, the Madoka in a card game returns for a surprise third season, and oh boy do things get going fast. Expect some spoilers from the previous seasons so read cautiously.
Let’s Play a Game
The original WIXOSS was probably one of the most surprising game adaptations produced. Instead of a mechanics-focused series like Yu-Gi-Oh, WIXOSS turned into a psychological mindf*ck, using its card game as a vessel to illuminate the struggle of its cast both to find their desires and see them realized. It was not a perfect series by any stretch of the imagination, but offered up some wonderfully entertaining twists. Thankfully Lostorage looks to be continuing on the same path.
Our new girl Suzuko starts off much like Ruuko before. Transfer student to a new town, unable to make friends, and left alone by a father busy with work (no doting grandmother and brother this time around). Hell, Suzuko is just one of a handful who occupies the vaunted window seat to not be easily noticed. No surprise then she winds up buying the exact game as Ruuko in a desire to make a few friends. What is surprising though is how quickly the hidden mechanics behind that game reveal themselves. Before it took a couple of episodes for the LRIG introductions, and only around episodes 6-7 did the twists start coming. In Lostorage though we are getting everything up front, immediately.
The big shocker of course is the changes to the game. Selectors are not playing for wishes anymore, now the Selector fights for their very existence via memories. Previous Selectors could also avoid battles if desired, but now battles are mandatory, with a strict limit on the time spent between matches. Moreover beginner Selectors can now be eliminated in their first match, whereas before the Selector had two throwaway chances before officially losing. Then there’s the inclusion of male(!!!) Selectors. This radical shift in setup forges a whole new dynamic for WIXOSS, taking a largely risk versus reward focused plot and transforming it into a pure survival game with one tangible goal: collecting five coins. What was once a system offering girls the chance of love or happiness now becomes an insidious battle for life where literally anyone can be forced to play. I dare say I’m excited.
What I found particularly intriguing though is the potential link (beyond the card game itself) back to the previous seasons. The devastated room Suzuko met her LRIG in bears a striking similarity to Mayu’s white room, while the battle room shown looks a lot like a degraded version of the old battle room. Furthermore each LRIG seemingly starts out as a tabula rasa, with their activation infusing them with their Selector’s memories. These things invite a whole host of questions, specifically what happens when a Selector now loses. They don’t seem to be become new LRIGs like in the original (each LRIG in fact seems to start out the same), and turning male Selectors into female LRIGs is probably a stretch for this series. Where these new LRIGs come from, what happens to defeated Selectors, and the whole purpose of this new game (because guaranteed there is one) are likely the most interesting questions going forward. And we haven’t even considered what twists yet are lurking around the corner.
Next Time: Friend vs. Friend
Although unclear just where Lostorage is going with this story, it’s pretty damn obvious the struggle will be real. Not only must Suzuko find the courage to keep on fighting, but she’s all but guaranteed to run headfirst into her childhood friend Chinatsu. If this episode’s allusions were any indication, we are definitely in for one hell of a ride.
The keen eyed may have noticed a particular LRIG in the intro featured in the original.
No batoru being yelled anymore, so disappointed.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Chinatsu owes her current living situation to WIXOSS itself. Actually come to think of it that would be a good way to tie the original in with Lostorage if so desired.
OP: 「Lostorage」 by Yuka Iguchi